Tutorial: How to add your own custom spreadsheets to your feedperfect data

As a comparison shopping engine account manager here at Solid Cactus, I use feedperfect daily.  I would like to post regularly with industry updates, as well as take an opportunity to give you tips and tricks that I have found to work well with Feedperfect.

This first post will be to show you how to create and import your own custom spreadsheet into Feedperfect.  Why would you want to?  You would want to do this so that your new data can work with, replace, or complement the data that you already have in feedperfect without altering, or complicating, your live web store.

Many of you might be populating comparison shopping engines (and Feedperfect) using the data that is written from your web store.  However, keep in mind that your comparison shopping engine campaigns do not have to contain the same data that is written on your live site.  Comparison shopping engines are populated with data that come from datafeeds (spreadsheets), and not websites.

The product titles and descriptions that you have on your live site might not necessarily be the best titles and descriptions to have on a comparison shopping engine.  After all, shoppers are going to these engines because they already know what they want, they just want to find the best store to buy it from.  Chances are you are marketing your products differently than your competitor.  For example, let’s say you were selling a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar.  What would you call it on your site?  Chocolate Bar?  Candy Bar?  What way would a searcher type into the CSE?  On these engines, the name of the game is to give the searcher an easy way to compare your items, rather than to set your self apart from your competitor.  The point is you would want an easy way to alter titles, descriptions, specifically for your CSE campaigns, without interrupting the text on your live site. This tutorial is for the method I use to do just that.

To begin, check that you have a ProductID already mapped in feedperfect. We’ll be working with a yahoo store today, so the ProductID that I have mapped from, are my yahoo ids.

The above list of existing mappings can be viewed on the Product Import screen.  (Product Catalog tab > Import Products button)

All you would need for your spreadsheet to sync up with your other Feedperfect data is to make your first column for your ProductID’s.  When making your column headers in your spreadsheet make the first one say ProductID.  Think of the ProductID as Feedperfect’s name for your item, so to supplement your Feedperfect data, you will need to first reference it by its Feedperfect name, its ProductID.

You can use this method to import any type of data, so just make sure your column headers are relevant to what you’re doing, so you know what the data is for later. Also, a good rule of thumb is to keep the headers of your custom spreadsheet data one word.

You can add as many columns as you want with your method, for my example I’m only going to import a column I called NewTitles.

Now in your ProductID column type the ProductID for the item(s) you wish to add data to.  In my case I would like to come up with a new title for ProductID Hershchocbar525. After referencing your ProductID add your data for your new column(s).

Do this for all of the products you would like in your spreadsheets data to.  If you would not like an item in your custom data, then leave it out.

Once youre done making your spreadsheet, save it as Text (Tab delimited) .txt (CSV works too).

Now let’s import your supplemental spreadsheet into feedperfect. Go back to the product import page.  (Product Catalog tab > Import Products button)

Click the add button on the right side, under your existing imports.

1) First you have to name your file.  I find it’s easier to call my file exactly what it’s named on my computer, so I can go back and edit it with out too much research.

2) Pull the type box to “File (CSV)”  txt works too.

3) Locate the file with the browse button.

4) For the Products drop down make sure its set to Update.

5) For the fields portion select Update If Empty.

6) Then Click save.

You will then see the name of your new file under your other import files.

Now the only thing left is to map the new columns of your new file, so Feedperfect will know where to accept your new data.

1)      Click edit in the lower right corner.

2)      Your new columns will be at the bottom, so just map your columns to an open Feedperfect Variable. (To Map highlight your new column name, in the left box called “your store”, and then highlight a free variable in the middle box “Feed Perfect” and then click the orange arrow to Map it).

Once you’re done, click Save.

Feedperfect recently added 10 custom variables, so those are available to choose from for your custom data.

Once you’re done, click save, and then import your new data into feedperfect by clicking the “import data button in the lower left corner”.

Once it’s successfully imported you have added your data successfully.  Now you can add your new data into your feeds. Since my custom data doesn’t include everything, my custom variables need to be called before the actual data.  This means that if there’s no data within your custom variable, then your alternative feedperfect field will be called. So put your custom data first.

I know it might seem like a difficult tip to begin with, but I will make use of these instructions in blog tips to come. Good things are on the way, Good luck.     -Steve

For more tips on making more comparison search titles and descriptions, check out one of my recent blog posts here: http://www.web.com/blog/ecommerce/google-shopping-tips-how-to-optimize-your-product-listings/

Required Changes to Google Product Search

The goal of a comparison shopping engine is to compare like items from different merchants. Shoppers ordinarily use these engines once they know what they want to buy; they just want to find the best place for it. Google Product Search, Google’s comparison shopping engine, has recently announced some changes which should increase the overall shopping experience for its shoppers. Google is achieving this goal in the next coming weeks, by requiring merchants to include data which was previously optional in most selling categories. This blog will cover the required changes.

Beginning on May 3rd Google will be requiring “Unique Product Identifiers” for all products except for “apparel and one-of-a kind items”. Basically this means that Google is requiring that merchants start including either the UPC 12-digit barcode number, and / or the original manufacturer’s part number (MPN) along with the product data they are sending to Google. This information will be used by the engine to compare your products with your competition’s products.

I would just like to shed some light on this, in hopes of clearing up some confusion. “Unique Product Identifiers” might not be the best name to help you understand exactly what Google is actually looking for. Think of it like this: Google receives identical products from many different stores, and since these items are coming from different stores, they will be named, described, and priced differently (since different people sell them). Google needs a way to group these similar products together for the shopper, and currently the way Google matches like products is through the UPC or MPN. These numbers will be the common theme across your products and your competition’s products.

Once Google finds products that are indeed the same, it will then allow the shopper to compare prices for that item. Like this:

Once the shopper clicks “compare prices”, it will look like this:

Wait, there is more. Google has also announced that it is also requiring merchants to begin sending all tax and shipping information for their items. This requirement is dated to begin on June 6th, so you still have a few months to comply. Like most comparison engines, Google gives you two ways to provide your tax and shipping information. You can send it with your product data, directly in your datafeed, or you can log into your Google Merchant Center dashboard and enter it there. I find it to be much easier to do this within the Merchant Center. One thing to keep in mind is that Google can calculate your shipping based on weight and the real time shipping value from UPS, FedEx, or USPS. It might be impossible to get your shipping exact for your unique situation, but it’s likely that it won’t be hard to get accurate without much work.

There is still more. Google is also recommending that sellers begin to include “Sale Price” information in their data feed. The “Sale Price” column will be used for your product’s lower price when it’s on sale. If the items price is not on sale, then you would just leave the “Sale Price” column blank.

I haven’t noticed any visible change for the shopper by using “Sale Price”, but maybe in the near future it will work like other shopping engines where your old price will get crossed out, and the new lower price will be visible for the shopper. However, if this is how Google recommends getting the lowest price for your item, then it is a good idea to comply.

All of these changes are not required for a few weeks, but I would recommend you take action to include these product attributes soon. Remember these are put in place to help the overall shopper experience, but they could potentially make your items more visible then they previously were too. We have updated FeedPerfect to handle all of these changes that Google has recently announced, and wish you the best of luck with your data feeds.

Here is some more information on Unique Product Identifiers: http://www.google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?answer=160161

For the official Google article:
http://googlemerchantblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/changes-for-google-product-search.htm

New Bing Shopping Channel Active For Merchants New To Bing

In July, Bing did away with it’s Cashback program and replaced it with the a free Bing Shopping.

For merchants that were already registered with the Cashback program, no action was required to continue submitting to Bing. If you were already on Cashback, there is still no action required.

The FeedPerfect team has just released some changes to accommodate new Bing Shopping registrants. As of today, you can see two different Bing channels listed in Channel > Settings. The original Bing Channel and format has been renamed “Bing Shopping (Legacy Format). If you have this channel active, it will continue to submit.

For merchants that are new to Bing Shopping, the FeedPerfect team has added a second channel named “Bing Shopping (New)”. If you were not using Cashback, and are mapping to Bing Shopping for the first time please use the “New” Channel. The new format is simply designed to make the current Bing onboarding requirements easier for new merchants to become accepted.

Bing Shopping Taxonomy

FeedPerfect Introduces ShopMed!

FeedPerfect is proud to announce a new integration with ShopMed!

ShopMed provides a marketplace to connect buyers and sellers of medical supplies. Unlike other comparison and/or shopping engines which cater primarily to individual consumers, ShopMed focuses on selling products to the medical industry including buyers from hospitals, medical facilities, home care centers, as well as individual doctors and nurses looking to purchase medical supplies. ShopMed was created to make buying and selling easier. If you are a medical supplier, ShopMed offers opportunities to get your products in front of new customers.

ShopMed offers a Basic account with no initial depost and Free product listings, in addition to three  tiers of  Pay Per Click packages. If you sell medical supplies you can start listing products in over 200 Medical Supply Categories for free!

Bing cashback To Be Discontinued and Replaced with FREE Bing Shopping

As of July 30th, 2010 Bing cashback will be discontinued. If you are currently submitting feeds to Bing cashback through FeedPerfect, you need do nothing at this time.

Bing will be replacing the cashback (cost per action) model with Bing Shopping. Bing Shopping will be FREE to merchants that were already using cashback!

If you are already submitting to Bing cashback simply continue with the Bing cashback feed. For full details from Bing please view their article here.

Again, no action is required for those of you that are already using FeedPerfect to submit to cashback. The good news is FREE Bing Shopping after July 30th. :)

The FeedPerfect Team

Does The Find Create Duplicate Content Issues For Merchants In Organic Search Engines?

This is actually an issue that’s been around for quite some time regarding search engines, but recently has been a hot topic regarding The Find. Likely this is because an article from Search Engine Land announced that The Find had passed Yahoo Shopping to become number two in terms of average daily users. The duplicate content concern arises occasionally with Comparison Shopping Engines in general. The FeedPerfect team spent some time with The Find to try to clarify any confusion on the question.

Before we address the misconception, let’s take a step back and talk about SEO in general. There are many reasons to do optimization on your product descriptions and page titles.

1. If 500 merchants all upload the same exact product descriptions direct from the manufacturer a search engine can’t determine who is #1 for that content. So making your content unique breaks the 500 way tie between you and other vendors. It is still just one factor in the ranking algorithms. If someone else has a manufacturer product description but is linked back to many other highly trusted sites, they will likely still outrank you.

2. Search engine friendly content is meant to be optimized for searches. That means looking for keywords and phrases that have a higher probability of being searched. SEO friendly is all about hitting on what is likely to be looked for when someone does a search.

The same concepts apply to whether that content is listed in an organic engine or a comparison shopping engine.

Below are some common questions and the answers from our discussions with The Find.

Q: Does your original unique content appearing on The Find hurt your rankings in Google search (organic, not product search) because it is duplicate content?

A: No.  There is no risk of a “duplicate content penalty” as The Find’s site is unique from typical web sites. Google will certainly not penalize merchants for having their products/content listed in multiple locations.

Q: Will you rank first as the originator and authority on that optimized search phrase, or will The Find?

A: This is only relevant when talking about longtail searches. If someone searched for your exact product description you will rank very high, 1 or 2. The likelihood is slim of someone searching for exactly that, but that seems to be the concern. In that specific case (someone searches for a whole line of unique text from your product) you may come up 2 and The Find will come up 1.

Example:

In this case a long string specific to your description is searched. It is original content that you made or had made. If that content appears on The Find you will likely rank 2. Organic searches like Google reward trust (quality backlinks, good user engagement). Larger websites like The Find tend to have more of those things than smaller ones. So realistically The Find will come up ahead of you like this example.

Almost certainly,The Find  is weighted heavier on backlinks, reviews, user interaction and other trust factors than a single merchant store. All things being equal they will beat you out for number 1 on a search like this…

“This Lo-Carb, high protein fitness drink will keep you going through your golf game, or any sport”.

Q: Should I submit different content to The Find to prevent them from ranking ahead of me?

A: The only reason to do that is if you want to be number one on a very specific longtail search instead of number 2. If you send different content to The Find you will probably outrank them on the unique phrase “This Lo-Carb, high protein fitness drink will keep you going through your golf game, or any sport”. But there is no need to do it prevent duplicate content issues effecting your organic Google search results.

Keep in mind, The Find is now the number 2 Comparison Shopping Engine (based on the Average Daily Users metric). Basically millions of potential customers are there looking for your products. The Find is listing your products for free.

Once shoppers are at The Find, it too is a search engine just like an organic search engine. In other words, if you have good content that is search engine friendly you will benefit from it being sent to The Find. If you’ve done your homework and have keywords and phrases with a strong likelihood of being searched in Bing, Yahoo or Google they carry over to searchers at The Find (or any other Shopping Engines where you submit your product feeds).

With The Find having confirmed that there is no duplicate content issue, there is little reason to modify your optimized product content when submitting it to The Find. In fact it’s best to let that same content work for you when users search at The Find.

The FeedPerfect Team

Google Merchant Center – Claim Your URL

Yesterday you may have received an email from The Google Team requesting how to claim your URL. This is a new additional requirement to the previous site verification requirement. While many accounts can verify the same URL for tracking purposes, only one will be authorized for uploading products. This domain claiming allows Google to know which account is authorized to feed products to Google Product Search.

These changes will therefore effect FeedPerfect users as well as merchants that do manual product uploads to Google Product Search.

Regardless of how you get products to Google, until you complete the process you will receive email warnings after each upload. The new requirement will become mandatory on May 18th. After that your uploads will fail unless you have verified and claimed your URL.

The actual “Claim this URL” button will appear in Google Merchant Center once you have completed the site verification. To get there, you simply need to verify your site and then click Claim on the Merchant Center > Settings > General Page. Before proceeding log into Google Merchant Center. If you already see the “Claim this URL” link, simply click it and you are done.

If you don’t see the “Claim this URL link”,  you will need to complete the site verification process and then claim your domain.

Google offers two options for verification:

  1. Add a meta tag to your site’s home page.
  2. Upload an HTML file to the site’s directory.

Either will work, but different platforms have different abilities from the shopping cart end. The Meta Tag is the easiest option if your platform allows it.

Some examples are below for Yahoo! Store owners.

Meta Tag option on Yahoo! Stores:

  1. Go to your Yahoo! Store editor and navigate to your index.html page.
  2. In the Message field paste the unique tag from Google Merchant Center.
  3. Update the page and publish your store.
  4. You should now be able to verify the store in Google, and then Claim your URL.

The FeedPerfect Team

Yahoo! Shopping Changes

As you may already know, on March 11th, Yahoo! will be discontinuing the automatic product submission in Yahoo! Shopping from within the Store Manager. Going forward in order for your products to show up on Yahoo! Shopping, you will have to submit your products through a PriceGrabber account.

Luckily, FeedPerfect has always supported both PriceGrabber and Yahoo! Shopping feeds and can help you. On March 11th, FeedPerfect will be combining the PriceGrabber with Yahoo! Shopping feeds into one. Here are some additional highlights:

  • Automated product import for Yahoo! Stores.
  • Manage one data feed for Yahoo! Shopping & PriceGrabber.
  • Access your FeedPerfect account from anywhere.
  • Hundreds of merchants already rely on FeedPerfect.
  • Over 10 of the most popular comparison shopping engines are supported.
  • Built in reporting and analytics for feed optimization.
  • Hands-off feed management services.
  • Plans as low as $49/month after you take advantage of a…
  • Complimentary 14 day trial!

To ensure that your products continue to list on Yahoo! Shopping, sign up for FeedPerfect account today.

P.s.

Reaching over 17 million unique page views per week, FeedPerfect is now integrated into TheFind. The best part for you is that it is absolutely free to submit your products. TheFind joins Bing Cashback and the buySAFE Bonded Shopping Network (two prominent cost-per-action shopping engines) integrated into FeedPerfect. Yet another great reason to start using FeedPerfect.

Hello from TheFind!

TheFind is the world’s largest shopping mall: an online destination with 500,000 stores and sellers, 400 million products and 17 million unique monthly visitors. Utterly unlike anything before it, TheFind is built on multiple patents that make it possible and easy to shop any store and every store, all at once. With the inclusion of all matching coupons, reviews, and local store information, TheFind makes smart buying decisions easy.

According to the January comScore report, TheFind is now #3 in visits – with just Google Product Search and Yahoo Shopping on top – and is now larger than every well-known CSE.

Millions of shoppers use our site every month, clicking out to visit hundreds of thousands of stores. Here are some FREE ways in which you can make sure you’re fully optimized with us:

  • Work with FeedPerfect to send us a product feed. Make sure you fill out as much information as possible as more complete product feeds will help you to rank higher in our results and ultimately get more traffic.
  • Register and claim your store in the Merchant Center. If you’re not currently registered, you’re not maximizing the visibility of your products on our site. The more information we have about your store, the more relevant your results will be in our search algorithm and the easier it will be for you to connect with the millions of shoppers who visit our site every month.
  • Once you claim your store, you should use the following features to optimize your presence even further:

o Join the UpFront Program. Thousands of merchants have already joined. On average, merchants have seen an increase in visibility/traffic of ~10% post joining the program.
o Upload your tax and shipping information.
o Submit coupons.

Thousands of merchants have already registered their stores and joined UpFront. So what are you waiting for?

To learn more, go to: https://merchant.thefind.com and http://www.thefind.com/upfront.

Stay up-to-date on the latest from TheFind’s UpFront Program and Merchant Center on our Merchant Blog and Twitter. We follow back!