Setting Up Google Merchant Center Integration

With the Volusion API, you can integrate your store with the Google Merchant Center to upload product listings that can then be used for Google Shopping, Google Product Ads, and Google Commerce Search. For a deeper look at the Google Merchant Center, including what you need to do once you've integrated your store and set up the product feed, please visit Google's About Merchant Center page.

Note: Be sure to read this article in its entirety. Follow all steps and notices listed here so your store is able to communicate properly with Google Merchant Center. There are multiple required fields for your products that can prevent your feed from generating or block your products from being listed in Google.

Google Merchant Center and Google Base

Google Merchant Center was launched in September 2009 to supersede the Google Base program. Existing Google Base users can still use Google Base for non-product listing. Please see the Google Merchant Center FAQ for further information.

Getting Started

Integration with Google Merchant Center requires access to the Volusion API, which is available on Pro, Premium, Gold, and Platinum monthly hosting plans.

Integration involves connecting to the Google Merchant Center service and submitting XML data that will report your store's product information to the service. You’ll need to set up an FTP account to transmit this data to Google Merchant Center.

The following steps outline the process of connecting your store with Google Merchant Center.

Registering for a Google Merchant Center Account

  1. To use Google Merchant Center, you need to create a Google account. If you are based in the UK, be sure to change the Location dropdown before proceeding with your Google Merchant Center account setup.
  2. Once you have an account, go to the Google Accounts page and select Merchant Center from the center column.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen and click Save Updatesarticle/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-google account information
  4. The Google Merchant Center Dashboard will now be displayed with a message telling you to verify your website's URL.  article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-verify website url
  5. Click on the General Settings link in the message or click Settings > General in the left column.
  6. Click Verify this URLarticle/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-click verify this url
  7. You can verify your account by following the instructions for Alternate Methods: article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-verify alternate methods
    1. Choose HTML Tag, then copy the meta name.
    2. In your Admin Area, go to Marketing > SEO and paste the meta name into the Globally Appended Meta Tags field under the Default Values tab. article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-globally appended meta tags
    3. Save the changes in your Admin Area, then click Verify on your Google Accounts page.
  1. After you verify your account, a message asking you to claim the site will be displayed. Click the link, after which the settings will look like this: article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-google general settings
  2. Click Data Feeds in the left column.  article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-click data feeds
  3. Click New Data Feedarticle/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-click new data feed
  4. Select the Target Country from the dropdown.  article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-getting started-target country
  5. Enter the file name for the XML document your store will export to Google Merchant Center (e.g. myproducts.xml).
  6. Click Save Changes.

Configuring Google Merchant Center FTP Access

Now that your Google Merchant Center data feed is configured, you need to set up FTP access within your Google Merchant Center account. Here's how: 

  1. From the Google Merchant Center Dashboard, click Settings and then FTP.   article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-configuring google merchant center ftp access-settings ftp
  2. Create your Google Merchant Center FTP account by entering a username, password, and clicking Save Changesarticle/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-configuring google merchant center ftp access-setup account

Your Google Merchant Center FTP account is now configured. Please note that it may take some time for your FTP account to become active.

Next, you need to configure your store's Google Merchant Center settings.

Google Merchant Center Settings in Volusion

  1. In you Admin Area, go to Inventory > Import / Exportarticle/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-google merchant center settings in volusion-inventory import export
  2. Go to the Volusion API tab.  article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-google merchant center settings in volusion-volusion api
  3. Click the Enable button under the Generic heading. article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-google merchant center settings in volusion-volusion api
  4. Click the Google Merchant Center Integration link.  article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-google merchant center settings in volusion-google merchant center link
  5. Enter the FTP username, password, and the file name EXACTLY as you entered them in the Google Merchant Center configuration process above. article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-google merchant center settings in volusion-enter account information
  6. Enter a title and description for your Google Merchant Center export into the corresponding fields on this page. You can enter anything you wish but note that these fields are required by Google's system.
  7. If you are producing a feed for the UK, select Include VAT in ProductPrice.  
  8. Click Generate XML. Note that the XML file generation process may take some time, depending on the number of products in your store's database. Once the XML generation is complete, XML code will appear in the large text box on the page.  article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-google merchant center settings in volusion-xml to be sent
  9. Finally, click Publish to Google to send this XML data to your Google Merchant Center account. If the data is sent correctly you’ll see a confirmation message. article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-google merchant center settings in volusion-confirmation message However, you will have to go to your Google Merchant Center dashboard to see if the data has been inserted correctly.

Congratulations, your store will now be integrated with your Google Merchant Center account and your products will be listed online through Google's service.

Please note that it may take some time for Google to publish your product information online after you have transmitted the XML information to your Merchant Center account.

On the Google Merchant Center Dashboard, click Products to display the details of the products you have uploaded.  article/setting up google merchant center integration-camera show image-google merchant center settings in volusion-click products

Include VAT in ProductPrice (for UK feed)

This VAT will calculate based on the default tax with the lowest value configured at Settings > Tax. The product prices exported in the Google Feed (when this box is selected) will automatically have the VAT added into the price.

For more information on configuring tax, see our Tax knowledge base article.

Product Requirements

The Volusion Google Merchant Center export will only send product data for products with a Google Product Category configured in Advanced Info > 3rd Party Integrations. Some products, however, will be exempt from the export.

Please note that the Google Merchant Center export will not send product data for products that meet any of the following conditions:

  • Products marked as Hidden (unless it has a parent product code in the Is Child of Product Code field, which indicates that it is a child product)
  • Products marked for Private Section Customers Only
  • Any product configured as a Gift Certificate
  • Any product configured with a Setup Cost
  • Products configured with a Membership Cost
  • Any product configured to be a Donation Product
  • Parent products (products with Enable Options Inventory Control or Enable Multi Child Add To Cart selected)
  • Any product with 0 or fewer stock available if Display Stock Status (formerly Config_EnableDisplayStockStatus) is enabled*
  • Any child product with 0 or fewer in the Stock Status field if Do Not Allow Backorders is enabled/checked on the product

*To enable, go to Inventory > Products > Settings

You can find a list of Google Product Category examples here.

Note on Google Required Fields

As of September 22, 2011, there are additional fields required by Google for products to be posted successfully to Google Product Searches. To learn more about Google’s Required and Recommended fields, see Google’s Products Feed Specifications and their simplified table on the Summary of Attribute Requirements.

Google-specific fields for Products (Advanced Settings > 3rd Party Integrations):

  • Google Product Type(merchant's category/taxonomy of the product)
  • Google Product Category*(Google's category/taxonomy or the product. Find acceptable values for this field here.)
  • Google Size
  • Google Color
  • Google Material
  • Google Pattern
  • Google Adult Product
  • Google Unique Product
  • Google Availability* (If you‘re using a default value for your Availability, it will be mapped for you)
  • Google Gender*
  • Google Age Group*

Additional fields used for Google (check Summary of Attribute Requirements to see which fields are required for your specific products):

  • Product Code
  • Product Name
  • Product Description Short (if the Product Description Short field is blank, the main Product Description will be used)
  • Product Price
  • Product Condition*
  • Manufacturer**
  • Book ISBN**
  • UPC Code**
  • EAN Code**
  • Vendor Part #**

*Must use Google's taxonomy for these fields. Check the Products Feed Specification article for the accepted predefined values.

**These fields are used as "Unique Product Identifier" values for Google and must use the prescribed values assigned by the manufacturer. Inventing or approximating values for these fields will result in the values being flagged as invalid.

Google Unique Product Requirement

In Google product categories where unique product identifiers are required by Google, you must select True or False for all products in the Google Merchant Center feed to indicate whether the required unique product identifiers exist for the product.

Product Expiration

Google Merchant Center automatically sets a 30-day expiration date for any product data exported to the service. This expiration date is 30 days from the date Google received your exported data. You will want to re-generate your Google Merchant Center XML and re-send it using the controls provided in the Volusion API page every 30 days to update your product listings in Google Merchant Center.

Summary

Your store should now be fully integrated with Google's Merchant Center service – a great avenue for getting your products noticed and driving traffic to your store.