Google’s Free Trusted Stores Seal Program Opens To All U.S. Merchants

Google has been testing its Trusted Stores seal program since October of 2011, and now the program is opening up to all U.S. merchants with a self-service sign-up interface.

Merchants who participate will have a “Trusted Stores” badge — which opens to provide information about the company’s shipping and customer service record — appear beside their AdWords ads. The badge won’t be a ranking signal.

“It’s an ecommerce certification that helps shoppers feel comfortable with buying online even if they don’t know the store they’re buying from,” explains Tom Fallows, group product manager at Google Shopping. “It gives them a clear and quick way to know that an online store is trustworthy.”

Positive Impact On Conversions And Order Sizes

Fallows says the 50 merchants that have been participating in the beta have, on average, seen their conversion rates and order sizes increase. Wayfair, for example, saw conversions increase by 1.4% and order size grow by 0.9%. Online gift shop Beau-coup saw conversions grow by 3.1% and order size increase by 5.5%. It’s likely the less well known the ecommerce brand, the larger the benefit they’d see from implementing the seal.

The motivation for Google — which is investing considerable resources into the program, which is free to consumers and merchants — is to increase the level of trust that consumers have with online shopping. And the more money online merchants make, the more they have to spend on AdWords.

Currently, the Trusted Stores program has the following elements:

  • Shipping reliability – Google monitors (via a pixel) what shipping promises are made on purchase confirmation pages, then the merchant sends Google tracking numbers when things are shipped. Google verifies whether the merchant is meeting its promises.
  • Customer service – Google runs a customer service portal (separate from the merchant’s own system) where folks may contact the merchant — with Google copied — about problems. Google tracks how quickly problems are resolved.
  • $1000 in Consumer Purchase Protection – if buyers opt in, they can be eligible for $1000 if something goes wrong with their purchase.

Fallows says the program will eventually encompass elements like malware protection and greater transparency for return policies. It will also be offering phone support for consumers, so they can call with problems, rather than using the online interface to report issues with purchases. When I asked about plans to incorporate intellectual property Google just acquired from ShopKick, Fallows wouldn’t comment on that.

The Small Business Challenge

One challenge Google faces in expanding the program to all U.S. merchants — large and small — is that many small businesses could be turned off by the technical implementation or the workload of sending shipping information on a regular basis.

To address this, Fallows says Google has made the integration process as lightweight as possible, and the company is currently working with the major ecommerce platforms — Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and Yahoo Stores — to develop “push button” integration.

Will Google have the resources to smoothly handle the likely deluge of new merchant applications, along with the higher transaction volume and customer service requests? Fallows wouldn’t say how many people the company has dedicated to the program, but said he was confident the company was ready. The pilot program involved 10 million shoppers and over a billion dollars.

Note: A previous version of this story said user reviews were included in Trusted Stores, but users only review customer service levels, not the business as a whole. 

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: Google Shopping | Top News


About The Author: is Executive Features Editor at Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She’s a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since 1998.

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  • daveintheuk

    No, the motivation for Google is to make consumers click on AdWords because that is where the “trust” badge is – not the organic results… nothing else.

  • Nathan Giesbrecht

    Waiting very impatiently for this program to open up to Canadians.

  • Bruce

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  • richardzleeson

    retailme not and Printapons saves me lots of time and money and more than that it make the online shopping lot more fun when you get discount!!

  • cutey

    Good idea, but do we want more third party stuff on our websites?

  • Jordon Meyer

    I was pitched this about 8 months ago at a big retailer. No big retail or ecom site wants this. You have to share transaction number, shipping and customer email data with Google. It is just another PPC ad copy play – so you get the nice little badge to boost CTR. I don’t think the small incremental CTR boost is worth sharing the info and compromising your overall website design with their widget. 

    But…I’m sure tons of SMBs will be all over this because it’s a new shiny thing from GG. Think about it before you make the leap. 

  • Karl Ribas

    I love the idea that this may one day be integrated with Yahoo! Stores for easy implementing, but agree with Jordon (comment above) that the slight boost in CTR may not be worth sharing such compromising information.

  • GilesJuliana

    my roomate‘s sister makes $82/hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for six months but last month her check was $19771 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site

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  • Tom_Avon

    Maybe I have incomplete information, but I was informed ecommerce sites need at least 1000 orders per month to be considered for Trusted Store status. True?

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