Buy on Google: Who Wins and Who Loses?

Julie Stewart • July 26, 2019


Buy on Google is a game-changer for e-tailers, and a must-have to stay competitive. Here we analyze how to come out on top in Google’s ever-evolving shopping ecosystem.

With the launch of Shopping Actions in 2018, Google made one of the broadest transactional changes since Google Shopping began, with a major difference in its advertising business model and several new integrations aimed at enhancing the user experience. Many e-retailers have been sitting on the sidelines wondering if they should stick to the PPC-driven Google Shopping Ads (formerly called Product Listing Ads), try the new Google Express Marketplace for direct sales there, or try both.

Buy on Google has made that an easier choice by removing the friction and enabling a smoother, faster purchase experience that keeps the shopper inside the Google ecosystem, on whatever device they’re using. E-tailers who don’t start leveraging these new services by now will be left on the sidelines for good, as online shoppers are already discovering the ease of buying from stores that do participate in BoG.




How Buy on Google is changing the game

Buy on Google allows online retailers to list products across Google Search, Google Express Marketplace, and the Google Assistant smartphone app. Your products are also accessible via their digital voice assistants. It creates a universal shopping cart across all devices and products, and a Google-hosted checkout when users save their payment information in their Google accounts.

Participating retailers are charged a category-specific commission at the time of purchase, on a pay-per-sale model instead of the traditional Shopping Ads’ pay-per-click, and your store handles any ultimate sale transaction. When a purchase is made, Google handles the payment transaction and levies a cut of the sale from the retailer which actually sold the product.

Amazon, The 800-pound gorilla of e-commerce, has been working to become more like Google with sponsored ads. In the meantime, Google has been quietly becoming more like Amazon with its direct-selling Google Express Marketplace, which can now be exposed via Buy on Google.




Removing friction from the buying process

Google is jumping on a key aspect of improving online retail conversions: removing friction from the buying process. The traffic is already there on Google. Traditionally, they would refer this traffic off to other websites to complete their purchases. Now, they’ve figured out how to strengthen brand loyalty from sellers by making it easier for shoppers to find and purchase items directly via Google Express.

Buy on Google isn’t another marketplace or feature hoping to pull users away from Amazon (That’s what Google Express Marketplace is about.) Shopping Actions, by contrast, is designed to reduce the number of steps in the buying process.

You can participate in Google’s Marketplace without entering the Shopping Actions program–but why would you? Shopping Actions is the omnibus that picks up shoppers from multiple locations, drops them off at your virtual store, and collects the payment for you as they leave.




How to participate and win with Buy on Google


1. Establish your eligibility.

In order to be eligible for the program, merchants must sign up through the interest form and then pass several trust, safety and data quality tests run by Shopping Actions with Express team. Merchants can expect to have immediate approval if they are selling goods in the following categories:

Household Supplies

Health & Beauty

Baby and Toddler

Pet Supplies

Kitchen & Bath

Basic Electronics

School & Office Supplies

Sporting Goods


Basic Apparel


2. Think strategically about what products you want to have listed.

It’s not necessary to list all your products through Google Shopping. Try thinking about your product assortment first and determine your strategy.

You’ll want to evaluate your catalog and decide which products to continue selling only through your website. Some items may have extensive customizations or configurations and should stay in-house. Google also has participation criteria for Shopping Actions merchants.

You can start off slowly and test the waters. Evaluate your conversion rates by product category. You may want to start with products where your conversion rates (particularly on mobile) aren’t very good, and see whether conversions improve with the Shopping Actions program.

3. Prepare to submit your live inventory feed.


A Google Shopping Actions feed is comprised of the following crucial data:

1. Item ID

2. Title

3. Description

4. Image URL

5. Condition


7. Brand

8. Google Product Category

9. Item Group ID

10. Color

11. Size

12. Price

13. Quantity

14. Availability

15. Sale Price

16. Sale Price Effective Date




Lock in your success with product listings that rise to top rankings in search.

Leading online marketplaces, including Google, reward sellers who make the extra effort to master specific SEO and data systems, ensuring your products will surface in a shopping search. Automating your data and workflows makes this easy; Shoppingfeed technology gives you an edge over the competition with its powerful multi-channel workflow automations that assure your listings are robust and searchable.




What is “Quality Data” and how do you maintain it?

Quality data is data that’s current, complete, and accurate.

Shoppingfeed’s Fluid Feed innovations give its customers an unusual degree of influence and visibility by seamlessly creating, manipulating and automating your product listing data for Google Shopping Actions as well as for all the other marketplaces you sell through.

If you sell a wide variety of products, listing all their attributes is not just time-consuming but also easy to mess up. Shoppingfeed’s A.I.-powered fluid tags enable sellers to yield an 85% accuracy rate the first time.

By comparison, the industry average for correctly listed products from first-time sellers is just 25%.

Shopping Feed uses over 11 million product attributes across +1000 channels (marketplaces, shopbots, retargeting…), which enables us to assure that listings are both accurate and visible.




Snooze, and you’re likely to lose.

Buy on Google is the future of Google-based shopping. You can also enable both shopping and checkout with simple voice commands. We believe it’s a program you can’t afford to miss. It’s still in its early stages, but you’ll have additional advantages as an early(ish) adopter. And with a business model based on commission fees rather than on clicks, you’re not putting yourself at so much of a financial risk as you do with PPC. That looks like a low-risk, high return potential to us.

Shoppingfeed is a certified Partner in Google’s Shopping platform, as well as in every major online marketplace worldwide.

Get in on Google Shopping Actions!


Julie Stewart

My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.

To read This articles migth interest you