About retailer standards and policies

Retailer standards are intended to ensure a smooth customer experience as well as help you measure your performance success and identify areas for improvement. Each month, retailers receive a rating that reflects how closely the retailer is meeting Google’s customer service standards.

How it works

Retailers receive a rating on the first day of each month. You can view your rating on the Standards dashboard in your Merchant Center account.

Your monthly score is based on data from the previous 90 days. This window ensures that there’s enough data to show trends and provide a fair evaluation, even if your order volume is relatively low.

Note: Your rating isn't visible on Google Express or on web searches. 

Evaluation criteria

Retailers are evaluated based on their item defect rate, shipping defect rate, gross sales, and total orders. Within these criteria, the most important factor is how reliably a retailer is able to fulfill orders as they're ordered, without cancellations or rejections.

Google reserves the right to grant exceptions based on situations when the trending score doesn’t accurately reflect actual performance. 

The table below gives a summary of possible scores, as well as applicable incentives and penalties:

Scores Metrics Tips What you get

Awesome

Item defect rate 1% or less

Shipping defect rate 2% or less

Sales goal $15K (90 days)

Item goal 300 (90 days)

Your products will appear prominently for shoppers because you consistently provide a great experience.
  • 15% discount on commissions paid to Google, on qualifying orders
  • Greater visibility on Google for products that ship fast and free

Can improve

Item defect rate 1-10%

Shipping defect rate 2-7%

Sales and Items metrics do not apply 

Reducing rejections or providing correct shipping information can help you lower your defect rate.
  • No benefits and no penalties apply

Orders capped

Item defect rate above 10%

Shipping defect rate above 7%

Sales and Items metrics do not apply 

Keep popular items in stock to avoid rejections. Be sure to always ship packages on time and provide tracking information.
  • Possibility of buy box suppression on product details page
  • Order capping
  • Eventual suspension

Item defect rate: A percentage of sold items, which either have negative a seller rating. A product receives a negative rating when the order was not shipped on time or an incorrect item was received. 

Shipping defect rate: A percentage of retailer items for which the shipment didn’t receive a carrier scan within the handling time or for which tracking information was missing. Maximum handling time for Google Express is 4 days, as specified by Shopping Actions policy, otherwise it will count as a late shipment.

Sales: Top Retailers status requires a minimum number of sales per quarter. The expectation for the top retailer badge is $15K within 90 days.

Items sold: Number of items fulfilled, excluding items that were cancelled by the customer or by Google. Quantities of the same item are taken into consideration.  For example, an order with 2 packs of juice and 3 packs of water counts as 5 items. The target number of items for the Top Retailer badge is 300 items within 90 days.

Examples of retailer standards

  • Item rejection: A user places an order for 4 items, but 1 item can’t be fulfilled due to rejection from the retailer. Prior to shipment, the cost of the order is updated and the customer receives an email update regarding the missing item. The customer is satisfied with the order and communications, and doesn’t leave a bad review.   
    • Rate impact: This scenario has 4 eligible items with 1 defect, a 25% defect rate.
  • Negative or 1-star review: A user places an order for 4 items, and 1 item is missing. The customer is dissatisfied and leaves a 1-star review for the order. As a result, all 4 eligible items in the order are marked as "defective." The missing item doesn’t increase the total defect count.
    • Rate impact: This scenario has 4 eligible items with 4 defects, a 100% defect rate.

Top Retailer status

Top Retailers should meet the following standards over a 90-day evaluation period:

Metric Definition Top retailer goal
Item defect rate Percentage of items that either have a negative seller rating or were cancelled by the retailer because the items were out of stock ≤1%
Shipping defect rate Percentage of items for which the shipment didn’t receive a carrier scan within the handling time or tracking information is missing ≤2%
Item goal Number of orders placed in the past 90 days 300 pieces or more
Sales goal Total sales dollars for orders placed in the past 90 days $15,000 USD or more

Note: Retailers who meet the sales and order minimums, but have an order defect rate of 2.0% or more, won’t qualify for Top Retailer status. 

Merchants with the Top Retailer score get the following benefits:

  • Receive a 15% discount on the commissions they pay to Google on orders that meet the following criteria:
    • Handling time: 0-1 business days
    • Shipping SLA: 2 days
    • 30-day return window
    • Free returns
  • Get greater visibility on Google Express
  • Get a grace period of 30 days in case their performance drops unexpectedly, but the item defect rate remains within ≤1% limit

What are the best practices to maintain high performance?

Inventory availability

We strongly encourage you to reserve inventory immediately upon order placement across your channels to avoid overselling.

To update availability throughout the day, you may consider using a supplemental feed in addition to your product feed. Supplemental feeds only contain items for which availability has changed. Learn more about supplemental feeds

Regularly maintaining availability will decrease the number of cancellations.

Shipping and handling 

If you’re sure that certain items don’t require handling time, enter “0” in the product feed for those products. Otherwise, double-check that the appropriate number is indicated in the <handling_time> tag.

Price changes 

We strongly encourage retailers using online feeds or the Content API to send price updates as soon as they change on your website. Please account for potential delays in feed or order transmissions, and honor the ordered price.

For retailers using local product feeds, price change is more likely to take effect before the order is fulfilled, as orders are still accepted after the physical location is closed. Items ordered after a store closes, can’t be fulfilled until the next day. Be sure you account for this use case.

When selling promotional items, it's essential to accommodate for the increase in sales. You may handle this in one of two ways: ensure that the product feed is being updated at the required rate, or reserve a certain amount of inventory for Google to sell.

Monitoring your performance

Check on your performance regularly in the Shopping Actions section of your Merchant Center account (Standards Tab). The scorecard shows your current performance score, as well as real time statistics, score history, and trends.

Alerts and notifications

The alerts system ensures that retailers have enough time to improve their performance before they receive their next score. In addition to monthly scores, retailers also receive mid-month trending score  if their performance begins to drop.

Notifications show on the top of your Standards Tab indicating your current performance trend (for example, the item defect rate is too high) or account status (for example, your account is box capped).

While penalties are usually applied gradually, under extreme circumstances Google may immediately suspend a low-performing account.

Reporting

To review orders with defects, refer to the "Details" page in the Shopping Actions section of your Merchant Center account

On this page, you’ll see a list of the orders that were rejected, received a 1-star rating, have no tracking number, or exceeded handling time.

How to apply for account reinstatement or to escalate disputes?

To restore your account or to escalate a dispute, contact Shopping Actions. After your form is submitted, someone will follow up with you.

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