Any company working within the retail space uses data feeds. Not everyone might be aware of the term but a data feed is simply a list of product attributes. When products are published on a local marketplace with only a smaller webpage, these data feeds can often be in varying formats. Anything from text files or Excel files to fully fledged APIs are used. As long as these products live inside the small marketplace or inside a single platform, the format, provided details and consistency is not as relevant.
However, when these feeds are published to marketplaces or comparison shopping websites, then they need to be a certain standard to ensure all details are provided and that the product is displayed as expected. This will provide the best user experience to end users and therefore ensure the most traffic is sent back to the retailer or smaller marketplace.
DFO (data feed optimisation) is used to ensure that the feed follows all the rules and contains all required data for the marketplace to accept and display the products correctly.
The high-level requirements for optimisation are:
- Once data is published to marketplaces or comparison shopping websites, these platforms keep a copy of the data that was sent to them including a link back to the retailers webpage.
- If a user finds a product on a marketplace and clicks to buy the product, all listed information, especially the price, should match what was shown on the marketplace.
- To ensure this is the case, any update in the product feed, needs to be published to the marketplace.
- Any comparison shopping website will provide users the ability to search for products. The more details are known about the product, the better these comparison sites can match the user’s search to the list of products.
- Some product feeds do not offer enough details which means that the product data will need to be enriched.
- Other product feeds are not offered in a format well understood by marketplaces or comparison shopping websites so product data will need to be changed.
In addition to the above, most marketplaces and comparison shopping websites apply regular updates to their product feed requirements. This means that any rules used for data feed optimisation will need to be kept up-to-date to ensure the highest quality data feeds.