Google Trusted Stores - Pros and Cons for Small Merchants

August 24, 2012 by Paul Byrne

eCommerce Technology
Google Trusted Stores

What is all the hullabaloo? If you aren’t aware of the Google Trusted Stores program, you’re not the only one. Part of the problem with the program is that it is about the fourth layer deep in the new Google Shopping experience.

However, if you are a merchant and you aren’t gearing up for it, you are missing a big opportunity. Here’s why:

  • Higher visibility on Google Shopping results and a reputation builder badge displayed next to all of your listings.
  • Free (ok, they get their money from Adwords, so, technically you pay for it) Purchase Protection for shoppers.
Why the Trusted Stores Program?
So, if few merchants are participating in the Shopping Feed / PLA program (or, maybe just the chaff has been sifted out), either way, even fewer will gear up and/or qualify as trusted merchants.
The Compelling Proposition(s)
For me, there are two reasons a small to medium-sized merchant should participate in the program. All of the other features are butter on the bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a small merchant. How can I still qualify?
Yes, but you must have to have a minimum of 100 orders per month on you web store.
How long does it take to qualify?
A competent professional firm can help clients install and set up the necessary code within hours, if necessary. However, there is a minimum 28-day ‘evaluation period’ where Google makes sure the code and data feeds are working properly. During that period, clients need to report 500 sales to Google. 50% of those need to have a shipping tracking number associated with them. If the volume is lower, it may take longer, and, sites must have at least 100 orders per month. If you ship by USPS without tracking, you may need to contact them for an exception, asĀ it is a little tricky to figure out how to do that. In any case, you have to have a Merchant Center account set up and PLA ads running on Google Adwords before you come to this step.

We encourage merchants to act NOW to start their Monitoring Period as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be the merchant that hits the holiday season without a Trusted Store badge next to your search results! Contact Razoyo if you have questions or need assistance with your Magento store.

  • In October, if you aren’t feeding your products to Google, they will no longer appear when someone is shopping online. The new program derailed that gravy train. If you were feeding your items to Google, or, they were simply picking them up from your web storefront, you stand to lose a LOT of traffic.
  • Clicks on PLA ads are cheap, dirt cheap right now. I was paying an average of over $0.30 per click for an Adwords keyword ad previously. Since I started feeding my products to Google Merchant Center and added a PLA campaign to my Adwords account, I have been paying $0.04 per click on average, and, the click has been coming from someone who is in the ‘shopping’ mood. I don’t trust the comparisons on conversion, yet, since the numbers are too small, but, even a drop in conversion rate of 50% would mean an increase in ROI for me. (So far, I’m seeing about the same conversion rate.)
  • The cheap price indicates I was either advertising in the wrong place (poor keyword strategy), or the competition is depressed because few merchants are either aware of the program or geared up for it. Many SaaS web store platforms don’t support the trusted stores program. In fact, the majority of them do not. Merchants who are first on and qualified as GTSs will have a window of opportunity to acquire new customers and increase market share.
  • Large merchants and marketplaces are already on the program, which will raise the competitive stakes. Overstock is already participating. Other retailers have made it clear they will be, soon, and, Google has been actively pursuing relationships with hosted platform (SaaS) providers.
  • My total click volume and click-through-rates have increased since starting the program. To me, this means that Google’s promise of increased relevance is probably coming true.
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