Google recently announced it will be changing how it enforces product availability violations to simplify the process and create a higher-quality customer experience. Beginning September 1, 2021, merchants will receive a different policy violation message for errors in their product availability. 

Prior to the change, if an item has an inaccurate availability value (e.g. the product is listed as “In Stock” on the merchant’s landing page but is changed to “Out of Stock” or “Unavailable” once the customer reaches the checkout page) a “Delivery Issues” policy violation is sent to the merchant. 

After the change, merchants should expect to receive “Inaccurate Availability (due to inconsistent availability between the landing page and checkout page on your website)” violation messages if there are errors in the product availability. 

For the most part, this change is simply meant to update the language Google uses when it comes to availability errors. However, it’s important for merchants to be certain the data in their product feeds is accurate and updated frequently to avoid issues down the line. With too many errors due to product availability, sellers run the risk of potential account suspensions.

One way for merchants to list products that may not be currently in stock is to utilize Google’s new “backorder” availability value. This allows you to list your products on your landing page, but doesn’t allow customers to add them to their carts for purchasing. Merchants do have to list the date the products are expected to be back in stock, but this allows you to keep products on your landing page that are out of stock without triggering an error in your Google Merchant Center product feed. 

Keep up with our blog for important Google Shopping updates and tips, like why you should use local inventory ads and how to increase product visibility through the Popular Products section.