Google Updates e-commerce with enhanced product variation and return policy clarity

March 1, 2024 Posted by Sean Walsh Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Google Updates e-commerce with enhanced product variation and return policy clarity”
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Sean Walsh
Director at Intelligency

Sean is a Director at Intelligency heading up our digital marketing and client services operations. Sean has 15+ years experiencing working both in-house and agency with brands including Lloyds, Alstom, Hitachi, Lufthansa, Viaplay, DFDS Seaways and Mercedes-Benz.

Google has updated its e-commerce platform to better handle product variations like size or colour through structured data. This makes it easier for online shops to show off their product range and helps shoppers find what they’re looking for more easily.

Along with detailed guides and tools for website owners, Google has introduced three key features to organize products more effectively and has made return policies clearer. This is great news for online stores, as it could lead to better visibility in searches, more trust from shoppers, and possibly more sales.

Technical Implementation and Documentation

Google’s recent update includes new structured data specifications for product variants, accompanied by comprehensive technical documentation and validation tools. This documentation guides e-commerce sites on how to implement the new structured data correctly, ensuring products are accurately represented in Google’s ecosystem. Tools like Search Console and the Rich Results Test have been updated to support the validation of this new structured data, helping site owners identify and rectify any issues promptly, ensuring that product listings are optimized for Google’s search.

Understanding Product Variant Properties

The three new properties, hasVariant, variesBy, and productGroupID, are integral to Google’s enhanced structured data for product variants. These properties allow e-commerce sites to effectively group variants of a product under a single “parent” product.

  • “hasVariant” is used to nest product variants within their parent ProductGroup
  • “variesBy” identifies the variant properties (like size or colour)
  • “productGroupID” serves as a unique identifier for the ProductGroup, facilitating easier management and discovery of product variants in search results.

Clarification on Return Fees

Google clarified the use of “FreeReturn” versus “ReturnShippingFees” values in the structured data for product returns. This distinction is crucial for e-commerce platforms to accurately communicate return policies to consumers, ensuring clarity on whether returning a product is free or if return shipping fees apply.

This clarification aids in enhancing transparency and trust between retailers and customers, making online shopping experiences more straightforward and satisfactory.

Importance for E-commerce Sites

Google’s update is a significant boon for e-commerce sites with product variants, allowing for a more detailed and structured presentation of products. By enabling the grouping of variants under a single parent product and clarifying return policies, Google enhances both the visibility and the user experience on e-commerce platforms.

These improvements can lead to better search result accuracy, increased consumer trust, and potentially higher conversion rates for retailers.

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