With physical retail stores closed due to COVID-19, retailers are being forced to sell exclusively online. To help businesses that may be struggling, Google is making it free for merchants to sell on Google. Beginning next week, search results in the Google Shopping tab will primarily consist of free product listings.
Google says this should help both merchants and shoppers. Retailers will get free exposure -- Google says it sees hundreds of millions of shopping searchers per day. And Shoppers will see more products from more stores. The changes will appear in the US before the end of the month, and Google plans to expand the free listings globally before the end of the year.
Google is launching a new partnership with PayPal to allow merchants to link their accounts, and it’s continuing to work with companies like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
Like most industries, retail is struggling right now. New data from the Census Bureau shows spending on apparel has dropped more than 50 percent since this time last year. Other sectors have also seen drastic dips. But in addition to goodwill, Google is likely hoping that its free listings will make sure merchants sell on Google in addition to (or instead of) its rivals.