Local businesses are struggling amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic due to decreased foot traffic and sales. Many have turned to selling gift cards as a means for customers to offer additional support, with Google soon allowing affected businesses to link to such donation methods on their public listings.
Update 5/27: After letting businesses add donations and gift cards earlier this month, Google is now starting to surface those links to consumers. In Search and Maps, it takes the form of a blue “Support this business” with a description “from the owner” on how exactly you’d be helping. Below are two large buttons linking to the resources.
This capability is now available for an additional 18 countries, including Italy, Spain and Japan. One upcoming feature will let you search for all nearby businesses asking for support.
Meanwhile, business profiles will soon surface online classes/appointments, while Reserve with Google is adding support for more partners. Restaurants will also be able to specify their preferred online ordering partners.
Original 5/11: Business listings appear in Google Maps and Search, with owners now able to link to campaigns asking for donations and/or gift card purchases. They can additionally “share a personal message in their post to inform customers how funds will be put to use.”
- Gift card links let customers purchase gift cards for your business. These links can go to a supported provider or a page on your own website.
- Donation links send customers to a fundraising page where they can donate to your business. These links can only go to a supported provider.
These links and messages can be added by visiting the Google My Business portal, though they will not be public until later this month. The final design that end users will encounter has yet to be shared.
Additionally, this feature will only be available for a “subset of businesses” at launch as the company works to “protect against misuse.” Google is “not charging merchants or consumers any fees,” but third-party partners may impose fees.
At launch, we’ve partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe for donations. For gift cards, merchants can link directly to the relevant page on their website or to their gift card offerings with one of our eligible partners, which includes Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro.
These donate links in Google business listings are first rolling out in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. More countries, merchants, and partners will be made available over the “coming weeks.”
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