19th April 2023
Updated: 5th May 2023 – SEO Rich Snippet App Now Supports Return & Shipping Policies
Updated 7th May 2023 – For more complex shipping scenarios, read our article “Advanced Google Shipping Information via JavaScript

Summary

  • Google has begun showing Shipping & Returns information (aka rich results or rich snippets) in search results. [source]
  • Traditionally, this information has been added via Merchant Center but Google has now additionally made it available to be added via structured data. If both are present, Merchant Center information will be used.
  • You may see new warnings in Rich Result Test Tool & Google Search Console due to these developments. The SEO Rich Snippet App now supports these changes, documentation on how to add this structured data can be found under Products & Reviews->Merchant Listings

Introduction

Google has begun showing warnings about missing return policy and shipping details within its Rich Result Test Tool and Google Search Console. This is due to their recent announcement that they’ve begun showing extra shipping and return information for product search results and opened up the ability to specify shipping and return information via structured data. Here’s what the warnings (Missing field ‘hasMerchantReturnPolicy’ and Missing field ‘shippingDetails’) look like:

Google Search Console (GSC) Appearance:

Google Search Console showing warning Missing field 'hasMerchantReturnPolicy'

Rich Result Test Tool (RRTT) Appearance:

Analysis

For most of our clients who specify their shipping and return policies via Merchant Center there will be no action required, bar a few (more) annoying ignorable warnings in RRTT and GSC. The good news is you may start receiving the snippets highlighted in the image below.

shipping and return snippets for product search results

These are brand new requirements and we’re currently exploring what this means for our BigCommerce customers and how we can support these new requirements with our SEO Rich Snippets App. We’ll be updating this page as we learn more and with any developments in this area. A piece of advice – don’t be too alarmed, Google rolled out some similar structured data changes last year (see our article: Merchant Listings – Errors & Warnings) of which some of the changes were rolled back by Google, and some we were able to incorporate into our SEO Rich Snippets App.

We’ll split up our analysis for each of the warnings:

Missing field ‘shippingDetails’ (optional)

  • Not required for those specifying shipping via Merchant Center
  • Google’s documentation on this is listed here (Specification, Example).
  • The immediate issue is that shipping costs tend to be order-based not product-based, this is a complexity not covered by Google’s documentation.
  • Shipping policies can get very, (and we mean very) complicated so in most cases we expect it will be up to shipping providers (or aggregators) to provide this information.
  • One simple(r) option to remove the warning is to provide simple “free shipping” structured data to remove the warning – reach out to us if you’re a BigCommerce store interested in this.

Missing field ‘hasMerchantReturnPolicy’ (optional)

This seems much simpler but not necessary for those who specify their return policy in Merchant Center. If you really want to remove the warning and have a relatively simple returns policy, reach out and we’ll see if we can integrate it into our SEO Rich Snippets App.