Google president of commerce Bill Ready said in a blog post Tuesday that starting next week, search results in the Google Shopping tab will predominantly consist of free product listings, helping merchants connect with consumers whether or not they are Google advertisers.
Ready said he expects the change to take effect in the U.S. by the end of April, with the aim of expanding it worldwide by year-end.
He wrote, “With physical stores shuttered, digital commerce has become a lifeline for retailers. And as consumers increasingly shop online, they’re searching not just for essentials, but also things like toys, apparel and home goods. While this presents an opportunity for struggling businesses to reconnect with consumers, many cannot afford to do so at scale.”
Ready pointed to the win-win of the initiative: Retailers gain free exposure to millions of people who search via Google Shopping every day, while shoppers discover more products from more stories.
He added that merchants who are already Google advertisers can augment their paid campaigns with these free listings.
Google Shopping is also entering a new partnership with PayPal to enable merchants to link their accounts, and Ready said it continues to work with existing partners such as BigCommerce, Shopify and WooCommerce.
He concluded, “Solutions during this crisis will not be fast or easy, but we hope we can provide a measure of relief for businesses and lay the groundwork for a healthier retail ecosystem in the future.”