Best Practices setting up Shipping in Google Merchant Center

Learn how to add the [shipping] attribute to your product lists via Feeds.

It is considered a best practice to configure shipping settings at a general level within the Google Merchant Center account.

Within the Google Merchant Center interface, you can add various shipping services. For each shipping service, you can specify delivery times and specific costs.

Google provides an official guide outlining the step-by-step process for configuring your shipping services at the account level in Google Merchant Center.

Additionally, you can also specify shipping conditions for your products through your product lists or feeds. To do this, you will need to add the [shipping] attribute to the products in your feeds.

It's important to note that this attribute will override any settings you have at the account level in Google Merchant Center. In other words, items with this attribute will not be governed by the shipping conditions configured at the account level but will instead adhere to those sent via the attribute.

How Does the Shipping Attribute Work in Google Merchant Center?

The shipping attribute is composed of sub-attributes. Think of it as a field in your catalog constructed from different subfields.

The sub-attributes that make up the [shipping] attribute are several; here are the most common ones:

  • Country
  • Postal Code
  • Price
  • Minimum handling time
  • Maximum handling time
  • Minimum transit time
  • Maximum transit time

Each sub-attribute adds a piece of information to the [shipping] field. It's worth mentioning that not all sub-attributes are mandatory excepto for Country and Price.

How do we Indicate to Google Merchant Center which subattributes to send via the [shipping] attribute?

It's crucial to inform Google of the order of the subattributes through the [shipping] field name. For instance, if you only want to send the Country and Price subfields, you should name the shipping attribute as follows:


Therefore, the values your products contain in the [shipping(country:price)] tag in your feed should follow that order. For example:

US:3.99 USD

If you wish to send more sub attributes, simply add them to the field name and fill in the values accordingly. For instance:

shipping(country:postal_code:price) -> US:80302:6.99 USD

You can leave some sub attributes blank. Following the example above, you could send Country and Price and leave Postal Code empty:

shipping(country:postal_code:price) -> US::6.99 USD

If you don't indicate the order of the sub attributes in the field name (by simply sending [shipping]), Google will assume you are following the default order:

  1. Country
  2. Region
  3. Service
  4. Price

How to create a Feed optimization to add the Shipping attribute to your poduct lists?

To create the shipping attribute in one of your feeds for Google Merchant Center, you'll need to use the "Compose" optimization in step 3 of creating an Optimized Feed.

Next, you'll need to choose whether you want to filter the products to which this new attribute applies using the "Filter" functionality. For this example, I want to add the attribute to all my products, so I won't select any filters.

Then, you have to name the field with the relevant sub attributes and specify the values you want.

Finally, save the changes with the blue button at the bottom right and manually update the Optimized Feed to see this new attribute applied in your feed.

Remember to use the names of the sub attributes and their values exactly as indicated by Google in this article.