Complete lack of support and lost sales with Google Shopping

Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

On the 17th of August, our store stopped sending data to Google Merchant Centre meaning that over 10,000 of our products expired from Google shopping on the 16th of September. Prior to this the feed had been live and working perfectly for about 2 years.

On the 16th I noticed our sales and traffic die and have been in constant contact with Shopify and Google support ever since. Google shows no and support have found no errors in the account, Shopify who have had multiple reps email about once a day have had no resolution other than 'we've pushed a full resync of your products' three times now without success. The exact same thing happened when they put me on to one of their "Google Specialists", there's clearly something else going wrong here. Back at the start of the problem I also tried completely disconnecting and reconnecting the accounts but still nothing. 

Being without our main sales channel for so long has been catastrophic for our sales. We've had a 94% decrease in revenue for the last 15 days of September compared to the first 15 days before the products all expired. Has anyone experienced this before or does anyone have any idea of anything else we can do to resolve this? or any way to escalate it within the Shopify support team to have this taken seriously?

Replies 20 (20)
EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1554 93 374

Without looking into the account the following are only guesses based on the most common issues.

Disable automatic updates, in Google Merchant Center (GMC) > gear icon > automatic improvements > price and availability (disable it)

Double check your products are approved in GMC > Products > Diagnostics

Check your Google Ads shopping campaign subdivision is still correct. Check that the subdivisions still use the same and valid values.

Alo double check Adult content was not accidentally enabled in GMC > Gearn icon > shopping ads > settings

And check everything that happened on the 16th, try to remember what changed, this might help identify the issue.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

Thanks for trying to help @EmmanuelFlossie.

 

Automatic updates are disabled, the products are expired and there are now none showing in GMC, no data or updates for over a month. Shopping ads are obviously reliant on products being availble in GMC so there's no point in looking there is there?

 

Checked the adult content setting and it's defintely off. Also check the logs and there are no changes to the store on the 16th of Sep when they finally expired or 17th of August when the feed stopped sending across to Google.

Any other ideas?

 

 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1554 93 374

If products expired, and automatic updates is disabled. Then the issue is with the feed.

You will need to contact the data feed support team of the app you are using. Or use a different app.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

Thanks, mate. That's who I've been speaking with for the past 17 days without resolution. I'm using the default Google sales channel app and speaking with Shopify support, though I'm not on plus which would explain the lengthy delays between responses. 

I have just found that if I go into a product and select 'edit Google fields', untick the choose the 'GTIN number' box, save it, re-tick it and save again then, finally, a product will pop up in the pending of GMC. However, I have over 12,000 products. Does anyone know if there is a way to do this in bulk? I've exported the product CSV and there's no difference between the products that have gone through and those that have not. 

While this would at least get us back up and running, imagine having to do that every 30 days! It's not really a solution.

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1554 93 374

That is correct, updating product info does push the product again. If you want to bulk submit, you need to contact Shopify support. Only they can do it.

Alternatively as mentioned, go with a paid app that has better support.

 

What you are experiencing is very common with the free app, so if you want to avoid this issue, and in the future, consider a different app.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

Thanks for your help @EmmanuelFlossie. If I ever decide to look into managed feeds I'll consider getting in touch. Appreciate it.

Daaniel
Shopify Partner
18 0 5

Hi Hugho, I feel you! I have not been showing ads for the past 3 weeks. All my items expired in 4 days without any warning from GMC. Until that everything has worked perfectly for the past few years.

I've been reaching out to Shopify customer service without any working solutions. First they told me to delete Google from the sales channel and reinstall it. I did that. Nothing happened. Next person added that I should have deleted Content API from GMC too and wait 48hrs before reinstalling. I deleted Content API from GMC, deleted Google sales channel, waited 48 hours and reinstalled. It did not work either. Now I am missing products AND the whole Content API is gone from my GMC. It's a disaster.

Only solution I have been able to figure out was to purchase another APP that will send my product feed to GMC. It took 24 hours to have a new feed and my products in GMC. My ads are finally displayed again. I still want to solve this problem with Shopify's Google Channel, but let's see. I believe deleting the Content API just made things worse. I hope I could get in touch with technical staff, but it seems impossible. Overall Shopify's customer service help in this situation has been unsympathetic and random. I've been talking to 4 different people. They all give different answers. It's like their purpose is to give any answer even if it is not related in the problem. I've lost sales worth thousands of euros. This is a serious problem for me.

Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

It ended up being multiple things I solved myself, after hours and days of emails from Shopify support. 

I had to add a GTIN number to every product which I was able to do in bulk via CSV, but then I had to go into every product, line by line within the Google channel app and toggle products between from 'Custom Product' from True to False and Back to True again, and also un-tick and then re-tick 'Available to Google'. This worked, but I had to do it for every single product and there's no way to do it bulk as the Google fields in the CSV do not map to the Google Shopping app. I had to do it one page at a time, and as you can imagine with over 11,000 products, this took some time. About 10 hours straight, but it did solve the issue. Simply making a change to all products, like adding and removing a tag or other similar suggestions I got did not work, but my solution did.

After getting all my products live after 15 days offline it has taken another 20 or so days for my Google algorithm to start working properly again, but even now almost a month later, it has not come back to the same daily conversion number/rate it was at. This was catastrophic and the support I received was incredibly disappointing.

 

 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1554 93 374

That sounds like a big job, there is a much faster workaround, which should only take you 15 minutes or work. Worth reading option 3 as it will happen again: https://feedarmy.com/kb/google-merchant-center-products-expiring-using-shopify-solution/

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

The issue is that none of those solutions worked, even the supplemental feed didn't work.

The issue was caused by an actual issue with the app on Shopify's side, and even having them push manual resyncs didn't work either. While I acknowledge that it would have been faster, my other concern was that I wanted to avoid tieing myself into yet another monthly subscription. I understand that it would have been faster, but over time it would have cost far more.

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1554 93 374

I have had several clients, where your issue happened, and adding the supplement feed, resolved the issue. Maybe you forgot to fetch it, after adding the supplement?

In any case, be aware what you are experiencing will happen again. It is known issue with the free app for 2 to 3 years. So if Shopify wanted to fix the issue, they would have done it by now. Clearly it is not a priority in their opinion.

 

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

Nope, attempted fetch and everything. I had tried all of the solutions you've suggested, some of which were suggested by Shopify support too. It seems in other users cases they worked but not in mine, unfortunately.

I agree with you, @Em it is very disappointing that Shopify is allowing such a catastrophic bug to affect businesses the way they are. The default app functioned flawlessly for me for 2 years and then when it failed there was almost no help. They tried but only suggested the same things you have in your article and very little else. I was getting passed around different support team members who would only reply once per day at best. Terrible customer service. 

 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1554 93 374

It's actually not a bug.

In Google Merchant Center, the products expire after 30 days. Regardless of what app you use.

To avoid the 30 days expiration time, you need to push all products again at least a few days prior. While you did try the supplement feed, I guess something else happened too. Without looking in your account, it will be hard to give you the exact reason.

Other apps if using content API, will push all products prior to the expiration day, most apps actually use text delimited files instead of content API. This file is pulled by Google every day, which means your 30 day expiration is extended every day, by another 30 days.

In any case, best of luck, and hopefully it will not happen again for you.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

I get that you’re saying it’s a design flaw with the content API, though I was contacted by Shopify about an incident when it happened so I’m hoping in this case it was the same. 

I’m now using an automation to refresh some content, ie prices and stock levels daily so I don’t think this issue will arise again, however, if it does I know who to contact. Cheers!

Sunrisesurfshop
New Member
2 0 0

What automation are you using? We are experiencing the same issue. Sales have slumped over the past couple weeks. It was completely out of the blue as for the last year+ we were doing extremely well!

Scott_Clever
Tourist
15 0 3

still happening to many of my accounts, only way to do it as described is to go into the bulk edit feature and toggle to custom product attribute. For any store over about 100 products this is a laborious and a large waste of time.

 

Its amazing that Shopify dont seem to care/have a solution about this.

Sunrisesurfshop
New Member
2 0 0

Man, that sucks.

 

So... to fix, I need to select "custom product" attribute for all items in the bulk editor? Even if these items are items we have bought at wholesale from a vendor and are reselling? Thnx for the help. 

Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

Custom made automation is very specific to us that one but it refreshes some product data everyday.

Hughgo
Excursionist
13 0 14

Yes, that's what fixed it for us. We haven't had another issue, though we had to update and provide a GTIN and also set products to custom.