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Defining and leveraging product feed management for your ecommerce business

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Online businesses selling products on top sales channels like Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, and Target struggle with the time-consuming task of reacting to price changes, shopper demand, and aggressive competition—all while supporting their products in effective advertising channels like Instagram and TikTok. Smart brands rely on feed management software to streamline those time-consuming tasks.

What is product and data feed management?  

Product feed management, sometimes called “data feed management” or just “feed management,” is a process by which businesses control and promote their products on a variety of platforms and channels (like Amazon and eBay) simultaneously. It’s an extra layer of rules and product information you customize to distribute your digital listings and optimize their performance. 

Critical brand decisions and intelligent inventory management (arguably the backbone of successful ecommerce companies), can take a backseat to data entry and digital marketing tasks. Companies rely on feed management to recover those precious hours needed to nurture and grow brands.

Why should I be considering feed management software?

Simply put, because your competitors are using feed management, and it may be giving them the edge. Feed management allows businesses to update product information across all channels (sales and advertising) automatically, and it does it better; that means all that data entry you used to spend 20 hours a week doing is now yours again—yours to cultivate relationships with customers and enrich your brand.  

Businesses need to continuously respond to product updates and capitalize on social trends if they want to dominate their product categories, but there are certain metrics they should watch and prioritize above all others to remain competitive:

  • price changes
  • new product listings
  • product descriptions
  • product quantity

How do ecommerce businesses leverage feed management?

Product feed management includes optimizing and administering the data feed that populates a company's product pages on various online platforms, such as Amazon, Google Shopping and eBay. Businesses typically create and manage product feeds using merchant center tools the online marketplace or platform provides. 

The benefits of feed management

Product feed management ensures that a company's product listings are accurate and up-to-date. Effective data feed management improves a company's feed quality, which means more traffic and more sales. Here are some more benefits of feed management:

  • Time: Product feed management is a complex and time-consuming process involving many moving parts, including constantly changing algorithms, data standards and product information. Managing product feeds can be a full-time job for businesses selling on multiple online platforms
  • Control: Product feed management software synthesizes data while identifying issues you may have overlooked. It’s all in one place, and what used to require three platforms and manual data entry, can now be controlled through one convenient dashboard. The smarter your feed gets, the more control you have over your advertising and channel budgets. It’s very easy to see what’s working, and what isn’t, feedback that can transform a small business into a big brand.
  • Competition: Amazon’s Buy Box, more specifically “winning the Buy Box” continues to be the north star for ecommerce companies. It's an essential piece of the puzzle for most sellers. Brands fight over this valuable real estate, and feed management is the weapon of choice for most victors.
  • Profit: Data-driven optimization prioritizes pricing and repricing, advertising, content, and inventory management simultaneously, taking the guesswork out of profitability and how to scale it. Most businesses see 20% - 40% lifts in a matter of months.
  • Agility: Segmentation is automated data feed management, and so is the analysis, giving businesses instant insight into ad performance. The right software helps businesses save time and improve their listings, learning about your campaigns and optimizing them for you. It can also help businesses scale their operations as they grow.

Why is product feed management important?

When businesses advertise through third parties, they must comply with the third-party company's format for displaying information. The format may not be the same as what the business already uses in its original data file.

Since businesses have to advertise their products through multiple channels, they'll have to organize the information in different formats. Doing this can be tedious and overwhelming.

Product feed management allows businesses to centralize their product information into one file. From there, the product feed management software can generate the required formats for each third-party company.

Feed tools make it easier for businesses to manage their product information and ensure their product advertisements are accurate on all channels.

What is a product feed?

A data or product feed is a digital file containing all of your product information that you want to share with potential online shoppers and retailers. The file typically uses an XML, CSV, or TXT format. It includes product titles, descriptions, pricing, image URLs, etc.

Businesses that have a shop on ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce can extract product feeds from their system.

Product characteristics analyzed by product feeds

A product feed contains characteristics or attributes of all products the company sells. It could include the following information:

  • Name: What is the product's name on the company's website?
  • Description: What does the product do? What are its specifications?
  • Price: What is the product's price?
  • Image URL: Where is the image of this product on the company's website?
  • Product URL: Where can shoppers find this product on the company's website?
  • Category: What category does this product belong to?
  • Quantity: How many of these products are in stock?
  • UPC: Does this product have a UPC?
  • EAN: Does this product have an EAN number?
  • Availability: Is this product available for purchase?
  • Condition: Is the product new, used, or refurbished?
  • Brand: What brand is this product from?
  • Other Attributes: The product data feed can also list other attributes, like color, size, material, etc. The characteristics depend on the type of product.

How do product feeds work?

By submitting a product feed to Google, sellers make their products eligible to appear in Shopping ads. Then, when a potential customer searches for such a product, the search engine uses the information from the product feed to show customers the ad.

The customer can then click on the ad to go directly to the product page on the seller's website. Product feeds are an essential part of shopping ad campaigns, as they provide all the information Google needs to show a company's products to potential customers.

How do product fees work in online marketing?

Online advertisers, eommerce retailers, estate agents and recruiters benefit from product feed submission. They use product feeds to list their products or services on other websites and get their products or services into search engines.

Product feeds are a way for these businesses to generate revenue from their product listings.

There are two types of product fees: fixed and variable. Fixed product fees are a set amount the advertiser pays every time their product is listed on a product page. Variable product fees are based on the number of times someone clicks on a product or purchases it through an ad.

Why use a product feed in online marketing?

Businesses can use product feeds in multiple online marketing channels to increase website traffic and generate higher revenues. These channels include:

  • Social media
  • Affiliate networks
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Comparison websites

What is feed optimization, and how is it related to product feed management?

The first step in product feed management is to create a product feed. The next step is to optimize it.

Feed optimization means ensuring a product feed is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. Doing this is essential because if a product feed is not optimized, it could be selling outdated products or items that are no longer in stock.

Online businesses need to do the following to optimize their product feeds:

Check for errors

If there are any errors in a product feed, businesses need to fix them manually or by employing data feed management software. Mistakes can make a product feed appear unprofessional and could deter potential customers from buying from an online store.

Include all products

Every product for sale on the website should be in a product feed. If products are missing, shoppers might not be able to find what they're looking for and could go to a competitor's site instead.

Update product information regularly

It's vital to update product information so shoppers know they're getting the most accurate information possible. The information includes price, availability, and descriptions.

Feed optimization for advertising and online marketing

The most prominent use of product feed optimization is to create product feeds in a format online channels accept. Every channel has a unique format that online businesses must use.

The advertising or marketing channel may require product feeds to have the following fields:

  • Required: These are fields that businesses must fill. They could include name, description, price, and availability.
  • Optional: Although an online channel might not require the business to fill these fields, entering this information could help customers learn more about details such as delivery information or product type.
  • Custom: Some channels let advertisers add custom fields that are not mandatory or optional. Advertisers can add custom fields if they want to include any unusual or niche-specific information about their product.

Filling these fields manually can be time-consuming, especially if a business has an extensive marketing strategy that involves multiple channels. A feed management tool can facilitate feed optimization while saving time and money.

How to choose the right feed management tool

A feed management tool automates and simplifies the process of managing product feeds. It can help businesses track performance and troubleshoot issues—we’ve established that, but all feed management tools are not created equal.

Each feed manager has its strengths and its weaknesses. In addition, marketplaces and channels, like Amazon, have often confusing and ephemeral specifications, which means there are logic and criteria rules you need to keep an eye on, as your feed starts automating things.

Feed management tools should always meet the following criteria:

  1. They should be easy to use. Therefore, in addition to presenting a simple interface, it must also centralize your activity and be a scalable tool that allows you to grow alongside your inventory.
  2. Simple automation and group tasking. Automation is given, but the ability to group tasks is where businesses start to see efficiency kick in.

But all of this time saving and ease of use is thanks to an application programming interface or API that makes the data more accessible. 

What is an API data feed?

Application Programming Interface (API) refers to any software intermediary that lets two applications communicate with each other. It incorporates a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing web-based software applications.

The API usually comes with documentation that outlines how it works. An API data feed is simply a data feed that anyone can access with an API.

API data feeds can provide real-time data to applications or automate importing data into another application. For example, a stock market tracking app may use an API data feed to get the latest stock prices automatically.

In the context of ecommerce, an API data feed helps product information flow between the merchant and comparison shopping engines (CSEs), marketplaces, or other retailers. A merchant only has to update their product information in one place, and the API automatically reflects the changes everywhere.

API data feeds can also provide social media data to applications. For example, a social media monitoring app may use an API to pull data from multiple social media platforms. API data feeds save time merchants would otherwise have to spend manually updating listings.

Additional benefits of feed management software

Data feed management tools streamline feed creation and optimization, allowing online sellers and advertisers to quickly generate and update product feeds for listings on ecommerce platforms and marketplaces.

These tools can automate submitting product data to multiple channels, making it easier to maintain consistent listing information across all selling platforms.

The benefits of a data feed management system include:

Adherence to channel requirements

Every marketing or advertising channel has different policies and requirements for product data format and organization. A data feed management tool can ensure that the product listings meet the specifications of each channel.

Enhanced product visibility

A data feed management solution can help increase the visibility of listings and drive traffic to an online store by making it easy to submit accurate and complete product data to multiple channels.

Improved listing quality

Data feed management software can help improve the quality of product listings by providing online retailers with tools to identify and fix errors in their data feeds quickly. A correct and error-free product feed can lead to increased traffic and sales.

Time-Saving

Optimizing and updating every product listing manually can be very time-consuming. Feed management software can automate tasks in managing product listings, freeing online retailers to focus on other aspects of their business.

Reduced expenses

Product feed management software can help online retailers save money by reducing the need to hire outside agencies or consultants to create and manage product listings. Instead, businesses can display their inventory accurately on each channel, manage all channels from one place, remove issues from their raw data and save on resources.

How can Cart.com help online retailers optimize product feeds?

Cart.com boosts retailers' online presence by automating feed management across thousands of social media, shopping, and advertising channels. The feed management software allows online retailers to create perfect data feeds optimized for each specific channel to ensure maximum ROI.

The software also offers real-time monitoring, error detection and automatic product updates that further streamline the feed management process. Cart.com also provides detailed reporting on product performance across all channels, allowing retailers to fine-tune their strategies for future campaigns.

Product feed management features of Cart.com

Online retailers can do a lot with Cart.com, from increasing their ROI to getting product insights and streamlining marketing campaigns. Here are the notable features of this website:

Product feed creation for over 2000+ channels

Cart.com lets online retailers create product feeds using the formats of over 2000+ social media, shopping and advertising channels. Retailers can establish their presence in over 60 countries, expanding their customer base and reaching new markets.

Multi-channel optimization

This software makes it easy to manage and update product information across channels from a single interface. For example, retailers can edit product descriptions, pricing, imagery, and other details in one place.

Analytics and insights

Cart.com provides detailed insights into product performance, conversion rates, traffic sources, and other marketing metrics. This information helps retailers fine-tune their marketing campaigns for maximum effect.

Online retailers can use inventory analytics and product insights to improve their advertising campaigns and maximize ROI. Making data-driven decisions also ensures that retailers don't overspend on ads that aren't converting.

Customizable feed optimization rules

Online retailers can optimize product feeds to complement their online sales strategy by using the smart automation and segmentation features of Cart.com. Customer segmentation enables retailers to target specific groups of customers with personalized messages.

Extensive audience reach

When online retailers create product feeds for a wide range of channels, they open up their business to new audiences. By making it easier for potential customers to find their products, retailers can boost traffic to their websites and increase sales.

Identification of underperforming products

Cart.com provides real-time product performance analytics, allowing online retailers to quickly identify underperforming products. With this information, they can reallocate resources to more effective marketing campaigns.

Feed-driven search ads

Creating data-driven search ads is a sure-shot way to improve online visibility and reach potential customers actively looking for products like yours. Retailers can create these ads directly from their product feed, saving time and effort using Cart.com. Retailers can create campaigns, keywords and automated ads using the product feeds Cart.com generates.

Manage product feeds for multi-channel marketing

Product data feed management is an integral component of ecommerce pertaining to sales, marketing and advertising. Online retailers and etailers must consider the technical and business aspects of managing product content and data.

Product data feeds are essential for businesses that want to sell their products online via marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook, and Pinterest. A product feed management platform automates feed maintenance and creation, allowing businesses to focus on selling and marketing their products without worrying about technicalities.

Cart.com is a feed management platform that allows online retailers to reach more audiences, gain product-level real-time analytics, run feed-driven search ads and reposition underperforming products to increase ROI and expand customer bases.

Get in touch today to enjoy personalized one-on-one support from Cart.com's in-house team of experts.