Shopping Actions FAQs
What are the benefits of Shopping Actions?
Shopping Actions allows merchants to surface their inventory on Search, Google Express and the Google Assistant. The product helps deliver a unified experience along the entire shopping journey, making it simpler for users to buy merchant products.
- New user reach and boost sales across surfaces: By surfacing their inventory on Search, Google Express and the Assistant, merchants will be able to reach new users and boost sales across platforms through a frictionless buying experience.
- A personalized shopping cart and shopping list across Search, Express and Assistant for users to easily buy multiple merchant products and drive reordering.
- Drive loyalty and repeat business through loyalty cards, making it easy for users to re-order and build baskets of your products based on purchase history and preferences on Google Express’.
- A pay-per-sale model so merchants only get charged when a conversion happens.
- Trusted: All purchases are safe, secure and protected by Google. Users feel comfortable saving their payment details for fast checkout and confident checking out with high quality merchants through Google.
What are the eligibility criteria to participate in Shopping Actions?
In order to be eligible for the program, the merchant needs to pass trust, safety and data quality tests run by the Shopping Actions team. Furthermore, merchants
- Must allow returns for up to 30 days from delivery
- Must not have restocking fees
- Must not have special shipping requirements for most items (freight, scheduled delivery, white glove service, etc.)
- Currently not available for the following categories:
- Pet Pharma
- Customizable Goods
- Vitamins, Pharmaceuticals and Supplements
- Final Sale Items
- Refurbished Goods
- Pre-Order Items
- Any category that violates PLA Policy (e.g., Alcohol, Firearms, etc.)
- For now, Shopping Actions is available in the US only
Is Shopping Actions available to non-US merchants?
Non-US based clients can participate in Shopping Actions as long as they meet the following criteria:
- Do local fulfillment in the US Able to accept/disburse payments in the US (through a US bank account)
- Adhere to the same category restrictions as in the US.
- Meet the additional trust, safety and data quality checks run by the Shopping Actions team.
What is the product roadmap for 2018 and beyond?The following features are on the roadmap but we are still working through the timeline and specific features:
- Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS)
- Conversion optimization through initiatives like Merchant Specific Basket Building, Merchant Promotions, Instant Purchase, Shopping List improvements, etc.
- Promoted offers through ad campaigns
- Assistant-led experiences for brand manufacturers on Google Express
Can items added to the basket across Google properties be purchased through a single checkout?
Yes, within Shopping Actions all items (no matter from Search, Google Express or the Assistant) are added to the same shopping cart and can be checked out with a single transaction.
Does Google provide sales volume breakout between Search, Google Express and the Assistant?
Not at this time.
What are the marketing opt-in rights for the retailers?
For Search/GX platform, Google will mirror the merchant's own site behavior
- If the box is unchecked on merchant site, then Google mirror that and users can choose to opt-in
- If the box is checked on merchant site, then Google mirror that and users can choose to opt-out
- If the merchant auto opts-in users (i.e. users do not have the option to uncheck the box), then Google will have a box that is already checked but users can choose to opt out.
- There will be no forced-in option to optimize for the user experience
For voice/Assistant, there is no opt-in mechanism however, if users later visit Search or GX (e.g. on web or app), they would see the same default state as per the merchant's site. If users agree to opt in to merchant marketing with Shopping Actions, only then will retailers receive the users’ real email addresses.
What customer data will Google share with merchants?
In order to fulfill the order placed, Google will share the customer’s name, shipping address and proxy email with that merchant. If a user opts in to marketing choice, we will also share the customer’s real email address with the merchant.
Who fulfills orders, sends customer communications, and leads customer service?
Customers are not buying from Google; they’re buying from the merchant, with Google processing the payment and helping to guarantee customer satisfaction. Merchants will be responsible for fulfilling the order, while Google will be responsible for sending customer communications and leading customer service and returns with users.
What is the returns process now that Google is handling customer service and returns with users?
Google-facilitated returns are required for Shopping Actions retailers. Our return process helps provide a consistent and reliable customer experience.
To ensure this consistent customer experience, Shopping Actions requires all items to at least have a 30 day return policy, starting from the day of delivery (although merchants are allowed to have a 14 day return policy for electronics). Regardless of the return policy, Shopping Actions customer support may issue refunds for items if they aren't delivered as expected or arrive damaged.
When a customer initiates a return, Google will provide customers with a return shipping label for delivery to the merchant specified return center address. Merchants are expected to process the return and issue a refund within 2 business days of receiving the return.
How are customer service questions handled?
Customer support for Actions purchases will be handled by Google, however merchants must adhere to a required response time SLA of 8 business hours for any customer service issues escalated by Google to their customer service teams.
Support requests for Shopping Actions channel are fielded by the Shopping Feed support team.
How is the merchant charged for orders?
Merchants are charged a commission fee for all orders.
- Prior to accepting the terms & conditions, commission rates can be found in the terms of service in Merchant Center.
- After accepting the terms & conditions, commission rates can be found on the Express - About tab.
Commission rates vary by product category and are determined by the top-level category of a product within the Merchant Center feed.
How will a merchant be invoiced for comissions?
Merchants will be invoiced on a monthly basis for commissions owed. The invoice will be sent from
email@example.com to an email address the retailer has stipulated during the onboarding
process. Merchants are also able to access invoicing details in Merchant Center via the Payments tab.
How does the payment flow work?
Google captures funds from users and regularly remits payments to merchants less refunds and
interchange fees (as we are processing the transaction on the merchant’s behalf). Google will then
invoice merchants on a monthly basis for all commissions owed.
How will the sales be reported?
Sales will be visible to merchants via dashboards within Shopping Feed & Merchant Center and merchants will also be able to pull transactional reports from the Payments tab within Merchant Center. Sales data is also reported directly to the merchant via the API orders integration.
Why would a merchant sell products via Google Assistant?
7 in 10 smartphone owners speak to their devices to get answers to questions. 41% of users would like to make/manage shopping lists by speaking to a digital assistant. As consumers become more used to voice search for their day to day activities, including Shopping, Assistant is becoming a critical surface for merchants to engage with their shoppers.
- Opportunity to reach customers via conversational commerce all via a single merchant onboarding flow through Shopping Actions with Express.
- Drive more sales with additional orders on the Assistant, repeat orders and orders based on personalization/order history
How does this differ from Actions on Google?
There are two paths to engagement for merchants to sell their inventory on the Google Assistant:
- Google-led experience via Shopping Actions or Local Inventory Ads which automatically surface your inventory on the Google Assistant. No additional work is required from retailers, they are able to drive online sales or to their local stores via Google.
- Actions on Google: Advertisers can create their own app to handle user actions such as reservations, appointments, buying guides, etc.
When will Shopping Actions with Google Express be available internationally?
Shopping Actions is not currently available outside the US. We are currently evaluating expansion beyond the US and will provide additional details when available.
How is Shopping Actions different from Purchases on Google?
The overall transactions strategy at Google is not changing. We are still looking to improve users’ end-to-end shopping experiences with merchants across Google Surfaces and help them drive incremental sales. As with the previous transactions product, merchants will still be responsible for their own fulfilment.
- New branding: The transactions product at Google is no longer called Purchases on Google. The new name of the product is Shopping Actions.
- Ads on Search: We are replacing the CPC charged POG on Search ad component with a commission based unit (for eligible inventory/merchants), which will be charged on a commission basis (not CPC) so you only pay when a conversion happens. There will be no charge for the click on the unit.
- Landing page: Clicking on the unit takes users to the Google Express product page vs. the Google-owned merchant-branded storefront. We are also announcing a few more features with Shopping Actions:
- Introducing a personalized shopping cart and shopping list across Google surfaces including Google.com, Google Express and the Assistant (soon other platforms) for users to easily buy multiple merchant products.
- Drive loyalty and repeat business through loyalty card integration.
- Allow for easy re-ordering and building baskets of merchant products based on user purchase history and preferences on Google Express.
- Emails and customer support will be managed by Google, but merchant branding would be a part of all communications.
How is Shopping Actions on Search triggered?It serves when we are confident it will provide a good user experience. Google understands signals of when a user is ready to transact and where they are in the purchase funnel. Factors include offer relevancy to query, shipping speed, price, purchase history.
How does Shopping Actions on Search interact with PLA?
- Shopping Actions on Search and PLA operate separately - PLA is auction-based whereas Shopping Actions on Search is triggered based on user intent and offer quality.
- If a retailer has an offer that is eligible to be served both in the Search unit with Shopping Actions and PLA, we'll only serve the offer once. Offers are deduped from left to right at the SKU level i.e. if an offer is served in the Search unit with Shopping Actions it will not be served as a retailer PLA offer.
- Merchant is still eligible to surface other products in PLA for broader queries.
How to think about Shopping Actions Ads and PLA?
- Shopping Actions is complementary to existing presence on Google Shopping: with both Shopping Actions Ads and PLA a merchant gets increased overall impressions and clicks on Google
- We are growing overall business and merchant’s presence on Shopping page
- Our intent is to create a seamless transactions experience for the customer and bring incrementality to retailers.
- While we’re still in the early days, participating merchants see an increase in total conversions at lower cost, compared to Shopping Ads alone
- We encourage partners to participate in both PLAs and Shopping Actions to optimize for maximize conversions