By Monique Martin
You’ve worked hard to create an inventory for your online store, and you’ve priced it to move. But, without traffic, it’s just gathering dust on the shelves. Millions of people shop online each day, and every small business needs to harness as much of that traffic as possible. One of the best ways to drive traffic to your Web site store is by getting your inventory to display in Google’s and Yahoo!’s shopping results.
In order to get your products included in those highly trafficked results, you need to submit what’s called a product feed.
A product feed is a data file (usually .csv or .txt) that contains all the relevant information about your products. In order to submit your products for inclusion on Yahoo! or Google shopping, you’ll need to create a product feed. You can include as many or as few items as you choose. Each site has different specifications, but the process is basically the same.
You create this spreadsheet for the feed either manually or by using your shopping cart’s export function, if applicable. Once you submit the feed, the shopping site uses that information to populate your products in their search results.
As of March 11, 2010, in order to get your products to appear in Yahoo! Shopping, you must have a PriceGrabber account. After that date, all product feeds for Yahoo! Shopping must be submitted through PriceGrabber.
The good news is that if you only want your products to appear on Yahoo! Shopping and not PriceGrabber, the account setup is free (except for a few categories). The bad news is that’s where the free stuff ends.
Yahoo! Shopping is a pay-per-click (PPC) site. That means you’re charged a fee when someone clicks on your product from the search results page. The prices vary by category from $0.25 to $1.05 per click. These are usually highly targeted leads, but a small budget can be eaten up fairly quickly.
Unlike Yahoo!, Google Product Search doesn’t charge for submission or for success. The old Google Base has been replaced with upgraded Google Merchant Center. You’ll need to sign up for a free account before you get started. Once you’ve got an account, you simply create your data feed, register it (let Google know it’s coming) and then submit it. Once the feed is approved, your products should be live and searchable in 24 to 72 hours.
Ecommerce isn’t just about creating a great, user-friendly Web site and offering a desirable product; it’s about traffic. Both Yahoo! Shopping and Google Product Search can be invaluable tools to increase the exposure of your products and help your business boom.
Monique Martin served as chief operating officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.