As reported by Exclusive Concepts, Google last week announced it will soon be winding down the Google Trusted Sites program. To replace it is the new Google Customer Reviews, which will be managed from Google Merchant Centre.
A Closer Look at the New ‘Google Customer Reviews’
Though it’s available for free, much like Google Trusted Stores is, Google Customer Reviews is not a certified program. It works by collecting reviews from customers once they receive their purchase orders.
For merchants of Google Trusted Stores, their accounts will migrate to the new service automatically and will see Customer Reviews located in the left-side navigation within their existing Merchant Centre account. For merchants who aren’t already a part of Google Trusted Sites, once Customer Reviews becomes more widely available, they will find it listed within the navigation icon in Merchant Centre. This is all according to an update to the help centre.
Once approved, new merchants will be required to implement the survey opt-in module to their websites. Should a customer choose to opt-in once they make a purchase, Google will contact them for a rating once their order is fully received. In order to use the program, merchants have no choice but to display the opt-in to every customer. They also have the option to display a Google Customer Reviews badge on their site. This badge can be customised to include an image and will show the merchant’s star rating if it’s available.
A Brief Glance at Google Trusted Stores
Launched in beta version in 2011 as a certification and ratings program, Google Trusted Stores allowed merchants to gather reviews for Seller Ratings. Much like Google Customer Reviews, Trusted Stores allowed qualified merchants to display the Trusted Stores badge on their site. It also offered purchase protection of up to $1000 which was ultimately backed by Google. In 2013, the program was integrated with AdWords and with it came a number of features that increased store visibility. Seller ratings appeared in search ads while the Trusted Store badge was displayed next to a merchants name.
Though the service was always free, beginning in 2015, merchants has to disclose shipping and cancellation data to Google. This was meet with some reluctance and caused some retailers to questions the change for privacy reason. Though the requirements were later withdrawn, merchants were still required to make at least 200 order each month and provide customer support within a strict window of time.
Details to Come
For details on Google Customer Reviews, Google says it will be sharing more in the coming weeks. As for now, Trusted Stores merchants will be able to manage their accounts in Merchant Center. The purchase protection offered as part of Customer Reviews doesn’t look to be included in the new program, however, that detail has not yet been confirmed by Google. Similarly, it’s unknown weather monthly order minimums will stay the same and affect eligibility. Should any further actions need to be taken before migration to Customer Reviews, users will be notified by e-mail.