9 Reasons Why You Should Automate Your Merchant Feed

9 Reasons Why You Should Automate Your Merchant Feed

If you are a retailer, Shopping Ads (formally Product Listed Ads) are great. They improve your sales figures as they allow you to promote images of your inventory together with other details, such as price, at the top of search results.

We’re passionate them because they generate fantastic returns for our clients. We’d recommend any ecommerce business at least trials them to see what they can do.

Google Shopping Ads do not run like usual paid search ads, information about products must be sent to Google in the form of a ‘merchant feed’. At its simplest, this is essentially a spreadsheet and can be created manually. However, manually updating this feed is incredibly time consuming, as every product’s price and stock level need to exactly match the website at all times!

However, these feeds can be set up so that product information is automatically generated, removing the manual element almost entirely. Automating product feeds has transformed many of our client’s Shopping campaigns and will help take your campaigns to the next level.

Below we share our top reasons you should upgrade today:

1. Timesaving/money saving

Removing a cumbersome manual process in favour of an automatic feed is far more efficient.

If you are paying an agency to manage your Shopping campaigns for you, then they will be able to spend less time in data entry, and more on optimising your Shopping campaigns to make you more money.

2. Accuracy

Any data entered manually has the chance of error. Having to go back and resolve these (often only noticed after a product is disapproved!) is a fiddly and time-consuming process. An automated feed has no possibility of error.

Google Shopping Feed

3. Scale

Manual feeds are simple enough if you have a small product inventory but as soon as this number is increased, the time needed to maintain it dramatically increases - especially if you offer a wide range of products.

Using an automated feed will not limit you in this way. They will take the same amount of time to create no matter how many products you have.

4. Consistency

It is important to keep your product information consistent across all channels, to avoid confusion and provide the best users experience. Automated feeds remove the pain of ensuring your shopping activity matched up with changes to the site.

5. Updates-on-the-fly

Manual feeds require regular updating. For example, if a product sells out, then it must be recorded as such; if any sales are planned then specific timings and prices need to be applied to each product. This list goes on!

An automated feed has your back. If a product sells out, the feed will automatically update, and will prevent any of your ads showing unnecessarily. If you have a sale period planned, then there is no need to prepare the feed ahead of time – it will change dynamically.

6. Free

Automating your feed is free! Shopify have a few apps available in the store that can do this with no fee. Configuration is simple, with guides through the whole process.

7. Fewer disapprovals

A by-product of having an automated feed is that the feed will exactly match product information. If this doesn’t match, then Google are very keen to disapprove your products and prevent them from showing! Even if you fix the issue, products can take days to become eligible to serve again, a nightmare if you are in a crucial sales period.

Worst case scenario is that your Merchant Feed will be suspended completely if there are enough discrepancies. An automated feed will (you guessed it…) prevent the vast majority of these disapprovals happening and ensure your ads are being shown as much as possible.

8. SEO Benefits

As discussed earlier, an automated feed allows the entirety of a Shop’s range to be promoted. A benefit of this is that as all products are eligible to show as ads, this will also identify relevant search terms for these products. There is always an advantage to be gained by learning about new keywords, and these can then be used for SEO purposes!

Google Shopping Feed

9. Keeps life more interesting

Everyone who has dealt with manual feeds quickly realises how frustrating they are to work with, both in terms of adding new products and also fixing any issues that crop up. The rewarding part of managing Shopping campaigns is seeing the revenue roll in from happy customers, and improving the ROI as time goes on. Spending time in a massive spreadsheet is the least interesting part of the role, and an automated feed removes that.

I hope you are now tempted to set up your own automated feed! We think it’ll make a significant difference to your results and I hope the reasons above have highlighted the benefits. We’d love to know how you get on.

For more information on using Google Shopping feeds to increase sales you can talk to our friends at UpriseUp

Guest blog post by Ben Tuck - ben.tuck@upriseup.co.uk

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