Apr 12

Merchant Integration with Google Shopping Actions

In addition to the steps VersaFeed must take (previous article), merchants must also undertake action to integrate with Google Shopping Actions, or GSA. Merchants will need to:

  • Receive new orders from GSA
  • Confirm back to GSA once an order has been shipped
  • Process the so-called "unhappy" path (returns and cancellations)
There are three primary ways for clients to accomplish these tasks:

1 Utilize Google Merchant Center (GMC) to manually manage the entire process.

GMC enables customer service agents to manually login, review new orders, and enter them in the merchant's order processing system. Agents can also mark the items as shipped and deal with returns and cancellations.

This manual method of GSA integration allows merchants to "test the waters" with limited engineering investment. However, it also means that it won't scale well: Google recommends having one customer service agent for every 10 daily orders received in GSA. For example, if ACME Inc is doing 100 transactions per day in GSA, Google recommends a whopping 10 agents to handle that load! That may be overkill, but nonetheless the manual method will not work well with high order volume.

2 Utilize CSV "order feeds" to pull and push order data into GMC.

In this fashion, merchants can download all pending orders from GMC into a CSV file, and then import that data into their order management system. When products are shipped (or returned or cancelled), the order feed is created by your system and uploaded back into GMC.

This method allows for better handling of high order volume while still being relatively easy to implement. The merchant's dev team will need to process these new order feeds, and, generate output order feeds once the item has shipped -- but the order feed specification is fairly simple.

Note that as of this writing, Google is not allowing merchants to automatically pull and push order feeds via (S)FTP: the merchant must login manually to GMC to access the files. VersaFeed expects this to change soon.

3 Utilize Google's "Orders" API to programmatically process orders.

In this scenario, the merchant's dev team must integrate with the Google orders API to pull in new orders and confirm once an order ships.

This is the most involved integration; however, it also allows merchants to easily scale to high order volumes.

There is nothing terribly complicated about the orders API that Google has created, but knowing exactly which areas of your ecommerce software to modify could prove challenging for merchants. Note that if a merchant is running a popular ecommerce package (e.g., Magento, Shopify, Big Commerce, etc.) there are already plugins that will dramatically simplify API integration.

Lastly, merchants choosing to integrate with GSA using the order feeds, or the API, can also simplify their workload by using customer service agents to manually deal with returns or cancellations. In this fashion, the normal purchase path is automated but outlier paths like cancellations are done manually in GMC.

Interested in pursuing Google Shopping Actions for your online store? Talk to a VersaFeed rep today!

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VersaFeed Requirements

  • No firearms or accessories, medical supplies, vitamins or supplements
  • Minimum Google Shopping budget of $20,000/month
  • Minimum inventory size of 1,000 products
  • Minimum 6-month commitment on all plans

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