Google has introduced new features to assist small businesses in enhancing their online presence and connecting with potential customers, just in time for the busy holiday shopping season. These features are designed to help businesses stand out and improve their authenticity, making it easier for shoppers to find and support local and small businesses. Here’s an overview of the new features and how they can benefit your business:
1. Small Business Attribute
Small businesses play a vital role in the local economy, and many shoppers actively seek ways to support them. Google recognises this trend and has introduced a new “small business” attribute that merchants can add to their business listings on Google Search and Google Maps. This attribute helps businesses identify themselves as small enterprises, making it easier for shoppers to find and support them.
When a business adds the “small business” attribute to its listing, its products in Search and its business on Google Maps will be labeled as “small business.” This label can help shoppers narrow down their searches and intentionally choose to shop with local or small businesses.
Merchants can add the small business attribute to their listings by using Google’s Merchant Center or Business Profile. If you’re a U.S.-based small business, you can enable this attribute by navigating to the “business information” tab in Merchant Center or the “more” section within “edit profile” in Business Profile. Google has also partnered with Etsy to include eligible sellers in this initiative.
Some businesses may have the small business attribute automatically added to their listings based on factors like the number of products they offer, the number of locations they have, or their website traffic. However, businesses can remove this attribute at any time through Merchant Center or their Business Profile.
2. Product Studio
Product Studio is a set of AI tools designed to help merchants create and manage product imagery. It includes an experimental AI-powered scene generation feature that enables businesses to place their products into creative scenes. These scenes can be holiday-themed or tailored to specific marketing campaigns.
If you’re unsure where to start, Product Studio provides prompt ideas, including holiday-themed scenes, to inspire your creativity. You can customise these prompts or reuse ones that have been successful for your business in the past. The tool also offers the ability to remove distracting backgrounds and improve image resolution with a single click.
This feature has been tested by early adopters, such as the small business skincare company Doppeltree, which found that Product Studio’s generative AI technology allowed them to diversify their product imagery and produce high-quality images more efficiently.
Product Studio is rolling out to Merchant Center Next users in the U.S., and it will be available through the Google & YouTube app on Shopify.
3. Enhanced Business Information on Search
To help shoppers build trust with unfamiliar businesses, Google is expanding the type of information displayed when people search for businesses on Google Search. This update is currently available in select countries and focuses on enhancing the knowledge panel that appears in search results for certain retailer queries.
Previously, these knowledge panels displayed basic information about businesses. With the update, they will now provide additional shopping-related details, such as current deals, shipping and return policies, customer service information, and ratings and reviews. This richer information helps shoppers make informed decisions and build confidence in trying out new businesses.
The knowledge panel will be populated with information that businesses are already sharing on Merchant Center, as well as authoritative data from across the web. This change is similar to the way Google assists shoppers in finding local business information on Business Profiles.
4. Update Your Deals
Google’s Shopping Graph, which understands more than 35 billion listings from across the web, helps ensure that shoppers see the latest information about your holiday promotions. As a merchant, it’s essential to add your holiday deals to Merchant Center and review your settings if you want to make changes to where your deals are displayed. Google is continually working on new ways to help shoppers discover your deals during the holiday season.
These new features and updates are designed to empower small businesses and help them make a stronger online presence during the holiday season. By showcasing your business as a small enterprise, enhancing your product imagery, providing more detailed business information, and promoting your holiday deals, you can connect with potential customers and make the most of this busy shopping season. These tools can help your business stand out, build trust with shoppers, and drive sales during the holiday period.