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Google is making it easier to buy from small businesses

Google is making it easier for consumers to support small businesses by introducing new Shopping features. Merchants can now update product imagery using generative AI and display important shop information to attract new customers. With the new “small business” attribute, mom-and-pop-style stores can label themselves, making it easier for shoppers to identify them on Google Maps and in searches. These updates, available to US-based retailers using Merchant Center or Business Profile, aim to provide more visibility for small businesses and encourage customers to support them over larger corporations. Additionally, Google is expanding the knowledge panel in Search to display store reviews, shipping and returns policies, and customer service information. The updates will be rolling out this month in several countries. Furthermore, Google is launching Product Studio, an AI-powered tool that allows merchants to make visual adjustments to product pictures, personalize images, and enhance their listings. These updates aim to empower small businesses and provide consumers with more information to make informed purchasing decisions.

Google is making it easier to buy from small businesses

Google is introducing new Shopping features that aim to make it easier for consumers to support and buy from small businesses. These updates include generative AI for product imagery, displaying important shop information, labeling small businesses, and supporting local businesses.

Google is making it easier to buy from small businesses

This image is property of duet-cdn.vox-cdn.com.

New Shopping Features for Merchants

Merchants will now have the ability to update their product imagery quickly using generative AI. This feature allows them to enhance their listings and attract more customers with visually appealing product images. By providing this tool, Google is empowering small businesses to showcase their products in a visually appealing way, competing with larger corporations.

Another important update is the ability for merchants to display important shop information. This information will help customers make informed purchasing decisions and understand the unique selling points of each small business. By providing this information upfront, small businesses can attract their target audience and stand out from the competition.

Furthermore, Google is introducing a “small business” attribute that can be applied by merchants. This attribute makes it easier for shoppers to identify and support mom-and-pop-style stores. When shoppers see this attribute on Google Maps or in search results, they immediately recognize that the store is a small business, which encourages them to shop locally and support their community.

To further support local businesses, Google is implementing measures to ensure that the small business attribute is accurately used. The company is relying on businesses to self-identify as small businesses, and only authorized individuals can enable this setting. This helps prevent misuse of the label and ensures that it is reserved for genuine small businesses.

Applicability of Updates

These updates apply to US-based retailers who are using Merchant Center or Business Profile, including the Google and YouTube shopping app on Shopify. The small business attribute will be automatically applied to some listings based on factors such as web traffic, number of store locations, and product offerings. However, retailers have the option to remove these attributes if necessary through the Merchant Center or Business Profile settings.

It is important to note that the largest businesses will not have the option to display the small business attribute. This ensures that the label is reserved for genuine small businesses and not misused by larger corporations. Google is placing trust in businesses to accurately self-identify, and only those authorized to manage their Merchant Center account or Business Profile can enable this setting.

Google is making it easier to buy from small businesses

This image is property of duet-cdn.vox-cdn.com.

Usage of Small Business Attribute

The introduction of the small business attribute aims to make it easier for consumers to support local businesses and foster a sense of community. However, it is essential to understand the guidelines and limitations surrounding its usage.

Firstly, the small business attribute does not apply to the largest businesses. This ensures that the label remains exclusive to true small businesses and is not exploited by larger corporations. This restriction helps maintain the integrity of the attribute and provides an accurate representation of small businesses.

Secondly, merchants are responsible for self-identifying as a small business. By providing this option, Google allows businesses to showcase their identity and attract customers who specifically want to support small businesses. It is crucial for businesses to accurately and truthfully identify themselves to maintain transparency and trust with their customers.

Authorization is required to enable the small business attribute. This ensures that only authorized individuals can activate and manage this feature. By requiring authorization, Google adds an additional layer of protection against misuse and unauthorized usage of the small business label.

Google is committed to preventing the misuse of the small business attribute. This label is intended to highlight genuine small businesses and promote local commerce. By implementing clear guidelines, authorization processes, and merchant self-identification, Google aims to maintain the credibility and trustworthiness of the small business label.

Expanded Knowledge Panel

The knowledge panel in search results is being expanded to provide more comprehensive shopping details. In addition to displaying store information such as headquarters location and employee count, the knowledge panel now includes reviews, shipping and returns policies, customer service information, and promoted deals. This comprehensive display provides customers with all the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions.

By including reviews and ratings in the knowledge panel, Google helps customers avoid questionable businesses and make confident choices. Shipping and returns policies are also prominently displayed, allowing customers to understand the logistics associated with their purchase. Customer service information ensures that customers can easily reach out for support if needed. Promoted deals are a valuable addition for customers looking for discounts or special offers.

This expanded knowledge panel is a valuable tool for both merchants and customers. Merchants can showcase their store information, build trust with customers through reviews, and highlight their unique selling points. Customers, on the other hand, have access to all the necessary information in one place, making their shopping experience more convenient and efficient.

Google is making it easier to buy from small businesses

This image is property of duet-cdn.vox-cdn.com.

Rollout of Updates

The updates mentioned earlier will be rolled out gradually, reaching both desktop and mobile users. These updates will be available in various countries, including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, and Brazil.

Desktop users in the US will have access to the displayed deals feature within the knowledge panel, at least for the time being. This feature allows customers to explore product deals and discounts easily. The availability of deals in the knowledge panel enhances the shopping experience and provides an added incentive for customers to support small businesses.

Google’s commitment to providing these updates is also reflected in the release of a new tool called Product Studio. This AI-powered image editing tool allows merchants to make visual adjustments to their product images. Merchants can remove backgrounds, enhance image quality, and personalize images using text-to-image prompts. This tool helps merchants create visually appealing product listings without needing extensive photography equipment or expertise.

Product Studio for Visual Adjustments

Product Studio is an exciting addition to Google’s suite of merchant tools. This AI-powered image editing tool allows merchants to enhance their product images without the need for professional editing software or expertise. Here are some of the features and benefits of Product Studio:

  • The ability to remove backgrounds: Merchants can instantly remove backgrounds from product images, creating a clean and professional visual presentation.

  • Improved image quality: Product Studio can enhance image quality, making product images more appealing and eye-catching to potential customers.

  • Personalization through text-to-image prompts: Merchants can generate new backgrounds and add personalized elements to their product images using text-to-image prompts. This feature allows for creative campaigns and seasonal visual adjustments.

Product Studio is now available to all Merchant Center Next users in the US. Merchants can access the tool through the Google and YouTube app on Shopify. This tool provides small businesses with the opportunity to enhance their visual presence and create compelling product listings that attract customers.

Google is making it easier to buy from small businesses

This image is property of duet-cdn.vox-cdn.com.

Conclusion

Google’s new updates for small businesses aim to make it easier for consumers to buy from and support local stores. By providing features such as generative AI for product imagery, displaying shop information, and introducing the small business attribute, Google empowers small businesses to compete with larger corporations and attract customers. The expanded knowledge panel and the rollout of these updates in various countries further enhance the shopping experience for both merchants and customers. With the addition of Product Studio, small businesses now have a powerful AI-powered image editing tool at their disposal to create visually appealing product listings. Overall, these updates demonstrate Google’s commitment to supporting small businesses and fostering a sense of community in the online retail landscape.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2023/11/1/23941684/google-shopping-small-businesses-product-studio-release-date