Note: if you don’t already have a local product inventory feed set up within Google Merchant Centre, you’ll need to do that first. If you haven’t set one up, don’t panic! We have a handy blog right here that tells you how.
To begin setting up your business’s free local listings in Google Merchant Centre, click the cog icon in the top header bar and select ‘free local listings set up’. From here, Google will give you a handy checklist of all the steps you need to complete to set this up.
In the first instance, you want to make sure that your business information is added and that your Merchant Centre account is linked to your Google My Business account, or Business Profiles.
Uploading a logo for branding purposes is optional, but we’d also recommend that too for completeness sake.
After this, press the big blue (+) button to select the country where you want to show local inventory and to start the process of verifying your inventory. Once your local inventory feed has been approved, you should see to green ticks under the product upload section.
Next, add a contact name and email address for somebody within your business that is able to verify your in-store products, as Google will require you to complete an inventory verification survey. This person should have access to your Google Merchant Centre account and also be able to access your physical in-store stock, so ideally a Store Manager or equivalent.
Google likes you to complete an inventory verification survey to ensure that the product information in your store matches the information that is provided via your data product feeds.
The Google inventory verification process is quite straight forward so long as you’re prepared. Google will email you once your account is ready for the inventory verification stage and ask for the contact details of your store representative (i.e. the person that will carry out the survey) and their availability so that they can schedule in your inventory review. At the agreed-upon time and date, Google will then email a link to the survey form to your shop representative with a random selection of products (up to 100 depending on how many products you stock).
To carry out the survey, your shop representative will need access to a smartphone with a functioning camera and to be able to log into the Gmail account used for your Google Merchant Centre. Google recommends using the Chrome browser for optimum performance, however you can still use whichever mobile browser you prefer if you don’t have Google Chrome.
Your shop representative’s task is to go through the form product by product and ensure that the product information (namely the price) that’s being fed from your website to GMC matches what is physically in your store. The survey will also ask for photographs of products at random (hence why a functioning camera on your phone is necessary), where the product label and shelf price or price tag can clearly be seen. Google suggests that you put a couple of hours aside to complete the survey, however the actual time it takes will depend on how many products you’re asked to verify and how big your shop is.
It’s important to fill out the survey as accurately as possible, as if you fail you will be expected to complete the survey again at another time. When you’ve worked through all of the products and each one has a nice little green tick next to it, the job is done.
Once you’ve completed the survey, you will need to both hit Confirm within the survey as well as email Google back to confirm that you’ve completed it. After you’ve done that, it’s a case of waiting for Google to get in touch to let you know whether it was a success or a fail. On the surface it sounds and maybe looks complicated, but all-in-all it’s a simple process if you keep your online shop well maintained, so we’re confident that if you’ll filled out the form to the best of your ability then you will have nailed it.
Once you’ve got the all clear, the final thing to do is to make sure your account is enabled for free local listings. If it’s not, you can do this by heading to Growth in the left sidebar, and then Manage Programmes. Enable the Free Local Product Listings from here. Make sure your primary feed is also enabled by clicking into it from Products > Feeds, heading to Settings and checking the box next to ‘free local listings’.
And that’s it, your work is done! Sit back and rejoice in the knowledge that your products will be getting listed across Google, and for free no less.
If you’d like help with digital marketing strategy, including the set up of a Google Merchant Centre account, Google product feeds and free Google product listings, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01629 810199.
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