There aren’t many things in life that are free. But for many years we were able to enjoy getting listed in Google Shopping for free. For many eCommerce retailers who had competitive prices this was an inexpensive source of business. Our own experience was that it even generated orders attributable to Google Shopping if your prices weren’t particularly keen.
As the cost of attracting traffic that generated sales increased and Google natural search ranking got tougher the Shopping listings were the only sure fired way to be visible to potential customers with no costs attached.
From the consumer’s point of view, Google Shopping was superb because it was the only price comparison tool that was 100% benign. By that I mean that it simply showed who was cheapest and could not be influenced by the seller’s bidding.
It was probably inevitable that Google would eventually be unable to resist the potential revenue stream to be had for charging for the listings.
Paid for Google product listings
So now we have the replacement – Product Listings. With Product Listings the retailer has to submit a bid for how much they will pay per click generated by the listing. So retailers now find themselves paying for Google Product Listings. What is not clear is precisely what you get by submitting a higher bid. Google still insist that “users can browse product categories or conduct product searches with confidence that the results we provide are relevant and unbiased”. We don’t claim to understand exactly what they mean by this.
When Product Listings came out, it was possible to submit very small bids and get very low cost per conversion rates. No doubt this was because adoption was gradual and at first there was little competition. But we can confirm that as more retailers become resigned to pay for Product Listings the cost per click to get results in going up. The cost per conversion is going up to but at this point in time it still compares well with cost per conversion for AdWords and still represents an more affordable way to generate eCommerce business.