A Guide to WooCommerce Direct Checkout Links for Google Local Ads and Merchant Center Integration

In the realm of e-commerce, streamlining the path from product discovery to purchase is crucial for maximizing conversions and enhancing the customer experience. At IML Company, we understand the importance of leveraging every digital marketing tool available to create a seamless shopping journey. Today, we’re sharing a strategic WooCommerce customization that not only bridges your online store with Google Local Ads (GLA) and Google Merchant Center but also implements a direct checkout link, simplifying the purchasing process for your customers.

Decoding GLA and Google Merchant Center

Before we delve into the customization, let’s shed some light on GLA and Google Merchant Center:

  • Google Merchant Center is an essential tool for e-commerce businesses, serving as a hub where you can upload your product data. This information then becomes accessible across Google’s platforms, enhancing product visibility and discoverability.

  • Google Local Ads (GLA), a component of Google’s advertising ecosystem, empowers businesses to promote their products to local audiences across Google’s platforms. By linking with the Merchant Center, GLA optimizes product visibility, driving both online traffic and in-store visits.

The Customization: Ensuring Smooth Transactions

The key to this integration lies in a simple yet effective code snippet, which ensures product IDs are uniform across WooCommerce and Google platforms, enabling the use of direct checkout links in your GLA campaigns:

					// Ensure direct checkout capability by syncing product IDs.
    function ( $mc_id, $product_id ) {
        return (string) str_replace('gla_', '', $product_id);


This modification allows for a “Buy Now” button on listings and ensures that when a customer clicks on a product ad from GLA, they are directed to a straightforward checkout process via a direct link, like this:{id}. Here, {id} dynamically represents the product’s ID, creating a seamless and immediate buying opportunity.

Why This Matters

mplementing direct checkout links from GLA ads to your WooCommerce store offers several tangible benefits:

  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Simplifying the checkout process reduces friction, potentially increasing conversion rates and sales.
  • Streamlined Product Management: By maintaining consistent product IDs across WooCommerce and Google Merchant Center, inventory management and performance tracking become more straightforward.
  • Improved Ad Efficacy: Direct checkout links make your ads more compelling, likely leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

How to Implement on Your Site

Incorporating this feature into your WooCommerce site is straightforward. You can add the code to your theme’s functions.php file or, for a more durable solution, create a custom plugin. While the former method is quicker, the latter ensures your customizations persist through updates.

  1. Via the Theme’s functions.php: Quick, though susceptible to being overwritten by theme updates.
  2. Through a Custom Plugin: Offers a stable solution that withstands updates, preserving your adjustments.

Enabling Direct Checkout Links in Google Merchant Center: A Step-by-Step Guide

To leverage the power of direct checkout links in Google Merchant Center and provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers, it’s crucial to understand how to enable this feature effectively. Depending on your needs, you can opt for a universal approach applicable to all products (account level) or customize links for specific items (product level). Here’s how to do it:Opt-In Methods

Method 1: Opt in at the Account Level

If your checkout process and URL structure are uniform across all products, opting in at the account level is the most efficient route. This method applies a single URL template to all eligible products, simplifying setup.

  1. In Google Merchant Center, navigate to the gear icon and select Business info.
  2. Locate the Checkout card and click Edit checkout settings.
  3. On the Checkout page, choose Include link to your cart or checkout page and input your URL template.
  4. To verify the URL’s functionality, click Test. This action tests the link with a random product from your feed.
  5. After successful testing, click Save.

Ensure your URL supports the HTTP GET method, matches your domain, and directs to a page not requiring sign-in.

Method 2: Opt in at the Product Level

For a more tailored approach or if your URLs vary by product, opt in at the product level by adding a unique checkout URL to each item’s feed using the [checkout_link_template] attribute.

  1. Ensure you haven’t set a checkout URL at the account level to avoid conflicts.
  2. Add the [checkout_link_template] attribute to your product feed for each product you wish to enable for direct checkout. You can use your main product feed or a supplemental feed for this purpose.

Opting Out

To opt out of the checkout feature, simply select the Don’t include a link to cart or checkout option in your Merchant Center settings and ensure no values are present in the [checkout_link_template] attribute in your product feed.

URL Validation and Landing Page Recommendations

Google periodically validates checkout URLs to ensure they lead to a valid and operational checkout or cart page. This process can take up to 24 hours and helps maintain a quality shopping experience for users. Ensure your site allows access to Google Storebot for these checks.

Landing Page Best Practices:

Your landing page plays a crucial role in converting visitors into customers. Here are some recommendations to make your checkout or cart page more effective:

  • Brand Visibility: Make sure your brand is prominently displayed to reassure customers.
  • Product Details: Include comprehensive information like images, quantity, price, and variants.
  • Price Transparency: Provide a clear cost breakdown to build customer trust.
  • Product Disclosures: Offer necessary product warnings and disclosures for informed purchasing decisions.

Additionally, consider enriching your product feeds with detailed data attributes such as return policies, shipping details, and availability to further enhance buyer confidence.

By following these guidelines, you can optimize your use of Google Merchant Center’s direct checkout links, improving the shopping experience for your customers and potentially boosting your conversion rates.

Follow Us for More Recipes

Implementing direct checkout links for your WooCommerce storefront, especially when fused with Google’s colossal platforms like Local Ads and Merchant Center, is akin to finding a secret passage in the labyrinth of e-commerce—a shortcut straight to the treasure chest (a.k.a., a boosted conversion rate).

For more “recipes” that can help you cook up success in the digital world, keep your eyes on our blog. Who knows what we’ll serve up next?