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Google Shopping – Why you need Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to help buyers find your products

Google Shopping – Why you need Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to help buyers find your products

In a blog post published in February 2021, Randy Rockinson, Product Manager for Product Data at Google Shopping, explains how unique and accurate product information helps brands, manufacturers and retailers present their products on Google.

Randy Rockinson writes, among other things, that "an important part of Google’s mission is to organize product information for customers and retailers” and "to best help users find your content and products in Google searches, we recommend that websites be able to identify products clearly”.

How Google identifies your products - both online and offline

Accurate and reliable product data is essential for Google to identify products available to buyers. Google recommends that products be uniquely identified, as it helps Google to match offers with products and to match products with relevant search queries.

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One way to improve Google’s understanding of your products is by using unique product identifiers such as the GTIN, the manufacturer’s product number (MPN) and brand names. When using product identifiers, Google recommends that they follow these best practices.

Each product must have a unique identifier that can be shared across systems and accurately identify a product in both the physical and e-commerce worlds.

It must be possible to check the product's identity (e.g., its manufacturer) and other product data via a reliable source. This enables marketplaces such as Google Shopping to verify that product data is accurate and complete via global registries.

Global reach:
Today, as e-commerce makes the world more connected, an identification system trusted globally will help stakeholders in all countries to easily identify the offered products.

When a product is sold through many different vendors and marketplaces, an internationally recognized standard such as the GS1 GTIN System makes it possible to identify products internationally, in physical stores and on e-commerce platforms.

What exactly is a GTIN?

A GTIN is a unique, internationally recognized product ID. When in place, the GTIN appears alongside the barcode on the product or product packaging.

GTINs vary in length depending on the product type and where it is to be sold. Here are some examples of different GTINs:

  • UPC (in North America/GTIN-12): 12-digit number
  • EAN (in Europe/GTIN-13): 13-digit number
  • ISBN (for books): 13-digit number

Not all products have a GTIN. If you cannot find GTIN, you can always contact the manufacturer to request it.

A PIM system makes it easy to send a GTIN and product data to Google

You can submit your GTINs free of charge to Google Manufacturer Center along with your other product information to help Google classify and display your products across borders. At the same time, you help yourself because your products are more easily found in interested parties' Google searches.

But many companies have challenges exporting their product information from the systems in which they are stored, so that the information can also be used in other channels.

For example, if you maintain product data in the ERP system, product texts in Excel and Word documents, images in image databases and the rest in the CMS system or online store, it goes without saying that it can be a difficult and time-consuming task to gather and extract product information in exactly the formats required by marketplaces such as Google Shopping.

However, if you manage all the different product information - including your ERP data and GTIN - via a Product Information Management system (PIM), you can easily export it in the GS1 format Google needs.

Integrate the PIM system with Google Shopping

You can also choose to integrate the PIM system directly with Google Shopping. By doing so, you can automatically publish all relevant product information on Google while maintaining full control through data validation, rules and workflows. This means that new and changed products will not be published until all data is available in the desired quality.

As an additional benefit, with the PIM system you can also automatically publish on many other channels than Google Shopping, e.g., on Amazon, eBay, in your own online store, in your product catalogs, price lists and all your other sales and marketing channels.

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