Google Shopping Update Means More Flexibility and Customization for Merchants

On Wednesday, Google introduced some new tools in an effort to make shopping feed management easier and less clunky. Meet Feed Rules, a Merchant Center system that allows merchants to create filters and rules to ensure the highest level of data quality.

Product Manager of Google Shopping Sven Herschel, author of the announcement blog, notes that "Feed Rules allows you to perform basic transformations of your existing product data -- making it easier than ever to get your data feed up and running." This new section can be found in the Feeds tab of your Merchant Center interface, next to the scheduling option. Feed Rules are able to transform attributes in the feed, populate missing data and even map values to other column headers. This means more organization and fewer data errors.

There are three types of rules, including an overwrite option, that can resolve errors and help Google interpret the data within your feed. Let's look to example of each type:


Use Values From an Existing Column



This option refers to column mapping. From the example above, we're mapping Google's required product type attribute to the Google Product Category column of our data feed file. Google Product Category is also a required attribute, but these fields are so similar that we can have the same information in both places, using this rule to double-dip the data we're already providing.


Use a Fixed Value



This rule allows you to match your product data to a Google-provided static value. Boolean True or False fields - as well as fields with set options such as availability - can be set to single values across the board for your entire data feed.


Use a Fixed Value Based on Criteria in a Column in Your Feed



Spring is upon us and you've recently added a brand new line of products to your datafeed in anticipation of a big sale. However, because of the quick turnaround, your product information may have been incomplete. If you've forgotten to include attributes to a product's Advanced Information section, Feed Rules will cover for you. In the example above, we've set the rule to set the value for 'gender' to female if (and only if) the product title contains the word "ladies". Other operators allow you to set rules if criteria are absent, match exactly, or start or end with phrases or numbers. This rule is entirely conditional – it applies if certain criteria are met.

This is by far the most flexible option and will be the best rule for data organization. This rule will also be useful for merchants assigning products to particular Custom Label attributes. Custom label attributes allow for greater campaign segmentation in AdWords and now Google has built in functionality to directly designate and dispatch products from the Merchant Center.


Overwrite All Values



The last rule option is the sweeping overwrite function. As its name implies, this option will supersede your other rules and any data you have in your feed. Normally, these filters will fill in missing attributes but this option canvases missing and present data, assigning one set value, so use it carefully.


What This Means for Volusion Customers


Feed Rules mean greater flexibility and data quality assurance when managing your shopping feed. Missing product information can now be tweaked and added - even when attributes aren't populated within your store - directly from the Merchant Center interface. By providing the ability to create safety nets for yourself, you can now spend more time running your business and less time fixing data errors.