I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard retailers tell me that managing their Product Feed is one of the biggest challenges for their business. They are often referred to as “hard”, “confusing”, and drain countless hours of internal resources. At times, sure, a feed can be all of these things, but now there are several Feed Management Platforms that can help retailers combat all of the above, in real time.
By leveraging a Feed Management Platform, you have the ability to import your products once and syndicate them seamlessly to your selected channels, optimize product data in real time to help maximize reach, and analyze individual sku-level data in more depth, to take meaningful action and improve profitability.
How do these Platforms Work?
Sounds simple enough, but with over several hundred Shopping Channels that require different field attributes, image requirements, and constant changes to different field requirements, your head will start to spin. Because of this, managing a Product Data feed can be an incredibly daunting task for even the most sophisticated retailers. The beauty of leveraging a Feed Management Platform is that all you need to get started, is to ingest your raw data feed into your Feed Management Platform of choice, and from there you can essentially hit the ground running. Once the Feed Management Platform has ingested the raw file, you can choose from over several hundred pre-populated Shopping Channel templates and map your existing data to the required fields, which will ensure you’re providing the highest quality data possible. Most have the ability to scrape your site as well, so if you don’t have a raw data feed to work with, they have the ability to take care of that for you and create one on the fly. The Platform’s ability to optimize in real-time (in my opinion) is the largest advantage for many retailers as this is the part that consumes resources for retailers and ultimately moves the needle most.
Why Use Them?
Success on Google Shopping and other Affiliate and Comparison Shopping Engines is ultimately determined by the quality of your Data Feed. If you provide highly relevant, fresh, and complete data, chances are you’re going to be given a higher “quality score” when entering the auction. With Shopping and other Comparison Shopping engines you aren’t bidding on keywords, so the content of your feed is what’s going to help you align “keywords” to user intent. The way you do this if by placing highly relevant “keywords” in your Product Titles and Descriptions to improve the likelihood that your products will show. Product Categorization, which can also be very daunting for many retailers, is essentially seamless when leveraging a Feed Management Platform, and this only going to further help you get the right products in front of the right people. Most Feed Management Platforms also have fairly robust Analytics feature, that help you make smarter marketing decisions on your Shopping and Comparison Shopping initiatives. A few of my favorites include creating rules to suppress items when certain conditions are not met, and having the ability to dive deeper into cost-related metrics.
Tips for Product Feed Management
Know your product set like the back of your hand, optimize towards successful keywords. The more thought and research you spend on optimizing your Titles and Descriptions, the more likely you’ll find success in this vastly competitive environment. Also, focus on your top performers. This is again, a very competitive space, so if you’re not price-competitive in certain categories or on certain products, focus your efforts elsewhere. If you know which sku’s are your bread winners (and I hope you do J), make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimize that particular sku’s Product Data.
Product Feeds don’t need to be a scary thing anymore if you decide to explore a Feed Management Platform. With the ability to make changes in real time, house your product data in one place, and create rules to make smarter marketing decisions, you are without a doubt going to increase your likelihood of success and reach in this competitive and growing environment.