What is Google Shopping and how does it work?

By Carl Avery Mar31,2021

In 2020, Google announced their Free Google Shopping Results. The purpose of this is to help online businesses to place their products on this platform for free, to lower the barrier of entry. As you are probably aware, it can be difficult to compete with the likes of Amazon and similar businesses, so this move helps retailers connect with their audience. With the entry barrier lowered, more businesses are encouraged to put their business online.

Google shopping started off as a platform that just offered links to the businesses that sold the product you had searched for. Since then, it has  moved to a more modern platform, offering a platform that is very similar to eBay and Amazon, where users were able to compare products side by side.

This then moved to a paid service, as an extension to Google Ads. However, the use was not as big as they expected, as businesses claim the high fee is off putting, sparking the initiative to move to a free platform.

So, what exactly is Google Shopping?

As a user, you have probably already encountered it. It is a database on Google where you can search for physical products and compare. These are not shown in the search results, but in a seperate tab for users to explore.

How does it work?

There are so many eCommerce stores out there, but we only tend to know about the big giants, or maybe stores that are local to us. Google Shopping provides a way for all companies, of all sizes, to gain visibility and enhance sales by using their platform. The setup is very similar to using PPC.

Businesses are able to list their entire inventory for free, which can then be found all across the world. There are options for both organic and paid. This means there is still the option to enhance your visibility even further, for some extra money. Google has to make it somehow, right? Paid ads are positioned at the top and bottom of the page, just like in the regular search results we are used to.

As with most platforms now, users can expect to see a smooth experience, all the way to check out. The results will be curated based on their search, as well as user data and characteristics. If you are a business using, or hoping to use this service, it is recommended that you experience the service yourself so you know the journey your customers are being taken on.

Google Merchant Centre

Google Merchant Centre is the place you upload your products, in a very similar way to the paid promotions you might be used to. Here is where you can choose whether you would like a free or paid campaign. If you are already set up on the database, you should be able to access the free database. If you are not, you can sign up. Retailers, unfortunately, are required to go through a rigorous application process first though. This is to showcase to Google that you are a trusted business with a good product depth and able to offer users value.

Surfaces Across Google Program


If you are not already, Surfaces Across Google Program is worth signing up to. It displays your products across Google platforms, such as image search, Google Lens, Google shopping and standard text search. Once you are set up in Google Merchant Centre, you should be able to set this feature up via the wizard. Head to your Merchant Centre Dashboard, navigate to the

Growth Tab and select Surfaces Across Google to opt in.

There are many benefits to utilising Google Shopping, such as increased search volume with more traffic from Google as well as improved targeting and therefore, increased click through rates as you show up in more relevant searches across the web. It seems like there is no reason NOT to be on there!

It can seem daunting at first, another platform for you to put your business on. But, if you want to increase traffic and sales, it is really key for your eCommerce business. It can be a complex process, which is why most would recommend investing in a specialised Google Shopping Management service rather than trying to navigate it all alone! This can be one of the best and quickest ways to grow your business on Google Shopping!

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