Retailers have been using Google Trusted Stores since about 2011 when it first rolled out in beta. While it wasn’t the most popular program, many retailers liked having the digital proof that their store was valid, which gave customers confidence in shopping through their online store. It was also a convenient place for people to write reviews on products that they were known to have purchased.
To participate in the program, retailers had to have at least 200 sales per month, on average, and meet some customer service requirements. In exchange, the retailers would be verified as a trusted store, and would show up more often when shopping through Google’s search engine.
According to a release given to current Trusted Stores members, this program will be winding down soon. The main feature of the program, which was the ability for real consumers to write authentic reviews of the service they received will be rolling into the Google Merchant Center.
This will happen automatically for Trusted Stores, and retailers that were not a part of this program will have the option to opt-in by adding the module to their websites. The module will verify that an actual purchase has been made through their site, and then send the consumer a message asking them to rate their experience after the product has arrived.
There has been no word on whether this option will be available to everyone, or just those retailers that meet specific requirements such as number of sales per month.