How does product feed optimization help eCommerce businesses to sell more online?

If you are running an eCommerce business, you probably don’t need me to tell you that it requires a lot of multitasking!

One of the most overlooked factors in guaranteeing successful eCommerce business is effectively managing the product data you are sending to sales channels like Google Shopping, Amazon or Facebook Ads. Many eCommerce store owners simply send a data feed which meets the requirements of each channel. However, to guarantee more visitors impressions, clicks and conversions, you need to be doing more than just meeting the requirements.

The more relevant, interesting, eye-catching and informative you can make your product data, the more likely it will be to reach your intended audience and convince them to make that crucial purchase decision.
We’ve taken a look at some of the key factors in boosting your online sales through product feed optimization.

1. Meet the requirements of each sales channel

I know, I know! 7 lines above it says that this doesn’t help sell more!

But you know what? It’s a necessity that has to be met before you do anything fancy to your eCommerce store’s product data. It’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to effective feed management, but meeting channel requirements is a must.

Your product feed is simply a list of all the products listed on your eCommerce store which you want to list on another sales channel.

The requirements will include basic data categories for your product listings, such as the title, description, URL, price, product id, and image links.

Here is an example for just some of the fields a data feed for a Facebook Product Ad campaign has to contain – see the full list here.

Source: screenshot from facebook.com

Most channels, like Google (feed requirements here), will include an easy-to-find list of feed specifications for merchants, as well as useful examples for how specific fields might appear in your feed.

As well as this, they will inform you, the seller, whether the field is required or whether it’s optional. If you fail to provide a feed which meets all these basic, required fields, you won’t be allowed to get any products listed at all.

Source: screenshot from support.google.com

There are obviously thousands of sales channels, comparison shopping platforms, marketplaces, affiliate marketing sites and social media channels where you can get your online store’s products listed – each with their own unique requirements and regulations.

That’s why it makes sense to use a feed management tool. Instead of manually adapting your product feed for each channel, they provide every seller with pre-built templates for each channel – constructed according to these individual channel requirements.

2. Beat the requirements of each sales channel!

So now that you know the product feed from your online store won’t get rejected by the sales channel, it’s time to go that step further.

As mentioned above, the majority of channels will not only list their required fields for a data feed, but optional fields which you can include. Don’t think of this as an annoying chore though…

Source: giphy.com

Remember, the more information you can provide, the more likely you are to convince your audience to make that crucial purchase decision. If your ad just contains a basic, unoptimized version of the product: title, image and the stock description for that product, your visitors might be left asking questions:

  • What size is the product?
  • Is it for men or women?
  • Does it come in different colors?

Adding all this extra info into a product feed makes you stand out above competitors and is worth it in the long run.

But on the other hand, take care not to go over the top! It might impress some channel algorithms when you have loads of extra info in your titles and descriptions – but remember that people have to read, understand and take value from your product listings too.

Take a look at this example from Amazon. If you were a shopper, unless you were already far down the purchase funnel, it’s unlikely that this listing would attract your interest and lead to a purchase!

Source: sellerrepublic.com

3. Make sure your data is clean and fresh

No matter which platform you’re selling on, it’s important that your data looks good to the user. For online shoppers, this is the only means of understanding your product and what you’re offering.

As well as obvious factors like grammar and spelling, make sure you remove unwanted HTML code which can often be left in product descriptions and title copy. The example below shows a product feed description for a book with unwanted, leftover HTML ‘<br>’.

Source: wakeupdata.com

This HTML is vital for your eCommerce store, but you definitely don’t want that appearing on a Google Product Listing Ad or Facebook Dynamic Ad.

It would obviously be incredibly time-consuming (and pretty boring!) to go through all your product listings ad copy, removing and correcting each one individually. That’s why feed marketing tools let you add ‘Expressions’ to your feed, which instantly applies to all the products in your feed.

The example below shows the same product description, which has had all the unwanted HTML removed in the blink of an eye, simply by using the expression ‘htmlclean(field1)’.

Source: wakeupdata.com

Be consistent in your copy, too—for example, are you selling a product from ‘Dolce & Gabbana’, ‘D&G’ or ‘D and G’? Decide beforehand and make sure it is the same across all your listings – get an idea of what clean product data should look like.

4. Optimize your titles and descriptions

As well as providing all the required fields for each category template, you will also want to ensure that the feed is fully optimized, where the product titles contain all relevant attributes, adjectives, and nouns, like the brand, color, size, and year variations when applicable.

The text of your product listings is crucial to determining the success of your eCommerce sales. While it may seem smart to cram your text full of keywords, this is not always the case – remember the Amazon title earlier in this article?! Selecting a collection of relevant, high-performing keywords will help your customers find what they are searching for.

Remember that the best sales copy doesn’t promote your product. Instead, it provides a detailed and engaging description of what it does. Again, different channels will have different rules on the length and layout of your text. Approach your copy from this angle first, and then begin to optimize it.

In the following couple of examples, we’ve done some research to show some of the basic formulas that Google Product Listing ads may follow for different industries.

Clothing Industry

  • Template: Brand + Feature + Product Type + Gender
  • Example: Under Armour + HeatGear Core + Long Sleeve Baselayer + Mens
under armour baselayer
Source: screenshot from google.com / Google Shopping search

Electronics industry

  • Template: Brand + Model + Size + Product Type + Operating system
  • Example: Lenovo + 20ks003nus + 15.6″ + Thinkpad E580 Notebook + Intel Core I
Source: screenshot from google.com / Google Shopping search

Jewelry industry

  • Template: Brand + material + Feature + Product type + ID number
  • Example: Pandora + smooth silver + clasp + bracelet + 590728
Source: screenshot from google.com / Google Shopping search

If all this is sounding like a lot of effort without gaining many results, let’s take a look at an example:

An online store called Legeakademiet, selling toys and gear for children, optimized their Google Shopping product titles, descriptions and added missing fields to their data feed. They simply used a feed marketing tool to do the hard work for them.

The result? 61% more conversions and a 131% increase in conversion value over a 12-month period. Not bad right? Get the full story of what they did here.

Driving conversions through product feed optimization

Alongside managing every aspect of your online store while keeping on top of your digital marketing strategy, it may seem that your product data feeds are less important.

However, site traffic, conversion rates, and overall revenue won’t increase if businesses are not focusing on effectively managing, updating and connecting your online store with easy-to-use plugins for platforms like Shopify or Woocommerce. With the right choice of tool, you can optimize and tailor every aspect of your product data to give you the best possible results. Select a feed management tool which lets you easily import and optimize your data from your eCommerce business, get dedicated customer support whenever you need and access to pre-built templates to export to any channel you want to sell on.


Cover image credit: Photo by Şahin Yeşilyaprak on Unsplash