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In this help center, you can find content for both Merchant Center Next and the classic Merchant Center experience. Look for the logo at the top of each article to make sure you're using the article for the Merchant Center version that applies to you. 

About providing historical order tracking data to display more accurate shipping speeds

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If you’re looking for information about linking a partner with your Merchant Center account in Merchant Center Next, click here.

If you use a partner who can provide your order tracking history data, you have the option to link your Merchant Center account directly to your partner account, which will allow Google to use that data to calculate shipping speeds for you that vary with a user’s location and which of your items they’re considering. Alternatively, you can provide your historical order tracking data directly via manual upload or API. Learn more about Order tracking signals.

When you begin providing order tracking history, you’ll be opted into “automatic shipping improvements” a feature that allows Google to use its machine learning models to calculate shipping speeds for all of your offers across eligible countries and listing types. If our shipping models verify that your product could ship more quickly to a given user than what you've configured within Merchant Center or your feeds, we’ll show the improved shipping speed.

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Benefits

  • Clarity and accuracy: Manually configured shipping speeds are often overly conservative because they typically take the most remote locations into account, resulting in a wide range of delivery times, for example, 3 to 10 days. In general, Google-calculated shipping speeds are based on the customer's location, such as their postal code or state. This makes the shipping speeds more precise, such as 3 to 5 days. Making more accurate delivery times, especially when faster, typically lead to better conversion rates.
  • Shipping annotation: This data can be used to validate your shipping settings, which qualifies you for the “fast and free” badge and similar shipping annotations.

How it works

After you link your Merchant Center account with a partner or manually upload your data, Google will be able to calculate shipping speeds on your behalf. Through your linked account, Google will pull historical order tracking data for your existing offers to calculate customized shipping speeds specific to your business. If we predict a shorter delivery speed, we’ll show that to your customers instead of what you've configured in Merchant Center or your feeds.

To link your partner, you need to:

Note: If you're a partner and would like to be added to our list, complete this interest form.

How Google uses the data

Order tracking history 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. 

You will have the best results if the order tracking history data that you or your partner submits includes all orders from your website, for example, the site that Google directs your traffic to.

It’s okay to include a mix of different user-selected service levels like “free shipping” and “overnight”. Google will attempt to separate those in its modeling. But, please avoid including order sources that are not representative of your website, for example, marketplaces that require 2 day shipping on most orders. If, on your partner’s platform, you don’t have control over which order sources you send to Google, it is likely that Google and your partner have already worked together to resolve any issues.

Note: The data you submit will also be used to make Google’s proprietary machine learning models better for all retailers, including your business. But we will never share your data with any other retailer or third party, outside of aggregated, anonymized benchmarks, such as those used in the Shopping experience scorecard. Learn more about Google’s privacy policy.

Instructions

There are a few ways to use partner data with your Merchant Center account account:

  • You can create a shipping service based on partner data.
  • Or, if you already have a shipping service, you can use partner data for shipping performance verification.
  • Create a shipping service using data from your partner.

Create a shipping service using data from your partner

To use partner data to create a shipping service, follow these steps:

  1. Click Add Shipping service under “Your shipping services” on the main shipping page.
  2. Enter a name for your shipping service, for example, “Standard ground shipping”.
  3. Select one of the eligible countries under “Which countries can you deliver to with this service?”
  4. Select the currency used in the country and make sure it matches the currency listed in your feed. If the currency is different, your items may be disapproved.
  5. Click Next to configure the delivery time settings.
  6. Select Your shipping data from partners under “How do you want to determine delivery times for this service?”.
  7. Select your partner and follow the prompts to link your account.
    1. If you don’t work with one of the available partners, select “Share order history using a file.”
    2. Download Google’s template and prepare your order tracking history data in that format.
  8. Upload your order tracking history data as a .csv or .tsv file.
  9. Confirm the backup delivery time for Google to use when there’s not yet enough shipping data to create an estimate for a given customer or item or location. This is required. Learn how to Set up estimated delivery time.
  10. Click Next to configure the shipping rates you charge your customers.

Link a partner on the Shipping services overview page

  1. On the Shipping services overview page, click Shipping data verification.
  2. Click + New verification.
  3. Select your partner and follow the prompts to link your account.
    1. If you don’t work with one of the available partners, select “Share order history using a file.”
    2. Download Google’s template and prepare your order tracking history data in that format.
    3. Upload your order tracking history data as a .csv or .tsv file.
  4. Click Done.

Link a partner directly from your partner’s website

Learn more on how to initiate the process from each of our supported partner below:

Once you initiate the account linking process from your partner’s website, you will be redirected to Merchant Center. Sign in if not already and proceed to connect your Merchant Center account to the shipping partner. You’ll be redirected to the partner’s website to complete the linking process.


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.

If you’ve linked a partner when creating a shipping service, you can pause or delete the shipping service that’s linked to a partner or uses manually-provided order tracking data at any time. You can also convert a partner-based shipping service to a standard, manually-configured policy at any time, and vice versa.

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