Developing a Standout Retail Product Feed

Product feeds are an Internet retailer's most valuable marketing resource because they are jam-packed with data that can be submitted to comparison shopping platforms and affiliate and search engine ad networks, allowing these merchants to compete with countless other storefronts on the Web and attract users with less effort.

The top 10 comparison shopping engines (CSEs), including Google Shopping, Amazon, Nextag and Bing, reach more than 300 million unique visitors monthly, meaning merchants neglecting these sites are missing out on additional conversion opportunities. The challenge when it comes to data feeds, however, is maintaining these files so that inventory is up-to-date, accurate and compelling enough to sell products.

Managing Data Feeds

As you might imagine, managing data feeds can be an onerous task - especially for merchants with large inventories. Yet, distributing feeds that are not current or complete can result in frustrated customers and wasted opportunities.

To obtain the best performance from these marketing initiatives, Rakuten PopShops' Managing Director Ashish Pandey suggests several feed management tips, including refreshing data feeds daily, ensuring landing URLs lead to product detail pages not category or generic landing pages, checking for broken image links, filling out the manufacturer/brand name fields and removing out-of-stock items from feeds.

Merchants should also optimize the content within their data feeds to help their products stand out from the competition, such as including unique product descriptions and images, as well as filling in all optional data fields.

"Specifically, when consumers are shopping online, the quality of the data feed directly influences the likelihood of purchase," said Pandey. "Inaccurate, incomplete or outdated information results in lost sales. Yet being able to provide accurate and optimized information is an extremely time-consuming process. This is why advertisers and publishers rely on automated data feeds to continuously provide refreshed product, coupon and deals information."

Data Feed Automation

Data feed management solutions simplify the distribution process, as they typically allow merchants to export products from their stores and import the data into a solution, which then optimizes the attributes for each marketing channel. This is particularly helpful because manually submitting data feeds to multiple channels is not only time consuming, but also difficult, as each platform tends to have its own specifications. Plus, it is important to note that most automation solutions refresh the feeds at least daily.

Take GoDataFeed as an example. The solution enables merchants to import their product data, perform a one-time campaign setup and send optimized feeds to more than 70 different channels, including Google, Shopzilla and LinkShare. GoDataFeed also offers analytics so merchants can analyze their shopping campaigns, track their bestselling products and make better decisions on how to spend ad dollars.

Conversely, data feed management platform SingleFeed works with 21 channels to distribute a retailer's data feeds, including Google, TheFind and PriceGrabber. Plus, SingleFeed's partnership with mShopper offers merchants a combined service to help them deliver products to CSEs and create mobile-optimized stores, which can be integrated with any ecommerce site. That said, GoDataFeed and SingleFeed are far from the only data feed management platforms available. Discover five more at

Staying Competitive

To successfully market products online today, merchants need to pay close attention to one specific resource - their product data feeds - because it may be the most valuable means to acquire orders now and in the future.