What if I told you that there is a way to reach millions of users using Sitecore Experience Commerce and Google? Interested? Read on.
We here at XCentium utilized the plugin architecture of Sitecore Experience Commerce to develop a solution that can integrate with Google for Retail.
“Marketing and selling your products are the next big step after your storefront development. A lot of businesses struggle with this step and unfortunately, it can make or break your business. We took it on ourselves to create a solution that can help our customers during this critical phase. With our Google for Retail Plugin, you can reach the hundreds of millions of people shopping each day across our properties including Search, YouTube, the Google Assistant and Maps—and at every stage of the shopping journey” shares John Montes, Senior Sitecore Developer at XCentium.
But what is Google for Retail?
Google for Retail
This is Google’s umbrella for all its offerings related to retail shopping advertising and sales. It is designed to be a one stop shop where retailers can reach millions of online shoppers across Google’s digital properties. This gives you the ability to create that awareness, build your brand, and drive sales regardless of how big or small your business is.
To see this in action, try searching for “adidas shoes”. You will see products pop up with complete information. From title to brand, to price, to ratings and of course, where to find them. In some cases, it will even let you buy it directly.
Figure 1: Sample shopping ads via Google for Retail
Just imagine them being displayed in their full glory across Google, YouTube, Android, Gmail, Maps and others. That is so much better than radio and TV advertising in most cases. Yes, Google just became an extension of your Sitecore Experience Commerce storefront. Congrats! I can see that light bulb on top of your head now.
Figure 2: From: https://www.google.com/intl/ALL_us/retail/why-google/
Google Merchant Center
This is Google for Retail’s tool that will enable you to upload your store and product information to Google and power those shopping ads across multiple advertising programs and Google properties.
Here is the important part: the Merchant Center does not have any option to let you add your product information through manual form input.
This is where our plugin comes in.
Google for Retail Plugin for Sitecore Experience Commerce 9.1
Note: The GitHub repository is currently private. Should you be interested in a private demo, please reach out to us by clicking on this LINK.
This mighty plugin will take care of the heavy lifting of pushing your catalog data to Google so you can use the Merchant Center to start advertising. The version 1 of the plugin currently has the following features:
- Upload a product information for a single product (single)
- Upload a product information for any number of products (batch)
- Upload new product information after a new version of that product is approved in Business Tools (real time, fresh data)
- Policy based configuration
- Includes postman script files to expedite use
Since this is version 1.0 of the plugin, we also have the following features on our future roadmap:
- Upload new product information after inventory changes (via sale, returns or stock changes)
- Create component / tagging scheme to store Google for Retail info in a product for use during data upload operations (e.g. Google Product Type Taxonomy Number)
- Business Tools integration
- Others – suggest! Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once the plugin is installed, you can use its policy to configure it. This will include information such as your Merchant Id and other needed Google information.
Figure 4: Policy-based Configuration
Upload a product information for a single product (single):
Figure 5: Calling our upload product data command and pushing only 1 product
Upload a product information for any number of products (batch):
Figure 6: Calling our upload product data command and pushing multiple products
Checking our product data in Google:
Figure 7: Habitat products on Google Merchant Center
Figure 8: Product Information
Figure 9: Uploaded information. Some are not shown
Upload new product information after a new version of that product is approved in Business Tools:
By creating a hook on the IEntityPersistedPipeline, we make sure that we are alerted once a sellable item is saved. Note: we only send the data to Google once its “approved”.
Figure 10: Product title updated after new version was approved
Once you upload your items, Google will let you know if any of your products have issues. Some issues will be required to be fixed before the product is approved for use in their programs. On the screenshot below, we see various reported errors since we are just testing out plugin for development purposes.
Figure 11: Product status and errors
And there you have it. Once you have your product data in Google and get your items approved, you can now use those products in multiple advertising programs that they have. Single entry point to a World of programs that can help you generate those sales.
Wait for my update on this plugin as we will continue to improve it to help you leverage the most powerful marketing engine of all time.
Figure 12: Various programs you can use to market and sell your products