With the Volusion API, you can integrate your store with 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 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.
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
- 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.
- Once you have an account, go to the Google Accounts page.
- Follow the instructions on the screen and click Save Updates.
- The Google Merchant Center Dashboard will now display a message telling you to verify your website's URL.
- Verify your account by following the instructions for Alternate Methods:
- 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:
- Click Feeds in the left column.
- Click + Data Feed.
- Select the Products feed type.
- Select Target Country from the drop-down menu.
- Enter the file name for the XML document your store will export to Google Merchant Center (for example, "myproducts.xml").
- Click Continue.
- On the Upload Method page, select Regular Uploads by User.
- Click Continue.
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:
- From the Google Merchant Center Dashboard, click Settings and then FTP.
- Create your Google Merchant Center FTP account by entering a username and clicking Generate to receive your password.
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
- In your Admin Area, go to Inventory > Import/Export.
- Select the Volusion API tab.
- Click Enable button under the Generic heading.
- Click the Google Merchant Center Integration link.
- Enter the FTP username, password, and the file name exactly as you entered them in the Google Merchant Center configuration process above.
- 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.
- If you are producing a feed for the UK, select Include VAT in ProductPrice.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
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.
The Volusion Google Merchant Center export will only send product data for products with a Google Product Category configured in their Advanced Info > 3rd Party Integrations section. 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 also enabled/checked on the product
*To enable, go to Inventory > Products > Settings.
You can find a list of Google Product Category examples here.
If you have automatically created child products, you will need to ensure that each child product has its own product image uploaded using the child product's image management section. This is because Google will not accept child products without product images.
To ensure that you are able to upload unique images for each child product, you will need to delete the parent product code from the Use Same Photos As ProductCode field at Advanced Info > Misc in the Admin Area for each child product.
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 field will be used)
- Product Price
- Product Condition*
- 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.
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.
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.