Google Shopping Feed and Product Taxonomy Update

Google has announced an update to their Shopping Feed Specification and product taxonomy with rollouts in June and September 2015, with one final roll out for shipping costs in February 2016. The goal for these updates is to provide customers with a richer user experience while they are searching for products online and to help simplify the process of providing information in your feed. By September 15, 2015 merchants will be required to make changes to their current product data feed in order to stay active in Google Shopping. Here are some of the changes we can expect to see over the next few months:

Google Shopping Products Feed Specification:

  • In the US, Units & Quantity Attributes can be submitted to the feed to help support bulk selling or products sold in volume.
  • GTINs guidelines have been polished in order to make it easier for users to find the product they are looking for.
  • ID Attribute submission rules have been constricted to help prevent invalid characters or sequences to help speed up the process.
  • Apparel and Variant attributes have been simplified to Detailed Product Attributes and Item Groupings which have been expanded to include Brazil. This new feature will allow merchants to submit all available product details to describe the product as accurately as possible. This will help customers better locate the products they are looking for.
  • Google Product Category IDs will be replacing the Google Product Category Path. Products will now require a numerical ID for the category rather than the full path. Below is an example of the numerical IDs for the corresponding category path:
1081 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball
4676 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketball Hoop Parts & Accessories
4089 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketball Hoop Parts & Accessories > Basketball Backboards
7251 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketball Hoop Parts & Accessories > Basketball Hoop Padding
4050 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketball Hoop Parts & Accessories > Basketball Hoop Posts
3829 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketball Hoop Parts & Accessories > Basketball Nets
4192 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketball Hoop Parts & Accessories > Basketball Rims
1082 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketball Hoops
499751 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketball Training Aids
1083 - Sporting Goods > Athletics > Basketball > Basketballs
  • Google Shopping will be expanding their Shipping requirement to Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Japan to be able to display the total price to users. This will benefit both merchants and consumers as users will gain access to complete cost information which will then yield more conversions for businesses.

Google Product Taxonomy:

  • Google product taxonomy paths have been simplified by having many categories consolidated to their parent nodes. Merchants do not need to provide subcategories for: Pants, Swimwear, Handbags, Shoes, Medicine, Books, and etc.
  • A majority of Active wear categories have been consolidated into their non-active counterparts; such as ‘Active Shorts’ can now just be found under ‘shorts’.
  • Additional subcategories have been added to “Food, Beverages & Tobacco” and “Mature”.
  • Then some of the verticals have gone through a major makeover and you may want to take a look at your Google product categories if they are one of the following: Arts & Crafts, Décor, Hardware, Sporting Goods, and Motor Vehicle Parts & Accessories.

Google Shopping users will not see these changes immediately because Google wants to provide enough time for merchants to make changes to their product data feed.

As of June 1, 2015 – merchants could begin submitting Numeric Google Product Category IDs however by September 15, 2015 these will become mandatory and non-compliant items in your product data might be disapproved and removed from Google Shopping. By the September deadline, users will also have to be in line with the redefined GTIN requirements and submissions rules for ID Attributes. Then by the first of February, users will need to submit accurate shipping costs for the US, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Japan. If accurate configurations are not possible, merchants will need to overestimate shipping when entering it. Specifying shipping rates can be a bit more complicated so Google has given extra time in order to make this possible.

For more information on Google’s release, you can check out their statement here.

To see the changes for Google Taxonomy with numerical IDs, click here.

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    • Linda Bateman says

      I don’t agree, Paul. It may often seem like Google changes things for change sake, but in the case of some of these refinements, Google is allowing for information to be streamlined to help merchants offer their products in multiple Google Shopping instances. For example, Google Product Category: rather than worrying about the translation of the breadcrumb style of the Google Product Category attribute, there is one universal ID number. Additionally, switching to a number systems allows for an easier categorization many other shopping engines already use. It makes sense.

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