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Google Merchant Center to Enforce Stricter Pricing Accuracy in April 2021

By Tony Capetola on February, 5 2021

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Tony Capetola

Tony is the Chief Marketing Officer here at Sales & Orders, along with heading up the inbound and customer marketing teams, Tony also oversees partnerships and branding for our award-winning company and platform.

Merchants leveraging Google Shopping Ads and Free Product Listings - take heed. Stricter enforcement in pricing accuracy from feeds to checkout is on the horizon.

Among some of the broader stroke changes that Google is making in the ads space already this year lies a critical notice to ecommerce business owners and advertisers.

This week, select merchants should have received the following email from Google Merchant Center:

MCPricingApril

That full announcement was made on Google's Merchant Center support pages.

While price accuracy has always been a paramount concern of Google for ecommerce merchants sending feeds and delivering Shopping Ads and now Free Product Listings, the stakes have just been risen yet again for a 2021 Product Data Specifications update rollout.

The key takeaways:

  • Beginning April 6, in addition to reviewing and enforcing price accuracy between your Merchant Center product data and your landing pages, we will begin to review and enforce price accuracy at checkout.
  • If during an account review Google finds that the price provided for one of your products at checkout is higher than the price provided for that product on its landing page, you will receive a 28-day warning to resolve these mismatches, otherwise your account will be subject to suspension at the end of the warning period.

The "good" news here is that merchants and advertisers alike have quite the grace period to correct any pricing inconsistencies between feeds and product landing pages.

However, pricing inaccuracies happens to also be one of the most common causes for product disapprovals and even Merchant Center account suspensions.

How Can Merchants Prepare

At the very core of ensuring you don't get dinged by Google for pricing inaccuracies is your product feed, but, more importantly so, how you generate and send your feed to Google Merchant Center.

Those who are still uploading their feeds manually or even via Google Sheets need to be more attentive to their data.

Here's a few tips to help you navigate this new enforcement policy BEFORE IT GOES INTO EFFECT:

  • Do your best to limit the frequency and number of price changes made to products on your website. Even API's take time to process information which can leave just enough room for Google to flag your products. Some merchants change their prices multiple times per day and at random intervals which has been known to bring about suspensions.
  • Review how you are sending your feed to Merchant Center. If you are using an app or platform like ours here at Sales & Orders then familiarize yourself with such things as how the data is imported, how it is sent, how often data is updated, and WHAT data is sent. Different ecommerce platforms pass data in very different ways so its important to know more about those specifics as well.
  • When adding new products to your store or when existing products come back in stock be sure to do a price check from landing page to product feed. Some feed tool platforms may pick up this data automatically while others offer both automatic and manual options for merchants to leverage. 
  • Stay vigilant and keep a watchful eye on your Google Merchant Center account. Enable email notifications to be sent to yourself and/or the proper members of your team as Google will notify you not only in the UI of Merchant Center but also via email regarding account warnings and even suspensions.
  • If you are working with an agency or marketing firm, ask your account manager or the feed specialist how they themselves are preparing for this update. Do note that if they are only overseeing your ad campaigns and do not have access to your Merchant Center then they may not be fully equipped to respond to warnings or suspensions before your Shopping campaigns flatline.

Our team here at S&O are prepared with multiple redundant checkpoints - including daily and weekly health checks on accounts.

Stay tuned and be ready on April 6th!

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