A COMPLETE GUIDE TO
Google launched a program called The Google Trusted Stores which helps merchant display a Google Badge of "reliability" on their website. This program basically helps to give an assurance to online shoppers that they are shopping from a trusted and reputed store and it also helps them identify stores that offer great customer experience. This program was initiated in Fall 2011 and was tested with 50 online merchants and 10 million orders. From 7th June, 2012, they have opened up for all the online merchants in the U.S.
According to Google, "the badge is only awarded to online stores that deliver a great overall experience, so even if you haven't shopped with the merchant before, you can easily tell if they are trustworthy, ship quickly and reliably, and offer exceptional customer service".
HOW DOES IT WORK:
A merchant, who wants to apply into this program, needs to adhere to certain policies and guidelines that Google has set for this program. Along with this, Google will monitor several aspects of a merchant's performance and has defined minimum performance standards for shipping and customer service. Failure to comply with the policies or to meet the minimum standards may impact a merchant's eligibility for participation in the program.
Following are the minimum standards on the basis of which the Performance of the merchants are measured -
- High percentage of orders with on-time shipping
- Low average days for product to ship
- High percentage of issues resolved quickly
- Low number of customers needing assistance with an issue
Purchase Protection -
Google offers all the users to opt-in for the Purchase Protection program in order to help users to claim up to $1000 lifetime Purchase Protection. This also covers the entire purchase amount, including tax and shipping amount. This program is free of charge and will help users resolve their issues with the retailer. It basically means that if there is an eligible issue that a user is facing with their order and is unable to solve it with the retailer, they can request Google for help.
After a user has completed their purchase, they will be given an option to opt into this program. The merchant will have to share the user's order information and email address with Google, if he or she has opted for this. Then, Google will send the user an email with the details of the order, the merchant's contact details, and a link to contact Google in the event of an issue. Currently, the ability to opt in for purchase protection is only available at the time of purchase.
Issues raised by a user can be resolved in the following 2 ways -
- Contacting the store/merchant directly to get the issue resolved.
- Contacting Google, if the issue is not resolved using the 1st method. To report an issue to Google, the user has 60 days after placing the order. They will get in touch with the store and have the issue resolved. If the issue stands unresolved resolved, Google will determine a resolution such as a full refund of the order or the item replacement.
Although, every user can apply for this program, there are certain limitations and eligibility criteria that have been set.
Following are the Eligibility criteria to opt-in for the Purchase Protection Program -
- User failed to receive the correct item
- The item is not in the promised condition
- User is billed an incorrect amount
- The item is not shipped in a timely manner
- The store does not honor their return policies
Following are the Limitations of the Purchase Protection Program -
- The merchant's return policy and terms still apply
- Purchase protection is not a product warranty
- Google does not evaluate or endorse specific products sold by stores in the program
- Purchase protection does not apply to lost or stolen items
- Purchase protection is limited to the item you purchased; it does not apply for identity theft or credit card theft
Also, according to this program, a merchant is prohibited to sell certain products if he wants to opt-in for the Trusted Badge. To view the list of products that are prohibited, click here.
IMPLEMENTING GOOGLE TRUSTED STORES:
Below are the steps required to be followed to be able to successfully showcase the Google Trusted Stores Badge for your ecommerce website -
Below is a screenshot of the Badge (or the report card) that is displayed on all the pages of the website -
Also, the Google Trusted Stores Logo will also be displayed in the merchants Adwords ads and in the Google Shopping results. Following is the screenshot of the logo displayed in an Adwords ad -
- Account Setup - Set up Google Trusted Stores account here and choose your Country. The account should include basic business information like address, contact number, primary contact name and the e-mail addresses of the people who will be managing this account. All this information is shared only with Google. Apart from this, a merchant can also include some information that he or she wants to display to its users. This information can include website name and logo, customer support information and website URLs. A merchant can also manage multiple domains though a single account.
Create and Submit Your Feeds - Once the account has been setup, the merchant needs to create and submit the product feed via Google Merchant center. A feed is a file consisting of anonymous shipment and cancellation information of their recent orders. The product feed should be a .txt file and should include the following attributes -
- Id - An identifier of the item has to be unique within the account & can be re-used between feeds (Required)
- Title - It is the name of the item. It has a limit of 70 characters (Required)
- Description - It is a small piece of text describing the product. Recommended character limit is of 500-1000 (Required)
- Google_product_category - The category of the product being submitted, according to the Google product taxonomy (Required)
- Product_type - The category of the product being submitted, but can be provided by the merchant's own classification (Required)
- Link - The user is sent to this URL when your item is clicked on Google Shopping (Required)
- Image_link - This is the URL of an associated image for a product (Required)
- Additional_image_link - Include this attribute if you have multiple images for a particular item (Optional)
- Condition - Condition or state of the item. The 3 accepted values are "new, refurbished and used" (Required)
- Availability - The availability status of the item. The 4 accepted values are "in stock, available for order, out of stock and preorder" (Required)
- Price - The price of the item has to be the most prominent price on the landing page (Required)
- Sale_price - The advertised sale price of the item (Recommended)
- Sale_price_effective_date - This attribute indicates the date range during which the sale price are applied (Recommended)
- Brand - The brand of the item. It is Required for all items except books, media & custom made goods
- Gtin - Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) for your products. These identifiers include UPC (in North America), EAN (in Europe), JAN (in Japan), and ISBN (for books). You can include any of these values within this attribute (Required)
- Mpn - This code uniquely identifies the product to its manufacturer (Required)
- item_group_id - All items that are color/material/pattern/size variants of the same product must have the same item group id (Recommended)
- Color - This defines the dominant color(s) of an item (Recommended)
- Material - The material or fabric that a product is made out of (Recommended)
- Pattern - The pattern or graphic print featured on a product (Recommended)
- Size - This indicates the size of a product (Recommended)
- Gender - It used to specify the gender of the person using that item. The 3 accepted values are "male, female & unisex" (Recommended)
- Age_group - Defines the target age group of the item. The 2 accepted values are "adults and kids" (Recommended)
- Tax - This attribute helps to specify the tax information (Optional)
- Shipping - This attribute provides the specific shipping estimate for the product (Required)
- Shipping_weight - This is the weight of the product used to calculate the shipping cost of the item (Optional)
- Online_only - This is used to indicate if you have a product that is only available online and not in your physical store (Optional)
- Loyalty_points - Loyalty points that users receive after purchasing the item. Applicable for feeds targeting Japan
- Installment - Number and amount of installments to pay for an item. Applicable for feeds targeting Brazil
- excluded_destination - If you are using either Google Shopping or Commerce Search and you would like to exclude the item from either of these destinations
- expiration_date - This is the date that an item listing will expire (Required)
- If the Google Trusted Stores account and the Google Merchant Center account share the same Google Account login email address, the accounts will be linked automatically
- If the Google Trusted Stores account and the Google Merchant Center account do not share a Google Account login email address, Google will send an email to the Google Merchant Center account owner with a link to verify the linking process
- Go to the Code section of your Google Trusted Stores merchant account
- At the bottom of the page, you will find a section titled "Test the Code on Your Site"
- Choose the domain that has to be tested from the "Select a store" drop down menu
- Click "Test Now" to begin the validation process
- Monitoring Period - After the setup has been completed, the online store will be tested for a period of minimum 28 days and 250 trackable orders. Until the testing is complete, the merchant will not be able to see the Google Trusted Store Badge on his website. Only after the verification and monitoring process is complete, the badge will be displayed on the merchant's website.
With Google displaying the badge in the Google Ads section as well as in the Shopping search results in the US, it might help increase the conversion rates of many of these merchants. This might also persuade many of the online stores in the US to opt-in for Google Trusted Stores program. Once, this program becomes a success, Google will launch it for all the merchants across the globe. Lets, hope, this helps in assuring all the customers of the excellent customer service that is offered by the merchants who have the Badge displayed on their websites. So if you are planning to opt-in for this program, click here.