In an ongoing effort to assist smaller merchants on its platforms, Google has recently unveiled additional features that aim to connect holiday shoppers with small and local businesses.
Google provided information about upcoming modifications to Search, Maps, and Merchant Center in a blog post for the purpose of assisting small businesses in distinguishing themselves.
Some of the features that are incorporated are product image creation utilizing artificial intelligence, improved panels displaying business information, and labels that indicate listings for “small businesses.”
Small Business tags are now available in the Search and Maps features.
Image taken from: blog.google/products/shopping/google-merchant-new-features-holiday/ in November 2023.
Google is introducing a “small business” designation to eligible businesses’ Search and Maps listings as part of their new features.
During the important shopping season, this label is designed to facilitate shoppers in locating and backing small businesses.
Google offers the ability for businesses to self-identify as small businesses on their Merchant Center and Business Profile platforms. Additionally, Google will automatically designate businesses as small based on criteria such as the quantity of products offered and the amount of web traffic generated.
Matt Madrigal, Vice President and GM of Merchant Shopping at Google, stated that a majority of shoppers, 84% to be exact, consider it significant to support local and/or small businesses.
Product Studio harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to generate high-quality product images.
In November 2023, a screenshot was taken from the website blog.google/products/shopping showcasing new features of Google Merchant for the holiday season.
Google is not only extending its AI-powered Product Studio tool to all U.S. Merchant Center Next users and Shopify merchants who use the Google & YouTube app but also providing labeling services.
The feature for generating scenes utilizes an artificial intelligence model that can convert text into images, allowing the merchant to envision and incorporate products into any scenario they can imagine.
Merchants have the ability to adjust and repurpose successful prompts in order to consistently create unique and on-brand images. They can eliminate backgrounds, and with just one click, enhance the resolution of the images.
Doppeltree, an early user, was able to produce various social media and e-commerce visuals at a significantly quicker pace than normal by utilizing the AI tools available in Product Studio, without incurring any costs.
Additional information about businesses will be available directly in search results.
Image source: blog.google/products/shopping/google-merchant-new-features-holiday/, dated November 2023.
Google is presenting additional essential information about businesses in search results, including promotions, shipping rules, and feedback from customers. The purpose of this is to establish trust and assurance among consumers regarding genuine small businesses that they may not be familiar with.
In 2022, over 2.3 billion free connections such as calls, directions, and reviews have been facilitated by similar expanded panels for local businesses on Google Business Profiles. These panels aim to display reliable business information sourced from various websites, going beyond what merchants personally provide.
To fully benefit holiday shoppers, merchants should make sure that the information in their Merchant Center listings is accurate. Including deals, customer service details, and shipping/return policies will be advantageous.
The holiday season is of great importance for the sales of small businesses.
For numerous small businesses, the holiday season presents a significant chance to boost sales. The belief in endorsing and patronizing small, nearby businesses has become increasingly important to a vast number of consumers.
There is ongoing criticism towards Google, claiming that its products prioritize big companies over small businesses. However, by offering tools to support the success of small merchants, Google can address some of these concerns.
Business owners should familiarize themselves with the updates to see if these new features will make a significant impact for smaller merchants in the future.
Utilizing free tools such as AI-powered visual generation in Product Studio could also provide small businesses with a competitive advantage.
Make sure to verify that the information in your Google Business Profile and Merchant Center accounts is correct so that you can benefit from these enhancements.