Google is introducing new Shopping features that allow merchants to quickly update product imagery using generative AI and make it easier to display important shop information to attract new customers.
Starting today, Google merchants in the US can label themselves with a new “small business” attribute that makes it easier for shoppers to identify mom-and-pop-style stores. Stores that carry this new attribute will be clearly labeled as a small business in Google Maps, and products sold by these merchants will feature a “small business” tag in Google Search.
These updates only apply to US-based retailers using Merchant Center or Business Profile, including the Google & YouTube shopping app on Shopify. Google said in its press release that the small business attribute will be automatically applied to some listings based on factors like the business’s web traffic, number of store locations, and how many products it offers. Retailers can remove these attributes via the Merchant Center or Business Profile settings.
Matt Madrigal, VP / GM of Merchant Shopping at Google, told The Verge that the “largest businesses” will not have the option to display the small business attribute and that the company is relying on businesses to self-identify. Madrigal adds that “only the merchant or someone authorized to manage their Merchant Center account or Business Profile on Google can enable the setting” but did not mention if there are protections to prevent the “small business” label from being abused by drop shippers or others that don’t fit the spirit of the term.
The knowledge panel in Search that displays details like where a retailer’s headquarters are located and how many people it employs is also being expanded to show additional shopping details. This includes reviews, shipping and returns policies, customer service information, and promoted deals (which feels like just another place to stuff product ads), alongside a snapshot of business information that merchants are already sharing on their Merchant Center accounts.
These updates are rolling out “this month” for merchants on desktop and mobile in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, and Brazil. According to Madrigal, Google will only display deals within the knowledge panel for desktop users in the US “for now.”
Finally, Google is also releasing Product Studio — an AI-powered tool it teased back in May that allows Shopping merchants to make visual adjustments to product pictures, such as instantly removing backgrounds and increasing low-resolution images. Users can also generate new backgrounds using text-to-image prompts to personalize product images without a studio setup, allowing them to jazz up their listings for things like seasonal campaigns. Product Studio starts rolling out today to all Merchant Center Next users in the US. It’ll also be available via the Google & YouTube app on Shopify.