Google Shopping Feed Specification Update

Starting July 15th Google will be changing the way they enforce Unique Product Identifier requirements on Google Shopping.

What’s changing?

On this date, for the UK, USA, France and Germany, Google shall ‘begin verifying that all items submitted to Google Shopping include either unique product identifiers (brand, MPN, and GTIN) or the new ‘identifier exists’ attribute with a value of FALSE. After these dates, non-compliant items might then be disapproved and disappear from Google Shopping.’

As a merchant you must make sure all products you upload contain recognised Universal Product Identifiers. If your products do not have these types of identifiers Google has provided the following information

‘For products for which no identifier exists, such as custom goods, vintage items, or collectibles, the recently introduced ‘identifier exists’ attribute allows you to indicate that these items have no unique product identifier. You’ll need to add the ‘identifier exists’ attribute with a value of FALSE for those products.

‘When an identifier exists for a product but you do not have it, it’s important to obtain and add the correct identifier for that product rather than using the ‘identifier exists’ attribute. Setting the ‘identifier exists’ attribute to FALSE for items where unique product identifiers exist could lead to item or account suspension.’

What this means for you?

So in short this value should only be used for valid exemptions from the normal MPN, UPC, EAN, ISBN requirements for products.  It does not allow merchants to use the value simply due to an inability to include the relevant values in the export to Google.  Nor is it an advised policy, given misuse of the attribute could lead to product, or even account, disapproval or suspension.

If your products qualify then you can certainly take advantage of the new attribute value. If you have already received a past exemption, then in simple terms, just use the new field.  It achieves the same end.

Timescales

Although these changes are not taking place for another 2 weeks, we recommend you start thinking and acting upon them now. As mentioned before, if items are not submitted correctly it will result in them not being visible on Google Shopping together with warnings and disapprovals.

To read Google’s original post about these changes in full click here

If you need any help or advice on this topic then please contact us.

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