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Google announced back in December 2018, changes to the criteria to the minimum requirements as a Google Comparison-Shopping Services (CSS) partner. The purpose of this was to raise the bar to becoming a partner, enhancing the customer experience on the partner comparison sites. This included the following requirements:

  • A Google CSS partner needs 100 merchants
  • A premium CSS partner needs 500 merchants
  • All partners need 50 merchants per country where shopping offers are displayed

From today, February 21st 2019, Google will enforce these requirements across all partners.  The number of official CSS partners on the Google CSS partner finder page has dropped from over 130 to just 48 across Europe – we are pleased to say we remain an official partner.

What this means for retailers?

If you already have an existing CSS and they are no longer eligible to advertise in your territories, all ads for those countries will be disapproved. Some may have been aware since earlier this month, an ongoing red alert flag in the Merchant Center, highlighted as a warning, will now become error messages if no action is taken. Explore what your current CSS partners strategy is and how they plan to adhere to the most recent Google update. As a fully compliant partner across EU markets, we are here to support you if you are not happy with the answers to your questions.

What this means for partners?

For those CSS who are eligible with the merchant count of 50 territories, service remains unchanged. In the instance where this threshold is not met, we have options to enable CSS partners to provide continuous service and support for their existing clients whilst remaining a valuable service for their own agency.

These include:

  • White label platform: licence our platform and apply this to your existing CSS brand
  • Productcaster partner: migrate your existing and future clients to Productcaster and become an official Productcaster reseller

 

The benefits of the Productcaster platform

 

As early adopters of the CSS initiative, our continued service and support to the development of the Productcaster platform enables us to offer the following benefits for our clients:

 

Product integration:

  • Integrate your merchants at pace through our Google Merchant Center synchroniser
  • An infinite number of products published daily
  • Compatible to integrate with Marketplace merchants, with high volumes of accounts

 

User experience:

  • Multi-product filtering to increase product discoverability for users
  • Lowest bounce rates in the market
  • High-performance site, with average page load speeds at or below industry benchmarks

 

Technical infrastructure:

  • The highest level of site security (A+)
  • High-performance, full-featured text search engine
  • Image optimisation and improved security for merchants that don’t support HTTPS for images
  • Content delivery network to ensure speed in all countries

 

Our goal into 2019 and beyond is to ensure retailers and agencies have continued support and service. If you would like to find out more about how we can work together, contact a member of our CSS team on cssteam@productcaster.com or call +44 (0)20 3948 4696