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Effectively Distributing Your Product Inventory Online

Effectively Distributing Your Product Inventory Online

Marketing your products can be difficult, especially if you want to personalise it towards different types of customers. Without effective product marketing, even the most ingenious products are liable to fail, because your message won’t be understood, or potential customers won’t be able to find your products in their preferred online channels.

Cross-channel integration is becoming very important for retailers, as consumers expect to be able to begin their customer journey on a mobile device and finish it on a laptop. These same consumers all use different methods to search for products online so it’s essential that merchants utilise all possible channels. With so many possibilities, how can retailers successfully distribute their product inventory online?

So where should you market your products?

A good starting point is to look at the size of your product inventory. This will help you decide where is the best place to market your products to ensure the greatest return of investment. It’s also a good idea to think about your product margins, to make sure that your profit is greater than your expenditure.

1. Marketplaces

Marketplaces are a popular choice for retailers, as 65% of e-shoppers prefer to buy from marketplaces or auction sites. As well as the big marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, there are also smaller niche sites, such as Notonthehighstreet.com and Etsy. When integrating your products on a marketplace, data is taken directly from your e-commerce site to make sure it remains consistently accurate and up-to-date. You can also apply business logic to your data feed to ensure that your products are only shown when they are in stock. Using marketplaces also makes it relatively simple to showcase your products internationally; the ready-made audience eliminates the effort and cost of setting up localised websites and driving traffic to them.

2. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is useful for retailers who want to target people from a variety of sources, as content affiliate sites come in many different forms. Although retailers can’t necessarily control the content itself, these sites can be cost-effective, as the affiliate is only paid once a sale has been made. This helps to ensure their adverts are targeted towards their site’s audience to drive sales.

Retailers can make this process simpler for affiliates by incorporating an affiliate hub into their programme. Hubs provide the affiliates with all necessary promotional information and make it easy for them to download the specific data they need to engage with their audience.

3. Facebook

With 23% of Facebook users checking their account more than 5 times a day, social media is crucial to any company’s online strategy. Although still not used by all brands, if your company has a strong presence on Facebook, it can be useful to showcase your product inventory. This can be achieved relatively easily using the Facebook API to create a platform that engages with your audience.

John Lewis used Facebook to advertise their products just before Christmas with a ‘Gift Finder’ widget. Automatically updated from the John Lewis website, the widget recommended presents based on certain criteria (including recipient, price range and gift type).

4. Google Shopping

New for 2013, Google Shopping now uses product listing ads (PLAs). Integrating your products into this channel couldn’t be easier as the feed is uploaded to the Merchant Centre, product data is evaluated and search results are then matched to the most relevant items, depending on CPC, quality score and CTR.

Although retailers now have to pay for the service, merchants will have more control over where their products appear in the search results, so they can increase their products’ visibility within this channel.

5. Email

Email may be an underrated channel but if it’s used to its full potential, the possibilities are endless. By integrating your product inventory into an email platform, your products can be served to consumers within emails, automatically if required.

Emails can also be used to retarget customers who have selected products, but left them in their shopping baskets, using business logic to select similar products to those in the shopping baskets they abandoned. There are several ways to retarget consumers with email; SaleCycle technology integrates with the checkout process and emails the customer to try and entice them back to the site to complete their transaction.

It’s all about getting personal

However you decide to integrate your product inventory into the various online channels, the key to driving success is personalisation. Studies show that personalised marketing campaigns are consistently more successful than static and BAU advertising content.

If your product listings are optimised and mapped to the correct categories, they will be more relevant to consumer searches and therefore more visible. The more targeted your product advertising, the more chance of a conversion so sending a pet food promotion to your entire database is unlikely to have as much success as one for cat food sent only to cat owners.

The main thing to remember when integrating your products online is that each channel should offer a unique user experience but be instantly recognisable and consistent with your company branding.

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Got a question or comment – tweet Sean SeanMcAuley409 or comment on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN.

Sean McAuley

Sean McAuley

Sean McAuley is Managing Director of Feed Management at FusePump Ltd.

FusePump helps brands and retailers make the most of their published product information, in order to sell more online. FusePump’s award-winning technology gathers, manages and optimises data from multiple sources, to be used in various marketing applications. Their multi-channel marketing solutions allow online sellers to integrate into channels quickly, efficiently and for the best sales results. FusePump also offers e-commerce solutions for brands, including market intelligence and referral marketing tools, which put them back at the centre of the consumer’s buying journey.

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