Universal Data Feed Standard from the Association of Retail Technology StandardsPosted under ecommerce
Shopping engines are gaining market share in the ecommerce sector, with users increasingly looking for an independent comparison of prices and products. Online merchants are increasingly turning to these shopping price comparators for qualified high-conversion traffic.
The problem is that merchants looking to be included in these engines need to handcraft a data feed of product information, model number, SKU and price for each one. The IT work adds a considerable overhead since each of the shopping portals has a widely different template for the data feeds.
In addition to the problem of standardised input, shopping engines statistics is also patchy and varies widely. The usability data on clicks and costs varies widely between shopping portals. The variation makes central management of multiple shopping campaigns hard to coordinate and compare.
Merchants often rely on shopping data feed services like ours to generate, submit and manage data feeds of their ecommerce site. They effectively outsource their data feed marketing function.
The National Association of Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) has embarked on the Unified Data Feed Standard Project. The standard aims to unify the templates used by all the shopping comparator sites in a comprehensive way. Covering not just the naming of the fields used in the data feeds, but to drill down into the values used, like a unified standard colour values. The three areas in most need of a unified standard for data feeds are:
- Choice and name of Data Fields currently vary widely
- Product Categories: A unified taxonomy of products would reduce the overhead in preparing multiple feeds by half, according to the Enclick team.
- Product Identifiers: Price comparators rely on manufacturers product number in their search of different merchants and prices for that one product
Google's Base Namespace is used in the bulk uploadís data feed is currently one of the most complete definition of compalsory and optional field standard for different types merchants. Naturally, the namespace is totally different from Amazon's Information Tag Standards.
Making these two giants, plus Shopping.com and Yahoo Shopping, to agree over a common standard will take many man-years of effort, but the stakes are high for comparison engines and merchants alike.
In the meantime merchants must generate and optimise their data feeds as best they can. And the stakes are high. In Google's own words
You are strongly encouraged to use as many of the attributes specific to your information type in your bulk upload.
Supplying additional information about your items using attributes defined in the Google Base module will greatly increase your itemís chances of showing up in search results.
Enclick client's pursue the first positions in Froogle's and Yahoo search results seriously, outsourcing their data feed to a dedicated team at Enclick. Appearing in the first positions on price comparators often means a windfall of free high-conversion traffic.
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