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Google Trusted Stores Drops Shipping & Order Cancellation Feed Requirements
Changes lower the barrier for more sites to join Google's merchant-endorsement program.
This week, Google loosened the requirements to join its Trusted Stores program and added more incentives for retailers to take part in the free certification program.
The biggest change is retailers no longer have to submit shipment and cancellation feeds. Many merchants were loath to provide Google with that information, in part due to privacy concerns as well as feeling vulnerable in at handing over that level of data to the advertising giant.
Removing those requirements is likely to make many merchants re-consider holding out. The change means Google will no longer have insights on shipping and order cancellation data through Trusted Store. However, it’s Consumer Surveys program helps fill that gap. Google solicits consumer feedback on shipping, product selection, pricing and more through surveys. That data can then show up in a merchant or brand’s AdWords ads via a Customer Ratings Extension.
Another change announced this week is the code snippet retailers need to put on their site to display the Google Trusted Stores badge now enables custom positioning on the site. Previously, the badge had to appear in the bottom right corner. And, it is finally compatible with HTTPS pages.
Sites still need to have a minimum of 200 orders on average per month and acknowledge that they can meet baseline customer-support functions such as responding to inquiries within one business day.
Trusted Store members gain benefits in AdWords as well. Reviews collected through Google Trusted Stores help merchants qualify for seller ratings that can be display on text and product listing ads. (In this way Google is competing with paid review platforms such as Bazaarvoice, ResellerRatings and PriceGrabber, which also provide reviews used in seller ratings.) Membership also offers merchants a way to get a review extension to show up in AdWords. Approvals for Review Extensions are notoriously tough to come by, but members can display a “Shop with confidence” review with Google Trusted Stores listed as the source.
Google already instituted these changes in its other Trusted Store markets — UK, Germany, France, Australia and Japan — a few months ago. This week’s news applies to merchants in the United States.
By removing the feed requirements and beefing up the benefits, Google is clearly aiming to grow its network of relatively high order volume, trustworthy retail sites and felt the sacrifice in data was worth the potential gain in the number of retailers participating and other data assets that brings. It helps the company step up its positioning against Amazon as a shopping hub that offers up a large, curated set of retailers. It also just may provide added leverage in convincing retailers to test its rumored “Buy Now” button on Google Shopping and take on Amazon directly in the ecommerce game.