From this month (mid February 2016), merchants will see a new warning error in their Google Merchant Centres, namely “item requires a gtin”.
At this time, these are just warnings
However, by the 16th May 2016 all merchants must supply GTIN’s for every brand name product product uploaded. If no GTIN is supplied then products shall be automatically disapproved with no warning.
Our understanding of what lies behind this is that Google has now aggregated a vast amount of past historic product data from within their databases, and combined that with other 3rd parties who possess validated EAN or ISBN data (such as GS1 for the former), to get an internal list of brands where they believe that this data exists.
That list then fuels their diagnostics. In other words, if Google believes that the Brand concerned has issued GTINs, then it expects to get GTINs with all products associated with that Brand on a product submission.
No GTINs = a warning (today) but from 16th May = no products will be shown
Unfortunately, no external list of these brands has been published
This will have a massive impact on merchants whose products are diagnosed as being within a brand requiring GTIN, as potentially there could be a dramatic fall in products on Google if they do not have this value.
For merchants who sell their own brand/ custom or vintage products this change will not impact you.
Take Action as soon as possible before May 16 2016
So, merchants have 3 months to work out where they stand. At a platform level we will be watching for all GTIN warnings between now and May across our client Merchant Centres. Our clients will be advised of how this will affect them, and what to do to resolve the problems that this might cause
If you are unaware of what a GTIN/EAN number is, then please read our previous blog here that explains what they are and where to find them on your products you are selling.
If you have any questions on the implications for you and your store, please contact us.