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Google Merchant Center Suspended: Inaccurate Shipping Costs

shopthecurate
Tourist
8 0 8

Hi all!

I set up my Google Merchant Center & it has been suspended, with the below warning:

Account suspended due to violation of feed specification: inaccurate shipping costs (due to inconsistent shipping costs between the feed and the landing page)

Has anyone else run into this issue & if so, were you able to solve it?

On my Google settings under Shopify, I've checked off that shipping will be input manually on my Google Merchant Center. Then on my Google Merchant Center, I added all the same exact shipping carriers/rates that I have on my Shopify settings. I have no idea what the issue is or how to go about solving it. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Jules

Replies 18 (18)
natalievmadison
Tourist
7 0 5

I received the same message and warning email today.  My google feed shipping costs are about $2.16 lower than what my "landing page" or cart costs are.  I'm following in hopes that someone can shed some light here. 🙂  I've gone to Google's help docs to see where I can "increase" those costs by an average of $2.25 to get a better feed match or an overestimation to avoid permanent suspension.

 

You might find this link helpful.  It will guide you to Google's shipping rate setup: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6069284

 

And then you might find this one helpful under carrier rates: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/10308918?hl=en#zippy=%2Ccarrier-rate-au-de-uk-and-us-onl...

I just added $2.25 more to each of my carrier rates to cover any increases, by "adjusting by flat amount".  You can also add increases up by percentage above and beyond the google calculated shipping rate, but that sounds like a lot of fine tuning to figure out, especially since the carrier rates aren't actually listed.  

 

Now that I've made the change, I'm going to request a review.  Wish me luck, and I hope this helps you too.

 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1839 125 444

First check that your shipping pricing is correct. Check the affected product results by going to Google Merchant Center > Products > All Products > click on the affected product > scroll to the middle> regional attributes preview.

Now compare the shipping price, to the shipping price in your checkout.

If different, update accordingly in the top right corner > gear icon > shipping > click on your shipping option and update it.

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.
shopthecurate
Tourist
8 0 8

Hi!

Thanks for sharing! 

I made the manual adjustments too, but my account is currently in a cool down period & I can't make a request for review until next week. How did your review request go?! 

shopthecurate
Tourist
8 0 8

Hi!

I did this & saw that the shipping price on Google was lower than the price on my store's checkout - the problem is, I'm not sure why that's happening. The shipping fees are set to be coming in automatically through the data from the feed linked to my store - so not sure why the feed data is providing a price that's inconsistent with the price I get at checkout. 

Any idea why the feed is providing inconsistent data?

Thanks!

Jules

natalievmadison
Tourist
7 0 5
This is a bit challenging when you have 4000 product listings. I’m curious why shopify shipping isn’t matching Google actual shipping.
natalievmadison
Tourist
7 0 5

It went good!  No longer under suspension warning for shipping...but now I'm under warning for 404 errors. Specifically "For many of your products, the availability value in your product data isn’t consistent with the availability of the products on your landing pages. "  If it's not one thing it's another.  I have been using an app to unpublish products that went out of stock (because it was beginning to look like I was going out of business with all of the backorders from manufacturers).  While it unpublishes from the online channel, it does not remove it from the other channels.  Google allows listings that say out of stock...but they don't allow 404 redirects if a product is still published to their feed. 

 

I've deleted that app and am now going in manually and republishing items that are out of stock, but listed as available on Google.

 

Shopify offers a workflow solution that does this for you, but only if you've upgraded to the higher plus plan.

 

Wish me luck.

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1839 125 444

@shopthecurate 

I recommend you disable automatic shipping options, and manually add a modifier to the shipping settings in Google Merchant Center, to be equal or overestimate.

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.
natalievmadison
Tourist
7 0 5

Thank you Emmanuel, but can you explain HOW to do this? 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1839 125 444

Sure, below are the official guides.

You can follow the shopify guide here: https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/promoting-marketing/create-marketing/google/requirements#shipping...

And here feed rules: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6069284

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.
Brian_Anderson
Tourist
7 0 8

Hi @EmmanuelFlossie,

I'm having the same issue, in addition to the tax charges not matching.

Why is the recommendation to manually modify the shipping calculation and overestimate? Shopify's Content API should be accurately reporting the shipping amount for any given zip code based on the carrier's API data feed for that region. If the Content API doesn't match what is shown on the site, that means the data feed is inaccurate. Manually overriding the shipping calculation within Google is a bandaid fix and doesn't address the root cause of the issue.

I'm currently working with Shopify support to get a resolution, but this has been ongoing for our website for the past 6 weeks. We made ZERO changes to our Google Merchant Account and our Shopify Tax and/or Shipping settings. Google continues to override any settings change for tax collection for different states within the US. We only have Nexus for Washington state and we don't qualify to collect tax in any other state. But Google keeps changing our settings to collect tax for all states. Even then, Google still states that the tax amount in the Content API is higher than what is shown on our site via a simulated checkout (which is zero tax for any territory outside of Washington state).

Thanks,
~Brian

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1839 125 444

Because, what your courier rate is in Shopify may not be the same in Google Merchant Center (GMC)

If you for example get a discount, GMC will not know this, as the rates used are default. No discount.

Manually overriding the shipping rate, is the only option, if the rates are different.

Google simply does not get discounted rates, period. So if your rates are discounted in Shopify, Google can not know this. Because Shopify does not submit shipping rates when using a courier, but says you are using a courier. Then Google pulls in data directly from the courier, not from Shopify.

Thus the only option for you is to manually assign a the courier rate with a plus modifier.

 

If you are having issues with tax, make sure the tax settings are correctly setup in Shopify. IE don't use a 3rd party to setup tax.

 

If you can not resolve the issue with tax, then simply don't use the free shopping app, and use a different app that allows you to manually set tax in GMC.

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.
DanWallace
Tourist
9 0 8

We have close to 100,000 products so setting shipping manually for Google is not an option. We are using General shipping settings which Shopify says is supported and have the option checked to sync shipping automatically with Google but Google is still picking up the wrong rates.

The only clue I can see is that Google is showing rates that match those in our shipping setup but for weights that are slightly less than what is configured in Shopify. For example, a product with a Shopify weight of 2.2 lbs. shows up in Google with the shipping rate for a 1-2 lb. package instead of a 2-3 lb. package.

Does anyone know why Shopify would be using one weight for customers at checkout but a different weight for sending data on the same product to Google?

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1839 125 444

I did not say set a product for every product.

I said, set the shipping rules up manually. You can create 1 rule for all products, with a positive or negative modifier in percentage or fixed price. Settings this up is more advanced, but can be read here: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6069284

 

If there are issues with the free shopping app you are using, then you need to contact Shopify support. They are the team that manages the app.

 

My suggestion, setup the shipping rules manually using courier settings with a modifier, which is the quickest way in resolving 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.
Brian_Anderson
Tourist
7 0 8

Just updating the thread. After working on this issue for over a month, Shopify Developers told me they can't fix the issue. Therefore, I simply used a workaround hack bandaid fix to manually set the GMC shipping and tax rates higher than the actual rate. My business can't afford to wait for Shopify to get their stuff figured out.

@ShopifyDevs please look into this issue. It's not that difficult to accurately report tax and shipping rates to Google. You do it in real time for customers during checkout, therefore you can do it in real time via an API call.

DanWallace
Tourist
9 0 8

I appreciate your input but I'm not using a shipping app. I just have very simple manual weight tables set up in Shopify but I have discovered the problem.

In addition to the weight of each item, Shopify also includes the weight of the default package (in my case 0.5 lbs) when calculating the shipping rate at checkout for customers. This means that an item weighing 2.6 lbs. has a packaged weight of 3.1 lbs. This is all fine and works perfectly for customers making a purchase.

However, as with most things Shopify, the developers go out of their way to block existing functionality from working in other areas (no partial fulfillment for local pickup orders, no scanning of SKU codes in the Shopify POS, etc.) so Shopify ignores it's own built in package weight calculation when sending the shipping cost to Google. Google sees the rate for a lighter package and gets angry, blaming the store for Shopify's error.

Unless there's a way to configure Google to add a package weight to every item outside of Shopify, this is a serious problem since Shopify never under circumstances takes any action on issues that create problems for stores.

adamSBL
New Member
2 0 0

So this is something I've been working on almost 100% of my time for 5 weeks and have been working with UPS, USPS, and ShipStation to get this resolved because it's impossible to get anything other than a scripted response from Google support. This is our third time in 12 months we've been under this suspension threat. 

 

I have well documented and demonstrated to all of these organizations that the USPS prices Merchant Center are calculating are based off of archived USPS pricing. My sampling showed that our website 100% matched current USPS pricing and that Merchant Center 100% matched USPS pricing from over 8 months ago. They claim to get costs from the carrier, but they don't. They use a third party as confirmed by said carriers.

 

They refuse to acknowledge this but also have yet to dispute any of it and, in fact, admitted more than once that their prices can be wrong... but we're supposed to bear the burden of fixing it for a $1.7 TRILLION dollar company. 

------

Sadly, I think the only way that this will ever be resolved is if a significant number of customers complain about it. I did get word today that someone at Google is looking into this exact thing to see if it's widespread and I'll try to get a link to this post to them, but that's doubtful. We're probably going to have to make some noise for anything to be done and I've already been hammering Google on this for over a month so it would be a good time to get others on board. Plus, now that they're "grading" merchants based on shipping costs, it's 100% unacceptable to tell some vendors to "just pad your shipping costs" considering how difficult it can be to accurately do that when you have thousands of products.

 

I encourage you to check out archived pricing from USPS and see if your prices align with old rates. Ours currently aligns with the 7/30/21 published pricing which is two versions out of date. Archived pricing (or just browse through USPS) ---> pe.usps.com/Archive/PriceFile

 

With this archived pricing, I was able to come up with exact amounts we needed to pad our shipping costs for USPS and then added a few percent to be sure. USPS pricing is extremely simple at least for First Class and Priority mail.

 

As for UPS... I've literally put in more than 40 hours of work just trying to mass calculate it within $0.20 based on our discounted pricing. Today I'm realizing there truly is no way to accommodate it in Merchant Center or to realistically calculate and feed the prices in. I honestly don't know what bigger companies do about this and Google refused to tell me so we're being forced to look into flat rate or free shipping.

 

I've attached a spreadsheet with the data I recorded for USPS discrepancy that includes First Class and Priority Mail current and archived pricing. Find out if your estimated prices match the old stuff and then calculate the difference between current and old and add that to your Merchant Center by zone and by weight class for a temporary fix.

 

Adam

adamSBL
New Member
2 0 0

From my experience in Merchant Center and with USPS pricing, I also thought it was a weight issue at first. I found that the pricing coming from Merchant Center as completely in line with old USPS pricing and always matched perfectly. I went into more detail in a reply to OP, but just wanted to share in case it turns out that way for you as well. 

Angela_Antrim
New Member
2 0 1

Hey, I was having the same error msg and my acct was suspended. I was able to figure out that Google doesn't like OZ but LBS or Grams.  I have smaller items so when I changed the weight to grams, I was able to clear the error message. I hope this helps!