Google is entering the B2B shopping segment with Google Shopping for Suppliers. CPC Strategy reported yesterday on the quiet roll-out, noting that the beta is open only to electrical and electronics industries at this time. The beta started about two weeks ago and is showing in the US only.
Google has built Google Shopping for Suppliers to accommodate the unique aspects of B2B selling that has limited supplier participation on Google Shopping.
Recognizing that B2B transactions often involve negotiations on shipping costs and volume discounts, many Google Shopping policies on Pricing and Payments, Shipping, Taxes and Returns and Refunds either do not apply or have been modified for the Google Shopping for Suppliers program. In fact, Google Shopping for Suppliers does not rely on the Merchant Center technology that Google Shopping does. So, the data feed requirements of Merchant Center are not the same, and setup process is different.
Google Verified Suppliers
The revenue model at this point is tied to a new Google Verified Supplier program, which includes a one-time verification fee: $1,000 for suppliers in US and Taiwan, ￥6000 plus 6% VAT for suppliers in China and HK$7500 for suppliers in Hong Kong.
The benefits of becoming a Google Verified Supplier include getting a badge on your listings and having products show ahead of those from unverified suppliers. The company also notes that as a Google Verified Supplier “your products appear higher in the Sponsored results section on Google” as well. (Bolding is theirs.)
It is unclear at this point how or when products from Verified Suppliers will appear in the ad results on Google. A Google spokesperson said that they don’t have any AdWords integration plans to announce just yet. However, the company documentation notes that verification fees “may change in the future, including to a pay-per-action model.” Perhaps there will be a Product Listing Ad model or integration at some point, based on the success of that program.
The beta is in its infancy; however, there are some issues to watch. After performing several searches, Verified Suppliers listings appear to be heavily weighted to show above unverified suppliers, even when the products are less (or not at all) relevant to the search query. A search for “electric fans,” for example, produced 9 results for products from Verified Suppliers (note the blue badges) that aren’t electric fans before an unverified supplier result for an actual electric fan. See screenshot below:
Google would not comment on the number of Verified Suppliers currently signed onto the program. The documentation on the Google Verified Supplier program includes a link to apply to participate in the beta. There is no word yet on which industries will be added next.