Product data feed also known as Product feed is a crucial part of e-commerce that helps stores in immeasurable ways. Product feeds are files that contain all of your product information. Product feeds are meticulously organized to contain all attributes of products such as ID, GTIN, description, image URL, product URL, price, colour among others.
What product feeds are used for.
The primary purpose of a product feed is to submit product data to shopping channels like Facebook, Google, Pinterest etc,… Most shopping channels globally require retailers, manufacturers to submit product feeds to be able to list their products on their channels.
Product feeds are very good tools to help drive success or failure to your e-commerce campaigns. Having data feeds automatically boosts the quality of your campaigns on these channels. Most channels lookout for the content of your product feed and choose whether they’ll accept or decline to showcase your products in specific search queries.
Here’s the good part, product feeds always solve the problems of products being rejected because attributes channels require can be easily achieved by using product feed generator apps. This massively benefits power sellers.
Accepted feed file formats
Product feeds come in the CSV file( Comma Separated Values), the TXT file (Text) and the XML file (Extensive Markup Language).
- The CSV feed file allows data to be stored in a tabular format or a spreadsheet. CSV files can be created manually but this is only a success if there are just a handful of products involved. If done manually, inventory changes must be done manually as and when they happen per product. This can be very time consuming but there’s no rush if you have a lot of time on your hands. If not it is advisable to go for product feed generating apps, these apps automatically update your product feed as inventory in your store changes.
- With the TXT file format the data of the products are in the form of a text, it has no unique formatting like italic text, bold text etc,..
- The XML feed file is formatted more like an HTML document but it uses custom tags to specify a product and the data for each product.
3 Ways to create and manage your product feed
- Manual product feed using a spreadsheet
Oh yes, your guess is as good as mine! Just as the title says, you’ll create and manage feeds manually on spreadsheets like Google sheets, Excel, Libre Office, Lotus Symphony etc,… Changes in product data have to be manually updated every time there’s a change in inventory.
This is only efficient with sellers with very few products.
- Product feeds directly from your store using API
For this to be possible, there should be an established first-hand connection from the seller’s website or store host and the preferred channel the product data will be submitted to. For example, vendors with their products hosted on Shopify or Bigcommerce can have access to use this option.
With this method, you can not make any adjustments or customizations to your feed, the data set on your Shopify store is exactly what will show up on the shopping channel.
- Automated product feeds using an app
Product feed generating apps like FeedGeni can be installed on Shopify and Bigcommerce. These apps are life-saving! They save lots of time and prevent human errors when it comes to updating data. It only takes a few minutes to set up feeds on these apps and that’s the only work you’ll ever have to do. The rest is fully automated.
Most feed generation apps have free versions which you can try with a limited number of your products before you make a commitment to commerce with a monthly subscription.
Trust me, you’d love feed apps like FeedGeni, just amazing!
Benefits of using product feed generators
- These apps allow you to create feeds to meet the requirements of different channels. As all channels do not have the same requirements, a green flag to one shopping channel may be a red flag to the other.
- Feeds are automatically updated across all shopping channels you’ve submitted your feed to or running campaigns on.
- You can make different customizations for individual feeds.
- You can choose which of your products you’d like to appear in your feed to be submitted for a particular campaign
- Can fetch data from Metafields or Custom labels
- Your Click Through Rate (CTR) increases.
- Shopping channels or Comparison or Affiliate websites can automatically pull in new data in the feeds without you having to lift a finger!
- You totally avoid the minutest that comes with manual feed creation.
How to create that X-factor feed
- Prioritize the feed requirements of the channel you’ll be submitting your feed to. You have to make sure you never leave out Required fields from your feed. Some of the common requirements of feeds across channels are: product Id, title, description, price, image_url, product_url, quantity, availability, brand, product_category, product_type, condition, GTIN, MPN, colour, size, shipping weight, shipping cost, the list goes on.
- You can add optional fields per the data of your products. Some additional fields include; additional_image_url, age_group, tax_category, shipping_label etc,..
- Feed updates. The FeedGeni app auto-updates feeds several times a day. This way, your feeds are always the current version of your store inventory. Most shopping channels fetch feeds at a set time daily.
Now you’re equipped to venture into your feed creation journey. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to set up a feed using FeedGeni.
What are you waiting for! FeedGeni is one of the best automated feed generating apps I’ve come across.
You can install the app on Shopify via https://feedgeni.com/ and on Bigcommerce via https://www.bigcommerce.com/apps/product-feed-generator/.
There’s a Free version that hosts a limited number of your products in a feed for as long as you’d like.