Google Shopping Actions Step-By-Step

Last Updated: Nov 27, 2018 03:56PM CET

Shopping Actions is a program that allows you to surface your products across different Google platforms. The program is designed to create a shopping experience that helps customers easily turn browsing into buying.
 



Request access and whitelist your account

Opening the Google Actions channel without permission to sell on Actions will result in an error when authenticating your account. To proceed, your merchant center must be accepted into the Google Actions Program. You can request access by filling out the Google Actions Interest form found here

Be sure to recognize Shopping Feed as your 3rd Party Platform to become eligible. Whitelisting should take less than 48 hours.


Set up your Merchant Center account

Your product and business information live in Merchant Center. If you have Merchant Center configured, Make sure your business follows the Merchant Center's guidelines.

To set up your Merchant Center account, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Merchant Center account. Provide basic information, such as contact information and location, then agree to the Terms of Service.
    Note: You need a Google Account before you can register for a Merchant Center account. If you don't already have a Google account, create one.
  2. Set up your user roles
  3. Set up your Merchant Center account. Navigate to the Business information section of Merchant Center and enter information about your business.
  4. Verify and claim your business' website URL. Make sure your URL begins with "http://" or "https://" and is not a port, fragment, or IP address.
Once you have achieved these tasks you can 

Set up your Taxes

If you already have your tax configuration set up for other Shopping ads in Merchant Center, it will also work for Shopping Actions. If you have a shipping service set up in Merchant Center, you can either reuse that service or create a new one just for Shopping Actions.

You need to configure the taxes you collect. You may use an existing configuration in your Merchant Center account.  If you haven't yet created your tax rates, learn how to set up your tax settings.
 

Set up your Shipping

If you already have your Shipping Services configuration set up for other Shopping ads in Merchant Center, it will also work for Shopping Actions. When customers purchase items through Shopping Actions, Google will collect any related shipping fees based on your shipping configurations in Merchant Center. The shipping model you configure will be used to display an estimated delivery date and a shipping price to customers, so it is important to model services that reflect your offerings. 

Note: Shopping Actions cannot use values submitted in the shipping attribute of the product feed at this time.

To create a new shipping service:
  1. Sign in to Merchant Center.
  2. Click Shipping on the page menu.
  3. Click the plus (+) button to create the shipping service.
Shopping Actions requires the following attributes when configuring a shipping service:

 

Shipping service name

Each shipping service configured in Merchant Center is a delivery option for customers, similar to what might be offered when shopping on your site. While not shown externally to customers, shipping service names can help you differentiate multiple configurations within Merchant Center. Thus, using names like “ground,” “economy,” or “2-day” is a better reference than “default” or “shipping.”  Learn more about Shipping Services in Merchant Center
 

Handling time

Handling time refers to the number of business days needed to process an order before it ships. Handling time normally starts when an order is placed by a customer and ends when a carrier picks up the package for shipment. If all of your items require the same amount of time to process, handling time can be configured in Merchant Center within each shipping service. However, if the processing time varies by product, then handling time should be added to the product feed to each item. When handling time values exist in both Merchant Center and in the product feed, the item-level value will override the Merchant Center value for that specific item only. Learn more about handling time in the product feed.
 

Order cutoff time

Many merchants begin processing orders on the same business day in which they are placed as long as the order is received by a set time. Orders placed after this set time will not begin processing until the following business day. Order cutoff time can be set in Merchant Center for each shipping service, and is configured as a fixed time and zone. For example, you can set order cutoff time as 12 p.m. EST, but you cannot set order cutoff time as 12 p.m. in each customer’s time zone (since that may vary by customer). Learn more about configuring your cutoff time here
 

Transit time

This is the number of business days it takes for a carrier to deliver a package once it is picked up from your facility. Transit time can be configured in Merchant Center, either with a single range (for example, “3-5 days”), or with multiple ranges based on ZIP code regions (for example, “3-5 days to Seattle, 1-2 days to Texas”). Configuring multiple delivery ranges requires setting up delivery zones in Merchant Center. Learn more about delivery zones.
 

Shipping rate

This is the amount charged to customers to ship an order to them. There are multiple ways to configure the shipping rate: 
  • Flat rate (“All orders ship for $5”)
  • Order price (“$5 shipping for orders up to $20, free shipping over $20”)
  • Weight-based (“Order up to 2 lbs. Ship for $5”)
  • Destination-based (“Orders to the continental US ship for free, orders to Alaska & Hawaii ship for $5”)
  • Carrier rates (“Shipping is charged at the UPS standard rate originating from the 91208 ZIP code”)
  • Number of Items (“1 item ships for $5, 2 items ship for $7”)


Connect to Google Shopping Actions Channel 

Click CONNECT to begin authenticating the connection between Shopping Feed and Google Merchant Center. You will be asked to sign in to your Merchant Center account to authenticate. You may also be prompted to complete necessary steps through Shopping Feed, like setting default tax and shipping. These default settings are required, however are not currently supported by Google Actions.
 

Categorize your products

From the Google Actions dashboard, select a category to assign. Type keywords to find the most appropriate category supported by Google Merchant Center and select it. Do the same for all product categories you will list through Google Actions.
 

Send product selection to Google Shopping Actions

Once you have categorized your products, switching products on will queue them for export to Google Shopping Actions. You can switch on your entire catalog, an entire category, or individual products. Once selected, click the update button on the top right of the channel to send a manual update.


 

Add Branding to Google Actions

​The circular merchant logo, favicon, and print logo are all required for onboarding to Shopping Actions. Merchant photo banners are currently optional. We strongly recommend that you add all 4 assets to customize your page. A customized page can help users identify your brand from others in the marketplace. 

Add your branding to showcase your store information and inventory to Google Express users. Learn more about creating branding assets for Shopping Actions 

How it works

You may have up to 3 branding assets on your store page: 
 
  1. Google Express logo
  2. Favicon
  3. Banners for Shopping Actions.


For help with branding assets, see a detailed instruction on creating assets here. Once you’ve created your branding assets, upload them to your Merchant Center account.
 
  1. Navigate to Business information in the left hand navigation panel
  2. Select Branding
  3. Click the dropdown Color and logos for Shopping Actions.
Note: Your branding must be approved by Google before it will appear on the Google Express mall. You’ll see your branding marked with a “live” symbol once it’s been approved. For additional assistance with branding assets and their creation, contact support
 

Set up Billing

Merchants pay a commission on all products sold through Shopping Actions. You'll receive monthly invoices from Google for the total owed commission amount on your Google Express orders. Your monthly invoice will be as shown in the Shopping Actions sample invoice. To set up your monthly invoices, follow these steps:
 
  • Log in to your Merchant Center account.
  • In the navigation menu, click Payments.
  • Click Configuration.
  • Enter your business details.
  • Click Submit.


Set up Payments

A user with Payment Manager access should follow the steps below to provide information Google uses for payment setup, tax verification, and ACH disbursements to your bank account.
 
  • Go to your Merchant Center count
  • Click Payments on the navigation panel.
  • Under Configuration, enter your business information following the on-screen instructions.
  • Click the Payment Accounts tab, and then click Add Payment Method.
  • Enter the details for your chosen payment method.
  • Click Save.
NOTE: Final verification can take up to 3 days. You won't be paid for orders until all steps are complete.
 

Refunds

Process refunds per your normal process. Google transfers the money you return back to the customer’s credit card.


Setup marketing settings and privacy policy

Marketing settings allow you to specify if you want Shopping Actions customers to be able to opt-in to your marketing emails at checkout.  Alternatively, you can choose to not show marketing options when a customer is checking out.

If applicable, enter your URL for your privacy policy so Google can display it to users with the marketing opt-in. To configure these settings: 
 
  • Sign in to your Merchant Center account.
  • Click Shopping Actions on the page menu.
  • Click Marketing settings.
  • Select your marketing email preference and enter your privacy policy URL.
  • Click Next Step.


Add your customer service contact

Add your customer service contact so Google can contact you in the event the Google customer service team can’t solve a customer’s issue. 
 
  • Sign in to your Merchant Center account.
  • Click Shopping Actions in the navigation panel.
  • Click Customer Service Contact and enter your customer support alias.
Remember that Google will handle most communications with Shopping Actions customers, so have your customer support team redirect customers to Google customer support if someone contacts them about Shopping Actions.
 

Add a return policy

The first return policy that you create will be your default return policy. This policy will apply to all items with a return policy attribute that is empty or cannot be found in the return settings. After setting up your default policy, you can add additional return policies for specific groups of products. To add a return policy:
  • Sign in to Merchant Center.
  • Click Returns on the page menu.
  • Click the plus (+) button 

 

Step 1: Policy settings

  1. Name your policy (not applicable to default policy). Add a descriptive name to distinguish this return policy, such as “Shoe returns,” or “Non-perishable products.” Each return policy name must be unique.
  2. Apply a label. Enter a label, such as accessories, that will match the return_policy_label attribute in the feed.
  3. Return time window. Decide if items covered by this policy:
  • Can be returned for a specific time period.
  • Can be returned at any time.
  • May not be returned.
 

Step 2: Reason for return fees


Select reasons (such as, “does not fit” or “ordered by mistake”) to indicate when the return cost is the responsibility of the customer. If you do not select any reasons, or if the reason for the return is not included among the reasons that you do select, you will be responsible for the cost of the return, as specified in the Shopping Actions Return policy. Note: Actual return shipping costs will be specified by the Shopping Actions program. Restocking fees are not allowed.
 

Step 3: Seasonal overrides 

Set a seasonal override for products that are ordered within a specific time range and for which there is an exception to the standard return policy.
 
  1. Enter override name. Choose a name to identify your override.
  2. Override dates. Determine the purchase period to which the policy applies.
  3. Return time window. Specify the latest date by which items must be returned, set specific dates during which items may be returned, or allow items to be returned at any time or not at all.
Note: If you set a specific date until which items may be returned and that date differs from the return duration of a non-seasonal policy, the more favorable of the two policies will be applied.

 

Add a return address


In order to set up returns, you must submit return addresses and set up configurations in Merchant Center. The first return address that you create will be your default return address. This policy will apply to all items with a return address attribute that is empty or for which a return address cannot be found in the return settings. By default, Google does not support delivery to PO boxes, APO/FPO boxes, Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico. This option can be con
 
  • Sign in to Merchant Center.
  • Click Return settings from the navigation panel on the left, and then click Return addresses in the page menu.
  • Under Default return addresses click Add default return addresses.
  • Fill in the applicable details for your location, including the following:
    • name
    • address
    • city
    • state/province
    • postal/zip code
    • country
    • phone number.
  • Click Save.
 

Publish your storefront


After you request validation for your storefront, you’ll receive an email from Google after a few days, letting you know it’s time to publish your store or any changes you need to make first before you launch. 

To publish your store:
 
  • Sign in to your Merchant Center account.
  • Click Shopping Actions on the page menu.
  • Click Publish Storefront.

Review and Launch

With your Google Actions onboarding complete, you will now be submitted for approval to the Google Actions team. You can expect this process to take less than a week and will not be live while the review takes place.  

Once reviewed by Google, you now have an added option to Launch Storefront. Once you have had a chance to review your storefront from your Merchant Center and are ready to go, launch to see your listings live on Google Express immediately.
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