As a response to the coronavirus pandemic, Google president of commerce Bill Ready said in April that search results in the Google Shopping tab would predominantly consist of free product listings, helping merchants connect with consumers whether or not they are Google advertisers.
The initiative was extended to Google Search in June, with free listings appearing in the knowledge panel for products, while sponsored shopping links were moved to a separate area at the top of the page.
Google said retailers running free listings and ads on its Shopping tab in the U.S. saw average increases of more than 50% in clicks and over 100% in impressions, with the greatest benefits going to small and midsized businesses.
The free listings on Google Shopping will come to countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, along with Canada, by mid-October.
Google president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Matt Brittin said in a blog post, “We’re now making it free for retailers to list their products on the Shopping tab throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Available globally in mid-October, search results on the Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping retailers to connect with more customers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. Shoppers will be able to find more products from more stores, just in time for peak shopping season across the region.”
Google Canada managing director of retail Eric Morris added in a separate blog post, “In Canada, Google is the first place shoppers say they go to discover or find a new brand, item or product. For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.”