For most retailers, promoting your products on 3rd party websites is a necessary demand generation tool. Find it, and they will come! But the reality is that making your products searchable and attractive vs. the competition is easier said than done. The quantity and quality of your leads are heavily reliant on the quality of your product data and the relevance to the 3rd party site.
The good news is that you will find success if you follow these 4 stages:
1. The ‘Get’ Stage
This involves procuring high quality, automated data. During my 14 years in online retail, I have seen all
sorts of data sources; the bigger and older the company, the more legacy systems and dependencies a marketer is faced with. Many marketers put the process of sourcing a feed into the ‘too hard’ basket simply because of the no. of systems and teams they need to work around. A younger company benefits from being more dynamic, yet may lack the IT or financial resources to be able to create the feed themselves.
At CrescoData, we have implemented solutions to support all ends of the spectrum – from integration of multiple, disparate data sources to simple website crawling. The key for you to know is that, done the right way, this stage can be quick, cost effective and scalable.
2. The ‘Normalise Phase’
Now that you have your data, or you may have an existing feed, the next step is to normalise it. This entails applying existing and user defined business rules to make the data website and search engine friendly. At CrescoData, we often see over 60 standard issues that come from sourcing data from existing places which we automatically optimise to. E.g. Fixing punctuation, removing spaces, normalising colour terms, checking for broken links, removing odd characters, assigning missing product categories…
This stage is critical. If you don’t normalise your data, you risk the chance of your feeds being rejected from the shopping engines or paying for ads where your products will never be clicked on because they don’t make sense.
3. The ‘Customise Stage’
Now that your data is in good shape, the next stage is to get it ready to be shared with your 3rd party websites. Whilst in an ideal world all websites would follow the same data structure and display settings, this simply isn’t the case, particularly if you promote your products across multiple countries where different tax rules, character sets and naming conventions apply.
So it’s important that your data is being customised for every website in which you are advertising, whether it is eBay, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Baidu, Get Price, Rakuten, etc. The easiest way to manage this is to work with a vendor who can build your rules into a daily process and automatically send it to the engines.
4. The ‘Publish Process’
Now you’re ready to start advertising. You will need to work with a feed partner that has commercial relationships with and direct integration (where possible) with the shopping partners, CRM partners and retargeting platforms. Some of the emerging market partners are a little behind on the API documentation but there are definite work arounds so don’t let this stop you.
An account is setup for each publisher you wish to advertise through so that the correct product information can be published, tracked and optimised to your specific ROI goals.
The great thing is once the process is implemented it can be reused for any type of 3rd party site, Product Listing Ads, Comparison Shopping, Affiliate Networks or Marketplaces. CrescoData can help you with any of all of the above steps. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to brainstorm a cost effective and manageable solution for you.