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."
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.