Shopping Feed Management: A Guide to Maintaining Products, Prices, and Your Sanity

December 1, 2018 / by Tina Eaton

You’ve got products.

 Those products have attributes--prices, descriptions, sizes, colors, models, etc.

Every time of those attributes changes, the description gets rewritten, the price goes up (or down), or the name gets changed ever so slightly, it’s someone’s job to go through every possible place that the product can be found and make that one, small--but important--change.

Did you change the name of your product from “All Star” to “All-Star”?

Time to hit the spreadsheets, databases, and logins--every single one of them--and delete that little hyphen. Time to spend half of your day just deleting that one little hyphen. Time to pull your hair out deleting that stupid, stupid hyphen.

It’s no wonder that just keeping product information up to date can balloon into a full-time job for many brands. 

We know that it’s more important than ever for brands to be multichannel (or, even better, omnichannel). In other words, your products need to be listed and ready to buy on every single site, platform, and marketplace.

A study from Shopify Plus found that multi-channel brands can see a huge return on each new channel they enter. Brands using 3 channels outside of their own website generate 190% more revenue, on average. 

multi-channel brands can see a huge return on each new channel they enter.

 And, as the data shows, more channels correlates with higher revenue. 

So, if you’re only selling on your own website--or you’re only using 1 or 2 channels--then you’re probably leaving more sales and revenue on the table.

But, managing all of these different channels, feeds, and products can be a nightmare.

With this huge opportunity to reach new customers on any (and every) possible channel also comes enormous complexity. Every little change or update to your product--every typo--becomes an all-day hunting session to make sure that the update gets updated everywhere that matters.

Let’s not do that, huh?

There’s a smarter and saner way to manage your shopping feeds and product data all over the web. In this article we’re going to step through how to turn this timesuck into a much, much smaller one.

Step 1: Centralize Your Product Data

First things first. You need a central repository for all of your product data.

You need one central location where new product descriptions, attributes, and names can be kept up to date and in-sync across teams.

Many companies try to hobble together a system of spreadsheets to keep their product details organized. But this quickly evolves into multiple copies of the same sheet, data being overwritten, and no one knowing which freaking spreadsheet actually has the right information.

One study found that 80% of companies don’t feel confident in their product data, yet 73% say that it’s either too difficult or impractical for that data to be cleaned up. 

It’s a real problem. 

But, more importantly, it’s a serious barrier to managing multiple shopping feeds and keeping all of your product data clean, accurate, and up to date. If there’s no central place for your data to live and there’s no single source of truth about that data, then managing it becomes exponentially more difficult.

In a sentence: You need a PIM.

You need a PIM.

You can try to pull together other solutions or manage this data manually, but it’s just not sustainable. Whether you’re a big brand or a tiny upstart with big ambitions, you will eventually need a technology solution for managing your product content and data.

Make the investment now if you want to save yourself a ton of time and headache later.

Step 2: Distribute Product Data Across Channels

Once you have centralized all of your data, the obvious next step is to push that data to all of the channels where it needs to live.

Generally, this would mean logging into each individual system or dashboard, creating, updating, and maintaining the data for every single product.

But with a PIM system, you’re able to distribute your product data to a range of different online channels all from your centralized product database.

This also means that any time you need to change or update product data, you can do it across any or every channel simultaneously.

what is a PIM

Of course, many tools and technology out there will allow you to simply dump your products from one platform onto another. It’s easy enough to take stuff on your WooCommerce site and duplicate it into Google Shopping.

What’s more challenging is getting it right--optimizing for multiple channels.

This is where the right technology really shines. Not only will a PIM allow you to centralize your product details and then distribute the data across every relevant channel, it will allow you to customize the details of each product in order to optimize them for all of the places where you sell your stuff.

Step 3: Optimize Your Product Data for Each Shopping Feed

Having your product data organized and distributed is a good start, but it’s just that—a start.

The reality is that optimizing your product information should be done on a per-channel basis. The optimal product title or description on Amazon may be different from the one that works best on Google Shopping or your own website.

When consumers are shopping online, context matters.

They have different questions, needs, and expectations for their shopping experience.

And as a brand, you need to be aware of these changes and address the unique needs to buyers on each individual channel.

Of course, this exasperates the challenges that come with juggling multiple feeds in the first place. Keeping them updated when they’re all in-sync can be work enough, but customizing the data, descriptions, and pricing for each individual product and every individual channel can be a real bear.

This is one of those times where it pays--in a big way--to have the right tools.

Not only will technology enable you to seamlessly update and manage your product information from one central location (goodbye logging in and out of every website separately), but it will also give you the power to customize the content for each product on a per-channel basis.

Why would you include your brand’s name in the product title shown on your own website?

Or, even worse, what if you didn’t have your brand name on your Amazon or Google Shopping listings? How would your customers find you and not a competitor or imitator?

Step 4: Analyze the Performance of Each Product on Each Channel

While you may have made quick(er) work of managing and maintaining your product data, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely off the hook.

The good news is that rather than spending hours and hours making basic updates and edits, you can shift focus to actually analyzing and optimizing the product descriptions, attributes, and titles that used to be completely unmanageable.

Optimizing your ecommerce experience is like the end of the treadmill that most brands want to get to, but they can never quite make it because they are spending all of their time just managing the day-to-day stuff. Most brands don’t have any time or energy left to turn their product data into a science rather than a guessing game.

Now, it’s all possible.

Not only do you have more time (and energy) free from not having to manually manage and update all of your product info, but with a PIM like Plytix you also have another secret weapon.

Data.

Lots and lots of in-depth, rich, and insightful data that can help you finally, really, truly measure the stuff you’ve been wondering about forever.

Lots and lots of in-depth, rich, and insightful data that can help you finally, really, truly measure the stuff you’ve been wondering about forever.

 

This is what optimization looks like.

It’s an iterative process where you tweak, test, and measure changes in your product content to learn what resonates with different buyers and on different channels.

It’s an iterative process where you tweak, test, and measure changes in your product content to learn what resonates with different buyers and on different channels.

When you’re able to quickly and easily make updates to your product data and then see real-time analytics across different sales channels, it becomes possible to apply a scientific framework.

Manage All of Your Shopping Feeds from One Place--Seamlessly

Maintaining your shopping feeds can be a pain. There’s no arguing that.

But it doesn’t need to be a full-time job or a full-time nightmare that consumes your team’s time and energy.

With the right technology--with a PIM that’s built to manage lots of products being sold on lots of channels--you can make your life a lot easier.

Plytix is a PIM that makes sense.

Whether you’re an upstart brand that’s expanding into new channels or an established company that’s looking to streamline operations and reduce overhead, it’ll help you manage your shopping feeds without the headache. 

If you’re unsure about the right PIM for your brand, see how Plytix stacks up against some other popular products.

Or, just check out Plytix right now--it’s worth your time.

Share this article

Tina Eaton

Written by Tina Eaton