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As of 31st December 2020, the UK exited the EU for good. The transition period officially ended on this day and the UK has now left the EU single market and the customs union. During the transition period, UK businesses were encouraged to prepare while waiting for the government negotiations for a deal with the EU. It’s fair to say that many business owners have been hoping for minimum impact exit as the UK leaves the European Union. After months of endless speculating, Brexit came and some businesses were left wondering what that means, especially for those directing their shopping ads outside of the UK.
In this article, we discuss the impact of Brexit on Google Merchant Centre setup. We offer some clarity on after Brexit sales for UK e-commerce businesses.
Based on the BordersOPmodel report, released by the UK government in December 2020, Google confirmed that the UK’s exit from the EU does not require changes to the Google Merchant Center and Shopping ads processes. This is positive news for e-commerce businesses that operate through Merchant Centre and those who put their marketing efforts into google shopping ads.
During the transition period, some of the concerns were around the question: what will Shopping ads directed to EU countries look like?
Although Google confirms that nothing is set to change in the Merchant Center and Shopping ads processes, merchants may be required to adapt their checkout pages & Merchant Center data when exporting with shopping ads, as new added costs may need to be considered. Exporting with shopping ads is a service that allows merchants to reach new global customers by promoting their products in an effort to find qualified leads.
To show Shopping ads and free listings from the UK to the EU, businesses are required to follow some steps to follow Google’s requirements.
Exporting products with Shopping Ads — Pre-Brexit
1. Create a feed for your new country of sale
Once you’ve identified the country you want to advertise your products to, you can duplicate your existing feeds and edit these accordingly. For example, you might want to remove heavy items that you don’t wish to ship abroad due to extra postage costs. When creating a new product feed for your selected country, you’ll need to edit the information within the product feed to match the approved language as well as the currency of the receiving country.
2. Establish tax and shipping settings
You are required to set up tax and shipping settings specific to the country you are advertising to and ensuring that you follow the correct tax policies for your country of sale. Tax for Shopping ads and free listings is restricted to two concepts: value-added tax (generally called VAT, IVA, TVA, MWST, or GST in different countries) and sales tax. If you’re directing your ads to a country in the EU, you’ll be using value-added tax.
You’ll also need to include import or export charges for all products crossing the UK border and display them clearly on your website and checkout page.
3. Follow the requirements for your new country of sale
Every country will have set requirements and policies you need to follow. These include ensuring that the language and currency on your pages meet the requirements of the EU country you are targeting, as well as making sure your product data complies with policies of the new country to avoid disapprovals of your shopping ads or products.
4. Create a Shopping campaign for your new country of sale
Businesses that want to list their products on Google with shopping ads will be able to do so even post-Brexit. Start by setting a new campaign name for your new country, ensuring that they meet all the requirements mentioned above. Learn more about
Exporting products with Shopping Ads — Post-Brexit
For those businesses that want to export their products with Google Shopping Ads now that the UK has left the EU, Google has clarified that these will need to be depicted according to their existing checkout and Merchant Centre data requirements.
1. Provide accurate pricing and currency
The advertised prices for your products should match with the final checkout prices. Failure to offer accurate pricing can mean a negative shopping experience for your customer, who might abandon the checkout stage when they see inaccuracy with prices. This can consequently harm your sales because a sale isn’t final until checkout is completed and catching the consumer’s interest in your product is only the initial stage of the selling process. While increasing your product prices can result in a loss of sales, a lower total price can be positive for the consumer if they use a promo code to get a discount on the initial price.
Find out whether the country you are directing your shopping ads requires a value-added tax EU VAT or IVA; This is very important as it must be included within your price attribute.
Unless you have currency conversion enabled in your product feed, your shopping pages should always display the currency for the country you are targeting. Ensure that your customers are seeing the same currency across all pages, from the product page to the checkout page.
2. Use the approved language consistently
Although it might sound obvious, businesses must ensure that the language on their site is the same as the approved language of the country of sale. Once you have confirmed the approved language of the country you’re directing your shopping ads to, you’ll have to include this in your product feed, on the landing pages, and throughout the checkout process. For example, if you are targeting Spain you may use Spanish to upload the feed, and the same for the landing page and throughout the checkout process.
Other pages on your website that include information useful to the customer should also be in the approved language of that specific country. Most of the countries in the EU have English as one of the approved countries, so this stage of the process might become easier for businesses during Brexit.
3. Provide relevant information
You are required to explicitly list out your contact information such as support contact email, phone number, or company physical address. Google requires at least 2 of these to be provided and failure to comply with Shopping ads policies can result in your ads being disapproved or the suspension of your account.
Additionally, customers should be able to find certain information on your web pages:
– Refund and return policy
– Terms and conditions
– About Page (including your contact details)
Learn more about product feed optimisation best practices here
4. Collect user information securely
When collecting customers’ personal information, such as credit card numbers, address and contact details, you should do this securely, ensuring that you are complying with your country of sales’ Data Collection and Use policies, as these may be different for each country.
Google CSS — Post Brexit
Comparison Shopping Services (CSSs) can place Shopping ads and free listings on Google on behalf of merchants in countries that are part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and in Switzerland. The good news is despite Brexit, Google will continue to operate CSS within the UK as it forms one of the strongest CSS markets. If you’re still not taking advantage of CSS and would like to know how you could benefit from CSS discounts in Google Shopping, get in touch with us.
Besides getting your business prepared for Brexit if you haven’t yet, why not get in touch with the Shoptimised team. We can give you a free demo on how to manage the information within your product feed and Merchant Centre through the Shoptimised product feed optimisation software. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today!
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