With the complexion of the digital landscape that we’re experiencing over the years, it’s a real challenge for retailers that have online and offline activity to position themselves in this constantly changing environment. Setting prices on products is also a challenge, especially when they’re changing regularly, and if they are not consistent from one region to another. In physical shops, it’s just about changing labels and there is no particular issue if the prices are not similar in every store. But when it comes to digital it’s not that simple. Retailers often face situations where feeds get disapproved, which has an impact on online performances.
Take the example of a large country that is composed of multiple regions or states, like the United-States for example. The tax situation is different from one state to another, which also means that prices can vary if the products are sold in California or in Texas.
Having prices or availability information per region was simply not possible in a traditional Merchant center feed… Until Google released its new feature : Regional Availability and Pricing!
What is Regional Availability and Pricing ?
Basically, Regional Availability and Pricing (RAAP) enables retailers to provide local availability and pricing of products based on their business footprint and the customer’s location. Concretely, you need to implement a second feed in Google Merchant Center (GMC) to indicate which products have prices and availability specific to regions.
This feature is available for advertising through Shopping (Standard or Smart), Search ads and Performance Max, but also organically through the free listings under the Shopping tab.
For now, RAAP is only available in the United States in France, Australia, Brazil, Russia and is in Beta in Canada in Germany, meaning that it’s not available in Belgium yet.
How to implement RAAP ?
1. Create regions in GMC
To be able to use RAAP, you’ll need to create regions in GMC. A region is used to define areas, states, or cities where products have the same online availability or price, or both. In the case where prices can vary from one store to another you’ll have to create one region per store.
Regions can contain up to 25,000 postal codes. One single postal code can be used in different regions, but there will only be shopping ads displayed in this case and Google will decide which region will be shown, depending on the expected performances. Also, regions need to meet a minimum size in terms of geographical area, but also in terms of population density. Forget about creating a region for a small village in the countryside…
You’ll be able to name your regions as you want, but you’ll also need to choose a region ID which is at least 6 digits long and IDs that look like postal codes will be disapproved by Google
2. Update your primary feed and upload regional feed
Regional prices and availability can’t be added directly to your main, ‘’national’’ feed. You’ll have to create a new feed, which is going to be grafted to your main feed, in the same way as for a local inventory feed for Local Inventory Ads (LIA).
The regional feed needs to hold the following attributes:
- The product ID [id];
- The Region ID [region_id].
If applicable, you can also add the following :
- The price [price];
- The sale price [sale_price];
- The availability [availability];
- And the [sale_price_effective_date].
The feed will then contain one line per product and per region.
What happens if a product is in both feeds ? In this case, the regional feed will always have priority over your main feed.
3. Update landing pages
When using RAAP, you won’t be able to add your regional prices landing pages directly to your primary or regional feeds. To make sure that the same price is displayed on Google, but also on the landing page, additional information should be passed with the click.
Google will use the URL from your primary feed and add the [region_id] parameter to your URL. It will then look like this :
- Primary feed URL: https://www.examplestore.com/exampleofferpage
- Final URL: https://www.examplestore.com/exampleofferpage®ion_id=123456
At Semetis, we’re looking forward to starting testing this relatively new feature. Let’s hope that Google will deploy the Beta in Belgium as well!