Google Merchant Centre & Drupal

Fri, 05/17/2013 - 21:41 -- Maggie Vega


If you sell products with an e-commerce site you should consider joining marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Google Shopping. 

What makes Google Shopping special is that you can link your store to your Adwords PPC campaign and unlock the Product Listing Ad  (PLA) display. Have you ever seen something like this in the search results?

The picture and the price right there in the search results drag much more attention than the text listings around it. According to Kenshoo’s findings, “eye-catching” PLAs draw about one and a half times the click through rate of regular text ads, and convert 23% better, resulting in a 31% higher return on advertising spending (ROAS). 
Some people have even found this offending and anti Google's philosophy. They think this enables websites to buy their way to the top instead of earning it. But users still trust organic results and click on them at a high rate. I believe paid ads are clearly becoming more important but I don't see Google as an evil mafia dealer just yet. What do you think?

The truth is that this new ad display is not even available for Canada yet but you can give it a try if you are one of the lucky guys with addresses in one of the following countries:

United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. 

Setting a Google Merchant Center feed from your Drupal site

Something that I found very convenient in the Google Merchant Center (GMC) compared to the other major market places is the scheduled data feed. If you already have a Drupal commerce site, sending your products to GMC is as easy as making a view:

  1. Make a view to display your products as a CSV file. These are the fields that GMC requires. The output should be available for download in a file with .txt extension.
  2. Login to Merchant Center and tell them where is your file and how often would you like them to check for updates.
  3. Voilà, your Google inventory will automatically update according to your website inventory. Very nice feature to avoid having to change prices in two places if you are offering a discount for example.

They also take RSS feeds but I found CSV easier to set up because the XML file requires custom namespaces and tags. CSV is a lot easier to read but I know there is even a module you can try to get it working in XML. If you know of any other way please comment below.
If you are concerned about having your inventory available for download you can restrict the access and provide Google with the necessary credentials. They are able to log in and grab the file without compromising your info, so there you go.