Understanding Google’s Retailer Standards

Google Retailer standards are benchmarks that determine which benefits sellers can receive when they maintain a high score. On the other hand, sellers can be removed from the marketplace when Google’s standards are not met. The Google Shopping Account rating is available on the Standards dashboard in the Merchant Center on the first day of each month. This score is calculated using data from the previous 3 months.


How Google Retailer Standards are Calculated

Google evaluates sellers based on:

  • Item defect rate
  • Shipping defect rate
  • Gross sales
  • Total orders

We will go over each one, but generally, the most important signal for Google is how sellers fulfill orders; are they shipped and delivered on time? Without cancellations or rejections?


Item Defect Rate

The graph below illustrates the shape of the distribution of other seller’s item defect rates. Be sure to keep it below 5%.

Item defect rate is a percentage of items that:

  • Received a negative rating (1 and 2-star reviews)
  • Whose orders were canceled by the seller
  • Whose orders were canceled by Google because they were not shipped within the expected time frame
  • Received a negative rating when the order was not shipped on time
  • Were incorrectly shipped (a different product was sent to the buyer)
Top RetailerMeeting StandardsBelow Standards
Item defect rateLess than 1%1% – 5%Above 5%
Shipping defect rateLess than 4%4% – 7%Above 7%
Sales goal$15K in 90 days
Item goal300 items in 90 days
BenefitItems with expected delivery date of 2 calendar days and free shipping and free returns, are eligible for a 20% commission discountItems with expected delivery date of 2 calendar days and free shipping and free returns, are eligible for 15% commission discount.
BenefitItems that are delivered within the expected delivery date of 3 calendar days, with free shippig and free returns, are eligible for 15% commission discount.Items with expected delivery date of 3 calendar days and free shipping and free returns, are eligible for 10% commission discount.
BenefitYour products will appear prominently across all surfaces because you consistently provide a great experience
Consequences– Order capping
– Buy box suppression
– Eventual suspension

Be careful– a single order can really mess up your item defect rate, as it is calculated per item. For example, if an order has 4 items and the customer rates the order as 1-star or 2-star, then that order will have 4 item defects.


Shipping Defect Rate

The graph below illustrates the shape of the distribution of other seller’s shipping defect rates. Be sure to keep it well below 7%.

The shipping defect rate is impacted when orders aren’t scanned by the carrier within the expected timeframe or orders for which tracking information was missing (maximum handling time is 4 days).

Here are a few examples:

  • Late delivery:
    • The order was shipped late and delivered late
    • The order was shipped on-time but delivered late
  • Tracking number discrepancies:
    • Missing, duplicated, or incorrect tracking number
    • No carrier scan

Sales Value and Sales Count

In order to become the best performing seller, and receive the Top Retailer badge you need a minimum of $15,000 in sales value and a minimum of 300 items fulfilled (this number includes items that were canceled by the customer or by Google) within 90 days.


Benefits of Being the Top Retailer

  • Commission discounts
    See the table above for details. However, keep in mind the discount is applied to items with free shipping, short delivery timeframes, and free returns to merchants as described in the table. So, for example, if you are the Top Retailer, but do not offer free shipping, your items will not be eligible.
  • Buy Box boost
    The Buy Box is the top offer chosen for a product. The sellers who are selected to fulfill an order when there are other sellers who offer the same product. There is more to winning the Buy Box than the Retailer Standard score. Pricing also plays an important role here, which you can read up on in other GeekSeller articles.
  • Google Ecosystem reach
    Top Retailer’s products are available across all surfaces within the Google ecosystem. This means that buyers can purchase those products via Google’s smart home devices, on YouTube, etc.
  • Other opportunities
    Being the Top Retailer creates a great relationship with Google. New initiatives and advertising opportunities are always offered to sellers with excellent track records.
Buy Box winner vs. other sellers

Other important requirements for Google Shopping Actions sellers:

  • The maximum transit time allowed is 10 days.
  • It is recommended that your handling times do not exceed 4 days.
  • Only include marketing inserts in shipments to customers who are on your marketing list.
  • The estimated delivery date is the “arrive by” date displayed at checkout. It’s calculated by adding the “maximum handling days” to the “maximum transit days,” taking order cutoff times into account.
  • The return policies outlined in your Merchant Center must coincide with the return policy standards required by the Shopping Actions program.

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