eCommerce Podcast

Our podcast is raw, honest and damn right insightful, as we chat to some of the best minds in eCommerce

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Hosted by Richard Hill

Ep 20:
Olga Wojas:
How eCommerce Retailers Can Optimise Their Data Feeds to Maximise Results

Olga Wojas is one of our idols here at eComOne. She is the Country Manager UK at DataFeedWatch, a software designed to improve the quality of retailers’ data feed.

Our Lead Technical Engineer has his head in DataFeedWatch every single day. To learn from an expert is incredible and is the value our podcast delivers.

Olga is an incredibly smart person, with in-depth knowledge about data feed and her company. She shares implementable strategies to transform the quality and automate the processes.

eCom@One Presents 

Olga Wojas

Olga Wojas is the Country Manager UK at DataFeedWatch. DataFeedWatch is a business which provides data feed management and optimisation software for businesses worldwide. They are trusted by 10,000+ online merchants, in 50 different countries and distribute products on 1000 global eCommerce channels. 

In this podcast, Olga shares where to start with feeds and the 3 must-have features to optimise your feed. She discussed supplementary feeds and what optional features are a no brainer to deliver better results. She shares her advice on how you can automate and optimise your data feed to improve your exposure on the search engine.

She shares the biggest mistakes that eCommerce retailers make with their data feed and shares one of the hidden secrets that drive better results, eliminating your product ID. She discusses the benefits of joining a CSS partner and the importance of delivering a seamless customer experience online.

 

Topics Covered

1:03 – How she became the country feed manager at Data Feed Watch

6:11 – Where to start with Feeds

10:04 – 3 must-haves in Data Feed 

16:20 – Optional features to improve the feed 

20:20 – Automating and optimising your Data Feed to drive better results 

31:39 – Biggest mistakes they see in the feed 

33:49 – Supplementary feeds

35:02 – Change your product ID to eliminate bad history 

37:43 – The benefits of joining a CSS partner 

43:08 – Free Google Shopping Listings 

45:40 – The importance of seamless customer experience for eCommerce

49:50 – Book recommendations

 

Richard Hill:
Hi, and welcome to another episode of eCom@One, and today's guest is Olga Wojas. Now, Olga is the UK country manager anything Datafeed Watch. That company helps merchants grow using different feed solutions and it's actually a product that in our agency, and we've used for many years, and it's something that we can very much vouch for. How are you doing Olga, you okay?
Olga Wojas:
I'm fine. Very excited that ... it's the first time that I'm on a podcast, so yeah. I'm excited, yeah.
Richard Hill:
Brilliant, brilliant, so obviously, I'm also absolutely excited to talk about feeds today. And so, this is a topic that I know ... we've exchanged a lot of emails and various things on them. We worked together for a long time, and it's a topic that is really deep rooted in obviously what you do definitely, and in what we do as an agency, and so lots of good stuff. I'm looking forward to going into some nitty gritty with you. So, before we get into that, I'm keen to understand how you became the country feed manager at Datafeed Watch.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah. It's a good question because I guess what country manager does, it's different for each company. So, first of all, how I got to work at Datafeed Watch. So, I did study e-commerce at the university, and my Masters degree is actually e-commerce. So, Datafeed Watch, it's my first digital marketing e-commerce job and what is interesting here, I'll tell you something interesting is that I really enjoyed the courses we had at the university.
Olga Wojas:
It was a lot of very practical Google ads, setting up actual campaigns in Google ads, whole half a year course on analytics, a lot of really good stuff. But, no one ever mentioned anything about feed marketing or feed management. From today's perspective, it proves that it's an underrated area of marketing, considering how important that area can be when it comes to e-commerce.
Olga Wojas:
So, when I joined Datafeed Watch, I really had a lot, a lot to learn. I'm actually still learning. It's not only because digital marketing is such a cost changing field. It's also because the company's growing so fast. We became from just a regular feed tool, we became a full feed marketing solution for businesses around the world and it's been great. We've added a lot of services, features, so it's been great to be part of this growth and to be watching the growth.
Olga Wojas:
But, what do I do? To answer the question, so first of all as you said, I am the country manager for the UK, so I mostly work with our UK based customers, which is also a challenge for me, because I'm not native to the market, but yeah, I also work with US based customers, but it's mostly, it's UK.
Olga Wojas:
And, what I do. First of all, I coordinate the sales and marketing efforts in the UK. I keep track of what is new when it comes to shopping channels, marketplaces. We have a lot of integrations. We are integrated with really a lot of channels, and on the other end, with a lot of e-commerce platforms, so there's a lot, always a lot to keep track of and that's what I'm busy with.
Olga Wojas:
But, on the other hand, and that's a huge part of my job, is that I basically help our clients. I work with smaller and bigger customers, so really small merchants, or also well-known brands, so I am with them during the whole process. So, we review the current feed together. I try to understand their situation. I try to give some good advice, so I share the knowledge. I can't tell you how many feeds I've set up in my life-
Richard Hill:
Just maybe for the listeners to the podcast, obviously as a company, obviously we have X amount of clients. As an agency, we have two agencies here, obviously you're dealing with as a company, not just the UK, but you're dealing with hundreds and hundreds of agencies. So, you are looking after tens of thousands of feeds, would that be fair to say?
Olga Wojas:
Oh definitely, definitely. And, these are very different things. We work either with merchants directly or with agencies. So, there are feeds coming from all over the world and sometimes, even if I work with a UK client, I manage the feeds in different languages, if they advertise in foreign markets. So, that's really a lot of experience that you can get on a daily basis.
Olga Wojas:
And then, this is why we are in the process with the clients, because we just want to share this knowledge. And, this is the part of my job that I really enjoy, because I am in touch with our customers literally every single day. So, it's a really good feeling to help because I see a lot of people struggling with the feeds and when they come with a messy feed and you are able to quickly actually help.
Richard Hill:
Yeah, I can do this, we can do that. We can sort this out. Right. Okay, and obviously, you have a lot of experience doing feeds and you're looking after the whole of the UK, and obviously also, you've got a team there that are also looking after the rest of the world, and you obviously help other countries as well, but you're really take pleasure in the nitty gritty, getting into the tools and looking at the feeds and taking them from maybe a 20%, two out of 10 to a 10 out of 10, because I know that's something that your company's helped our company with for many years now. So, we're in for a treat.
Richard Hill:
So, those guys that listen to the podcast that are maybe starting with feed, starting with feeds. You've got this element of where people have maybe been doing it a while, quite experienced about it. You've got a lot of smaller merchants on the podcast as well. Where is a good place to start with feeds?
Olga Wojas:
Well, first of all, you have to have a store. However, data feeds, they don't only apply to e-commerce. That's something interesting. For example, we have customers that are hotels. They send feeds, for example to Facebook hotel ads. Could be also house brand sales or travel agencies. It's not the e-commerce, but of course, we would be mostly focused on e-commerce because that's definitely the biggest part of our customer base.
Olga Wojas:
So, okay. Let's say you have a store and you may want to advertise the products that you sell. So, it can be, you may want to send it to some shopping channels like Google Shopping or price comparison services, marketplaces. On the other hand, that could be some retargeting services or even affiliate networks. There's really a lot of different channels that you may want to send your products to.
Olga Wojas:
And for this, you need a feed. So what is a feed? It's basically all of your products' information in a file. So, it's a file with all your product information and there's plenty of different options on how you could export such a file and send it to channels. If you are using a shopping cart, like an e-commerce platform such as, I don't know, Shopify, Magento, Big Commerce, Ucommerce, there's plenty of these.
Olga Wojas:
You can use a shopping cart specific plug ins, or they are typically ... the downside here is that it's typically a shopping cart, one channel connection, but they are cheap or even sometimes they are for free, so that's one of the ways. There's not that much feed optimization available in those plug ins, but it's possible to use these. You can, of course, always manually upload your products to the channels.
Olga Wojas:
I think Google Merchant Center quite recently enabled adding product by products, so they're obviously just for, really the smallest merchants, because it can be quite painful if you have more product. You can have developers export such a file for you, however, let's not forget it costs money, the time of developers costs money. Sometimes it's very time consuming even for the little changes that you want to apply in the feed, you need to spend a lot of time waiting for that.
Olga Wojas:
So, I did hear a lot of complaints about that. So, there's of course, always an option for a feed tool. That will be a solution that is an answer to all of the downsides of the other solutions, but it's of course, an investment as well. It is an investment, but there's really a lot of very affordable feed tools out there, and they are typically tailored for the size of the merchant. So, if you're a smaller merchant and you're just starting, you can easily find some good deals there.
Richard Hill:
I think the key there is obviously, you need a store. You've obviously got to have store, we got to take a feed out. Now, there are obviously some tools out there and you've got developers. Developers can be expensive. The work has been done by various feed tools, very cheaply, in comparison to literally a few pounds or dollars or euros, depending on where you're listening that are going to pull a better feed or a quicker feed and eliminate all that technical challenge.
Richard Hill:
So, we've got the feed, and obviously then, that feed we can then push into whether that's a, obviously like Google Shopping, which has always been quite a focus of this podcast, but also into other comparison sites or marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, etc. So, we've got the feed, but obviously, you can have ... there's a feed and then there's a feed, and then there's a feed. It's like a 10 out of 10, which we always like a 10 out of 10 when it comes to feed in it, anything really. So, what would you say are the top three must haves in any data feed?
Olga Wojas:
This is a very tough question to be honest. No matter that the solution you choose, from the ones that I just mentioned, you have to remember that every channel has different requirements, but if I can somehow sum it up, I would always say that you have to be aware of the file format that they require from you, and the specific attributes in the feed.
Olga Wojas:
So, I'm going to skip the file formats and choose some of the attributes that would be important. And as I said, it's a tough question because the requirements are always different.
Richard Hill:
Yeah, because three isn't many. Obviously, you've got to have so many as it won't work, because obviously, so I guess maybe should we just adjust the sail slightly and say Google Shopping ads?
Olga Wojas:
Yeah, actually Google Shopping requirements, there's a lot of other channels that share the same requirements with Google. So, if you already have a Google Shopping feed, you can do magic with the one feed.
Richard Hill:
Let's say you've got a shopping feed. Obviously, you've got it working, so you've got some of the product ID type and some of the things in there that you have to have as it will not work. So, that's the minimum requirement. So, what's the next three?
Olga Wojas:
Well actually, the minimum requirement, I would like to focus on that as well, because the three important things in the feed, if you are asking me about that, I would say it's still the required part of the feed that is visible in the app. So, I would say, number one would be the image. Number two would be the title and then number three would be the optional feed that can do magic.
Olga Wojas:
So, when it comes to the image, just so I can give some good advice here. When it comes to image, it's very ... you cannot touch the product, so that's your only way. The image you choose for your listings, it's a really big part in getting shoppers to interact. So, please use the right image.
Olga Wojas:
If you advertise ... well, that depends on your strategy, but if you advertise as variants in Google Shopping, please use the variant's image. Don't take the generic image of the parent.
Richard Hill:
all the variants. Yeah.
Olga Wojas:
Exactly. So, if you sell yellow Converse, have yellow Converse on the picture. Same goes for making sure that the images that you're using are of good quality, have appropriate size. When it comes to image content for most of the cases, the white background does the job. However, there are case studies showing that for apparel products, it's the lifestyle images that do better.
Richard Hill:
That would be people wearing the product, would it more so?
Olga Wojas:
Exactly, this is what we call lifestyle images, yeah. And, I think one last thing would be not to forget to add additional images. There is a part of the ... well, it's an optional field for Google Shopping, additional image, and then we can extra images, for example, if you have a product from different angles. So, you can add that as well.
Olga Wojas:
So, that would be about the image. Now, the title. I said the image would be the first, but actually, I think title is more powerful. No one knows the algorithm, but of course, it's title, that part of the feed is deciding if your product will be associated with some search terms.
Olga Wojas:
So, when it comes to title, enhancing your product titles, it improves the performance immediately. And, there was a lot, a lot of studies showing that. So, two things to remember. Make sure ... well, it's perfect if you can do a keyword research and then make sure that all these keywords are and the titles. And second thing, think of what makes people click on the title. So, these two things.
Olga Wojas:
So, add keywords. Add the variant specific details like colour or size if you do not want to miss those search terms. If people search for specific colours of products, add the colour to the title. Avoid capitalization. Don't include any promotional text. That can be suspended. It's a policy violation.
Olga Wojas:
Order of words in the titles, it does matter, so the best keywords, the strongest keywords, they go at the very beginning. I had a few days ago, we were setting up ... I think it was last week, we were setting up with a client that was selling electronics. No, it was batteries for different kind of devices. And, what people do when they search for these batteries, they search for a specific model number. So, what we did, we changed the order and we put this model number at the very beginning of the title and I think it's been doing great for the campaigns.
Richard Hill:
Right. Write ones that ... right.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah.
Richard Hill:
SKU numbers, manufacturer part numbers, people that obviously, the intent on searches like that is crazy. If you've already gone through the fact that you want a 55 inch, you want a Samsung TV. You want, I don't know, the XY94255 model and you type in that model number knows that obviously the intent on searches like that. And if your product title got those in, when somebody searches for them in Google, your shopping ads, product listing ads are going to show a lot. Well, there's a lot more chances.
Olga Wojas:
Exactly. This is not going to work for all the verticals of course. For apparel products, don't put the model number in the title. But as you said, the electronics definitely, that could work. Yeah, so that would be the title, and then the power of optional fields that I see a lot of people not really appreciating or just keeping the optional fields because yeah, the required ones are there, all is fine, approved, that's it. Don't do that. Optional fields can really enrich your product feeds and improve the performance of the feeds.
Richard Hill:
What would be a go to optional variables?
Olga Wojas:
Yes. So, as I said, additional images, that would be the first thing. Then, the sale price. I see a lot of people with products that are on sale, discounted, and they do not add that information to the feed. So, they don't let Google know about the sale price, so Google cannot really show that on the app. So, it's important to add it.
Olga Wojas:
There is also a field, item group ID which allows you to group your products into families of products if you advertise variants. And that's for example, if someone clicks on the ad in Google Shopping, you see this drop down with other variations of that product, so you can quickly search through. Of course, it must be, is the variant specific attribute.
Olga Wojas:
For example, for apparel product, I think you tackled that with Andrew. There are some specific fields like colour, size, gender, age group, that should be added as ... well, it's a requirement, but it's always good, whenever you sell variants of any kind of product, it's good to add the variant specific attributes to the feed.
Richard Hill:
You would add that as a custom label?
Olga Wojas:
Not really. I would add that as, colour has a specific field. Size the same, now Google will soon allow to add highlights of the products, so if it doesn't fall under colour, size, gender, age group, you can also add it as a separate field. But, custom labels, that's great that you mentioned custom labels, so it is really powerful, not that much when it comes to improving the performance of the feed itself, but this is a good tool for setting up the campaigns.
Richard Hill:
Campaign structure.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah. If you want to break down the campaign, if you want to group your products based on, I don't know, product type. Actually for product type, you have a separate field that you can set up and it's not the same thing as Google category. That's another thing to remember about. Typically, our customer-
Richard Hill:
You're on a roll now.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah.
Richard Hill:
You've got a lot of things there. We've got, I think, that last eight minutes, that's real gold there guys, and if you're listening to the podcast, those multiple images for the multiple variants, that's one that we see, always miss. If somebody's searching for the blue version of the shirts and they see the pink one in the feed, it's like well, they're not going to buy that product in reality. And, that's just a big problem
Richard Hill:
That's quite an easy thing to resolve. Adding in additional data sets in the titles, and what, I think will part that one for a second, because that can be quite a difficult one. Obviously, there's ways to use tools and scripts and automation. So, we'll come back to that one, because that's one I think we should dive into, because straightaway, you speak to merchants, it's like, "Well, I can't sit here and change all my products. I can't go into my Magento and change everything."
Richard Hill:
And, we're not saying that. We're saying ... well, we are potentially saying that, but there's ways to plow through that quite quickly. And then adding in, and looking at all these additional attributes that quite often get missed. I think when you look at that data set as a whole, if you've got blanks in it, that's a problem. So, you've got to go through and make sure everything's populated.
Richard Hill:
I think, I really recommend to maybe hit pause now on the podcast and rewind eight minutes and just listen to that piece, because quite often, most things, they're quite straightforward, but they are usually missed, because quite often we'll take a feed and push it in the merchant and we go, "Hey we got 85% through," and then we put our products through. Three months later we go Google Shopping didn't work, and that's because you haven't gone in, and really, really manipulated that feed and just that extra data, extra variables in there. So, going back to the titles.
Olga Wojas:
Just one that I think that I'm actually going to use this podcast and send it to every new customer that I get. It would be a good idea.
Richard Hill:
That sounds great. So, obviously, you've got 5000 SKUs, 10,000 SKUs, 20,000 SKUs, I think we've got a client with 30, 40,000 SKUs, obviously to go through and do some of these things manually is very labour intensive. Now, how can somebody automate some of these processes to make things easier?
Olga Wojas:
Yeah. So as I said, there is at least a few ways on sending a feed from a store to a channel, and then it's great if you can do some manipulation, some optimization, let's call it this way, on the way, before you send the feed to the channel. So, if your store is built on some e-commerce platform like Shopify, Magento and so on, typically if you use a plug in or a feed tool like ours, the product information will be pulled from the store into that tool by an API and that's great, because whatever will be changing is going to be right away visible in such a data tool.
Olga Wojas:
If you have your own solution, you're not using any of these technologies like shopping carts, you can always export the intra file and connect it with a feed tool. So, it's either the API connection or the, well, you have a dynamic feed that you connect with the tool.
Richard Hill:
You said how many times a day you're on that tool, that API is permanently, when everything's changing, it's pushing it.
Olga Wojas:
Exactly. It can be ... well, you can be updating it once a day, but if you want to set up more downloads, it's also possible in most of the feed tools. And what is good, because you asked about the automation, what is good is that typically ... I'm saying that from Datafeed Watch perspective, but what we do after you connect such a store, and you choose what channel you want to send the feed to, then we create a default set up.
Olga Wojas:
So for example, we know that if you have a Shopify store, your description will be behind the body html field. So, we set up your feeds ... we have some default values for your feed. So at this point, you should be good to go actually. But of course, there will be part of your feed that you will want to optimize following everything that I just said. So, you may want to change the titles. You may want to change the images. So, we call it actually mapping.
Olga Wojas:
So, we have the templates for specific channels, and this is how feed tools work typically. So, you have a template of feed channels, so you don't really need to know the requirements of the channels, because it's on our end. We have it in our back end. Your job would be typically to basically fill out such a template with your product information, and that's what we call mapping.
Olga Wojas:
So, to make it as automated and as little painful as possible, there's quite a lot of different features that you can use. Typically, the system would be based on rules, so you can set up different rules to cover all of your product, not only the current products, and that's an important thing. You don't have to worry ... if you set up the rules the right way, if you add new products, they should be covered with your rules anyway. So, this is the good side of the automation.
Olga Wojas:
You may set up everything once and there is a chance that you will not be getting back to the feed tool for quite a while. And, of course, you can have it all done with very basic mapping, but also there are some very advanced features, very advanced mapping types that you could use. It could be extracting relevant information from various attributes.
Olga Wojas:
Let's say, you need to provide a colour but you don't have that in your store as a separate value. You can use a extract from functionality to extract it from the description, for example, or from the title.
Richard Hill:
An example could be, going back to my TV example, we've got maybe the title at the moment says, very basic, it might say, Samsung 55 inch TV, which is a very bad title. Obviously, we've got a part number, model number, SKU number, whichever language you use, so we're saying we could map that field or find that in the description and put that in the title just by creating a mapping that once it will then run that through all the TV catalogue are category, sub category or the whole site.
Richard Hill:
And now, all your titles have now got the part number in or SKU number, saying whether that's colour, size brand, adding all that in. Because quite often we see that exact problem, where let's say, for example, you sell a brand of products and you are the brand, you go to that branded website and they might say ... let's say you go to Nike. Another thing Nike do that's wrong, but you go to Nike and it might just say size 12 Pegasus 37, but it doesn't mention Nike, because you're on Nike. So then you pull that feed, and that actual product title hasn't got the word of the brand in it because you think, well I don't need it. I'm already on the brand, and a lot of brands make that mistake, when they then use third party, Google Shopping, Shopping Ads, in different platforms, they don't have their brands.
Richard Hill:
And, they're wondering why because they think, well I'm the brand. We don't need to. Well, you don't need to do it on your website, but when you try to use feeds on other people's other platforms, you need to add a simple little thing, to add that in, the way you're saying, using your tool, you could just map brand, push it in, every product's now got Nike at the beginning or whatever that may be.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah. Actually, you gave us an excellent example. That happens a lot, a lot. Little things, sometimes the website style is that all the titles would be capital letters. That's something that Google hates. So, don't send all capital letters in the title. So, that's something that you can very quickly, with just one click on the recapitalize feature, you can change that, and that happens quite often that we get this kind of title.
Olga Wojas:
So, either a missing brand or excessive capitalization, or really, for example, sometimes it's just the model number, because the website is built like that. So, then you really need to work on this. And, this is why there are some basic, but also more advanced features. Also, you can do some bulk changes, like if you have some words, let's say, that are violating the policy of Google, and there's a lot of them, you can change them in bulk and replace the values with their better equivalent, or maybe better performing keywords.
Olga Wojas:
It's actually, what I really like about working with a feed tool is that you can really merge different data files into one file. So for example, let's say you are missing GTIN numbers, that's also something important that I didn't mention when you asked me about important things in the feed. But, GTIN, it's not required anymore for Google but it's really good to have it, the UPIs.
Olga Wojas:
So, let's say you don't have them in the story, but you have them in some external spreadsheet. You can merge such a spreadsheet with your data feed, your current data feed and then these GTINs will be added to the feed. So, there's really quite a lot of things that you can do. You can also decide if you want to keep your variants or maybe you want to merge your variants into one product. Actually, you can do any manipulation.
Olga Wojas:
What's the best, is that you don't have to be technical. You don't need developers for that. This is why it's important to find a tool that has an intuitive interface, because the complexity ... there's a lot of different things that you can do, so it's good to have a simple interface.
Richard Hill:
I think the big thing there just to clarify for the listeners is, we're taking this feed from your store and obviously, it's taking what is already there where they're manipulating, over here, before we push it back. So, we're not changing anything on your website and we are making your data, so much stronger, better than the competitors, better than what you have, because the reality is, the amount of merchants that will just take a feed and push, so you can get a real head start.
Richard Hill:
This is where I think a lot of the big advantages is won, and where you can really get a head start on your competitors because taking that feed, you know your products as a merchant. You should know your products as a merchant. You know your manufacturers. You know the better selling products, the 80-20 principle and look at the better categories, better product sets and really manipulating ... it sounds like a dirty word, but manipulating on steroids, really manipulating those top SKUs and making sure that it's the title specifically and all the data is in there, is relatively straightforward.
Richard Hill:
Now, that's easy to be able to say, but it is, with the technologies that are available out there. You know, if you're selling Nike shoes and your product type doesn't say Nike, it probably should. So, to add that in, you haven't got to sit there and type Nike, Nike, Nike, 700 times. You've just got to say find me these products, insert this variable, click. You've got 700 SKUs that have now been adjusted.
Richard Hill:
So, usually obviously, tools like Datafeed Watch are able to do that very quickly and as I said, it's a tool we've used for, I don't know actually how long, but a long, long time. We have a guy here, our head of lead technical who's been on the podcast also, Andy, episode 16 I think, I had to think if I got that right.
Olga Wojas:
It was a good one, and I was impressed with his knowledge about feeds, so I definitely recommend to listen.
Richard Hill:
I'll pass that knowledge ... but he lives in your interface, and most of our clients are in your technology, so definitely. We don't recommend many products on this podcast, very, very few. I think I've recommended three maybe in nearly 20 episodes now, so really, I definitely recommend to you guys that are listening in, if you're looking for a feed tool, then Datafeed Watch is definitely something that gets our gold stamp definitely.
Richard Hill:
So, obviously you've seen a lot of feeds. Haven't put a number on it. There are thousands are feeds and there are actually tens of thousands as a company and you personally are in there every day. What are some of the things that you see, some of the biggest mistakes that people should be looking to avoid?
Olga Wojas:
When it comes to feeds, I would say ... okay, so maybe something more general. I've noticed a lot of people that are ... it's a mistake because they are advertising very low margin products, and that's not always the right thing to do. And, sometimes they advertise products that for different reasons, people will never buy or they will buy, but not in that very specific channel that they send the feed to.
Olga Wojas:
So, that's one thing. And something more related to the feed, I would not agree ... let's say I send my feed to Google Merchant Center. I see 30% of products disapproved and I say, "Oh, that's okay, I still have the 70%." Sometimes these are issues that you're not able to fix, but in most of the cases, these are just silly mistakes or silly issues that you can easily fix with just a few clicks. So, I don't know if 30% of your products are missing description on the website and because of that you cannot advertise them, it really doesn't make sense to give up on that.
Richard Hill:
You are lazy, I think is the-
Olga Wojas:
Yeah.
Richard Hill:
Is the reality. You need to get somebody on the team to sit there, get them some headphones, get them to sit there and get it sorted.
Olga Wojas:
Exactly. Especially that you do it once and then you're done and then you can just enjoy the new sales that you're getting from these channels.
Richard Hill:
Yeah. Those sort of things keep me up at night. If you've can see there's clearly a probably, go that's okay. It's not, because there's things, a thing called high score as well from Google where you're getting points for the health of your feed and the various aspects of your feed. And if you're pushing things through that are clearly wrong, you're not getting a score for that. I could talk about that one all day.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah, but it also happens the other way around. It happens that we have people coming to us, telling us, "Let's get rid of the errors. That's what I need, and that's the only thing that I need. So, they have the descriptions. They need those titles, and then, that's it. Google will not show you that your titles are not well optimized. So, don't be too comfortable with your feed being 100% approved. Just work on it a little bit more especially the titles, images and all those things that I mentioned, and then, you will really be able to see the power of feed optimization.
Richard Hill:
You have any thoughts on ... so let's say you've got a feed. You've got, like you say, obviously there's certain SKUs, using this 80-20 principle, something we're very obsessed with. We wrote various books on it over the years. So yeah, we even wrote a book on the 80-20 principle for Google shopping.
Richard Hill:
So, you've got your feed and obviously, 20% of the SKUs are making a lot of the money, but maybe you're focusing in a wrong area, you're trying to sort out the disallowed products. What you can use, or some people use and we use, is supplemental feeds to try and break up the different elements of the feed, different types of products. Have you got any thoughts on supplemental feeds?
Olga Wojas:
Yeah. The supplemental feeds, well for example, the inventory feed that allows you to ... because by default, your product information will be fetched into Google Merchant Center once a day, but if you want your inventory and prices to be able to uploaded more often, then of course, you can use the inventory field. Then, don't forget to set up also the download of your feed from the store, I'd say, four times a day, and yeah, in this case, this supplemental feed like that will work perfectly. That's for the case when your inventory and prices are changing often.
Richard Hill:
Yeah. Okay. Right. So, this is going so quick and I don't feel that we're even halfway there yet. So, obviously a lot of things there, a lot of different tips and whatnot, maybe real secret tips if you like that nobody really knows about maybe or certain things that are a little bit less talked about, blogged about, talked about, secret bits and bobs there.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah, I would have a lot of peeps on tricks ... actually, we have, a lot of our customers, they share their tricks, what they do with the feeds via case studies that we publish. We like to share our success stories from our customers a lot, so you can always find this. I'm not going to talk about this, because this is not secret.
Olga Wojas:
One thing that comes to my mind that would actually be a trick the Google doesn't even recommend, but maybe I would recommend, would be ... it is that ID field. It doesn't influence the performance of your ads. It's only to identify the product. But, the product ID is also this one attribute that is somehow connected with the performance history of your product and with the transaction history of your product.
Olga Wojas:
So, it has a quality score assigned to it. So, what Google say is that for example, if you're exchanging feeds from one to another, you should keep your IDs the same so that you don't lose the performance data and Google doesn't see it as a different product. But, if you had a very, very bad feed at the beginning and then you optimize it really well, you may want to change your IDs to clear the history, because if you had a quality score that was very low before, and you will keep the same IDs, the bad history of your product may be slowing down your growth. So, really consider that while exchanging the feeds.
Richard Hill:
Never heard that before. That is a corker. I like that. I'll be having a chat with Andy next week.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah. That's really something good to consider and to test, actually, because I'm not going to say that there was a lot of studies on that case, that's my personal idea.
Richard Hill:
Think about if you're ... we touched on supplemental feeds, if you're that type to invest in new products and put them in a supplemental feed you must be making sure that you keep the IDs the same, so you're passing that quality score across the account, which is quite a simple thing to do. And, you probably wouldn't change the ID, but you might change the ID. So, yeah, great.
Richard Hill:
Okay so, something else I wanted to touch on is CSS Partners. So, this is what Google Shopping ... CSS is something that came into the limelight, probably, yeah, I think it's about three years now. What are your thoughts on CSS? Is it better to be using a different CSS partner to Google?
Olga Wojas:
Well, the answer here is simple. Yes, it is definitely worth it. I would like to point out first that Google shopping is a CSS, so everyone who is advertising Google Shopping, is connected to a CSS. But, if you're asking me if it's beneficial going with a third party CSS, definitely yes. I don't know if everyone who's listening knows why it is like that, because back in 2017, I think, Google got this huge fine for-
Richard Hill:
It was four billion, I think. It was pretty big.
Olga Wojas:
I didn't know it was that big. Wow.
Richard Hill:
It's a billion.
Olga Wojas:
So, that was because they were promoting their own comparison service on the top of search results and as a apology for that, they are offering this possibility of a discount. So, if you are connected with a third party CSS, you can save up to, I think, 20% on the clicks that your ads are receiving. And, there's two ways, because you either save 20% by lowering the feed and keeping the traffic the same volume, the traffic volume, or you keep your bids as they were and benefit from increased traffic basically.
Olga Wojas:
One thing to mention here is that of course, the CSS take a cut of your ad spend. So, that's something that you have to measure if the cut they ask for is worth the potential savings you're getting but from my experience it is worth. And one more thing, it's only available in Europe. So, it's not-
Richard Hill:
It's a Europe specific fine, a Europe specific thing that Google had to do to ... I'll explain this right, but it's almost making sure that they adhere to the competition rules in Europe. So yeah, a lot of CSS is charged. We work with different CSS partners and all of our clients get access to a CSS for free, which is quite a unique service for our agency.
Richard Hill:
But yeah, we've definitely seen that. That 20% that is reported out there, it varies. And like you say, you can keep your bids as they were, and save the 20%, which if you're spending, simple math, spending 10 grand a month, you just saved 2000 pounds, or dollars or euros. But, if you keep your business the same, in the auction, you're bidding a lot more, you're bidding 20% more than you were.
Richard Hill:
What we've seen is you're getting even more than 20% back, so it's actually, it stacks. So, we've seen some clients that say if we keep the math simple, we spend 10 grand a month, so you think, "Oh, I'll save eight." Well actually no. You spend 10 grand a month, leave it where it is, you end up spending more because you're getting better ROAS. We've had clients that you think, "Oh, we'll get 10, we'll take to eight," and now they end up spending 14 because they're getting a better ROAS so we then even more, or we're getting them ROAS at the same level.
Richard Hill:
So, it's win-win. It does vary quite a lot industry to industry, and also there's a lot of variables in the auction that you can't really, you don't know. It's not just the bid, obviously, there's other things as well, the quality of the feed in this case, etc.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah, I think there's also one important thing to mention here when it comes to CSS, is that the sooner you join the better, because it is, I guess, quite safe to forecast that there will be more merchants joining, because why not. So, if everyone has the advantage of the discount, then no one has it really. The few merchants who want to join, they will be at a disadvantage so, yeah.
Richard Hill:
Yeah, right. We took on a client yesterday, day before, in the gym industry or gym clothing, and we were obviously searching for a lot of the products, and a lot of very well named brands that are out there that we all know, are not using a CSS scaled flat. Unbelievable. And, they will be spending probably 100 grand a month on that, or hundreds of thousands a month on ads and not using a CSS.
Richard Hill:
So, there's a big opportunity there definitely for more of the David v. Goliath out there sort of thing. You've got more of a chance on Google Shopping than ever, because you could be one of the small handful of people that's using a CSS.
Richard Hill:
Okay. So, free Google Shopping has been the click bait this last few months. Google announced free Google Shopping list. It got launched in the US. It's not quite here in Europe yet, and I believe that is because of this problem with the competition laws so they're still sorting that out and it's all coming to the UK and Europe soon. But, have you got any tips on, or any recommendations to people on this free Google Shopping, how they can appear, how these guys can appear in the listings for that?
Olga Wojas:
Well, for now, honestly, we don't have any results since it's a fresh thing, so I tell you how powerful that can be. The main tip I can give you here is that take advantage of that, that they are giving you this possibility and make sure ... actually here, the feed optimization gets even more important, because then you really have to ... if you're not really paying for the clicks, you really have to make sure that your feed is good quality. So for now, at this point, I would really focus on getting your feed in a good shape and then let's see what it does for you for free.
Richard Hill:
It's a good time now to prepare, spend the time to learn some of the things we talked about and you can get your feed ready and in shipshape, so I get it down the gym for a few weeks before Google announce in Europe then that you'll get free shopping listings on the tab, and then you'll be in good shape to obviously start getting some of those clicks. So, you're seeing in some of your US clients, though, I guess.
Olga Wojas:
Sorry?
Richard Hill:
The clients that Datafeed Watch has in America, in the US, you're seeing click through on those.
Olga Wojas:
Honestly, I don't have any data, because recently I haven't been working too much with the US customers, but I hope that soon we will be able to share some data ... we are quite active on our blog, so I think we are now going through the performance data that we're getting from our clients and I hope that we will have soon a report on that prepared to understand actually if it's as big as we think it might be.
Richard Hill:
Yeah, it's literally that new, isn't it? It's still feeding through. I think we've got a few US clients. Not many to be fair, just a handful, and they have got it. They've got their ... they have the notification came up in the account, probably about three months ago now. Again, we don't have that many US clients in comparison to the UK.
Richard Hill:
So, I think stepping away from feeds for a second and looking at e-commerce as a whole, what's the big shifts you've seen in e-commerce in this last year? Any specific things that people should be doing within e-commerce as a whole?
Olga Wojas:
Well, of course, the COVID, the whole COVID situation, well people have been shifting from offline to online for years already, but the COVID definitely accelerated this shift, and people buy much more online. However, we saw a lot of ... well, it wasn't that fortunate for a lot of verticals, but in general, we can say that e-commerce is growing very fast in the COVID times.
Olga Wojas:
And, I guess it means that also the customers will be more and more demanding. Let's say, they will expect a more enjoyable e-commerce experience and I think that every e-commerce business should have that in mind. It's many different things, free shipping or very fast shipping or ... sorry?
Richard Hill:
Same day shipping.
Olga Wojas:
Same day shipping, exactly. Two days is already too long. So, really adjusting to the new challenges is really important. What I also notice ... I'm looking through the eyes of our customers, so I've noticed that marketplaces are growing recently as a starting point for product searches. So, we have really a lot of customers coming to us because they want to list their products on Amazon.
Olga Wojas:
I think the free Google shopping listing is an answer to the marketplace is growing as well. It's a battle between Amazon and Google. So yeah, I would say these two things, adjusting to new challenges, demanding customers and also the marketplace.
Richard Hill:
Obviously a lot more people coming into most markets. I think Shopify are giving away or they were giving away six months free service and I guess others are doing deals on things. Obviously, bringing a lot of new merchants to every industry, so I think like you say, you've just got to be that bit ... you can't just take things for granted. You've got to be keeping a good eye on your industry, making sure that you're adding, like you say, looking at your deliveries, maybe adding click and collect if that's something that's appropriate for your business, making sure that you're utilizing some of the newer things like free shopping, free listings, when it comes through.
Richard Hill:
Yeah, it's an interesting time, isn't it? I think obviously, a lot of verticals, it's a bit of a mix out there, but a lot of e-commerce verticals that surpass Black Friday and so many success stories we're seeing and I know you're seeing. Not all success, but there's definitely wait there, I think. I see it's not like a bricks and mortar where there's a lot of challenges. E-comm's so, so strong.
Richard Hill:
Some of the things we're seeing, ridiculous. I almost just bit off my e-comm ... I used to put e-comm still as for 10 years before we set up the agency. When this all kicked in I'm thinking ... I was looking at warehouses and stock and no, no, stick with this. It's obviously some insane shifts, three, four, five hundred percent they're saying on a lot of solid verticals. So, that's been an absolute blast of absolute quick fire round. Lots of great takeaways there.
Richard Hill:
I suggest anybody that's listening in, that's still with us now, from my point of view, I've been involved with literally hundreds and hundreds of feeds, hundreds and hundreds of e-commerce stores in this episode. So, I've got some real gems of it, some real actionable points that I really suggest that if you've got this far, go back and listen to the damn thing again, because there's some really good things in here. The transcript will be there with the episodes, so all the things that we talked about we'll link off, we'll link off the Datafeed Watch and so forth.
Richard Hill:
So, I always like to end every episode with a book recommendation. Do you have a book that you would recommend to our listeners?
Olga Wojas:
Yeah. If you would like me to recommend something strictly e-commerce-
Richard Hill:
No, it can be anything. It doesn't matter.
Olga Wojas:
So, let's do this. Can I have one, a private non business book, and then one e-commerce book?
Richard Hill:
That's good.
Olga Wojas:
That possible? Perfect. So, the e-commerce one would be the Ultimate Guide to E-Commerce Growth. It's written by Ian and Mark Hammersley. They are two brothers, 15 years of experience in e-commerce consultancy, so they do have quite a lot to say about the e-commerce growth that's for sure, and if I can do the private recommendation as well, I am reading ... I didn't finish that book yet, but I'm reading, maybe you know this one. It's quite popular. It's Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind. Do you know that one?
Richard Hill:
I know it and other people have mentioned it, but I haven't read it. I haven't read it. Yeah.
Olga Wojas:
It's really great. If you want to understand the human kind, I think it's a great book on many different levels to just read it and go through the whole history of human kind. It's really great so yeah.
Richard Hill:
Okay. So, we've got two recommendations there, thank you very much.
Olga Wojas:
Thank you Richard for having me in the podcast. It was really a pleasure. For everyone who have some issues with their feeds, who are struggling with their feeds, you can find me on LinkedIn and we can review your feeds if you want to. Just let me know if you need any help.
Richard Hill:
If the guys want to find you on LinkedIn, just obviously search for your name.
Olga Wojas:
Olga Wojas. Yeah.
Richard Hill:
See if they want to connect with you directly, it is via Data feed Watch website as well. Either way.
Olga Wojas:
Yeah, my email is olga.wojas, which might be difficult to spell but it's @datafeedwatch.com. You'll find me on Datafeed Watch website so-
Richard Hill:
We'll link it all up in the show notes. Thank you so much. It's been a blast.
Olga Wojas:
Thank you very much. Have a great day, bye, bye.

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