As a retailer, don’t you want your product to automatically pop-up in the list of suggestions for search queries? Don’t you wish to gain higher visibility across multiple channels? How gratifying it would be to have complete control over the content displayed for your product! A well-built product feed can accomplish the same for you. And that’s not all! From higher customer acquisition from price comparison sites to social networks, applications of an intelligently crafted product feed are endless in its scope. A great product feed can turn those clicks into sales!
What is a Product Feed?
A data feed is a structured file like an XML, JSON, or CSV or a semi-structured one like TXT, that is used to share information between multiple systems or for transferring data to 3rd parties and vendors. A product data feed is a data feed containing different data points for top products hosted by an Ecommerce site.
Fig: File Types that can be used for Product Feed
This feed is usually used for sharing product specifications with:
a) Price Comparison Portals
b) Google and Facebook Advert Feeds
c) Online Marketplaces
Having a single Ecommerce product feed that you share with multiple partners can also have other benefits– for instance, you need not worry about updating multiple datasheets. You can share the same feed with your B2B partners, retailers, warehouse-managers, paid advertisement services, search engines, and more. You can even use the information to create automatic alerts whenever products go out of stock. In case you are adding a new line of products or an entirely new category of products to your catalog, you can update your product feed to make sure that the latest update reaches all the stakeholders at the same time.
You could even use an Ecommerce product feed to maintain the Ecommerce product data feed on your website. Having a single point of data storage from which both your website content and your product feed can get updated is a single solution to tackling two problems. Anyone who is building a new Ecommerce website or revamping their old one can put in the one-time extra effort for enabling this, and reap its benefits for long.
Ecommerce Product Data Feeds: Benefits
A well-formed Ecommerce Product Feed may take time to perfect but has a multitude of benefits. While these are some of the basic data points that must be included in the product-feed for most Ecommerce sites, you may need to add other specifications based on the exact line of products that you are in.
For example, if you are a car company and you want to host your car specifications online, you would need to add data points like engine type, dimensions, mileage, cargo volume, safety features, and more.
Having a well-formed Ecommerce product feed can take companies a long way starting with increasing their online visibility. Some of the major benefits are:
a) Better scores on automated algorithms
As an eCommerce platform, search engines and price comparison algorithms will scrape product data while indexing your website. They will also parse other competitor sites and rank all the websites based on the quality and accuracy of the data that is hosted. The structured format of the data will also count. If you create a well-formed product feed that is updated in real-time, you will be able to achieve better scores on such algorithms– thereby increasing your online visibility and in turn, your sales.
b) Complete Control on a Single Data Source
If you maintain a single Ecommerce product feed and enable every process to use the same feed, you would be having a single data source. This way, any stock update, or price change can be applied through a single window. This would, in turn, secure you against stale product data on certain platforms. Since you would be updating the data in real-time, customers will also be able to place more trust in your website.
c) Better Results from Digital Marketing
Every click or impression adds up to fill your digital marketing budget. A high conversion rate still makes the effort and the expenses worthwhile. If you do not have an updated product feed, or if you do not use the same Ecommerce product feed for different partners, the inconsistencies will show up, and your conversion rates will go down. Alternatively, a well-maintained product feed will enable more users who end up on your site from a search engine or a price comparison website, to make a purchase.
d) Multi-Channel Visibility
Companies are reaching out to multiple platforms to create a wider user base. While almost every Ecommerce site is showcasing their products on the mammoths like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google having a clean product feed also enables third-party websites like price comparison plugins, or deal-finders to lead customers to your site. The cleaner your product feed is, the greater your reach.
Fig: Multi-Channel Visibility
Cart Abandonment and Product Feed
One of the crucial metrics that point towards where an Ecommerce company is falling through, is its cart abandonment rate. An Ecommerce product feed that isn’t updated regularly, or one that contains unclean data, can be a major reason behind cart abandonment.
As your products appear on third-party-sites, search engines, and even plugin adverts, more customers will be driven towards your website. However, the number of users who view your products, or add them to their carts may be a lot higher than the ones who buy them.
This is because in case a customer finds that the price or any other attribute is different from what was showcased through the product-feed, he or she is bound to leave. Another common mistake is that business owners forget to update stock information– and it is only during checkout that customers realize that the product is out of stock. This can have far-reaching effects– you not only lose a single customer, but you also lose customer trust, which is even worse.
In case your website is already set up, chances are, you are using a cloud database to populate product details in your website. Now’s the time that you should start thinking about generating a product feed to feed into affiliate marketing websites, marketing campaigns, and more.
Since you already have all the product information in a database, creating a copy of the data would not be wise. Instead, you can create an API or a script that would automatically pull data from your database and generate your Ecommerce product feed in real-time. You can schedule an update after a fixed period, to make sure that the product feed pulls in the latest changes from your main database, from time to time.
You can also make your product feed intelligent, by comparing information on it, with data scraped from competitor websites. This can help you in validating your data-points, flagging errors, and even keeping your prices in check. Such information can then be fed back into your main database. This would create a feedback loop that would keep your product feed clean while enabling more conversions.
Web Scraping and Product Feed
Product Data extraction from competitor websites may look simple but can prove to be a tough nut to crack due to the requirements of aggregation, cleaning, and normalization of data. Maintaining a data feed, along with a scraping engine, while taking care of the infrastructure requirements of both, would take a lot of time and effort. Instead, you can focus on your main business of showcasing and selling products while using the services of our team at PromptCloud.
We offer a DaaS (Data as a Service) solution that can be personalized based on your specific requirements. You can give us your problem statement, and we will give you the data that you need to create a world-class Ecommerce Product Feed. We offer a wide range of customizations which include different data formats and cloud storage options. We also offer data-updates at any frequency that you may require. All you need to do is plug in our data feed into your system, and you’re good to go.