The sudden and temporary, or permanent closure of brick and mortar stores during the pandemic has led to tough decisions around reopening, fluctuating supply chains, and how best to protect employees. But it has also led to the digital advancement of one of Canada’s most important sectors, as retailers quickly sought to build out their online presence and advance their digital offerings. Canadian retailers may have entered this eCommerce moment unexpectedly, but Canada’s eCommerce moment is now, and retailers are adapting quickly.
Plentea, a Toronto-based tea shop was forced to close their store permanently once COVID-19 hit, as they could no longer justify rent prices. They are now staying afloat thanks to their Shopify store, which was built through our ShopHERE powered by Google program.
These are just some of the many stories of resilience we’ve been hearing from businesses large and small as they look for ways to sustain themselves and help their communities. We know that consumers are shopping online now more than ever. And as we head into the holiday season, shoppers will be thinking — and buying — with a digital-first mindset. In fact, 61% of Canadian holiday shoppers say they will shop more online this year.1 We’ve been focused on supporting retailers as they accelerate their business recovery and build out their digital offerings to respond to the opportunities and challenges ahead.
In time for the holiday, we’re making it free for merchants to list their products on Google in Canada. By mid-October, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online.
In Canada, Google is the first place shoppers say they go to discover or find a new brand, item or product.2 For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.
This follows the launch in the US in April, where free listings drove a more than 50% increase in clicks and more than doubled impressions for advertisers - with small to medium sized businesses seeing the largest share of increases.3
We’re continuing to work closely with many of our existing partners that help merchants manage their products and inventory, including Shopify, to make digital commerce more accessible for businesses of all sizes. “It’s vital that our merchants can reach their customers, wherever they are,” said Ian Black, Director of Retail, Shopify. “If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that retailers are resilient. When the pandemic hit, our brick-and-mortar merchants began to pivot, and were able to make up 94% of their lost in-person sales online. The ability to list products for free on Google will help Shopify merchants reach new and existing customers. We’re excited to extend our partnership with Google and bring this offering to our Canadian merchants.”
If you’re an existing user of Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don't have to do anything to take advantage of the free listings, and for new users of Merchant Center, we'll continue working to streamline the onboarding process and partnering with the ecosystem to make it easier for merchants to get on Google. Our help centre has more details on how to participate in free product listings and Shopping ads.
1. Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, CA n= ~660 18 +online consumers who plan to shop for the holidays. Aug 27-302. Google / Ipsos, Shopping Tracker, Canada, July 2020. Base: Total sample (n=1051) Canadians online 18+ who shopped in the last 2 days. 3. Google Internal Data, July 2020, based on an A/B test comparing performance for users seeing the updated layout on the Shopping property vs a control group not seeing the new experience