As many businesses are forced to close down retail locations in light of stay-at-home orders around the world, online shopping has grown rampantly in the past few weeks. For some retailers, however, it can be hard to transition to an online-only business model, and product placement comes at a cost. To alleviate this, Google has announced that it's making it free for retailers to sell products through Google Shopping.
This was already part of the company's plan, as noted in today's blog post, but Google has decided to speed up the process given the current circumstances. Starting next week, the majority of search results in the Google Shopping tab will consist of free product listings. At least, in the United States, as Google says it plans to roll out the feature more broadly before the end of the year.
Being that listings are now free, users can expect to find a lot more products than they otherwise might have in their searches. And for retailers, of course, this will increase the exposure of their products without needing to spend money on advertising. Paid campaigns aren't going away, and free product listings will automatically apply to businesses already using Google's Merchant Center and Shopping Ads. New users may have to wait a while to be added to the program, but Google is partnering with PayPal to allow merchants to link their accounts, which will speed up the onboarding process for Google Shopping.
In the U.S., these new capabilities should be in effect before the end of the month. As mentioned above, other parts of the world will have to wait longer, though it's not clear just how long.