The GTIN Requirement
Google’s announcement back in 2015 regarding the new GTIN requirement caught many merchants off guard. Since the unique identifier is required moving forward, your items will automatically disapprove in Google merchant center if their not included in your data feed. Unfortunately, a lot of retailers are still struggling with providing these unique identifiers to Google and in many cases, the GTIN for that item is simply just not available to them. Since this is impacting a lot of companies’ catalogs, I’ve outlined some great workarounds below that can help you get your products live again. Be weary however that there are contingencies to implementing these feed fixes.
Keep in mind
GTINs assist the Google Shopping algorithm by grouping the same product from different merchants into a GTIN-based advertisement. It creates a more streamlined customer experience by not double serving an ad to a customer. Knowing this should help you understand these workarounds.
Relisting custom made goods that don’t have a GTIN
If you’re selling custom made goods, simply provide 2 unique identifiers (MPN, brand) for each product. It is recommended to set your brand name to be similar to the merchant name you own to show Google these products are under your umbrella and don’t need GTINs. Still have issues with disapproval’s? Contact Google to let them know your products are custom made.
Adding GTINs for items in a bundle, or similar items
Consider appending a GTIN from a similar product in the feed. E.g. if you’re selling an Xbox One and don’t have the GTIN for related items like a controller, tell Google it’s a bundle. Do this by simply adding the “is_bundle” field to your data feed. Write a rule making bundle products have a value of “true” for this field with all other items “false”. Use this same rule if you’re selling apparel. In other words, append the GTIN from a white shirt to a similar shirt that you have for that brand. Just make sure that for the items that use this, the is_bundle value is “true