In an effort to stimulate growth in the retail sector during the coronavirus pandemic, Google is making it free for all merchants to sell items in its Shopping tab.
In a blog post, Google president of commerce Bill Ready said that starting next week all search results in the Shopping section will consist mostly of free product listings — whether a seller advertises on its platform or not.
“With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online,” Ready said.
“For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs,” he added. “For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.”
Existing users of Merchant Center and Shopping Ads don’t need to do anything to take advantage of the change.
The free listing offering will roll out in the US by the end of April, with plans to extend the change globally by the end of the year.
The Big G’s Shopping tab has previously come under scrutiny after the company was handed a massive €2.4 billion fine by the European Commission in 2017 for allegedly abusing its market dominance to give an unfair advantage to its own services.
Still, its latest move ought to help struggling brick-and-mortar retailers reach customers in times of quarantine.
“Solutions during this crisis will not be fast or easy, but we hope to provide a measure of relief for businesses and lay the groundwork for a healthier retail ecosystem in the future,” Ready said.