Shopify, Google Shopping and Product Variants: How to Fix your Feed

The Google Shopping Feed app by Shopify is a great way to publish your products to Google Merchant center. However, if you are a clothing retailer with multiple variants of the same product in different colors the Shopify app will only publish your first variant.

only-first-product-published

While we wait for a fix to be delivered, here is an alternative way to submit your own product feeds to Google Shopping, including all your variants:

  1. Install and upload your feed using the Shopify Google Shopping App
  2. Create a custom collection template that outputs your products as xml
  3. Assign the products you want to publish to your new xml collection template.
  4. Submit your new xml collection url to Google Merchant Center.

Step 1: Install Shopify’s Google Shopping App

Shopify’s app is an excellent tool for managing your Google Shopping product attributes, including custom labels, product categories, etc… The custom feed we are about to build will enhance Shopify’s base feed with extra variant information and customized titles. But the base app is still needed, as we will make use of the app’s metafields.

Step 2: Create the XML Collection Template

This step involves getting your hands dirty with code. If you are not a developer and have a low appetite for risk, consider asking a coder to do this step for you.

What we are doing here is creating a template, that when assigned to a collection, will cause that collection to be displayed as XML instead of HTML.

In your Shopify admin, go to:

  • Online Store > Themes
  • In the dotdotdotmenu and choose Edit HTML / CSS
  • Under Templates, choose Add a new Template
  • Choose collection from the drop down and name your template xml-product-feed

Paste the following code into your new template and click Save. (It is probably safer to copy and paste this code from github, as that will always be the most up to date version: Shopify xml Variant Shopping Feed)

IMPORTANT: Do not add any extra spaces before or after this code. Your very first line should be start with {% layout none %} and your very last line should be {% endpaginate %}

 

{% layout none %}<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0" version="2.0">
{% paginate collection.products by 1000 %}
{% assign useSEOtitle = false %}
{% assign useSEOdescription = false %}
{% assign CountryCode = 'US' %}
{% if shop.currency == 'CAD' %}{% assign CountryCode = 'CA' %}{% endif %}
{% assign Color = "" %}
{% assign Size = "" %}
<channel>
<title>{{ shop.name }} {{ collection.title | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' | replace }}</title>
	<link>{{ shop.url }}</link>
<description>{{ collection.description | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>
{% for product in collection.products %} 
  {% assign GoogleProductCategory = product.metafields.google.google_product_type %}
  {% assign Gender = product.metafields.google.gender %}
  {% assign AgeGroup = product.metafields.google.age_group %}

  {% for variant in product.variants %}
    {% assign Color = "" %}
    {% assign Size = "" %}
    {% for option in product.options %}
  	{% if option == 'Color' %}{% capture Color %}{{ variant.options[forloop.index0] }}{% endcapture %}
  	{% elsif option == 'Size' %}{% capture Size %}{{ variant.options[forloop.index0]  }}{% endcapture %}
  	{% endif %}
  	{% endfor %}

    {% capture productTitle %}{{ product.vendor }} {{ product.title }}{% endcapture %}
    {% unless productTitle contains Color %}{% capture productTitle %}{{ productTitle }} {{ Color }}{% endcapture %}{% endunless %}
    {% if useSEOtitle and product.metafields.global.title_tag.size > 0 %}{% assign productTitle = product.metafields.global.title_tag %}{% endif %}
    {% assign productDescription = product.description %}
    {% if useSEOdescription and product.metafields.global.description_tag.size > 0 %}{% assign productDescription = product.metafields.global.description_tag %}{% endif %}

<item>
<title>{{ productTitle | strip_html | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</title>
	<link>{{ shop.url }}{{ variant.url }}</link>
<description>{{ productDescription | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>
<g:google_product_category>{{ GoogleProductCategory | replace: '&', '&amp;'  }}</g:google_product_category>
<g:item_group_id>shopify_{{ CountryCode }}_{{ product.id }}</g:item_group_id>
<g:id>shopify_{{ CountryCode }}_{{ product.id }}_{{ variant.id }}</g:id>
<g:condition>new</g:condition>
<g:price>{{ variant.price | money_without_currency }} {{ shop.currency }}</g:price>
<g:availability>{% if variant.available %}in stock{% else %}out of stock{% endif %}</g:availability>
<g:image_link>http:{% if variant.image.src %}{{ variant.image.src | product_img_url: 'grande' }}{% else %}{{ product.featured_image.src | product_img_url: 'grande' }}{% endif %}</g:image_link>
<g:gtin>{{ variant.barcode }}</g:gtin>
<g:brand>{{ product.vendor }}</g:brand>
<g:mpn>{{ variant.sku }}</g:mpn>
<g:product_type>{{ product.type }}</g:product_type>
<g:age_group>{{ AgeGroup }}</g:age_group>
{% unless Color == "" %}<g:color>{{ Color | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</g:color>{% endunless %}
{% unless Size == "" %}<g:size>{{ Size | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</g:size><g:size_system>US</g:size_system>{% endunless %}
<g:gender>{{ Gender }}</g:gender>
<g:custom_label_0>{{ product.metafields.google.custom_label_0 }}</g:custom_label_0>
<g:custom_label_1>{{ product.metafields.google.custom_label_1 }}</g:custom_label_1>
<g:custom_label_2>{{ product.metafields.google.custom_label_2 }}</g:custom_label_2>
<g:custom_label_3>{{ product.metafields.google.custom_label_3 }}</g:custom_label_3>
<g:custom_label_4>{{ product.metafields.google.custom_label_4 }}</g:custom_label_4>

<g:shipping_weight>{{ variant.weight | weight_with_unit }}</g:shipping_weight>
</item>

{% endfor %}
{% endfor %}
</channel>
</rss>
{% endpaginate %}

or Download from Github: Shopify xml Variant Shopping Feed

Step 3: Assign products to your xml Collection.

You should now have a new XML Template created. This is just the template that defines how your collection will be displayed on your site. We now need to assign products to this template so we can submit the feed to google.

This involves creating a new product collection, and choosing the xml-product-feed as the template to use:

  • Go to Products > Collections
  • Click the Add Collection button
  • Enter a name for your new collection. I recommend XML Google Shopping Feed – All if you want a single feed for all your products or XML Google Shopping Feed – Shoes if you want this feed to contain your shoe products (or other product type).
  • Add products you want published as part of this collection feed. (either manually or via dynamic rules)
  • Click Save.

Preview the collection to make sure it works. You should just see a bunch of unformatted text on the screen. If you do a “view source” in your browser, you should now see the formatted XML.

Make sure you copy the url of this collection, as you will need to submit this url to Google Merchant center.

Step 4: Submit your feed to Google Merchant

Make sure you have your xml collection url open from step 3 above.

  • Log into Google Merchant Center or create an account if you do not have one.
  • Go to Feeds and click the +Feed button to create a new feed.
  • Mode: Choose Standard or Test (recommended that you choose Test until you are sure the feed is correct)
  • Feed type: Products
  • Select your target country & language. If you have multiple target countries, you need to submit a separate feed for each.
  • Enter a descriptive name for your feed. eg: Shopify XML Feed – Shoes
  • Choose Scheduled Fetches as your input method (recommend daily)
  • Enter your collection url in the File URL field, and the collection’s filename in the name field (eg: name=google-shopping-feed-shoes and url=http://mystore.myshopify.com/collections/google-shopping-feed-shoes)
  • Save and click the Fetch Now button to download the feed. Wait a few minutes for the feed to complete.
  • Fix errors: If there are errors, Google Merchant Center will tell you in a few minutes. Go back and fix any errors, re-fetch, and keep doing so until the file is error free.

If you have more than 1000 variants, you will need to submit multiple feeds with the ?page=x querystring appended as so:

Troubleshooting

If you receive any errors, the best way to troubleshoot them is to open the the collection / feed url in your browser and do a view source. Then navigate to the line & character of the error to investigate further

Common Errors

  • Improperly formatted XML Error on Line 1: This is usually because your template has a blank line as it’s first line. Delete the blank line and make sure your template begins with {% layout none %} … exactly as in the code.
  • Improperly formatted XML Error on Line 1: The other cause of this error is that you forgot to choose the XML template for your Shopping Feed Url, and you are actually outputting HTML. Go to your collection in the Shopify Admin console and set the template correctly (at the bottom of the right hand column) 
  • Errors at Lines XXX: The xml file does not support & and > characters. These must be replaced by encoded versions &amp ; &gt ; or the feed will report errors.

(optional) Step 5: Exclude your feed collection from showing up on your store pages

If your store is setup to programatically display all your collections, then you will want to make sure your xml feed doesn’t show up. The exact way to do this will change depending on your theme, but generally you will want to have an “unless” statement within the loop that displays your collections:

{% unless collection.title contains "xml" %}
... your collection code ...
{% endunless %}

Customizing

If you have complex rules or customization that you want to apply to your feed, you have several options:

  • Use the Google Merchant Center “Feed Rules” tab to transform various values based on various conditions. This is very powerful!
  • Modify your collection template and add conditional statements based on product titles, tags, metafields, etc…
  • Create multiple collection templates with hard coded values
  • Create custom Feed Rules in Google Merchant Center
  • A combination of the above.

If you have more than 1000 variants, you will need to submit multiple feeds with the ?page=x querystring appended as so:


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