Jul 242007

Leigh Vosler: 22 Tips For Optimizing Comparison Shopping Engine Feeds

Leigh Vosler

Last Thursday at the Shop.org merchandising conference in San Diego I participated on a data feed marketing best practices panel. All of the panelists offered great tips during our lively discussion, but Leigh Vosler from Sierra Trading Post went way above the call of duty and prepared excellent written notes as well.

Leigh's graciously allowed me to post her 22 suggestions here.

Leigh cautions: These optimization strategies are suggestions and do not guarantee success. These are data feed optimization tactics I have used or others have suggested and which I think everyone should at least think about, if not test.

Leigh's Tips for Cost Savings

  1. Manage Bids either by category or by product
  2. Remove poor performing/converting products
  3. Remove sold out and out of stock products
  4. Refresh and update/FTP data feed daily (if possible)
  5. Daily click through random links [yours obviously] to insure the shopping engines are displaying your data correctly and to ensure links go to correct landing page.

Leigh's Tips for Improving Conversion

  1. Make sure you have the budget to keep your store running 24/7.
  2. Use the MPN or UPC code to better compare with other merchants.
  3. Write a product name that identifies the product by the common usage name (pants not dungarees, shirts not tops).
  4. Request the product categories from each of the shopping engines. Take the time to map your products to the CSE categories for quicker and better data matching
  5. Ensure your store profile is completed fully and up to date. Name, location, phone numbers, customer service hours & contact info, shipping information, return policy, etc
  6. Request the feed specs from the shopping site, then include all relevant fields and product information in your data feed.
  7. Use any and all optional relevant data fields. Don’t forget to include ALL possible product attributes -- color, size, material, style, model, UPC
  8. If you change your data feed, contact the shopping site, as a change may cause the feed to error out.
  9. Include a tracking code or mechanism in your data feed to better understand conversion. If possible track at the product level.
  10. Watch & Budget for the Q4 CPC price increase which occurs on nearly all engines.
  11. If your data feed utility or 3rd party has the capability to add a unique column advertising discounts, sales and special events, include this column when building the feed. The column may remain dormant part of the year, but it is a revenue generator when you are offering something special. 2 -3 day shipping, 20% off sale, Clearance, Free Shipping etc

Leigh's Tips For Evaluation and analysis

  1. ROAS is not important if you are bidding too low to be found on the engine
  2. Optimize / tweak the feed weekly if necessary
  3. Compare both titles & prices to other merchants within the shopping engine
  4. Change CPC within categories if possible and review sales / conversions
  5. Manage high $$ products different than low $$ products due to ROAS impact.
  6. Track all sales at product level if possible.

Many thanks, Leigh!


4 Responses to "Leigh Vosler: 22 Tips For Optimizing Comparison Shopping Engine Feeds"
I think retailers spend a lot of time and effort on optimizing the feed for optimal placement and ROI on the engines (albeit wisely), but not enough is spent on optimizing the product detail landing page. The CSE's force you to drop your customer into a single product detail page. How do we promote our entire product/category catalog to the customer in a short amount of time? I'd like to know what retailers are doing to get the shopper to dive deeper into their own site. How do you stop the customer from hitting the 'back' button? What is being done to optimize the product detail page when it is an 'entry page'?
Web Designers Wexford says:
As XHTML grows, XHTML 1.0 documents will be able to interoperate among other XHTML documents making it a more browser transitional language.To conclude, using the standards of web development lined out by the W3 is imperative for users to get the most out of a site. Often, making a webpage W3-compliant is the first step of SEO, a marketing tool to get the most out of your advertising dollar.
I have to say that we are looking to put together a feed for the sopping search egnines for all of our hair care and skin care producs (about 4,000) and the above notes make the most sense out of what we have seen so far. Thanks for doing such great research.


Check out what others are saying...
[...] At the Shop.org merchandising conference in San Diego last week, Leigh Vosler from Sierra Trading Post provided excellent tips for optimizing data feeds. [...]

Leave A Comment