10 Things You Should Know About Comparison Shopping Feeds

This post is by Andrew Davis, Marketing Director of CPC Strategy, a full service shopping feed management agency. He is the co-author of the first-ever Merchant Comparison Shopping Handbook, a free 21-page ebook to optimize merchant comparison shopping accounts and regularly posts on the CPC Strategy blog to help merchants optimize shopping feeds.

Greetings eCommerce Circle. Michael J Kaye was nice enough to give me the opportunity to share with you some important tips about shopping feeds and shopping feed optimization. Below are 10 things you should know about shopping feeds.

Top 10 things you should know about shopping feeds:

  1. When choosing an eCommerce platform, make sure it has the ability to easily update and export your shopping feed so you can easily manipulate it for free online marketing channels.
    Good places to start are Google Product Search, Bing Shopping and TheFind.
    More info: Google Product Search AKA Google Shopping | Bing Shopping | TheFind
  2. Each shopping feed has different product attributes in different columns, like product title, merchant product ID, and product categories. Some shopping engines will require certain attributes to list products on their websites, like Product Title, Product Description, Merchant Product ID, Category, Product URL and Image URL. Sometimes the order of your columns matter, sometimes they don’t. If you make any header or column changes to a shopping feed, make sure you format your shopping feed so the shopping engine reads it correctly.
  3. You’ll need to use an FTP program to download and upload your shopping feed from various locations. Some good free programs are FileZilla or CuteFTP.
  4. Depending on your stock levels and number of products, you’ll need to update your inventory and shopping feeds often to ensure your product shopping is accurate. You don’t want to submit products to marketing channels that are out of stock. One way to update your inventory in your shopping feeds is to add a Stock Status column and use the values True or False to denote whether the product is in stock or out of stock.
  5. Each shopping engine has a set of specifications that you can use to optimize the shopping you send them. We’ve compiled a shopping feed specifications and examples page that you can use to send shopping feeds to Google Product Search, Bing Shopping, TheFind, and more.
  6. Each marketing channel or shopping engine can be tracked with different tools. Some shopping engines have their own tracking pixels that merchant can use for free to track sales, clicks, revenue and conversion rates. You can also append the product URLs in your shopping feed with tracking shopping for Google Analytics. This data can be used to optimize these accounts and should be installed in your order confirmation page so your shopping feed products can be tracked.
  7. Some shopping engines like Shopping.com let you list a regular price and a sale price in your shopping feed. The engine then crosses the regular price with a big red X and displays the sale price in red below. This gives your listings an extra pop against your competition. More info: optimize Shopping.com shopping feed.
  8. Categorization is important. Each of your products needs to be categorize with specific category information to get as much qualified traffic as possible. For Google Product Search, your product_type attribute defines your category. Each shopping engine has their own categorization. Be sure to look it up and match your products as accurately as possible for best results. If you’re unsure how to categorize your product, as your account manager at a shopping engine or post a question in a help forum. The extra time you take to figure this column out is worth it. More info: shopping feed categories.
  9. Adding brand information to your products can greatly increase their findability. Even a step further, append your brand column in front of your product titles so your products can be searchable by those keywords.
  10. UPCs and MPNs are very important pieces of data to get more traffic on the shopping engines. More importantly, UPCs and MPNs let you SKU up, or list on comparison pages with your competitors. Without unique identifiers on electronics and other hard goods, you’ll lose out on traffic because your listing will be separate, away from the main comparison page. Don’t have UPCs? Look on Google Product Search for the products you have that don’t have UPCs and view the product details. Most hard goods have UPCs, you can strip them and add it to your shopping feed.

For more information on shopping feeds be sure to check out the CPC Strategy blog, the most active shopping feed optimization blog online.


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