About letting Google calculate your shipping speeds

If you’re a retailer that ships products to the US, you can choose to let Google calculate a shipping speed (sometimes called “delivery time”) to your customers.

Shipping speed is a critical factor in customers’ purchase decisions. By allowing Google to calculate shipping speeds, you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • Clarity and accuracy: Manually-configured shipping speeds are often overly conservative because they typically take the most remote locations into account. In general, Google-calculated shipping speeds are determined by the customer’s location, often making them more precise.
  • Easy entry: Once you activate Google-calculated shipping speeds, your estimated delivery times are automatically calculated and displayed on eligible ads and free product listings.

There are two ways to have Google calculate your shipping speeds:

Using delivery locations and information from your shipping carrier

This option allows Google to estimate your shipping speeds by using the delivery locations of your customers and your warehouses, plus information from your shipping carrier(s).

The total shipping speed that each customer sees is based on handling time plus transit time, and is unique to that customer’s delivery location and the products they’re purchasing. You still provide the handling time, while Google will calculate the transit time and overall shipping speed.

How it works

Google uses your warehouse locations, your customer’s delivery location, and your carrier’s shipping information (for example, the time-in-transit tables related to the specific carrier service(s) you select) to calculate a unique shipping speed that appears in your listings.

To participate, you need to:

  • Ship to US customers.
  • Have warehouses based in the US.
  • Use one of our select carriers (UPS, USPS, FedEx).

Google assumes that each of your warehouses has the same set of products, and will calculate shipping speeds based on this assumption. If you have multiple shipping services (of any type) for the same offer, we'll show the shipping speed associated with the cheapest shipping service based on the customer's location. If the cheapest shipping service is the one where you've provided multiple warehouses and/or carrier services, we'll display the fastest speed based on the possible warehouse and carrier service combinations.

  • If you have different products in different warehouses, you can create a shipping service that only works for specific products or regions.
Note: If you're a carrier and would like to be added to our list, complete this interest form.

To set carrier calculated transit times for a new shipping service

  1. Select Show custom delivery times based on your carrier or partner under “How do you want to determine delivery times for this service?”.
  2. Select Your carrier and ship from location under “Show custom delivery times based on:”.
  3. Enter your ship from location(s). If it does not yet exist, use Add a new ship from location to provide the name, address, handling time, and order cut off information.
    • You can create multiple shipping services using the same warehouse.
    • You can update the location and handling time details for your warehouse at any time by going to "My locations" on the main shipping page. Any changes you make will automatically be propagated to all shipping services that refer to that warehouse.
  4. Select your carrier(s) and carrier service level(s).
  5. Click Next to configure the shipping rates you charge your customers.
    • Every shipping service can only have one shipping cost framework (for example, free shipping or flat fee) that you charge your customers. If your shipping service contains multiple warehouses or carrier services, all of the possible warehouse and carrier service combinations must share the same shipping cost framework. You’ll need to create a separate shipping service for every individual shipping cost framework that you charge your customers.
  6. Click Save and you’re all set with this shipping service.

To set carrier calculated transit times for an existing shipping service

  1. Select the shipping service you want to update from the summary table available on the main shipping page.
  2. Click on the edit icon Edit for “Delivery time”.
  3. Select Show custom delivery times based on your carrier or partner under “How do you want to determine delivery times for this service?”.
  4. Select Your carrier and ship from location under “Show custom delivery times based on:”.
  5. Select your ship from location(s). If it does not yet exist, use Add a new ship from location to provide the name, address, handling time, and order cut off information.
    • You can create multiple shipping services using the same warehouse.
    • You can update the location and handling time details for your warehouse at any time by going to My locations on the main shipping page. Any changes you make will automatically be propagated to all shipping services that refer to that warehouse.
  6. Select your carrier(s) and carrier service level(s).
  7. Click Next to update (if needed) the shipping rates you charge your customers.
    • Every shipping service can only have one shipping cost framework (for example, free shipping or flat fee) that you charge your customers. If your shipping service contains multiple warehouses and/or carrier services, all of the possible warehouse and carrier service combinations must share the same shipping cost framework. You will need to create a separate shipping service for every individual shipping cost framework that you charge your customers.
  8. Click Save and you’re all set with this shipping service.

Eligibility

Google-calculated shipping speeds are currently only available to retailers who ship products to US customers. Warehouses based outside of the US that ship to US customers are currently not eligible to use the feature. Google is constantly working to expand feature availability to more regions, and we’ll update you if this feature becomes available in more regions (including shipping to non-US customers).

Using historical order tracking and shipping data from a partner

This option allows Google to estimate your shipping speeds by using your historical order tracking data and/or offer-level estimated delivery dates provided by your partner, paired with our machine learning capabilities, to show the most accurate shipping speeds to your customers.

How it works

Once you link your Merchant Center account with a partner, Google will be able to calculate shipping speeds on your behalf. Through your linked account, Google will pull historical order tracking data and/or offer-level estimated delivery dates for your existing offers to calculate customized shipping speeds specific to your business. The historical order tracking data can cover all of your orders (for example: those made on your website), not just those through Buy on Google. This data will also be used to improve Google’s proprietary machine learning models for all merchants, but will never be shared with any other merchant or third party. Learn more about Google’s privacy policy

Order tracking data includes:

  • Order information, including order ID, order creation time, delivery postal code, and region code
  • Shipping cost charged to the buyer
  • Shipping information, including the carrier, tracking number, origin, destination, and shipping times for each shipment associated with the order
  • Order line item information, including the products in the order

Not all of the information listed above is required. In addition, we won’t be retrieving customer names or exact addresses.

To participate, you need to:

  • Ship to US customers.
  • Use one of our select partners, including ShipStation and CedCommerce.
    • If you’re using multiple partners, you’ll have to create a new shipping service for each one.
Note: If you’re a partner and would like to be added to our list, complete this interest form.

To link to a partner, follow these steps when setting your delivery times for a shipping service:

  1. Select Show custom delivery times based on your carrier or partner under “How do you want to determine delivery times for this service?”.
  2. Select Your shipping data from partners under “Show custom delivery times based on:”.
  3. Select your partner and follow the prompts to link your account.
  4. Set a backup delivery time in case there’s not enough shipping data to create an estimate. This is required.
    • For more information on delivery times, click here.
  5. Click Next to configure the shipping rates you charge your customers.

If you wish to manually upload your historical order tracking data instead of linking to a partner, follow these steps:

  1. Select Show custom delivery times based on your carrier or partner under “How do you want to determine delivery times for this service”.
  2. Select Your shipping data from partners under “Show custom delivery times based on:”.
  3. Click Switch to manual upload.
  4. Drag and drop or upload a TSV or XML file of your historical order tracking data into the tool.
  5. Set a backup delivery time in case there’s not enough shipping data to create an estimate. This is required.
    • For more information on delivery times, click here.
  6. Click Next to configure the shipping rates you charge your customers.

When you create a shipping service by linking to a partner or manually providing historical order tracking data, you’ll be opted into automatic shipping improvements on all your offers across all ads, free product listings, and Buy on Google listings in the US. By opting into automatic shipping improvements, you’re allowing Google to improve the accuracy of your manually configured delivery times shown to customers. More accurate delivery times, especially when faster, typically lead to better conversion rates. You can turn off automatic shipping improvements at any time by deleting the shipping service that’s linked to a partner or uses manually provided order tracking data.

Unlinking

To manage your linked partner or to unlink, you can navigate to the “Linked Accounts” settings within Merchant Center and click on the Platforms tab. Unlinking a partner removes Google’s authorization to retrieve any data from this partner. All prior data from this partner will be deleted within 120 days. Any shipping service that used this partner data will remain active and now rely on your backup delivery times.

Shipping data verification

If you choose to link with a partner, you’ll also be automatically opted into shipping data verification that allows Google to verify any manually configured shipping speeds on any of your US offers. Learn more about shipping data verification

Note: Like any shipping service, you can pause or delete a partner based shipping service at any time. You can also convert a partner based shipping service to a standard, manually configured policy at any time and vice versa.

About shipping speed (delivery time)

Shipping speed is an important piece of information for people evaluating a possible purchase. If you want to show this information, you can specify a time in transit for each of your shipping services and a handling time for each product.

Transit time refers to the number of business days it takes for a carrier to deliver a package once it's picked up from your facility. You can configure transit time options within each shipping service in your Merchant Center account.

Handling time refers to the number of business days needed to process an order before it ships. Handling time normally starts when an order is placed by a customer and ends when a carrier picks up the package for shipment. You submit this either in Merchant Center within the shipping service or with your product data (use the max_handling_time and min_handling_time attributes). Learn more about setting up shipping speed

Note: You can only take advantage of having shipping speed appear on Buy on Google listings if you use a shipping service to provide your shipping settings. The delivery time-related sub-attributes within the shipping attribute only apply to ads and free listings. They don’t apply to Buy on Google listings.
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