The holidays always catch us by surprise every year, but the 2020 holiday season will be even more unpredictable due to state restrictions on COVID-19 and the longer shipping times we are facing. We are in uncharted waters, and most companies have or are already planning for this year’s holiday season. 

Planning your Google Shopping Feeds ahead of time is also a must. Once October and November hit, it’s holiday after holiday, and planning your promotions and fixing your data feed in real-time is not recommended. Instead, follow these tips you can thank us later!

Start Planning Your Promotions 

To gain attention from online shoppers and boost sales, set up and take advantage of promotions. Promotions, under the Marketing tab on Google Merchant Center, let you advertise certain holiday deals and offerings, but are fairly limited in what you can actually do. Promotions also require approval from Google, so there is a waiting period. Doing this early will be essential for your store, especially since some support options for Google are currently unavailable. 

Adding promotions to your Google Shopping campaign such as a sale price or free shipping can increase your clickthrough rate because it gives shoppers a reason to purchase from your store by showing a “special offer” link on desktop and mobile devices. When Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights 2020 conducted a post-holiday survey of 4,697 online shoppers, they found 42% of online shoppers will purchase from the website with the lowest cost. 

This year, it will be more crucial than ever to have sales and promotions since consumers are more price-sensitive due to uncertainty of the current global situation.

You can create a promotion for anything you have to offer. All you need to do is have an active product feed submitted to Google Merchant Center. 

Types of Promotions Allowed on Google Shopping

On Google, you cannot have promotions that are geared towards a certain segment  like  first-time customers or military discounts. The promotion must be available for all shoppers. You can set the following promotions on Google Merchant Center:

  • Discounts (i.e 10% off, buy one get one free, buy one get one X% off)
  • Free gifts (i.e Get a free gift if you buy X, or Free gift card if you spend X amount)
  • Shipping (Free shipping or discounted shipping) 

Product Feeds

Before the holiday season, make sure your shopping feed is in tip top shape. The first step to this is look over the Product Diagnoses in Google Merchant Center. There, it will give you the item, feed, and account issues that may include disapproved items and warnings for your products. 

Shipping on Google Merchant Center

If you know that your shipping will be impacted by something — like cut-off days when you won’t be shipping products anymore, for example — you should edit your shipping settings in Google Merchant Center to include the extra information. 

There, you can select an order deadline and when you want it to be shown. Adding holiday shipping cutoffs helps your business be transparent with your customers limiting annoyance that this season may bring.

Daily Feeds Submission

Keep your product feed up to date every day. This is something that you should already do as a regular task when you are working on shopping campaigns. Submitting a new feed every day will show accurate product information and pricing on Google, improving  customer experiences and brand association. 

User Experience on Your Site

You have heard us say this again and again, but looking over your site’s overall user experience is imperative. Make sure there aren’t any barriers in your  purchase cycle. One of shopping feeds’ biggest strengths is that the buying process is super streamlined, so you don’t want your site to be actively combating that with a  long and unnecessarily arduous checkout process.

Another important part of this is SEO. Since you don’t bid on keywords in shopping campaigns, make sure you have rich product information and product titles on your site along with a high-quality product photo. This will help users on Google find your products and what they may be looking for.

Google Ads Optimization

The last item on your  holiday checklist is optimizing your shopping campaigns on Google Ads. Analyze your product groups and determine your bids based on which products give you a high ROAS. If products aren’t getting any impressions, that might be an indicator that you need to increase your bid to be competitive in the upcoming season. 

Adding Negative Keywords

You cannot bid on keywords on shopping campaigns, but you can add negative keywords. Look over the search term list and make sure your products aren’t showing up  for something you don’t actually sell. You don’t want to be showing up for a 1960’s camaro when you are selling a 1960’s camaro Hot Wheels car. 

We are hoping for a smooth sailing holiday season for all our eCommerce people out there. Happy holidays (and optimizing)!