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The growing number of online stores and popularity of ecommerce has made shoppers savvier. Thanks to shopping feeds, customers are easily able to find and compare products and prices via search engines and Comparison Shopping Engines.

Don’t be left out of this powerful way to reach new customers who are in-market for your products and primed to spend! 💸  Check out our FAQs below to learn how shopping feeds work, what they can do for your business and how we can help set you up for success.

Why Volusion Shopping Feeds?

Volusion CSE Management is a service that our marketing experts can provide for a nominal fee to ensure you’re set up for shopping-feed success. With this feature, you'll be able to:

  • Create and format a product feed for every SKU in your inventory
  • Format, submit and optimize your product feed for each CSE, including Google Shopping 
  • Map your categories to specific product categories on each engine, ensure relevancy, and prevent formatting mistakes and uncategorized listings
  • Tag URLs with 3rd-party analytics, like Google Analytics, to track performance
  • Receive full support from a dedicated marketing expert
  • Manage your budget and monitor ad spend by individual channel, category or product
  • Receive actionable monthly performance reporting (down to the SKU level) to help you optimize your feed 
  • Send more fields than required for optimal feed performance
  • Refresh your product feed daily, weekly or on-demand

What is a product feed?

A product feed is a structured, automated text file (like a CSV) that uses a variety of attributes to uniquely define and distinguish your products. Things like: price, description, ID, condition, availability, images and more. 📻 📘 🛏️ 👕

Product feeds can be formatted and submitted to search engines, as well as Comparison Shopping Engines. This way, your products can appear in search engine and shopping feed results when someone queries them online.

What is a Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE)?

A Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE), is a search engine specifically for shoppable products: for example, Google Shopping. It is also sometimes referred to as a shopping feed. When shoppers search online for a specific product, a CSE allows them to see the search results for that product side-by-side (in a grid format) so that they can easily compare product info (like manufacturer and brand), images, pricing and sometimes even reviews.

What is the difference between CSEs and general search engines?

CSEs are search engines designed specifically with shoppers’ needs in mind. They weed out academic and informational search results that appear in general search engines, to display only the info (features, price, etc.) and images that make it easier for shoppers to compare similar products and make purchases online. 🛒

General search engines, such as Google, also have shopping feed functionality (Google Shopping). By submitting properly formatted product feeds to Google and Bing, your product lists have the opportunity to appear in the shopping feed, as well as the general search results, when shopper searches for one of your products.

Why are CSEs important to ecommerce websites?

When your ecommerce site achieves a leading presence on CSEs, you'll be displaying your products to online shoppers who are in-market and primed to purchase. From here, browsers can easily click to your site and convert to buyers.

What do I need to do to ensure that my feeds are accepted?

Once you sign up for a Volusion CSE Management plan, we’ll make sure that your product/data feeds are set up properly to be accepted in each CSE. The main thing we need from you is to make sure that the following fields are populated in your store’s backend with accurate info about each product:

  • Product Name
  • Product Description
  • List Price
  • Product Code
  • Product Manufacturer
  • Vendor Part Number

You’ll also need to make sure that all of your products have a proper product landing page and image (minimum of 400x400 pixels). Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that your tax and shipping settings are set up in your Volusion store.

We’ll take care of the rest to help as many of your products appear in each CSE as possible. 😉 

How do I know which CSEs are the best venues for my products?

CSEs vary greatly in size, algorithm, product categories and how they charge merchants. Your site could receive a huge ROI on one CSE, but not as much on another. That’s why we recommend testing your products in different CSEs and adjusting your strategy based on performance.

Google Shopping, a paid CSE, is a good starting venue for small and medium-sized businesses because it delivers a lot of traffic. Businesses with larger marketing budgets may benefit from adding other paid CSEs such as Amazon, Nextag, Pricegrabber, etc. 

If you purchase a Volusion CSE Management plan that includes pay-per-click engines, we will make budgetary adjustments as needed to maximize performance. Read on (or jump to the dedicated section below) to learn more about our CSE Management plans.

If I've already invested in SEO or PPC, should I consider launching a CSE Management campaign?

If your budget allows, we would recommend it for a couple of reasons:

  1. Utilization of CSEs typically benefits online merchants in a way that complements SEO and PPC efforts. Leveraging various marketing channels gives your business more exposure, which increases your opportunities for traffic, brand awareness and sales. 💰💰💰
  2. SEO and PPC can improve your site's visibility in organic search results and sponsored results. But CSE Management service is designed to help e-commerce merchants push their inventories to various online marketplaces and ultimately, to serious shoppers. 🛍️

Can I manage CSE campaigns myself?

Yes, but keep in mind that it requires solid technical understanding, and lots of time and patience. Each CSE has its own set of policies on feed format and updating inventory. Additionally, they often change the rules and taxonomies. Our professional CSE Management services will spare you the time and trouble of setting up, monitoring and making adjustments to your campaigns. This way you can focus your attention and energy on running your store. 😀

What is a data feed?

A data feed is a structured, automated text file (like a CSV) which uses a variety of attributes to uniquely define and distinguish your products. A data feed will list your product's price, description, availability and other attributes to accurately describe your product, making it easier for customers to search for and find.

How is a Shopping Feed different than PPC text ads?

Shopping feeds and standard PPC text ads target potential customers very differently. With PPC text ads, you bid on specific keywords relevant to your business's landing pages. However, with shopping feeds, you bid on particular products. 👕 👠 📸 

These ads are not keyword based, but instead use information on product landing pages that has been crawled and indexed by bots to appear in relevant search queries. 🔍

How quickly will my ads appear?

Once your product/data feed is submitted, each shopping engine will review the data to ensure that it meets all necessary specifications. This includes checking that prices💲 within the feed match the landing pages, that the estimated shipping prices are accurate, that your privacy policy is up to date, and many other features that are unique to the shopping engine being used. 

After each CSE confirms your site and product information meets quality standards, your ads should start to appear. Approval time can vary, but typically this process can take up to 7 business days. 📅 

Where can I see my campaign's performance?

If you sign up for Volusion CSE Management plan, we’ll send you monthly reports on your campaign’s performance. 📈 Plus you will have a dedicated shopping feed specialist 🤓 who can answer any questions you might have about about your campaign’s performance or strategy.

If you want to take a more hands-on approach 👐 to campaign tracking, you also have the option to track your campaign's progress within your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts, and within your Volusion store dashboard. 

Each option provides a wealth of information. 📊 Google Analytics is particularly useful for showing storewide traffic. AdWords shows the value of the service, and which search terms are being used to attract new customers. Your store's dashboard will show the most accurate conversion rate information.  

Summary

When shoppers are ready to buy you want to be there. 🛒 💨 By submitting your products to shopping feeds, you increase your exposure to customers who are looking for what you’re selling. If you want to save yourself the time and effort of handling all the technical aspects, let our specialists do it for you

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