Google Announces New Changes to the Google Shopping Feed Specification

Google had launched the Google Shopping commercial model based on its Product Listing Ads last year. This feature was launched in the United States and all over the globe.

Google has now announced several improvements to the Google Shopping Feed specification in a bid to help merchants and retailers exploit new opportunities and attract much more web traffic to their stores.

The changes are as follows…
The changes include improved merchant-defined multipack support. For instance, several products such as toilet rolls need to be offered in customized multipacks and the new feed specification explains the right way for submission of such products.

Google has improved image resolution for better shopping experience and now recommends high quality images with a minimum resolution of 800 pixels in both height and width. Google has also updated guidance related to color and description attributes to ensure better precision and action.

The new changes also include a new “identifier exists” attribute. This attribute will be especially useful for custom products, antiques, and collectibles, among other products that do not possess unique product identifiers. In addition, Google has updated requirements needed for unique product identifiers.

For merchants that wish to sell products in Switzerland and the European Union, Google will provide dedicated support for unit pricing as well as energy efficiency labels.

Merchants that wish to sell non-family safe items will now be able to sell them on family-safe sites after marking individual products as being non-family safe.

Google has stated that it will be some time before Google Shopping users notice these changes since the company wants to provide some time for merchants to understand and implement these updates. Merchants will be able to test these changes by using the feed debugger or test feeds feature to make sure that all updated feeds get processed in the right manner.

The company advises merchants to review these new feed specifications as well as comply with all legal requirements when they partake in the Google Shopping program.

The company has also stated that accounts that do not need unique product identifiers at present will have to adhere to the new specifications by July 15, 2013 in the USA, the UK, France, and Germany, and by September 16, 2013 in all remaining target countries since these are the dates on which Google will enforce the new changes. Google also states that products that do not comply with these changes will be disapproved and will vanish from Google Shopping.

Merchants will need to use the “identifier exists” attribute after the dates mentioned above since Google will no longer support account level exemptions for unique product identifiers.

Merchants should make it a point to visit Google support to view and understand the summary of the new changes to Google Shopping Feed specifications.