So, you’ve mastered your website, gotten to grips with social media marketing and you’re feeling confident about your growing brand, but now it’s time to shift your focus onto another area of eCommerce expertise, one that often leaves, even the most technically minded of eCommerce managers baffled.

We’re talking of course about product feeds.

But why are these seemingly bewildering lists of product data so important to e-retailers? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is A Product Feed?

A product feed, otherwise known as a data feed, is a digital catalogue or XML file of all your product information. It’s essentially a list of all your product names, prices, descriptions, availability information and relevant images.

eCommerce managers utilise the information on these feeds and hand it over to marketing channels such as Google ads, Amazon and Facebook etc to create shopping listings for consumers to browse and purchase. This information is then used comparatively on search engines, marketplaces, and other platforms as part of your marketing strategy and to enhance the shopper experience.

Get Started With Google Merchant Center & Google Shopping

If you’re new to product feeds, then you need to start at Google Merchant Center. This is where you can develop and adapt your product data feed also known as your Google Shopping feed. This is where your digital catalogue will come to life as you organise the key information about your products including the product title, images, categories, and availability.

From here, Google can index and create Google Shopping ads for you.

What Does a Product Feed Do?

Utilising a product feed is another way of showcasing your products and boosting your revenue. However, this is only the case if your product feed is optimised for the relevant shopping platform such as Google. An optimised product feed allows e-retailers to highlight specific products, rank highly against competitor listings and publish up to date information about discounts and offers. The more relevant and accurate your product feed is, the better it will perform.

Why Your eCommerce Business Needs One

If you’re selling products online, then a well-managed and detailed product feed is crucial to your eCommerce marketing campaign success. When you’re submitting data to your Google shopping ads, the quality of your data submission will be assessed, then the ranking within the shopping listings will be determined.

As your product feed plays an essential role in the success of your eCommerce campaigns, meeting the criteria of key information and prioritising the optimisation of these customer-facing assets has a powerful impact on your overall marketing performance. Essentially, a high-quality product feed will help your eCommerce business to rank better, giving you the success, you need today and a strong foundation for scalability, for tomorrow.

What Are The Benefits?

An optimised product feed means that your latest campaigns have a competitive edge. When your product feeds are fully optimised, and you’ve done the necessary work to step away from submitting basic product data, you’re sending clearer, stronger data into Google Merchant Center.

This means the platform has a generous amount of information to categorise, index and utilise to get your shopping ads in front of more consumers. Giving you a better ROI, more sales and less money wasted on unsuccessful campaigns.

How Do You Manage Your Product Feeds?

The best product feed management approach for your eCommerce business is often dictated by the size of your enterprise and what you feel is right for your business. Let’s explore some of the options:

Manual Feed Management

If you’re a small seller, with a modest catalogue of products then manual management could be the option for you. You simply manage and update your spreadsheets by hand (using Excel/Google Sheets etc) and then re-upload the file to the relevant channel such as Google shopping feed as needed.

This can be time-consuming, so consider how much time you have available if you’re considering a manual management approach.

Automated Feed Management

Maybe you don’t have a lot of time to manage your data feeds by hand, or perhaps you have an extensive catalogue to organise – an automated product management option is considered a viable solution for those who want to sell on more channels, for those looking at business scalability and for those who want to boost productivity.

It’s worth remembering that your product data will need to be specifically optimised to meet the requirements of each channel you want to sell on. Therefore, using product feed atomisation can keep your specs in check and your data optimised.

What Are The Best Practices?

Whether you choose manual management or an automated solution to manage your shopping ads, getting to grips with the best practices ensures that you’re communicating the right data to Google Merchant Center, that your campaigns are of high quality, and so your products will be seen by more shoppers. Some of the best product feed practices you can start today include:

Keeping Your Product Feeds Updated

Keeping your feeds updated with the relevant information such as availability, prices and product numbers, will help your feed to perform better. Don’t forget to update your feed with new products and listings too.

Use High-Quality Images

Providing high-quality images in your product feeds are not only more appealing to customers but it’s a requirement on Google Shopping. You’ll need images of at least 250 pixels to meet their requirements.

Ensure All Entries Are Completed

Empty fields, spaces and missing attributes can reduce the performance of your product feed. Not only can this impact your shopping listings on a technical level, but it will also impact the customer experience. Be wary of missing images, brand names and shipping costs.

Make Your Data Error Free

Ensure that your product descriptions and titles don’t contain any duplicate words, no double spaces and no broken HTML. This keeps your data organised and helps it to perform better.

Match Product Data To Product Landing Pages

To keep your product feed optimised, consider the customer experience. Ensuring that your product title and description matches the one on your landing page, gives clarity, reduces confusion and provides a better shopping experience.

Ensure that whatever variant of a product a shopper has selected on your shopping ads, matches the page they land on, for example, ensuring that colour names don’t change once customers click through to your site.

It’s Time To Get Started

Now you have a better understanding of the importance of product feeds and the good practices that will keep yours outperforming your competitors, it’s time to get started on optimising your own product feeds.

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