If you run an e-commerce website, it’s more important than ever that the prices you display are accurate and consistent – for your customers’ benefit as well as your own. Beginning April 6, 2021, Google will begin reviewing and enforcing price accuracy at checkout on merchant sites. According to the official announcement, you will first receive a warning if the price of one of your products at checkout is higher than the price on the product’s landing page. If you fail to resolve the issue within the 28-day warning period, Google may suspend your account.
Google to Suspend Merchant Sites with Inaccurate Pricing
Google will begin reviewing and enforcing price accuracy at checkout on merchant sites. Although this policy isn’t new, the enforcement is. In addition, it’s important to note that Google already reviews and enforces price accuracy when it comes to Merchant Center product data matching landing page pricing. Now, these price checks will extend to checkout pages as well.
To ensure you’re abiding by Google’s guidelines, check out the Checkout Requirements and Best Practices in the Google Merchant Center. Regarding pricing consistency, it reads, “The price of your product should be consistent throughout the checkout process, not just between the product feed and your landing page. The price shouldn’t increase at checkout. It may, however, be lowered after the product is added to the cart if a promotion is added.”
What about taxes, fees, and additional charges? According to Google, “Any additional charges or fees, such as activation fees, must be included in the price.”
And what about shipping? Google states, “Any shipping-related charges, such as shipping, delivery, handling, or carrier-related fees, must be included in the value submitted in the shipping attribute.”
During account reviews, Google will look at the pricing of your products on their landing pages and at checkout. If they find that a product’s price is higher at checkout, Google will send you a 28-day warning to resolve the inconsistency. When the warning period ends, your account will be subject to suspension if you haven’t sorted out the issue.
Customers want and expect pricing to be consistent and accurate when shopping online. However, some e-commerce sites tack on hidden fees when a customer adds a product to their cart. If a landing page or advertisement boasts a low price to entice viewers, but the price at checkout is higher, the shopper will likely be frustrated, confused, or annoyed. In many cases, they will abandon the purchase altogether. By suspending deceptive merchant sites with inaccurate or inconsistent pricing, Google hopes to improve the experience of shopping online.
This update will go into effect in less than two months, on April 6, 2021. Google plans to send out a second announcement when the enforcement goes into effect. In the meantime, merchant sites have plenty of time to prepare for the update by auditing their pricing data.
We expect this trend of Google restrictions to continue. To stay on top of the updates, features, and announcements, check out the Google Merchant Center Announcements Change Log and the Google Ads New Features & Announcements feed.
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