Google’s New Structured Data Features Could Enhance Merchant Sales

  • June 11, 2024
  • SEO
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Google has recently updated its structured data guidelines to incorporate support for a sitewide return policy within the Organization structured data schema. This new approach eliminates the necessity of duplicating return policy information for every individual product listing, potentially leading to increased traffic and sales for online merchants.

It’s important to note that this update does not mandate merchants to alter their existing structured data. The previous method remains valid and unchanged. However, this new guideline provides an alternative that is more efficient and less cumbersome in terms of data size for product listings.

Enhancements to the Brand Knowledge Panel

Google’s modification to the Organization structured data will be visible in the brand panel displayed during brand name searches. The updated brand panel will now include a new section highlighting the company’s return policy.

Example Screenshot of Brand Knowledge Panel

Advantages of Sitewide Return Policy at the Organizational Level

As part of this enhancement, Google is introducing new search features in the Knowledge and Brand Panels that can display a merchant’s return policies. This can make a merchant’s search feature eligible to show return policies directly in the search engine results pages (SERPs), potentially leading to a heightened click-through rate and an increased conversion rate.

Research by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) in 2024 indicates that online shoppers heavily factor in a merchant’s return policy before making a purchase decision.

The ICSC study revealed:

“82% of respondents stated that a return policy influences their decision to buy from a retailer when shopping online.

… If retailers imposed a fee for return shipping, nearly 71% of respondents indicated they would cease shopping online from that retailer altogether, and 60% would stop shopping online with retailers that reduced the free return window.”

This clearly underscores the significance of a return policy in boosting online sales, and Google’s new support for sitewide return policy structured data facilitates the direct communication of this information to online shoppers through their search experience.

Google’s announcement elaborated:

“A return policy is a crucial consideration for shoppers purchasing products online. Last year, we enabled the extraction of structured data return policies for individual products. Today, we are extending support to include return policies at the organization level, allowing you to define a general return policy for your business instead of specifying one for each product.

Incorporating a return policy into your organization’s structured data is particularly important if you don’t have a Merchant Center account but still want to provide a return policy for your business. The Merchant Center already allows you to provide a return policy for your business, so it’s recommended to define your return policy there if you have an account.

…If your site operates as an online or local business, we recommend utilizing one of the OnlineStore or LocalBusiness subtypes of Organization.

We hope this addition simplifies the process of adding return policies for your business and enables their visibility across Google shopping experiences.”

Google’s Updated Organization Structured Data Documentation

Google has added a new section to their Organization structured data documentation to reflect this update.

The updated documentation reads:

“MerchantReturnPolicy
Utilize the following properties to detail general return policies applicable to your entire organization. For specific product policies, use the merchant listing markup instead.”

Read Google’s official announcement:

Adding markup support for organization-level return policies

Access the new MerchantReturnPolicy documentation within Google’s official Organization structured data page:

Organization (Organization) structured data – MerchantReturnPolicy

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