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Managing Feed Management: Boost Your E-Commerce Strategy for Multi-Channel Sales

The world of e-commerce continues to grow and online sales are expected to comprise as much as 25% of all sales worldwide by 2025. This means that as an online seller, you need to get down to business to create better findability online.

When you sell through multiple sales channels, such as Shopify, Amazon and bol.com, it can be difficult to keep track of everything manually. A good solution in that case is to implement feed management in the marketing strategy.

Feed management

What is feed management?

Feed management is a process within e-commerce and digital marketing that deals with optimizing and managing product data feeds, also called product feeds or feed.

A product feed, or feed, is an online file that contains information about products, such as their titles, descriptions, prices, availability and other features.

These feeds are widely used on various online platforms, including e-commerce websites, comparison sites and online marketplaces. Such channels are therefore also called feed-based channels.

The goal of feed management is to ensure that product feeds are accurate, structured, up-to-date and optimized for maximum visibility and performance across platforms.

What are feed-based channels?

Feed-based channels are online platforms and websites where product feeds are used to display and distribute product information to potential customers.

On a feed-based channel, a seller can show his or her products to potential buyers and then direct them to their own website, where the purchase can be fulfilled.

A website or platform that refers potential customers to the vendor’s website receives compensation for doing so. This could be in the form of a fixed or variable click fee, for example.

However, there are also feed-based channels on which sales are made directly, think Amazon or bol.com. These types of channels are also called marketplaces.

The reason online retailers use feed-based channels is mainly because they are often targeted to a specific audience or product group.

What types of feed-based channels are there?

When we talk about feed-based channels, we can distinguish between roughly 5 different types. Below we have listed the 5 different types for you:

  • Online marketplaces: e-commerce platforms where sellers can offer their products. These platforms allow sellers to submit their product feeds, making their products visible to millions of potential customers shopping on these platforms.
  • Comparison sites: websites where consumers can compare products based on price, features and other criteria. Based on product feeds, a shop’s products can be included in search results.
  • Retargeting platforms: retargeting platforms use product data feeds to show personalized ads to people who have previously shown interest in specific products on a website. In doing so, they bring products back to the attention of potential buyers.
  • Shopping & inspiration: shopping & inspiration channels, such as Google Shopping, offer consumers inspiration for buying certain products. They do not sell their own products, but offer the products of other web shops.
  • Affiliate marketing: affiliate marketers make their platform available to promote the products or services of others in exchange for a fee. This can be in the form of a click fee or commission per sale generated.
  • Social media channels: platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest allow sellers to submit their product feeds so they can promote their products through ads on these social media channels.

As you can see, there are many different types of feed-based channels on which you can submit your product data feeds. But why use these feed-based channels?

How does feed management work in practice?

The theory behind online marketing seems pretty simple. In fact, consumers search for a product or service and are shown relevant products or advertisements based on their search. In practice, however, this looks different.

There is a growing aversion to advertisements. Not necessarily because consumers no longer want to buy anything, but mainly because many ads don’t match the target audience, are full of misinformation or are simply bad.

To increase ROAS (Return On Advertising Spent), it is important to optimize ads for each individual sales channel. When this has to be done manually, it can be a tricky job.

This is where feed management comes in. By using structured and up-to-date product feeds, you can optimize products and ads across channels.

Each sales channel uses a different algorithm to filter products. By displaying the right product information in the right formatting, you can increase findability on a specific channel.

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The basics of feed management

When you offer products through various channels, it is important that the formatting is optimized for each channel. In fact, each channel uses different rules and algorithms to specify products.

Basically, every product ad displays relevant product information. You can think of the following:

  • Title: name of the product.
  • Description: description of what the product does and what it entails.
  • Category: department or category under which a specific product falls.
  • Quantity: quantity the customer receives per order
  • Availability: indication of whether the product is in stock or not
  • Price: how much the product costs the customer
  • Features/properties: important features and characteristics of the product, often stated in the form of bullet points.
  • Other important data: other important data/data intended for the client or the specific platform you are advertising on. For example, the size, color, material, design, EAN, SKU and other related product data.

Copying and pasting such product data may suffice in some cases. However, we see in practice that most product feeds in that case do not meet the requirements of the specific channel.

In that case, you can choose to manually export the products to the different channels, but this will take more and more time once more channels are added.

Manage product feeds across channels

Manage product feeds across channels

Once you start creating product feeds on multiple sales channels, you will quickly notice that each channel has different rules regarding the information required for product feeds.

It is therefore a real challenge to manage large quantities of products on different channels. Often tough decisions must be made for product ads to still keep up with the competition.

However, if you have the basics in order, such as clearly defined product descriptions including all associated product information, then you are already a long way off. The next step is then to optimize product descriptions and information for each individual channel.

Product feed optimization

As highlighted several times, it is essential that product feeds are optimized according to the requirements of each individual channel. Optimizing the feeds ensures that the ads are displayed correctly and prevents you from violating the channel’s guidelines.

For each product ad, you will be faced with several fields to fill out. Here we can distinguish between three different fields per product ad:

  • Mandatory fields: every product ad has mandatory fields that must be filled in. Here you can think about the title, description, price, quantity and other mandatory information about the product.
  • Optional fields: optional fields allow sellers to offer customers additional information about their product. Consider, for example, information about delivery and possible returns.
  • Additional fields: some platforms allow you to add additional data fields to provide additional information about products.

Make use of product feed management software

Product feed management software, such as e-tailize’s software, makes it possible to integrate different sales channels into one convenient platform. This allows you to manage all product ads across channels from one place.

Thereby, it is possible to use handy tools to automatically optimize product feeds for various channels according to the requirements set for each channel. Include any additional product information so the channel has a better understanding of what the product does or entails.

Based on well-optimized product feeds, it becomes easier for channels to match products to visitors’ searches. Moreover, it allows you to be one step ahead of the competition.

Do I need a feed management tool?

Do I need a feed management tool?

Whether you need a feed management tool depends entirely on your personal preferences. Should you have no problem filling in product feeds manually and separately per channel, you obviously don’t need a tool for this.

However, we see in practice that as the number of SKUs increases, tools and software often become necessary to keep track. Plus, it will save you a lot of time and money.

With product feed management, you automate and optimize the process of placing product ads. In addition, it reduces the chance of errors, since there is no human hand involved.

Reasons to implement feed management tools in your online marketing strategy.

When you implement feed management in a structured way into your online marketing strategy, it brings many benefits. Indeed, in practice, we see that when marketers operate across multiple channels, much is quickly overlooked.

We would like to save you from common mistakes that are made as retailers grow and are active on various channels. Below, therefore, we discuss some common mistakes. Do you recognize yourself in these mistakes? Then feed management might be the solution.

  • Problems with inventory: if you sell through multiple sales channels, chances are you will soon lose track of inventory. This is because the individual channels are not in direct contact with each other, which can lead to more sales than inventory.
  • Time and money: if you sell or advertise through multiple channels, then without an automated system you will have to post each product one at a time. This takes up unnecessary time, as well as budget for personnel.
  • Formatting on different platforms: each sales channel has different rules based on which products and ads are filtered and found. An automated system automatically optimizes the formatting for each channel based on the product feeds.
  • Manual data entry: if you have to enter all the data manually, in addition to taking a lot of time, it will also increase the chances of incorrect data. Misinformation of products or in advertisements may result in product ads being removed.

Optimize feed management with e-tailize

Are you planning to offer product ads on multiple channels? Then e-tailize’s software can do a lot for your business.

With e-tailize, you have the ability to integrate more than 100 channels. It allows you to centralize and automate product management and inventory management across multiple sales channels.

In addition, order fulfillment solutions are even available. For example, you can integrate various e-fulfilment services so that even the process of order fulfillment is fully automated.

Close all tabs of various channels and work from one central dashboard from now on. Create, manage and advertise on multiple channels and avoid errors thanks to automation capabilities.

Curious about what e-tailize’s platform can do for your online marketing strategy? Schedule a demo with one of our “Growth Experts” today to explore the possibilities for your business together!

Sources:

  1. https://www.channable.com/nl/blog/blog-wat-is-feed-management-en-waarom-heb-je-het-nodig
  2. https://www.frankwatching.com/archive/2017/02/15/feedmanagement-zo-werkt-het-dit-zijn-de-kansen-voor-je-webshop/
  3. https://onlinemarketingagency.nl/marketingtermen/feed-management/

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