If you’ve logged into your Google Merchant Center account recently, you may have noticed a new feed type: Online Product Inventory Update Feeds. This new feed type allows merchants to send incremental updates to price, availability, and sale information for products already present in their regular Google product feed. It is a supplement to your full data feed, which will still need to be uploaded regularly, and consists of just five columns maximum: “id” (required), “price,” “availability,” “sale price,” and “sale price effective date.” The advantage of the Inventory Update feed is that changes can be processed more quickly and more frequently, so that your entire catalog doesn’t need to be reevaluated each time you make an update.
Should I create an Inventory Update feed?
Product inventory update feeds will not necessarily be useful for all merchants using Google Shopping. Those that will benefit most from these feeds will likely be facing at least one of the following three challenges:
- Large catalogs that are frequently updated throughout the day
- Persistent issues with item disapprovals due to inaccurate pricing and/or availability
- Frequent short-term sales and promotions
Merchants with smaller catalogs and steady prices/inventory are unlikely to find much value in these new feeds. Those who are using Google’s API to upload data feeds will not need an inventory update feed, as the API already allows for incremental updates.
This is yet another step Google is taking to improve data quality on Google Shopping, following updates such as dimensional weight support, automatic item updates, updated troubleshooting with Merchant Center diagnostics, and the shipping configuration tool, which have all rolled out since last summer. If you’re facing any issues with feed accuracy, consider implementing an inventory update feed to keep your data fresh and avoid a potential suspension of your Merchant Center account.