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I've been working on implementing a data feed for Google merchant center and after submitting it for the first time I noticed that Google's automatic update changed some of our items' availability from out of stock to in stock with this message:

Your product's availability status was automatically updated to match the data on your landing page.

A help article (https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6098259) explains that this is likely to occur due to a discrepancy between the data provided in the feed and structured data shown on the product page itself. It goes on to say:

Check your product data for those products (using the item ID), and make sure that each item has the same values for availability as is represented on your own site and in its structured data.

There is a problem here though since we use OnlineOnly in our structured data and this option is not valid in the merchant center feed. My best guess is that Google classifies OnlineOnly the same as in stock.

The items in question are items that we don't keep physical stock of, but like many online retailers these items are available directly from the supplier and fulfilled for orders as they are placed. We don't want to falsely claim that they are in stock, so originally OnlineOnly seemed like the best option for our structured data.

At this point I'm left with a few options that I can think of to resolve this:

  • Change both values to out of stock
  • Change both values to in stock
  • Allow the discrepancy stand and let Google do as they see fit

Can anyone advise what is the most correct value for availability on both the feed and our structured data in this situation?

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For the Google Shopping feed accepted values are

  • in stock
  • out of stock
  • preorder

But this is not to confuse your customers that the product is physically in stock. This is just to tell Google that it can serve shopping ads with these products. If on your website you have status OnlineOnly then it means it is in stock and Shopping Ads should display the product so acceptable value should be in stock if your product is available for purchase for the client and it should show on Google Ads, and out of stock if client can just look at the product page but cannot buy, book or download the product.

For the reference please read here: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6324448?hl=en

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  • Thanks for your response - I think I understand what you are saying but can I ask what you are basing this on? Can you please provide a reference? – billynoah Dec 8 '19 at 5:37
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    Yes, just reads carefully definition here support.google.com/merchants/answer/6324448?hl=en – NatWeb Solutions Dec 8 '19 at 11:01
  • Also if you google anything that will bring Google shopping ads on your search results you will see that availablity is not showing there, it's just to inform Google whether ad should be shown or not – NatWeb Solutions Dec 8 '19 at 11:03
  • Thank you, added! – NatWeb Solutions Dec 9 '19 at 16:09

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