About inventory verification

Google's inventory verification program checks product information in your local stores to ensure it matches the information you provide in your data feeds. Click here to learn how to request an inventory verification.

To ensure the accuracy of information in local inventory ads, Google has an inventory verification program. Through this program, the Google team checks product information in your actual stores to ensure it matches the information you submit through your data feeds. 

Inventory verification methods

We factor your assortment size, number of locations, and geographic availability to select one of the following methods to verify the inventory accuracy of your feeds. All verification lists are generated using algorithms based upon similar factors.

Onsite verification

A Google representative works with the inventory verification contact listed in your Merchant Center account settings to schedule visits to a small number of your stores. We aim to minimize any impact on store operations and generally avoid visiting during peak selling days and hours.

During an initial visit, 1-3 Google representatives:

  1. Introduce themselves to the store manager upon arrival.
  2. Gather information for a list of products during their 1-day visit.
  3. Work independently throughout the day.
  4. Review items that were found to be out of stock with the store manager.

The team doesn't take pictures of your products, remove products from their locations, or interrupt normal store operations. Typically, the team doesn't need access to your back room or storage areas, unless you indicate that we need to check these areas to get price and availability information for your products.

Onsite verification FAQs

Do representatives require stockroom access?

This depends on the layout of your store. Representatives check that the items listed as in stock in your feeds are available in store and have the same price. If there are items only in the stockroom, representatives may ask the store manager for assistance

How long will the evaluator be in the store?
Our 3rd party vendors generally spend 6-8 hours in stores.  The goal is for them to check for as many items on the sales floor as possible in that time frame.  Every store is different in regards to layout and size.  While some stores may require the full 8 hours to gather enough data for our teams to analyze, other stores can sometimes need less than 6 hours.

How many evaluators will be in the store?
You can expect between 1-3 representatives onsite to perform the complete verification depending on the size of your store’s assortment.

Can the amount of evaluation time be limited?
A hard stop time can be requested. However, we request that all inventory verifications have a minimum completion time of 4 hours.  Verifications that are less than 4 hours may not produce a large enough data sample for a confident evaluation.

Phone verification

We work with you to schedule phone calls that are convenient for your store representatives. A call typically takes 1.5 hours per store. Similar to the traditional onsite verification process, a Google representative asks about a list of items and ensures that the product, price, and availability information match the data you submitted in your data feeds.

Self-verification

We email you to confirm that your account is ready for the inventory verification stage. Then, you send us your store representative contact information and their availability to conduct the review. On an agreed upon date, we email your store representative a survey form with a random selection of products pulled from the store’s data feeds. The representative’s task is to ensure the product information matches what’s actually in the store. We also ask the representative to take a photograph of some products. The photos must clearly show the product label and shelf price or price tag.  

We expect the entire process to take approximately 4 hours per store.

Ongoing inventory verification

Once your local inventory ads are live, Google conducts ongoing inventory verifications via phone and store visits. These checks help ensure that product, price, and availability information continues to be accurate. 

Phone verification

During phone verifications, a Google operator anonymously calls a small number of stores and ask about the availability and price of 2-3 items. We aim to keep these calls as brief as possible. Google will not call during peak holiday shopping days or peak selling times of the day and week.

Onsite verification

Ongoing onsite verifications follow the same procedure as the initial inventory verification process.
Google may ask the merchant to perform the verifications themselves in the future. Any instructions will be shared accordingly.

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