The Risks of Outdated Product Data: How to Stay Competitive
Posted on April 11, 2023 (Last Updated: April 11, 2023)
In today’s busy e-commerce world, it has never been more important to serve customers the right way at the right time. Consumers are increasingly used to getting their problems solved right away, in the most convenient way possible.
More frequently than not, if your product is out of stock, your customers will go to your competitors and buy from them. Is your product back in stock, only your data hasn’t been updated yet? Well, they have no way of knowing.
This is just one of the many examples of how important accurate and up-to-date product data is. Let us walk you through some other pains you can spare yourself along with many additional gains you can have by implementing frequent product data updates the right way.
Five reasons why you should not take data updates lightly
Let’s touch upon the most prevalent issues that occur due to suboptimal data updates.
1.) Avoid missing out on sales
We just gave an example of how easy it is to lose a sale to your competitor by not sending up-to-date data to your channels frequently enough.
Remember, if you have the product in stock, but customers still see it as out of stock, you are not just losing that individual sale. You have lost that sale to your competitor, which might encourage your customers to make their future purchases there, instead of your website. This leads to our next point:
2.) Provide better customer experience
When customers come across your advertised products being out of stock many times, they may deem you irrelevant and lose interest in your business all together.
3.) Avoid wasting money on ad spend
Even though your product was out of stock and your customer left without purchase, you still paid for the click that led to them finding out they can’t buy your product. Ad spend makes up for a substantial portion of costs for most companies thus avoiding clicks that can’t possibly convert is a number one priority.
4.) Avoid out-dated prices
Additionally to stock data, price data is also something that needs to be up-to-date. If your prices change on a daily or hourly basis you want to ensure they are updated on your advertising channels as soon as possible.
5.) Avoid rejections in Google Merchant Center
Having incorrect prices in your ads doesn’t only affect your sales directly. Google runs checks frequently to ensure there are no mismatched prices on your end, and if they find that it’s a common recurrence in your case, they might reject your merchant center account altogether.
How can you improve your setup?
You need to make sure you have the desired setup at all levels your data goes through.
Your feed management setup
First of all, you need to enable hourly runs in your feed management platform, which might not be a default option included in the price you are paying. However, feed management platforms can only work with data they are provided, so the next step is to ensure, on your end, that the data you are sending is accurate.
Your in-house setup
You need to check every source of data being imported to the feed management platform and check it is refreshed at the right times and intervals. If you are having trouble generating feed data multiples times a day, you can merge alternative data sources into your product feed. If you know you have the right prices, for instance in your price management tool, but your product data is very hard to generate because you have so many products, then generate product data once a day and merge price data on an hourly basis.
Alternatively, you can opt for incremental data updates, updating only the prices and stock that has changed. This is often relevant for big companies, where it is difficult and time consuming to generate full price data thus it might be relevant to pass on the incremental changes.
Ensure your feed is sent directly to the channels (avoid using layers). We often see companies sending their data to a feed management platform, then to another service (competitor price monitoring, image improvement services...) that add a new layer of data on top before they pass that data onto the next layer in the process.
This way data takes considerably longer to get to where it needs to be. Alternatively, you can replace these additional layers (third party services) with options within your feed management platform (WakeupData: Competitor Price monitoring tool, WakeupData: Image transformations tool) so all the adjustments can take place in the same step.
Lastly, you need to update channel schedules. Go to each channel (Google Merchant Centre, Facebook Merchant Centre, etc) and make sure they get updated as frequently as possible.This may involve some extra steps of changing how these channels receive data, for example Google allows you to update data more frequently if you send it through an SFTP instead of a URL.
The importance of frequent product data updates cannot be overstated in the modern e-commerce world. Providing customers with accurate and up-to-date information is essential to avoid losing sales, providing a better customer experience and avoiding wasted ad spend. Ensuring that your product and price data is updated frequently and accurately is key to maintaining a competitive edge and keeping customers satisfied.
When it comes to busy eCommerce periods you need a feed management tool that automates complex processes which you can rely on. Send your optimized product listings to hundreds of comparison websites, affiliate platforms, and marketplaces through the WakeupData platform with near real time updates. Get started by booking a free demo of the platform.