Google Shopping Feed Specification and Product Taxonomy Changes – 2015

Google provided commentary on the changes in this article . You may also refer to the full Google feed specification documentation. Here is the summary:

 

Feed Specifications

  • Units and Quantity: In the past Google supported only metric units. Now US volumes, weights, lengths and area measures are included. With this update, there’s a new per-unit measure for units that rely on unit pricing. If you’re a retailer that relies on these values (for example, if you sell flooring and carpet or food items), Google recommends providing details for these categories.
     
  • ID Attribute: Currently, you can use any sequence of letters and digits in your Google Item ID attribute, including sequences that can be difficult to use in a user interface (whitespace and control characters are good examples). With this update, your ID attribute should, if possible, match your SKU and contain alphanumeric characters along with defined punctuation signs (underscore, dash, colon or slash). Google recommends that you use your SKUs for this attribute if they’re unique across your inventory. The identifier for each item must be unique within your Google account and shouldn’t be reused between feeds for the same country in the same language.
     
  • GTIN: With this spec change, Google is clarifying where global trade identification numbers (GTINs) are needed. Retailers in Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, UK and US will need to submit GTIN and brand values when the brand is a designated brand and the condition is new. Google recommends that retailers in other regions submit GTIN and brand for products when the brand is a designated brand. Google has said that in the future, GTINs will be a requirement for all products.
     
  • Google Product Category IDs: Google has released IDs for all categories in addition to Google product category (GPC) text so it’s easier for you to reference these categories programmatically. You’re required to provide either GPC text or GPC numeric IDs for feeds targeting select countries (Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, UK and US) and for all items in the Apparel & Accessories, Media, and Software categories. However, Google recommends providing either GPC text or GPC numeric IDs if your products don’t fall into one of those categories.
     
  • Detailed Product Attributes and Item Groupings: Apparel and variant information is now required for France, Germany, Japan, the UK, the US and Brazil. Additionally, Google has merged apparel and variant attributes into detailed product attributes and opened variant attributes up to non-apparel products. Retailers in the six regions should ensure that the information for colour, pattern, material, age group and gender in the Apparel & Accessories category are provided, as well as the size attribute for shoes.
     
  • Shipping requirements: Previously retailers in Australia, France, Germany, the UK and the US were required to provide shipping data. This requirement has been expanded to retailers in Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland so that more countries will be able to display accurate shipping costs to shoppers.

 

Product Taxonomy

  • Product Taxonomy paths: The taxonomy has been simplified as a number of categories was rolled up into their parent categories.
     
  • Activewear Categories: Most of these categories are now part of the "non-active" equivalent. For example, "Active Skirts" is now a sub-category of "Skirts".
     
  • Food, Beverages & Tobacco / Mature: Google added more categories to them.
     
  • Rework in some verticals: As Google has done significant updates to some verticals please review your Google Product Categories .
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