A data feed is a list of product attributes which any company working within a retail spaces uses whether they realise it or not. By publishing products on local marketplaces these data feeds can vary in format requirements. Anything from text files to Excel files through to fully fledged APIs are used. If these products are confined to the small marketplace or inside a single platform, the format, details and consistency are not so relevant.
However, and here is the biggie – when data feeds are used to publish to bigger marketplaces or shopping comparison websites the game changes massively. These platforms demand a certain standard and consistency to ensure the details are provided that suit them and the product is ultimately displayed as anticipated. These standards are rigorously applied as it provides the best user experience to end users and ensures the best volume of traffic is sent back to the retailer or small marketplace. This requires a more serious level of time and resources to manage this effectively.
The high-level requirements for optimisation are:
- Once data is published to marketplaces or comparison shopping websites, these platforms keep a copy of the data that was sent to them including a link back to the retailers webpage.
- If a user finds a product on a marketplace and clicks to buy the product, all listed information, especially the price, should match what was shown on the marketplace.
- To ensure this is the case, any update in the product feed, needs to be published to the marketplace.
- As every site has different requirements, the customer is responsible for keeping on top of any changes the marketplace may introduce.
- Any comparison shopping website will provide users the ability to search for products. The more details are known about the product, the better these comparison sites can match the user’s search to the list of products.
- Some product feeds do not offer enough details which means that the product data will need to be enriched.
- Other product feeds are not offered in a format well understood by marketplaces or comparison shopping websites so product data will need to be changed.
In addition to the above, most marketplaces and comparison shopping websites apply regular updates to their product feed requirements. This means that any rules used for data feed optimisation will need to be kept up-to-date to ensure the highest quality data feeds.