I am of course talking about product feeds/feeding onto third party websites such as Google Shopping, eBay and Shopzilla.

If you own an E-commerce website and you are not currently sending data feeds into Google Shopping then you are certainly missing a trick, mainly because it’s free. Google Shopping (or Google Base as it is sometimes referred) is a simple way to drive extra traffic to your products, and if optimised correctly you can often have instant first page visibility for competitive product names and terms. Google Shopping is a no brainer for retail website owners and the feed is very simple to create and simple to manage, updating the index weekly with your latest catalogue profile, including any changes that may have been made.

Other third party solutions are also very effective in driving your sales but they come with a cost, the structures of which generally come in one of two types, either a fee based on the final value price (such as eBay and Amazon) or a cost-per-click charge (such as Shopzilla and Pricegrabber).

The final value fee structure should definitely be considered by new E-commerce site owners as it is often easier to manage, you only pay when you make a sale, so you can calculate this within your marketing budget.

The cost-per-click is basically pay-per-click, similar to Google Adwords sponsored advertising, and involves bidding for positions. Like Adwords it is important to understand how the system works to ensure you are managing a sensible daily budget, calculating your required CPC (cost per conversion) and monitoring daily. It can be very easy to get this form of advertising wrong and quite quickly spend a small fortune without generating a return.

Whichever sites you choose to display your products on, opting to feed the data from your website will save time and ensure accuracy, putting your products in front of large numbers of visitors very quickly. Preparing a bespoke E-commerce website for each partner site is straight-forward and low cost and if you are not using this mechanism to grow your sales then you should seriously consider this form of digital marketing.

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