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2021 Merchant Center product data specification update

April 6, 2021

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Every year, we make changes to the Merchant Center product data specification with the goal of creating a better experience for people who are searching for products online.

This year’s updates focus on improving the quality of product information across free listings and Shopping ads.

What’s changing this year

Changes beginning immediately (April 6, 2021)

Checkout price enforcement: In addition to reviewing and enforcing price accuracy between your Merchant Center product data and your landing pages, we will begin to review and enforce price accuracy throughout the checkout process. If during an account review we find that the price provided for a product at checkout is higher than the price provided for that product on its landing page, you will receive a warning and will have 28 days to resolve these mismatches, otherwise your account will be subject to suspension.

Learn more about the price attribute and how to resolve issues with inconsistent pricing between the landing page and checkout pages on your website.

Region-specific shipping speed: Customize shipping speeds for specific regions at the item-level without creating a shipping service by using the new sub-attributes of the shipping attribute: min/max_handling_time and min/max_transit_time. New shipping sub-attributes apply to Shopping ads and free listings, and do not apply to Buy on Google.

Learn more about the shipping attribute, account-level shipping settings, and the min_handling_time and max_handling_time attributes.

Update the availability of your products to “backorder”: You can now specify that your products are backordered when you use the availability attribute. To do so, you’ll need to provide the availability_date attribute to specify when backordered products will become available. You’ll also need to provide the availability_date attribute if your products’ availability is set to “preorder”. This applies to Shopping ads and free listings, and does not apply to products listed through Buy on Google.

Learn more about the availability and availability_date attributes.

Additional values: You can now add the values “big”, “tall”, and “plus” to indicate the sizing for apparel when you use the size_type attribute. You can now also provide up to two values, such as "petite maternity" or "big and tall". The value “oversize” is no longer accepted for the size_type attribute; the value “plus” should be used instead.

Learn more about the size_type attribute

Disallow cross-border for payment plan products: We no longer allow products with payment plans (that is, any product using the subscription_cost or installment attributes) to be listed cross-border using a single feed. To list a product with a payment plan across multiple countries, you must duplicate the product and provide it in a separate feed for each country. Any products with payment plans that target more than one country will be disapproved. This applies to Shopping ads and free listings in all countries where the installment or subscription_cost attribute is available.

Learn more about the installment and subscription_cost attributes.

Changes beginning June 15, 2021

Provide unique combinations of brand and MPN to avoid disapprovals: If multiple products in your product data use the same brand and MPN combination, they may be disapproved. A product will be disapproved if:

  • There are multiple products with the same brand and mpn combination but different values for the item_group_id.
  • There are multiple products with the same brand and mpn combination and the same variant attributes, which include color, material, pattern, size, size_type, unit_pricing_measure, gender, product_detail, condition, and multipack.

Item-level warnings will be issued in Diagnostics starting April 6. If unresolved, these warnings will turn into disapprovals starting June 15.

Learn more about the brand and mpn attributes.

Add time zones to datetime attributes: If the timezone is missing from any of your date-time attributes (availability_date, expiration_date, or sale_price_effective_date), Google will assume the attribute is in the UTC timezone. We recommend that you verify how you provide date-time attributes and explicitly add time zones and times if any are missing. Note that this does not apply to Promotions-specific attributes, such as promotion_effective_dates and promotion_display_dates.

Learn more about formatting date and time

Changes beginning September 15, 2021

Provide shipping country sub-attribute if missing: You can show products in more than one target country by adding additional countries to your primary feed settings or by using the shipping attribute for individual products. When providing the shipping attribute, you now need to provide the shipping country sub-attribute to ensure that your products show in the intended countries. Otherwise, starting September 15, your products will be subject to disapproval. Item-level warnings (“Missing sub-attribute [country (sub-attribute of [shipping])]”) have already been issued in the Diagnostics page to help merchants identify affected products.

Learn more about the shipping attribute and how to show products in multiple countries

To ensure that your products continue to show and prevent possible disapprovals, please go to the Diagnostics page of your Merchant Center account to review the affected products and apply the necessary changes once these changes go into effect.

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