Google Shopping has finally launched in New Zealand. Craig Neville Manning – a computer scientist from New Zealand, invented and released it in 2002. Originally named Froogle, Google Shopping has grown and evolved since then. It started as free product listings on Google, and is now a paid for service.
If you sell products online, Google Shopping is an opportunity to put your product centre stage, not only for New Zealand based searches, but internationally. You will notice the product listings that now appear at the top of Google results – these are highly visual and take the top spot in Google Search. Many consumers do not search past the first page, so this is a prime location to get your products seen.
Google Shopping is a price comparison service that is integrated in Google Search. Merchants/retailers pay Google to list their products on the service. This will have an impact on product-based price comparison websites, since it is now all being aggregated onto the first page in Google.
It’s a quick way for customers to find the best product, at the best price, without having to leave the Google environment. They don’t want you to leave their platform, and they want to make the retail experience as seamless as possible. It’s a faster way to compare prices, and saves trawling through websites to find the best deal.
Google Shopping operates a pay-to-play model, similar to most online advertising models such as Google AdWords. You pay Google to list your products, and results are influenced by relevance, price and the amount you pay for advertising.
There has been some controversy around this. Some small businesses have noted they would not be able to compete with larger businesses, with larger budgets.
However, Google has assured that the advertising costs are significantly lower, and may put small kiwi businesses ahead. If your product is unique or competitive on price, it’s well worth considering. You can read some small business success stories here.
How do I get started?
You can set-up adverts using the Google Merchant Centre. It’s similar to Google AdWords, however, instead of bidding on keywords, you bid on product groups, which targets all keywords related to the product type.
As with all online advertising platforms, they operate various levels of complexity and we can help you with set-up and management. Depending on your needs and resources, you might want to learn the ropes and take the management in-house, or leave it to the experts (us!).
How does it compare to other online advertising?
For now, it has been noted that Google Shopping compliments Google AdWords. Google Shopping is highly visual and the adverts have higher click through rates than text ads.
Your target audience is likely to be spending a significant amount of time online, whether it be in Google, Facebook or Instagram – it’s just weighing what is the best platform to reach your audience, and how much investment you want to make.
Many New Zealand retailers have already jumped on board, including The Warehouse, Torpedo 7 and Fishpond NZ.
Is it right for your business?
Whether you’re new to online advertising, or running the odd campaign on AdWords and Facebook, getting a return on investment is the key goal.
Are your competitors using Google Shopping? You can find out by doing a broad search for your product. If no one is advertising, it might be the perfect time to jump on board while it’s clear. Whether you sell surfboards, craft kits or health and safety gear – there’s an opportunity to get your product centre stage on Google.
We can see great opportunities for many of our retail clients, and we know there will be many businesses in Canterbury who would find this a great way to increase visibility and sales.
If you want to have a chat to see if it’s worth your time and find out more, get in touch.