Feed management or product feed management is the process of sourcing, sorting, cleaning, and enriching product data to improve its appearance on marketing and selling channels.
In-depth definition of feed management
When you visit a retailer's website and click on a product, you’re probably used to seeing a product title, description, price, information about size, weight, color, and texture, images from multiple angles, videos, customer reviews, shipping options, and/or return policies. Feed management is how commerce businesses combine and transform their product data to provide all of this information in a pretty package to consumers.
So how does it work?
With a feed management tool, companies can source product data from various internal systems (PIMs, ERPs, local files, etc.), and then combine, sort, and clean the data all in one place. This aggregated and enriched product information is known as a product feed. Once a product feed is created, businesses are able to:
- Sort the data to fit into specific categories
- Adjust the structure of the data to comply with channel requirements
- Reformat the data to tailor it for different audiences
- Add additional details to enhance the data
By making these changes through feed management, companies can create high-quality product feeds to power their product catalogs, listings, ads, labels, etc.
Why are feed management services important?
Considering more detailed product information is one of the top factors that entices 35% of consumers to choose one brand or retailer over another, feed management can be the difference between a sale and a customer lost to a competitor.
Consumers want robust information about the items they shop for, and they want it presented in a clear, concise, and consistent manner. Missing or incorrect product information not only causes frustration for shoppers, but it can also cause regulatory issues. Take Decathlon who was fined £1.2 million for having incorrect warning labels, or this LaGuardia airport retailer who had to undergo a price audit of its entire menu after someone posted a photo of a beer accidentally marked for $28. Without strong feed management services, commerce anarchy reigns.
More specifically, feed management services provide companies with:
- More visibility of the product data ecosystem to easily identify missing pieces of information, underperforming products, and more
- More efficiency in enhancing data feed exports that frees up resources wasted on manual processes
- Independence from IT support, allowing those teams to focus on other critical issues
- Faster time-to-market, which enables companies to grow their business
What should you look for in feed management software?
So what makes a feed management platform strong? Companies need to find the right software that simplifies its tech stack. Consider the following:
- Artificial intelligence: Feed management tools leverage AI to speed up the process of sorting, cleaning, categorizing, and enhancing. AI can also provide more data visualization to ensure companies have full control over product information value chains.
- Channel templates: With predefined rules boxes and channel templates, businesses can reduce the time required to personalize and contextualize product data when setting up channels.
- Channel readiness reports: Feed management software should help businesses identify areas of improvement, offering reports that show how optimal product data is before it’s exported to channels and provide best practice suggestions for better performance.
- Performance monitoring: Once product data is live on channels, feed management tools should constantly analyze performance to help determine where businesses should make changes, as well as react to evolving market trends and consumer preferences.
- 3D feedback loops: To ensure customer feedback about products gets routed back to suppliers, feed management platforms should allow for a multi-directional flow of data through the supply chain.
Note: Feed management performs best under an overarching product-to-consumer (P2C) strategy.