Google Calls Upon Retailers to List Inventory

By: Chris Crum - September 2, 2010

Google announced today that it is making public its help documentation for Local Shopping inventory for Google Merchant Center. This is a feature that allows retailers to let consumers know about what they have in stock right from the web. 

"One weekday evening a few weeks before our son was born, my wife commissioned me to find a box of raspberry red leaf tea for the delivery," says Google Product Search business product manager Paul Lee, explaining the usefulness of such a feature.  "I promptly drove to the nearest grocery store, which has an awe-inspiring wall of tea. After diligently scanning the wall and not finding the tea, I began to wonder if it even existed. Was the similarly-labeled raspberry tea the same thing? What about red leaf tea?" 

"Stumped, I pulled out my phone and looked up ‘raspberry red leaf tea’ on Google," he continues. "Beneath the ‘Shopping results,’ I saw a red map marker for a nearby Vitamin Shoppe and a link, ‘In stock nearby,’ next to a picture of Alvita Raspberry Red Leaf Tea. I hopped back in the car, and 15 minutes later had accomplished my mission. Two weeks later, my wife accomplished her much more important mission and we welcomed Benjamin, a healthy and happy baby boy, to our family."

Google Local Inventory

Keep in mind that Google doesn’t accept all retailers who apply for listing this information, but there is a form you can fill out to do so. If you aren’t accepted, Google will keep you on file for potential future inclusion. 

You’ll be asked to submit a complete and accurate data feed, including unique product identifiers. You’ll also need to be listed and verified in Google Places.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Simple Merchant Accounts

    Froogle! What’s the difference?

  • Guest

    While the intent on the surface is to provide the consumer the best possible information at the time – Google really want to do nothing more than gather local information, share it with their online friends Amazon etc. and continue to drive more business tobig online discounters that pay Google for search ranking placement.

    So just say no – at least until your community can reap the benefits from online sales, can we say in unison – online use and sales tax?

    Google can help with that effort – if they want to make a real difference. Balance the local business playing field instead of raping and pillaging local retail economies

    • Craig

      “share it with their online friends Amazon etc. … that pay Google for search ranking placement.”

      I think you are mistaking Google for Yahoo whose search business model did include selling rankings.

      Beyond that, did you notice the word, “local”? Do you live local to Amazon? Actually, there is no LOCAL when it comes to Amazon.

      I fail to see how pointing out what businesses that are LOCAL to you that have what you want is pillaging the local retail economy. They should instead list what businesses 3 states/provinces/prefectures away have what you are searching for?

      “online use and sales tax”??? What have either to do with going down to a LOCAL store to buy what you want other than finding out the store had what you want via an online search and your paying sales tax to the store?

  • The System

    If Google want’s every retail business to publish its full inventory and prices it will put google in an monopoly position to play market arbitrage and set prices and profits accordingly. Such a move if universally adopted by local businesses for better rankings and sales, would make google the biggest shop in the world!

    • Craig

      It is not a matter of what Google wants, it is what Google needs if a local business wants to be listed as having a searched for product in stock.

      Google may be the only one in the market doing this but that doesn’t make it a monopoly. Is someone not supposed to do something only because no one else does it, yet?

      Google doesn’t control the retail market, a requirement for the term ‘monopoly’, or even access to information, they are just better at it than anyone else.

      Is being good at what one does now a crime as well?

  • JohnM

    Sounds like google IS supporting LOCAL business INSTEAD of to the on-line community. By showing who has an item to buy locally, isn’t that SUPPORTING the local economy and local retailers as apposed to was merely pointing out on-line suppliers?