Posting your Zen Cart inventory in Google Merchant

You want to sell your wares in Google Shopping?  Great!  By all means, build a feed from Zen Cart for Google Merchant and get started.  But remember the rules: Google wants you to list shipping costs along with your products for every region you advertise in.

Here are the most common ways to do this:

Shipping option Description
Free Simple to configure and maintain
Flat rate Simple to configure and maintain
Carrier rate (UPS, USPS, Fedex) Rates are automatically calculated based on carrier rates for all users (not negotiated rates). Only available in some countries (USA, AUS). You may add a surcharge (% or fixed amount).
Percentage of order total Simple to configure and maintain and allows for varied shipping rates based on price
Unique shipping costs for one particular product Specify the shipping price within the feed using the
shipping attribute.
Allows you to manually override account settings for a product with unique shipping rates

Google maintains a team of auditors who will compare what’s in the feed to what is shown on your website in the Shipping Estimator, and complain about any variance between the two. Now according to their own rules, you are allowed to “overestimate” the shipping cost in the feed (see rule below), but even then, I have received complaints from them. Per Google,

“To show ads to a particular country or region, you must offer shipping and correctly set up shipping costs for that area. The shipping costs that you submit to Merchant Center must match the costs you charge on your website or at least overestimate those costs.”

In other words, it’s ok for the feed to show a higher shipping cost than your website. It’s not ok for your website to show a higher shipping cost than the feed.

Potential Problems

        • If you determine shipping costs algorithmically using your own logic, you’re going to have to figure out some way of mapping this to one of the techniques in the table above for the purposes of the Google feed. Again, per Google,

          “Keep in mind that if you dynamically choose where to ship from at the time the user checks out, there is currently no way that this can be configured in Google Shopping.”

        • You quote negotiated rates (for example, using the Zen Cart upsxml shipping module). If you use Carrier Rates in Google Shopping, they will retrieve non-negotiated rates; this will cause the rate shown in Google Shopping to be higher than what is on your website. Although this is permitted according to their rules, you may have to argue with them about this.
        • You have enabled multiple shipping modules, or multiple services within a carrier. In this case, you may be forced to show all relevant rates, not just the lowest or most common one.

5 Reasons Why I Love to Shop Online

5 Reasons Why I Love to Shop Online

a guest post by Holly McCarthy

It’s something my friends and I love to do – just hang around a mall all day long, going from shop to shop, taking in the sights and sounds of other shoppers, and having a great day out. But I must admit that I’m a closet online shopper too – I find as much pleasure in scouring the Internet for deals as I do when I’m out on the streets. And if push came to shove and I was asked to choose between online shopping and the real thing, I would say that the former has a slight edge over the latter, simply because:

  • It’s the best way to buy presents for people who live far away: It’s pretty simple when you can provide one billing address and another shipping address to shop for loved ones who live in different cities. You can buy them stuff from online stores and have them ship the product directly to them. And very often, if you plan your purchase in advance and choose ground shipping, you get your gift shipped free of cost.
  • It beats battling weather conditions: If you’ve ever shopped during intense heat waves with buckets of sweat pouring down your back or during cold fronts where the snow creeps up your shoes and forms wet slush, you’ll definitely appreciate the comfort of shopping from a climate-controlled room, with a hot cup of coffee (or a cold beer) beside you.
  • You have greater variety: Yeah, you can shop all over the country, without having to spend an additional penny or travelling an inch from where you are. All you need is the time and the patience to search the Internet for the best deals and greatest collections when you’re looking for a particular item.
  • You get great rebates: Some offers are only available online – besides the coupons and deals, you also get mail-in rebates that sometimes take half the price off the product.
  • You’re contributing to saving the planet: Now I’m not a green freak or an environmentalist, but what I do know is that I prefer a clean world to live in, one that does not involve climate change and global warming. So I’m happy to do what I can to reduce the use of fossil fuel – the less I use my car, the less I’m polluting the environment.

This guest post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of the top online college. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com