Book a call with a Google Shopping specialist

Google Merchant Centre 2021 updates

Aimed at improving user experience, each year Google makes a number of changes to their Merchant Centre, and 2021 sees updates in three phases: on April 6th, June 15th, and September 15th.

You can read the full details in the Google announcement (link below), but to save your time this article summarises the changes, their implications, and some recommendations for Google Shopping and other campaigns. 

Summary of changes to the Merchant Centre

April

  • Checkout price needs to match MC feed data to avoid disapproval 
  • New availability status: ‘backorder’ (Read how it differs to ‘pre-order’)
  • Updates to payment plan products, such as mobile phones with subscriptions
  • Region-specific delivery speed can now be setup in the Merchant Centre
  • Extended fitting specifications for fashion retailers in Merchant Centre

June

  • Provide unique combinations of brand and Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) to avoid disapprovals 
  • Specify the date-time related attributes (relating to availability or expiry date)

September

  • New ‘shipping country’ sub-attribute: individual product  listings for individual countries of sale. 

Implications

April

New sub-attributes concerning estimated handling times and transit time allow merchants to specify region-specific shipping speed. By providing each product’s availability data, merchants are able to specify backordered products. Fashion retailers can now specify different fitting options, such as “plus”, “petite”, and “tall”, even using two attributes together like “tall and maternity”. Finally, products sold under a subscription payment (e.g. watches, mobiles, tablets) must only target one country, or risk disapproval.

June

Currently Google accepts SKUs of the same brand sold under the same MPN. From the 15th of June, Google will no longer allow multiple products with one MPN, disapproving any products sharing a MPN.  

September

By adding additional countries to your primary feed settings, you can display products in more than one country of sale. To ensure that your products show in the intended countries, you must provide the shipping country sub-attribute. Failure to do so will render your products subject to disapproval. 

Recommendations

If neglected, many of the new updates could lead to the disapproval of your products.

Whilst it may be time-consuming to check the data for all your SKUs, updating Google’s new attributes helps your customers find your products with the most relevant availability, handling and shipping information, as well as avoid your products from being disapproved.

Although Google has previously accepted data feeds with identical MPNs, this practice will now lead to disapprovals. Going forward, it’s critical that you create unique MPNs for each individual SKU in your data feed.

Our Customer Service team works in tandem with our data analysts to identify and highlight SKUs in need of changes, to avoid product disapprovals, and to optimise your performance on Google Shopping. Get in touch if you like to discuss how we might be able to help you address these changes.

More information

Read Google’s full announcement on changes to the Merchant Centre in 2021 here.

More information on how to get the most out of your Google Shopping campaigns.

View our 2021 Google Shopping Playbook (Fashion edition), explore Smart Shopping in depth, or read our comprehensive guide to Google Shopping management.

Looking to take the next step in optimising your Shopping campaigns? Speak to one of our Google Shopping specialists for advice.

Olivia MacCunn

Olivia is a Google Shopping specialist within the marketing team. She creates content to simplify the Google Shopping experience, and help our clients discover if Google Shopping is the right channel for them.