Google Ecommerce Terms: Defined

Sami Syed

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September 10, 2020

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Google is to the internet, as Amazon is to ecommerce. But over the years, Google has tried to get its foot further through Amazon’s door by experimenting with its own online Shopping destination, retail ads and surfaces.

During this time, Google has also unveiled a plethora of new, updated and resurrected words and names that have become, candidly, confusing to track. So, to help everyone out, we’ve created a dictionary of all the main Google-related ecommerce terms we could think of. If we missed any, let us know by tweeting us @zentailcommerce or shooting us an email at hello@zentail.com.

General Google Ecommerce Terms 

Buy on Google - Formerly known as “Shopping Actions,” Buy on Google is a program that lets you list your products on the Google Shopping site and make them available for purchase directly on Google (versus requiring shoppers to go to your website for checkout). Any BoG product is backed by a Google Guarantee. One big perk of BoG: it does not charge any listing or commission fees. You can also use your own payment provider, easily import existing listings (similar to Zentail’s EasyList feature for Amazon) and choose whether to manage returns yourself or automatically through Google. 

screenshot showing a buy on google product


Google Express (Retired) - Google Express was a shopping service branded as an online shopping mall. It was intended to compete with Amazon by featuring products from high-profile names inside a unique shopping destination. Google Express was officially retired in September 2019 after six years of experimentation and merged with two other services, Google Shopping and Google Shopping Actions. These are now collectively known as “Google Shopping.” 

Google Guarantee - This is a guarantee applied to any item purchased directly through Google, aka any Buy on Google product. Under this policy, Google promises to refund the buyer if they don’t receive the item, received the wrong item, the item isn’t in the condition they expected, an order is delivered late or they don’t get a refund after making a return. Google Guarantee does not cover orders over $2,500 and isn’t a warranty against product defects, product loss and other potential events as outlined in this doc.

Google Merchant Center - An online dashboard where you can manage your Google Shopping listings, ads and more. Merchant Center integrates with other apps, like Google My Business and Google Analytics, for full visibility and control over Google-related commerce activity.  

Google Shopping - This is the name of Google’s Shopping destination and includes the merger of Google Shopping Actions and (the now retired) Google Express. It can be accessed through the Shopping tab or shopping.google.com, which offers a personalized homepage, a universal shopping cart and additional advertising opportunities for third-party sellers. Unlike other ecommerce marketplaces, Google Shopping allows buyers to purchase products on or off Google, and shows options for localized pickup in addition to delivery. Google Shopping is praised for being more brand-friendly, and putting brands front and center during the checkout process. Learn moreNote: You may hear "Google Shopping" thrown around in many different contexts. For example, some refer to Shopping ads as Google Shopping, too, since it's an extension of the program.

mobile screenshots of Google Shopping
Source: Google


Google Shopping Ads - Pay-per-click ads offered by Google that appear at the top of Google Search pages, within Google Shopping and across the Google Display Network. All Shopping Ads redirect to a third-party website for checkout; to participate, you must connect your website to Merchant Center.

Shopping Actions (Retired) - As of September 2020, Shopping Actions is known as “Buy on Google” and lets you list your products to Google Shopping for fast, convenient checkout on Google. 

Surfaces across Google (aka Google surfaces) - A Merchant Center program that lets you display products organically across Google properties, including the Google Shopping tab, Search, Images, Maps and Lens. It is free to get started with surfaces, but you must meet certain data and eligibility requirements to have your listings shown. 

Universal Shopping Cart - A virtual shopping cart that can be used with any Google account. Once signed into their Google accounts, buyers can save Buy on Google products to their carts for purchase later on. The shopping cart will (soon) follow them around multiple Google properties, including Google Search, Assistant and Google Shopping. 

screenshot of the universal shopping cart


Zero Commission - A program piloted in Fall 2020 making it free and easy for sellers to participate in Buy on Google. Participating sellers can list their products to Google Shopping without having to pay any commission fees when a shopper completes a purchase directly on Google. The main goal(s) of this initiative is to attract more sellers to Google, grow product assortment and entice more buyers to shop through Google.  

Got More Questions about Google for Ecommerce?

Schedule time with our team and discuss how to take advantage of Google Shopping without wasting any precious time or money.

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