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E‐Commerce » Tips & Facts, Best Practice | 19.10.2015

Maximise your e-commerce opportunities with Google shopping

When you are selling online, it is vital that you make the most of all of the available marketplaces. In the case of website visibility, this centres around using relevant keywords and identifying niche areas that you can exploit. One area that consistently remains underused for many e-commerce businesses is the shopping ads that appear in Google web searches.

This highly visual method of selling is relatively cheap per click in comparison to the regular top three banner ads that so many companies invest so much time, money and effort into. Getting your products to appear is a simple process that, depending on the platform that your e-commerce site is built on, can be achieved in a matter of minutes using a pre-existing plugin.

While Bing does have a shopping ads section, it is Google that dominates the landscape and should be the one on which you focus your attention, though the former may be worth investment in the future.

The first step in the process of making your products appear is to register for a Google Merchant Centre account if you don't already have one. You then have to go through a couple of simple steps to verify that you are the owner of your website before Google will allow you to submit a product feed that contains all of the relevant information about your products for your ads.

The feed is created in an .XML database file, which carries information on price, weight and shipping etc. This can be created manually, but thankfully there are plugins for sites built on WordPress, Magento and others which are similar that can do this for you.

Once created and linked to your Merchant Centre account, Google checks it every day for any new product information, thereby ensuring that the range shown in the ads is fully up to date. The final element to complete is the creation of a Google shopping campaign in your AdWords account. The default setting here is for the whole range of your products to be put forward for ads, but you can manually exclude any that you don't want to show up.

Once that is done you will see your products beginning to appear to the right hand side in relevant web searches within a couple of hours, opening up a whole new market and potential income stream to you and your business.