Is your product feed as good as you thought it was?
Data released by Pricesearcher reveals some interesting insights as to how good online retailer’s product feed data is. Having examined data on half a million listings they have published their findings and there are some clear pointers as to how you could improve your product listings to win more sales.
Pricesearcher have indexed almost a billion SKUs for their product search engine and decided to share their learnings and data insights about product feeds with the wider ecommerce community. The main findings are UK centric and these are based on a sample of over 10 million SKUs from thousands of retailers.
The average Product Title string length is 48 characters (including spaces) – about eight words. Somewhat surprisingly, the main brand term is missing from 47% of all product titles indexed. This is rather surprising as keywords are the essential building block for most retailers when constructing titles.
Pricesearcher discovered that the average product description contains around 550 characters which is approximately 90 words.
There is no right or wrong answer to how long a product description would be but what is important is that, whether selling on your website, a marketplace or providing a feed to a shopping engine, your description should only contain product related information. Including any selling terms and conditions will not only appear incongruent on many platforms, but may also result in you including marketplace specific information on your website or vice versa.
To be published on PriceSearcher, a pre-requisite is to have at least one image so they existed for 100% of listings. Whilst on marketplaces we still see the occasional listings without images this should be the undesirable exception rather than the rule.
We also don’t know how many listings had multiple images, but much of the Internet offers strong visual presentations and with the increasing adoption of image search it makes sense to include multiple pictures
66.9% of all products sampled by Pricesearcher have a GTIN barcode number in the product feed as a unique identifier. GS1 are the not-for-profit organisation who issue bar codes Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) across 150 countries with GS1 UK responsible for issuing bar codes here in the UK and they are increasingly being required by marketplaces and search engines.
Additional Product Information
Additional Product information was not provided in 40.2% of product feeds. Additional product information could include data attributes such as colour or size for clothing and footware, or memory and processor speed for electronic goods.
Whilst it isn’t possible to see if the additional product information is habitually included in product descriptions, we know that search engines from the likes of eBay, Amazon and Google all love structured data so pulling out product attributes into separate fields makes a lot of sense.
“Product feeds are at the heart of a successful ecommerce strategy. The more effort you put into your feed the better ROI you will get. You should ensure it’s full of rich product data that will perform better in search engines for product discovery.”
– Thomas J Vosper – Head of Retail, Pricesearcher
It’s clear from Pricesearcher’s findings that many retailers could improve their product listings in particular with the inclusion of brand terms as title keywords, the addition of GTINs to give visibility on search engines that require them and adding additional product information as structured data.
nice article, based on actual data rather than surveys and hearsay, though not sure the findings and conclusions are groundbreaking.
not surprised to find 50% of items don’t have the manufacturer in the title, because half of items really don’t need it.
we all think primarily of “apple iphone” and “adidas trainers” when we first think online shopping, but do you know or care who made your socks? the generic car part you bought? the brand name of your cheap chinese phonecover? “superhappy friendly phone people company limited, jinguang, china.” – doesn’t exactly lend itself to a product title, and since nobody is searching for it, it doesn’t make sense to include it in a title.
we sell furniture, and barring the high-end designer stuff, people couldn’t care less about the brand name of their coffee table, so we usually don’t include it. it is still in the metadata for those few searching for it specifically.
67% seems a reasonable percentage of barcodes provided with shopping feeds, again, it’s really not useful on a lot of products, many products don’t have them.
what isn’t discussed is that, from a retailer point of view, putting barcodes in your product feed is only a smart thing to do if you’re sure you’re the cheapest.
otherwise, you’re just advertising for buyers to shop elsewhere.
it’s unlikely that 67% of items are the cheapest, so perhaps that’s actually a high number?
structured data is great if you fit neatly into the pigeonhole provided for you, but if not, then it’s a bloody nightmare.
when the metadata suits, include it, if it’s only going to make things confusing, then don’t.
i rarely use the filters on ebay, because any time i do, it completely fails to achieve what i’m looking to do.
also there are no tables showing me when metadata stops being a good return on investment. we’ve got crap in the warehouse i could spend weeks finding data on, obviously wouldn’t be a good return so we don’t. what if i need to spend an hour or two finding the data for a single SKU, is that worth it?
if the manufacturer hasn’t provided you with a neat .csv full of all the little details you need to add, is it still productive to go get that data yourself? well that really depends on a whole bunch of factors which nobody is discussing.
– if i sell all my stock at the price i want, without adding any data, then any data i could have added would have been a complete waste of time from my perspective.
if you spend all your time getting metadata, you’ll need to reflect that in your prices,
if the next guy didn’t bother, he can sell cheaper (in theory)
if you included barcodes, all your data sits besides his cheaper product,
you do all the work, customer gets all the data, lazy guy gets all the sales.
– that’s all fine from say, eBay’s perspective, but for the seller doing the work, it’s fundamentally flawed.
I did have the Brand name in the URL but not the title of the product, so my items were not getting found on Pricesearcher.
I changed that some months ago, all titles for products now have the brand name in. I can now search and find my products but nobody else seems to.
On the plus side, it does not cost anything.
We just send our Google feed to Pricesearcher…we had loads of our images not show up to begin with.
It seems all fine now.
We just had a peek and can see certain products on our site we need to brush up on however. We have missed brand names in some products.
We try and keep things as short and sweet as possible…however…