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Product Feeds are now an integral part of any ecommerce channel strategy.
They allow merchants to take their products to a wider audience, but there are subtleties to their creation and delivery that may cause issues for the unwary.
We discuss why Product Feeds matter and what merchants can do to ensure they get the best service from their current feed provider and maximise their conversion rate across their channels.
How the quality of your product
data can impact your business
© Bright North 2015
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Executive Summary 002
What Are Product Feeds? 003
The Problem With Product Feeds 005
Why Should You Care? 007
5 Things You Can And Should Do 010
How We Can Help 018
Get In Touch 021
© Bright North 2015 PAGE: 002
Product Feeds are now an integral part of any ecommerce
They allow merchants to take their products to a wider
audience, but there are subtleties to their creation and
delivery that may cause issues for the unwary.
We discuss why Product Feeds matter and what merchants
can do to ensure they get the best service from their current
feed provider and maximise their conversion rate across
© Bright North 2015 PAGE: 003
© Bright North 2015 PAGE: 004
Primarily, they’re a technology that allows a merchant to
publish their inventory to external sales channels, expanding
their reach and enabling increased conversions.
Comparison Shopping Engines, Afﬁliate Networks, channel partners,
advertising systems, Google Shopping, Amazon, eBay and many
others demand clear, accurate and validated product data.
Good feeds are generated from clear, detailed product
information on your systems, and are quickly and reliably
formatted for each of your output channels.
Output channels vary wildly in their requirements for the
formatting and validation of your data; Google Merchant
Centre, Amazon, eBay and the Affiliate Networks all have
differing, separately evolving and complex requirements.
CSEs + More...
Data Files Clients
Data Files Website
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With Product Feeds
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At Bright North, we work with feeds from a wide variety
of different merchants, multiple feed providers and a large
number of formats.
It’s become apparent that the lack of consistency in the feeds,
combined with high error rates, poor reporting and a lack of
transparency across the sector are leading to merchants losing
In the case of one of the UK’s largest retail and fashion groups,
a lack of transparency from their feed provider resulted in
them being unaware that their entire performance marketing
feed was ofﬂine and full of out-of-stock and out-of-date
products, for almost three months.
And in the case of one of the UK’s largest supermarkets,
we found that up to 5% of the products in their feed were
missing images, even though those images were available to
consumers browsing the main site.
In the case of
one of the
we found that
up to 5% of the
their feed were
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Should You Care?
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Ultimately, substandard Product Feeds lead to reduced
revenue for merchants, afﬁliate publishers, networks and
everyone in between.
Consider that the Product Feed is the sole means of providing
these channels with the collateral they need to effectively sell a
retailer’s product, and that this is core information needed by
potential customers to inﬂuence buying decisions.
A feed that does not accurately describe each product’s
attributes, pricing and availability will lead to
• customer confusion
• loss of brand trust and capital
• and a corresponding reduction in sales.
In particular, there’s a huge opportunity for increased
conversions through performance channels like afﬁliate
marketing; one travel company we spoke to attributes 50% of
their entire digital revenue to afﬁliate marketing alone.
lead to reduced
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Existing research indicates that the provision of high-quality
Product Feeds can lead to
• double-digit increases in conversion,
• a near-doubling in Earnings-per-Click (EPC), and
• a 5-10% increase in customer retention.
Feeds with missing or incorrect product data result in a poor
brand experience, decreased trust and customers buying
from competitors instead.
In an increasingly competitive environment retailers simply cannot
afford to miss out on these conversions through bad product data.
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5 Things You Can
And Should Do
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First impressions count; consumer trust is directly linked to
their ﬁrst experience with your brand.
Ask your supplier for error reporting to establish where
your product data has missing or incomplete information.
They should be able to give you the percentage of broken
images in your feed, and how many of your products are
being rejected by policies at Google Merchant Centre or
Amazon for example, as an absolute minimum.
There are 5 key factors that can inﬂuence how
your feeds perform.
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Sometimes, retailers struggle to match consistent product
details with the amount of info available from manufacturers.
A common problem is missing manufacturer product
identiﬁers, which are required ﬁelds for many marketplaces
including the Google Merchant Centre.
Ensure that your feed provider is picking up all the data
you need. Missing details could see your feed suspended or
even banned from key channels like Google Shopping.
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Where available, ask your supplier for distribution reports.
Understand who’s using your feeds and ensure they have
the most recent versions.
Alert your top publishers when feeds are updated, particularly
in the event of new offers or ﬂash sales.
Ensure that your supplier is refreshing your feed in line with
the times you update your product catalogue.
If your feed is out of date then your customers will land on
invalid pages or out-of-stock products, and your conversion
rate will suffer.
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Product feeds are a simple concept, but their implementation
under the hood is complex and relies on many moving parts,
from your platform to the channels you’re pushing to.
Channels change, without notice, systems go down unexpectedly
and product description authors make mistakes.
Make sure that your supplier is clearly communicating with
you on these issues; if they were unable to pull your feed
because something went wrong with your ecommerce
platform, they should be the ones telling you, not leaving it
until you ﬁnd out days later as your sales tail off.
Great reporting from your supplier will help you to identify
products whose descriptions need rewriting, systems that are
performing poorly at busy times, imagery that should be replaced
and new channels who can help you to increase your sales.
Expect the best from your supplier and they should help you
to drive more conversions.
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Make sure that your feed supplier is talking to you. Not
just basic reporting but also proactively suggesting ways
to improve your feeds, increase your conversions and push
your products into new and emerging channels.
Amazon, Google and eBay frequently change the regulations
and recommendations for the content of feeds into their
systems; ensure that your supplier keeps you abreast of these
changes and their impact on your business.
And the next time you ﬁnd an interesting channel you’d like
to investigate, ask yourself why your supplier hasn’t already
suggested it to you.
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Product feeds are an integral part of any multi-channel strategy.
Issues can arise when your feed supplier doesn’t communicate
with you, where their technology falls short of the mark,
or where they’re not up-to-date with changes across
channels that might affect how your products are
represented to customers.
Ultimately clear communication, reliable, effective technology
and a commitment to staying current with this ever-changing
industry are the hallmarks of a good feed supplier.
Expect the best from your chosen partner and you can beneﬁt
from real improvements in your bottom line.
you can beneﬁt
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Bright North’s feed technology, Convolo, pulls product
catalogue data from any source and serves it to any channel
in multiple formats. The system guarantees higher quality
data feeds than any competitor meaning a superior customer
experience and higher sales conversions.
Add to this complete publisher integration, error identiﬁcation
and augmentation, smart widgets for experience
personalisation and full dashboard reporting enabling full
feed optimisation, and Convolo is the most powerful feed
technology on the market.
Convolo has been developed using a best-in-class technology
stack that enables us to stay current with emerging trends
in ecommerce. This ensures that Convolo will always be
compatible with your stack and that our solution can be
integrated with minimal time and effort, maximizing the time
your products are available to your partners.
To ﬁnd out more, get in touch at
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Get In Touch
+44(0) 20 3598 2217