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Free listings on Google Shopping

Google Shopping is changing! 

Yesterday Google revealed an important change to its Shopping platform. The change allows any business owner that currently sells products online, using any platform, to list their inventory for free through Google Merchant Centre. 

The change was triggered due to the Covid-19 pandemic as it’s posing an unprecedented threat to the retail sector. To support smaller retailers who usually cannot afford to connect with customers on the scale Google Shopping allows, Google are advancing their plans to enable free use of their Shopping platform for merchants, making digital commerce more accessible for businesses of all sizes.

The first Google Shopping service, Froogle, was also free. SearchEngineLand talks of the shift back to free listings and has highlighted that this may be a bid to compete with Amazon as retail moves almost exclusively online during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

A new partnership with PayPal has also been announced, allowing users to link their accounts and speed up the onboarding process for new merchants. Google already works closely with a number of partners that help merchants manage their products and inventory, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.

How will the change affect my Google Shopping?

The changes will not affect existing users of Merchant Center and Shopping ads, and you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of the free listings if you have already opted into the services across Google program. If you do need to opt in, head to your account and select “Growth” and “Manage programs” in the left nav menu, choose the “surfaces across Google” program card.

Google still plans to charge companies for top placement on promoted listings and existing customers will now be able to list their full inventories and select which products they would like to promote in the Google Shopping tab.

Unpaid listings picked up by the algorithm will begin to dominate results displayed on the Google Shopping tab instead of mostly paid listings in the coming weeks and months, meaning that optimisation of your feed is essential.

New users of Google’s Merchant Center will benefit from a streamlined onboarding process in the coming weeks and months as the changes are rolled out globally.

When and where is the change to Google Shopping happening?

Despite the change currently being limited to the US, Google aims to roll out the update globally later this year. We’ll let you know when these experiences become available in the UK as Google makes further announcements.

Chris Thomas


Chris Thomas

CEO & Founder

Chris has been at the forefront of eCommerce and a pioneer of online retailing since the early 00s. A 5-time Drapers Award winner, Chris has extensive experience in developing fashion brands online.

Chris founded Cake in 2016. Based in Birmingham, with offices nationwide, Cake specialises in helping fashion brands understand their market online and then helps to develop appropriate strategical direction to achieve their plan, all backed by his 20 years of operating in the retail market.