Google Australia is making it free for local merchants to list their products on the Google Shopping tab for free from mid-October.

For retailers this means free exposure to millions of shoppers, regardless if they advertiser on Google; for consumers, it means more products from more stores, and for advertisers, it means paid campaigns can be augmented with free listings.

Google Australia industry director for retail, Renee Gamble acknowledged that retailers have played a vital role in the country’s response to COVID-19, providing essential products and services, as well as supporting jobs.

“As more Australian businesses turn to e-commerce, we have been focused on supporting them in every way we can,” she said.

“In the US, where the change was made earlier this year, retailers running free listings and ads got an average of twice as many views and 50% more visits—and small and medium-sized businesses saw the biggest increases.”

To help retailers adjust to these changes, Google is offering skills training through Grow with Google and sharing research and insights to inform their business decisions.

“We’ve launched a playbook and webinar series to help retailers better manage digital storefronts. We’re working closely with many of our partners – Shopify, BigCommerce and Dynamic Creative – to help merchants manage their products and inventory,” Gamble said.

“In advancing our plans with Google Shopping, we hope to build on these programs, providing extra support and relief for retailers when it’s needed most.”

Existing users of Merchant Centre and Shopping ads don’t have to do anything to take advantage of the free listings. For new users of Merchant Center, Google will continue working to streamline the onboarding process over the coming weeks and months.

“We’re looking forward to working even more closely with retailers throughout Australia, helping shoppers find the products they need more easily, contributing to the recovery from COVID-19, and preparing for longer-term change in local commerce,” she concluded.

Earlier this year, the Google Team conducted one-on-one small business consultations with business owners from fire impacted communities throughout NSW and VIC, offered free small business resources thanks to partnerships with Bega Valley Innovation Hub, Northern Beaches Council and Business Australia, and provided $20 million of free Google Ads to Australian ad customers, government agencies, and to support community organisations, to name a few.