Google Shopping is one of the most powerful features Google has today. For many ECommerce shops, Google Shopping has become an ever increasing source of revenue. Whereas the organic search results are becoming ever less visible on Google, the shopping section is flourishing and Google has given it more importance in the last few months.
As of June 20th, all shopping feeds on Google need to comply with a number of new guidelines. These guidelines are generally there to improve the shopping experience for the user and make it easier for those who are searching for a certain product, to actually find what they are looking for.
One of the new requirements is the addition of an EAN number for each product that is being advertised. Whereas many of the larger shops and brands should generally have EANs for their products, this could pose a bit of an issue for smaller producers and shops. Especially in industries such as (ecommerce) Fashion, many smaller labels do not use EANs for their products.
EANs are not a code that “you” can simply come up with yourself, but whoever produces something and would like to sell their products professionally, will need to purchase a set of EAN codes. This is not all that cheap and can cost a few hundred Euros for only a few codes. Hence, smaller labels and producers tend not to buy any.
A workaround the EANs for Google
We have been in contact with Google regarding this issue and have managed to find a simple workaround for those brands who do not work with EANs.
The most important insight that we have learned is that: if Google has EANs for this particular product, it will require you to use the same EANs in your shopping feeds, otherwise the products will not be shown on Google Shopping. If Google does not have any EANs in its database, meaning the producer or label did not provide anyone on the market with EANs, then an exemption is made.
We could imagine that it could be that Google will start to contact these smaller producers/suppliers and request them to purchase EANs – yet this is merely speculative. For the sake of clean comparison, EANs are a good step forward for sure.
Some issues still remain
When EANs are used, it does not necessarily mean that the product is 100% unique. EANs can be used across multiple seasons and variations of the same product / and how they are used depends solely on producer of the goods. Each producer are free to use a logic for their EANs as they please. Of course there are some recommendations and EANs are generally used in a similar fashion, but there is not one single institution that actually checks how they are being used. Google could be the first one to actually do so, next to Amazon / who have also been using EANs for years.
If you need any help, and would like to find out if your shopping feeds fit all the right requirements / feel free to reach out to us at any time. We would be more than happy to help and have a quick look. Google Shopping can be a very strong part of your marketing mix and if you don’t take care of the data on time, you could run the risk of losing a large portion of your income for a number of weeks or months – depending on how fast your suppliers reply to your requests.