ShipHero Helps Businesses Drive Conversions this Holiday Season by Teaming Up with Google on Delivery Speed Estimates

Through a new integration with Google Merchant Center, ShipHero will help our businesses drive more conversions on Google channels by showing customers more accurate, location- and product-specific delivery speed estimates. All that our businesses need to do in order to take advantage of this feature is to link to their ShipHero account in Merchant Center. It’s really that easy!

Shipping speed can play a critical role throughout the purchase journey, from discovery through final purchase:

  • 76% of online customers cite fast shipping speed as a top characteristic of a great shopping experience.
  • Delivery time influences 87% of online customers’ purchase decisions.

By linking accounts, ShipHero businesses can showcase their investment in fulfillment capabilities to customers on Google across a wide variety of user experiences and journey stages. Moreover, participating ShipHero businesses should find it easier to obtain annotations that drive traffic and conversions, such as the free and fast shipping annotation.

How Google Delivery Speed Estimates Work

When a ShipHero business links their account, recent order tracking data is sent from ShipHero to Google, who then feeds that data into machine learning models to generate delivery speed estimates. On Google channels, customers will see delivery estimates based to the item they are viewing and their current location, among other factors. For example, if an item is fulfilled out of a facility in Pennsylvania, a shopper in Maine might see a 2-day delivery speed, while one in California sees a 5-day delivery speed.

Today, most businesses configure a nationwide shipping speed on Google, leading to customers’ seeing an overly conservative delivery speed that accounts for even the most remote locations. By using this approach, we expect most ShipHero businesses will be able to quote lower and more accurate delivery speeds to customers, based on the performance of similar Google-calculated shipping programs. And, given how critical delivery speed is to customers’ purchase decisions, an improvement in quoted speed should yield more conversions.

Google Delivery Estimate Availability

For now, the ShipHero-powered delivery speeds on Google are only available for orders originating from and delivering to the United States. Furthermore, the ShipHero-powered speeds work for channels managed by Google Merchant Center (link), including Shopping ads (link), free product listings (link), and Buy on Google (link).

How to Link Accounts

1. To link your account, you will first need your ShipHero username and password.  If you don’t know these, please reach out to ShipHero Support.
2A. If you already have shipping speed configured on Google Merchant Center, all you need to do is set up ShipHero for shipping data verification by linking your accounts here.  
– or – 
2B. If you do not have shipping speed configured — e.g., if you use the [shipping] attribute (link) in your product feed to convey shipping cost — you should set up an account-level, ShipHero-powered shipping service here, by doing the following:

  • In the “Service Coverage” section…
    • Name your service, e.g., “ShipHero US Service”
    • Select only the United States as the delivery country and USD as the currency
    • Select “At the customer’s address”
  • In the “Delivery times” section
    • Click on “Show custom delivery times based on your carrier or partner”
    • Click on “Your shipping data from partners”
    • Click on “Link your ShipHero account” and follow the account linking flow
    • Confirm your fallback delivery times, which Google will use while its models gain sufficient confidence in their delivery estimates for your products
  • In the “Shipping Cost” section, enter your shipping cost

NOTE – If you have used the [shipping] attribute to provide shipping cost, it will override the account-level shipping service you have set up in step 2B. For this new ShipHero service to work, you must clear the [price] sub-attribute within the [shipping] attribute for the items you want Google-calculated shipping speeds to apply to.

NOTE – If you have multiple shipping options configured for the same country, Google will select the cheapest option to show to the customer. If Google finds that, for a given country, you have multiple shipping options that cost the same amount, it will then select the fastest option among them to display.  Your ShipHero service from 2B will not display if it does not “win” that “cheapest, then fastest” logic for the United States.

How to Obtain the Free and Fast Annotation

A key benefit of letting Google calculate your shipping speed is that your items on Google will show a delivery speed that varies by region. So, even if you do not offer nation-wide “fast” shipping, Google will understand the areas in the country where your items will arrive “fast.” For example, if you operate 2 well-placed eFCs and use only ground fulfillment, perhaps 60% of the US will receive items “fast” (in 3 days or less).

So, once you have linked your ShipHero account, obtaining the free and fast shipping annotations is pretty straightforward. You just need to meet the other program requirements, which are as follows (more info):

  1. Ensure that your shipping service has the cost set to “Free shipping” or “Free shipping over a certain amount.” (If you choose the latter, only individual items priced over the free shipping amount will be eligible for the badge.)
  2. Turn on web conversion tracking for your Google ads account (link)
  3. Ensure the messaging on your site about delivery time lines up with Google (link)
  4. And, when ready, request verification with this form

Getting started with Google Merchant Center

If you don’t yet use Google to connect with customers, you can get started by signing up with Merchant Center here. Since last year, Google has offered a free listings product which may provide you with traffic and sales at no cost. You can learn more about it here.

Getting started with ShipHero

ShipHero can provide turn-key outsourced fulfillment services or help you manage your own fulfillment network with our advanced Warehouse Management Software. If you’re new to ShipHero, you can schedule a call with one of our experts to develop a fulfillment solution that works for you and your customers. Click HERE to schedule a meeting today.

More information

You can read more about how Google calculates shipping speeds here and shipping data verification here. Need help with Google topics? Reach out to Google Support.

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