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How to add a Google Merchant Center Feed in Auctiva Commerce

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before submitting a feed to Google Merchant Center you need to verify and claim your site per Google's requirements noted Here. This Auctiva Commerce Help article describes how to verify your Auctiva Commerce store with Google Webmaster Tools.

Auctiva Commerce can automatically create and upload a Google Merchant Center feed that will get your product information onto Google's search properties. This can help drive more visitor traffic to your storefront and hopefully increase your sales. This tutorial will show you how to create a Google Merchant Center feed.

What is a Google Merchant Center feed?

A Google Merchant Center Feed is a type of data feed that compiles your inventory into a single file that Google uses to add your products to Google's search properties. With a Google Merchant Center Feed, your store inventory will be more likely to be found when a potential customer uses Google to search for related products. This means that this data feed can increase the visitor traffic to your storefront. Google Merchant Center feeds are free, but it does require you set up a free Google user account with free Google Merchant Center and Google FTP services.

How to add a Google Merchant Center feed

You will need a Google account to enable a Google Merchant Center feed. You will also need to enable your Google Merchant Center account to use Google's free FTP service.

Note: Google has made the "condition" property a mandatory field for products in Google Merchant Center feeds as of June 30th, 2009. We have added this field in the Product Details page for you, however, if you have added inventory to your store prior to this date, you should revise this field by selecting the appropriate condition (i.e., New, Used, or Refurbished) for each product. The default setting is "New."

Step 1. Create a Google account.

If you already have a Google account, skip to Step 2.

  • Using your Internet browser, go to Google to create a new account. Follow the instructions to set up a free Google account. You need this account to enable Google Merchant Center feeds.
Step 2. Enable Google Merchant Center.
  • To initiate this process, click on this link: Google Merchant Center. If prompted to sign in, enter your Google account information.
  • Read the terms of agreement and choose the "I accept" option if you agree with the terms. The About Me Settings page will load.
  • Company or organization name: Enter in your store name, company name, or the name you wished to be displayed with your Google Merchant Center feed.
  • Description: Enter in a description of your store.
  • Website URL: Enter in your Store URL. You can find this in Auctiva Commerce administration by clicking on the Store icon in the upper-right corner. Your store will load in a new browser window. Use the base URL by removing the "/default.aspx" directory from the end of the URL (e.g., "http://mikeshardware.auctivacommerce.com/default.aspx" becomes "http://mikeshardware.auctivacommerce.com").
  • Business Information: Enter your Business Information.
  • Customer Service Information: Enter your Customer Service Information.
  • Private Contact Information: Enter your Private Contact Information.
  • Published Contact Email: Enter your Published Contact email information.
  • Click Save Updates.
Step 3. Enable Google FTP.
  • Click on the Settings link. The Settings menu will load.
  • Click on the FTP Account link in the menu.
  • Username: Create an FTP Login username. This is a new username and it's not the same as your Google account username, although you could use the same naming convention. You will need this username in Step 4.
  • Password: Enter in a password. It must be at least 7 characters and contain at least one numeral. You will need this password in Step 4.
  • Retype Password: Retype the password.
  • Click on the "Save Changes" button. It may take 15 minutes or more to activate the FTP account. Continue to the next step to create and upload the Google Merchant Center feed in Auctiva Commerce administration.
Step 4. Create a Data Feed with Google.
  • Click on the Data feeds link. The Data feeds page will load.
  • Click on the New Data Feed button.
  • The New data feed page will load. Adjust the Target country drop-down as required for your store. The Format drop-down should be set to googlebase. Populate the Data feed file-name with the EXACT same file-name that you want to use in your Auctiva Commerce store. It is recommended that you a .zip file with Google. NOTE: If you are going to have Auctiva Commerce automatically send the feed to Google each night you must register a .zip file with Google as Auctiva Commerce sends .zip files during the nightly Google feed upload process.
  • Click on the Save button.
Step 5. Create and upload a Google Merchant Center feed.
  • Back in Auctiva Commerce administration, go to Marketing> Manage Feeds.
  • Click on the Google link under the feed column
  • Google FTP User Name: Enter in the exact Google FTP username that you created in Step 3.
  • Google FTP Password: Enter in the exact Google FTP password that you created in Step 3.
  • Feed File Name: Enter the exact file name that you created with Google in Step 3. Do not include the filetype extension.
  • If you wish to automate the feed upload process, select "Automatically submit and generate a daily product feed" from the dropdown. This will automatically compile and upload your feed to Google Merchant Center each night. It is highly recommended that you select this option so that Google has a current view of your products. *** Note that you must have a compressed (.zip) file registered with Google Merchant Center to use this option.
  • Click on the Save Settings button to finish.
  • Feed File Names: If you would like to change the feed file names from the defaults we have provided you may do so via the text boxes here. Note that the feed file names must be the exact same file names you created in Step 4. They are case-sensitive.
  • Product Inclusion: Choose the "Include products marked for feed exclusion" option if you want to ignore the product level setting for this feature. manage which products are included per inventory item. Leave it unchecked to utilize the product level setting for this feature.
  • Click on the Save button to finish.
  • Shipping and Tax attributes: On June 6, 2011 Google began requiring the shipping attribute to be populated in all feeds and the tax attribute to be populated in feeds targeting the United States. Auctiva Commerce can automatically populate these attributes in your feed by default however this can make your feed very large. It is highly recommended that you define these values in your Google Merchant Center account but if needed you can these on by checking the "Include Shipping Information" and/or "Include Tax Information" checkboxes. NOTE: For the shipping attribute Auctiva Commerce does not include integrated carrier based (FedEx, UPS, USPS) shipping methods or data in the feed.
  • AdWords attributes: Google offers three attributes to help you to organize your AdWords campaigns and track the traffic to your website. These are optional data points which can be added to your Auctiva Commerce products. If they are added to your products they will be included in your Google Merchant Center feed. They can be added to your products via the Marketing tab on the Edit Product page. The attributes are: adwords grouping, adwords labels, and adwords redirect. More information about these attributes and how they can be used can be found in the Google Product Feed Specification.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Auctiva Commerce uses the Summary field to populate the Description attribute in the Google Merchant Center feed. For an item to be accepted by Google you must populate the Summary field with a valid description of the item in question. It does not have to exactly match the Auctiva Commerce Product Description field but should accurately describe the item.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before submitting a feed to Google Merchant Center you need to verify and claim your site per Google's requirements noted Here. This Auctiva Commerce Help article describes how to verify your Auctiva Commerce store with Google Webmaster Tools.

How to download / view your feed

Back on the main Marketing > Manage Feeds page click Create under the Options column. This will submit a job to create your feed. When it is done click on the feed file name in the Uncompressed or Compressed column. This will initiate a download of your feed.

How to manually submit your feed

On the main Marketing > Manage Feeds page click Create under the Options column. This will submit a job to create your feed. When it is done click on the Submit link under the Options column. This will kick off a job to submit your feed.

How to set up your feed to automatic nightly upload

On the main Marketing > Manage Feeds page check the Daily Upload checkbox. This will setup your feed to be submmioted automatically each night. Note that you must have the correct FTP credentials and filename saved with Auctiva Commerce for the Daily Upload to be successful.

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