Do you wake up at night thinking about how to increase sales? Boost product exposure? Maximize ROI on your marketing investments?

Since 2014, the options to market your products online has increased considerably.

Options like:

Buy Button on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter

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  • The increase in popularity of social commerce sites like Polyvore

Polyvore Homepage Screen Shot

 

The customer journey has changed.

As mentioned in Competing on Customer Journeys, the classic customer journey has evolved to a shortened process where buyers are quicker to consider and evaluate brands.

Smart eCommerce retailers understand that to capitalize on the new customer journey, their products need to be in front of their customers at the right time, and in the right place.

 

McKinsey Decision Journey Screen Shot


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Enter, product feed marketing.

What is product feed marketing?

Product feed marketing is a method in which a product data feed is used to distribute and sync product information from a retailer’s website to multiple online marketing and distribution platforms.

Product Feed Marketing Process
Product Feed Marketing Process

Online distribution channels used in product feed marketing include: search engines, online marketplaces, comparison shopping sites, retargeting services, review sites and affiliate marketing partners.

Examples of Online Distribution Channels
Product Feed Online Distribution Channels

Each channel requires their feed to be formatted differently.

Here are some examples of product data feed requirements for some popular online distribution channels.

Why explore product feed marketing?

Your products need to be everywhere because your competitors’ products are everywhere. Retailers are increasingly looking to channels like Google Shopping to promote their products.

Google Shopping Ad Spend Growth
Google Shopping 2014 results

  • Google Shopping Ad spend growth up 47% YOY.
  • The holiday season drove Google Shopping Ad spend growth up to 53% QOQ.

Feeds are the most effective way to distribute your product information to channels like Google Shopping and Google Merchant Centre. It’s not the future of online marketing. It’s the present.


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Who uses product feed marketing?

Most companies that sell products on-line, with a sizeable catalogue, can benefit from marketing with product feeds:

  • Retailers with a catalogue of 500 + items
  • Companies looking to increase product visibility for multiple products
  • Businesses interested in marketing flash sales and other types of promotions
  • Retailers wanting to learn more about their customers’ shopping patterns
  • eCommerce sites looking to drive traffic back to their website

How to get started with product feed marketing

There are four methods to market your products with feeds. You can hire an experienced product feed management company or use internal resources to create feeds using the following techniques:

  1. Manual Process: Add your product information to a standard file format (CSV, TSV or spreadsheet). Upload or download the spreadsheet to your chosen platform making sure that you have followed all of their requirements.
  2. Programmatic Feed Generation: Create a procedure to dynamically develop a product data feed based on a set of variables.
  3. eCommerce Platform Plugin: Use an eCommerce plugin to connect your product data from your eCommerce platform to your chosen distribution channel
  4. Remote synchronization to your eCommerce platform: Use a third party platform to synchronize and optimize your product catalogue data remotely with online distribution channels.

Next Steps

Here’s a quick recap. From a marketing and technical perspective the concept of using feeds to market products seems logical.

What are the benefits?

  • Solution for the new omnichannel customer journey
  • Addresses the challenge of increasing product visiblity across multiple channels quickly & seamlessly
  • Cuts down on manual work to market products across the globe in multiple languages and currencies.
  • Creates opportunities to execute new types of promotions like flash sales
  • If outsourced to a product feed management company, allows IT and marketing departments to enjoy the increased exposure of their products without having to manage the details

Have you tried product feed marketing? What’s your experience? Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.