Shopping Feed Management FAQs

Contents

Why Volusion Shopping Feeds?

With Volusion Shopping Feeds, you'll be able to:

  • Create and format product feed for every SKU in your inventory
  • Optimize your product feed for each shopping engine
  • Map your categories to specific product categories on each engine, ensure relevancy and prevent formatting mistakes and uncategorized listings
  • Tag URLs with 3rd party analytics tracking parameters like Google Analytics
  • Provide full support with a dedicated channel marketing expert
  • Effectively manage your budget and monitor ad spend by individual channel, category or product
  • Provide analysis down to the SKU level for intelligent performance measurement and feed optimization
  • Deliver actionable monthly performance reporting
  • Send more fields than required for optimal feed performance
  • Refresh your product feed daily, weekly or on-demand

What is a product feed?

A product feed is a structured, automated text file that involves the technical specifications of a product, including condition, description, ID, sample image, price and other information.

What is a Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE)?

A Comparison Shopping Engine, also known as CSE, allows shoppers to see essential product information in an easy-to-understand grid format when they enter search queries for specific products. CSEs usually return price comparisons, sample images, brands, manufacturers and, in some cases, even consumer reviews and buying guides. CSE is gaining ground as it fine-tunes search results to cater to the needs of billions of online shoppers.

What is the difference between CSEs and general search engines?

While search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing continue to play an essential role in seeking information, CSEs are designed with customers' shopping needs in mind. Solely focusing on product merchandising, CSEs have eliminated the academic and informational aspects of general search results. Thus, they target serious shoppers looking to compare product features, prices and more to easily make purchases online.

Search engines such as Google also have shopping engine functionality. By submitting properly formatted product feeds to Google and Bing, your product lists have the opportunity to appear when a searcher designates they are looking for products. Also, product listings are integrated into the general search results, presenting even more opportunities for traffic. Feed formatting and submission to Google Shopping is included in each of our CSE Management plans.

Why are CSEs important to e-commerce websites?

When your e-commerce website achieves a leading presence on CSEs, you'll be displaying your products to online shoppers who are seriously interested in making a purchase. Also, CSEs redirect interested shoppers to your website where they can learn more about your business, products and services. In addition to quality traffic, you stand to gain desirable conversion rates and increased brand awareness.

What do I need to do to ensure that my feeds are accepted?

Thanks to the Volusion software, you'll have a hands-off experience once you sign up with a CSE Management plan. However, we need your help to accurately list your product information because no one understands your offerings better than you.

Please make sure that the following fields are populated in your store backend: Product Name, Product Description, List Price, Product Code, Product Manufacturer, Vendor Part Number and that all products have a proper product landing page and product image. Each merchant should also ensure that their tax and shipping settings are set up in the Volusion store, as well. Please also note that product images should preferably be a minimum of 400x400 pixels to ensure optimal feed performance. We cannot guarantee the inclusion of all of your products in each shopping engine, but ensuring that your products meet these minimal requirements should increase the number of products that will be accepted in each CSE.

How do I know which CSEs are the best venues for my products?

Since their innovation in the late 1990s, CSEs have been revolving in quantity, quality and specialty. Shopping engines vary greatly in size, algorithm, product categories and how they charge merchants. Chances are your site could receive a huge ROI on one CSE but not as much on another, so the best approach is to test your products in different venues, and adjust your strategy according to performance.

Google, a paid CSE, is a good starting venue for small and medium-sized businesses because it brings a lot of traffic. Businesses with larger marketing budgets may benefit from adding other paid engines such as Amazon, Nextag, Pricegrabber, etc. When you purchase a CSE Management plan that includes cost-per-click engines, we will make budgetary adjustments as needed to maximize performance.

If I've already invested in SEO or PPC, should I consider launching a CSE Management campaign?

Utilization of CSEs typically benefits online merchants in a way that complements SEO and PPC efforts. Increasing exposure online using various channels gives a business more opportunities for traffic, brand awareness and sales. While SEO and PPC can be used to improve your site's visibility in organic search results and sponsored results to attract quality traffic, CSE Management service is tailored to e-commerce merchants to push their inventories to various online marketplaces and ultimately, serious shoppers.

Can I manage CSE campaigns myself?

Yes, but bear in mind that leveraging CSEs to push sales is a very involved job that requires solid technical understanding and lots of patience. Each Comparison Shopping Engine has its own set of policies on feed format and updating inventory. Additionally, they often change the rules and taxonomies. Our professional CSE management services will spare business owners the trouble of monitoring and making adjustments accordingly. Inventory spreadsheets, product feed optimization and technical troubleshooting - we take care of everything for you.

What is a data feed?

A data feed is a structured, automated text file (like a CSV) which uses a variety of attributes to uniquely define and distinguish your products. A data feed will list your product's price, description, availability and other attributes to accurately describe your product, making it easier for customers to search for and find.

How is a Shopping Feed different than PPC text ads?

Shopping Feeds and standard PPC text ads target potential customers very differently. With PPC text ads merchants bid on specific keywords relevant to their business's landing pages. However, with shopping feeds merchants bid on particular products. These ads are not keyword based, but instead use information on product landing pages that has been crawled and indexed by bots to appear in the most relevant search queries.

How quickly will my ads appear?

Once your data feed is initially submitted each shopping engine will review the data to ensure that it meets all necessary specifications. This includes ensuring that prices within the data feed match the landing pages, that the estimated shipping prices are accurate, that your privacy policy is up to date, and many other features unique to the shopping engine being used. After the initial review confirms your site and product information meets quality standards, your ads should start to appear. Approval time can vary, but typically this process can take up to 7 business days.

Where can I see my campaign's performance?

You will have reports sent to you on a monthly basis, as well as having the option to monitor progress within your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts and store dashboard. Each option provides a wealth of information. Google Analytics is particularly useful for showing storewide traffic, AdWords shows the value of the service and which search terms are being used to attract new customers and your store's dashboard will show the most accurate conversion rate information. You will also have a dedicated shopping feed specialist available to answer any questions about campaign performance or strategy.