Google Shopping is a lucrative and significant channel for retail businesses looking to capture the Google search audience. Most shopping purchases begin on Google, and having your products listed above the search results can give every business a competitive edge.
The existing Google Merchant Center has helped businesses upload their products, manage the listings, and run product ads for many years. Google recently announced that the next update in this platform will be out in 2024 – the Google Merchant Center Next.
This blog post explores everything you need about the Google Merchant Center Next and what to expect in the coming update.
Table of contents
What is Google Merchant Center Next?
Google Merchant Center Next is a new simplified and redesigned version of the existing Google Merchant Center, announced in the Google Marketing Live 2023.
The new dashboard and listing website aim to offer businesses an easier way of managing their product catalogs so that they can run better campaigns and shopping ads. This can help small businesses or merchants understand how to create a presence on Google Shopping.
Google Merchant Center vs. Google Merchant Center Next
Here is a quick look at some of the differences and similarities between these two platforms for your understanding:
|S.No||Google Merchant Center||Google Merchant Center Next|
|1||Product import is possible from the data feed.||Product import is possible from custom-built stores, shopping stores, and data feeds.|
|2||Allows supplemental feeds.||Supplement feeds are not available yet.|
|3||Feed management is technical, and fixing errors is a manual process.||Feed management is less technical, with the option to fix errors automatically.|
|4||Allow bulk editing only. It is only possible to edit specific attributes using rules and filters.||Editing is feasible for individual items.|
|5||Has an intuitive and traditional interface.||Has a sleeker and simpler user interface.|
|6||Provides a detailed diagnostic view.||Provides a simpler and sparser diagnostic view.|
Benefits of Google Merchant Center Next
Businesses have been using the existing Google Merchant Center for a long time, but the new upgraded version has a few benefits that businesses can leverage, such as :
- Google Merchant Center Next has a simplified UI that can make it easier for people with non-technical backgrounds to use and grow.
- The verification process is also more straightforward, with the option for email verification in addition to the existing methods.
- Businesses can also connect product information from the e-commerce platform/website to the Google platform.
While the Google Merchant Center Next will be available in 2024 in phases, businesses using the existing Merchant Center will have access as soon as the rollout is complete.
Google Merchant Center Next: What’s new?
To know more about what to expect from this new platform, let us look at some of the new features of this rollout. The major feature changes coming up are:
- Insights in the performance tab
- Product studio
- Product upload features
- Click potential
- Customer support connection
Insights in the performance tab
One of the most critical changes in the Google Merchant Center Next is how the insights would now be directly available within the performance tab itself. This makes it easy for businesses to gather reports and understand their campaigns’ performance.
Some of the information that would be available, in addition to the existing product lists, within the new dashboard now are:
- Competitive visibility
- Store appearance on Search and Maps
- Non-product website details
The new Google Merchant Center Next shows a simplified version of insights, in contrast to how it was in the previous dashboard. While we have to wait and see if simple is also helpful, we aim to provide businesses with a simpler and concise insight report.
Google recognizes the value of product presentation via product images in the success of Google Shopping campaigns. In fact, Google sees a 76% increase in impressions and a 32% increase in clicks when the product listing has more than one image.
Of course, not all businesses can conduct high-quality product photoshoots and designs. With Google Merchant Center Next, businesses can circumvent this problem and create product images using generative AI from the platform itself.
With the Product Studio, businesses can create free, unique, attractive product images while editing their existing photos to improve quality. Some of the AI capabilities include:
- Creating custom product scenes where AI can generate backgrounds for the product image to enhance its attractiveness.
- Removing low-quality or distracting backgrounds to make the product shine in the image.
- Increasing the quality of the existing product image with resolution changes.
With the right prompt, you can significantly increase the impact of your product photos for your campaigns.
The most prominent feature that Google is bringing to the Merchant Center Next is the ability for businesses to upload product information from the website into the platform directly. The dashboard can detect:
- Product Title
- Product Description
- Product size
- Product image
This simplified process makes sure that businesses can easily create a product feed without a lot of technicality while also reducing the possibility of errors. The products will appear in your Google Merchant Center Next within three days of choosing the import.
In addition to the business website, businesses can upload product information from:
- Online store
- E-commerce website running on a third-party platform such as Shopify
- Google Sheets
- Manual processes
- Google Shopping feed
While businesses could only upload or delete products within the existing Google Merchant Center, the editing features help businesses edit product details without deleting and reuploading.
With the Merchant Center Next, editing is possible for each specific product. To do so, all you have to do is:
- Choose the product you wish to edit by clicking on it.
- Click on the “Edit product” button.
- Make changes to the product title, brand, description, final URL, etc.
In addition to the existing performance insights, the Merchant Center Next has a new metric that businesses can use – click potential. The platform uses existing historical data to calculate the potential for Google users to click on the product listing ads.
You can use this information to optimize your listings and improve your chances of success.
Customer support connection
When a business is accessible, it shows the customers that they care and are willing to offer support whenever they require help. Connecting your customer support information to your product catalog via the Merchant Center Next would help customers find your business instantly.
Businesses can add:
- Contact number
- Email address
- Service page URL
- The option of live chat support or chatbot support
- Preferred contact method for the business
Limitations of Google Merchant Center Next
While the Google Merchant Center Next is an exciting prospect for merchants of all sizes, there are a few features that currently do not exist within the proposed platform. Some of those features are:
- The missing feed view is currently available in the Google Merchant Center but is not in the proposed new platform.
- The growth tab missing from the product tab that showed the success of product listings
- The fewer filters in the product tab than what exists in the Google Merchant Center
- No automatic optimization process for product lists with low-performance indicators
FAQs about Google Merchant Center Next
Google Merchant Center Next is open to some users now and will be live in 2024 completely with a phased rollout plan from Google.
All existing Google Merchant Center users will gain access to the new platform once it is ready and available in their region. The new users already have the option to work with Merchant Center Next when they sign up.
Google Merchant Center is essential for any business to grow awareness of their products within Google search or boost revenue with shopping ads. The Merchant Center Next experience promises to simplify businesses’ product upload and optimization process. This would come in handy for someone with less technical experience.
Leveraging this platform well can help businesses grow faster, establish a solid online presence, and attract your target audience via Google.