There are millions of ecommerce websites on the Internet, but the goal is one for all – sell something. But it’s not so easy. As my father told me “to give millon of dollars for watches doesn’t require a lot of brain, but to exchange such a little thing like watches for million needs to try your very very best, talent and some luck”. And sellers are trying(some try hard) but success doesn’t come to everyone.
Would you like to know what separates the winners from the losers? The winner is the one who invests more effectively. Therefore, if you are still not counting ROI of your channels – it’s time to start. Online business essentially consists of just 2 basic parts:
- Visitors (desirably interested in making a purchase)
- A product (you’ll have to get people interested in it)
And I want to start from the first point – Attract visitors to your site. Because no matter how cool the product is, and no matter how interesing the price is – what is the use if noone knows? Well…What marketing channels do we know?
- Search Engines (SEO & SEM)
- Social networks (SMM)
- Advertising networks (banners / teasers / CPA)
- Email marketing
Which channel gives the highest return on investment? For online RETAIL it’s gonna be listings! Why is that? Minimal cost with maximum revenue! It’s like to open stores in the most crowded shoping molls around the world free of charge!
Let’s take a closer look at what are the types of online listyings
The two main types of product advertisements are: marketplaces (Amazon, eBay) and price aggregators (Google Shopping, Shopzilla, Get Price , etc). In first case, you are going to share a percent of your sales revenue, which is not bad if to compare the daily audience of your website and the marketplaces like eBay or Amazon. In second case, you upload details of your products to the online catalog. You pay fixes price for each targeted and even interested in your product user. According to statistics, these visitor are more likely to make a purchase than users from any other channel.All you need to start is to register and upload a file with detailes of your products. You can do everything manualy, but this can be automated. Magento store owners are able to schedule generation and upload of product feeds to numerous listings. All they need is to install and configure the right extension for Magento. Most of the solutions on the market contain “must have” features. Also there are some additional features as autosubstitution for missing values or attributes on the fly during file generation. It certainly will affect the time to complete the file and sometimes it’s quite critical.
What to look for when choosing a generator feeds?
The speed of generation and limit of single product file size. Shops with small assortment is nothing to worry about, almost any solution will be suitable. But larger retailers should pay attention to the performance limits. It’s also can be critical if the structure of your catalog and set of attributes don’t suit platform(marketplace) requirements. In this case you have to apply a lot of data modifications during products feed is generated.
If you do not have your own technical team or a remote technical support provider then most likely you will have to adjust product feed for each of the platforms. Surely interfaces must be user-friendly. I have compiled a small list of the most useful features offered by vendors:
- Built-in predefined templates for various listings (mapping and filtering products by attributes – must have)
- Ability to schedule generation and loading of each of created xml feeds
- The ability to integrate Google analytics(or any other) easily
- Built-in reports to analyze the effectiveness of channel performance (visits, sales, etc).
- Ability to manipulate values while generation (Dynamic attributes)
- XML editor for just generated feeds (in case of emergency changes are required)
- Notifications by email (the time of completion, size of file, number of items got in, time when it was loaded , errors if any)
If you do have technical maintenance team – you can take almost any extension for Magento and set the task to developers “that should be in the end”. But I want to warn you from encrypted extensions – it’s a pain for your developers, and if you have bought product feeds generator ask your developers to look if the source code is encrypted. If yes – I’d recommend you to ask for moneyback because any customization will take a lot of time and beat on your wallet.In the next article we will compare conditions on the largest listing websites, as well as detail compare the most popular generations extension.