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Productcaster CEO, Hedley Aylott, recently shared his insights around Google comparison shopping service (CSS) partners and shopping feeds on the RetailTechNews podcast.

His expert opinion reveals tips and insight into retailers’ Productcaster feedback, as well as how to take advantage of reduced shopping spend through optimised feed production and management.

Here are some key insights from the interview; you can also listen to the podcast below.

Retailers are saving money on shopping spend and investing it

Since Google proposed new spend incentives for retailers who use a comparison shopping service provider, retailers are now able to use the money they are saving on costs per click (CPCs) spend into their feed quality and content. These reduced CPCs are also allowing retailers and brands to invest more money in generating traffic to their websites.

This is just one of the benefits of using a shopping comparison partner. Partnering up with a comparison partner other than Google is a quick and simple task. With an existing Google Ads account, link up with your shopping comparison partner and within 24 hours a relationship will be made between the ads and the comparison partner. For example, instead of the ads stating “By Google” they would then say “By Productcaster”. According to Aylott, there is no migration needed and absolutely no loss of data.

And he said the feedback from early Productcaster clients has been positive: “The feedback from the merchants or the retailers we work with around Europe is that they’re seeing really reduced CPCs for the auction, and they’re investing that money that they’ve saved either by not spending as much or they’re investing it in generating more traffic. So it’s been very positive from the people using it properly.”

Google wants a fair and positive user experience

For positive shopping comparison results, Google requires a positive experience for its users. Aylott recommended to retailers that page speed is crucial for a successful shopping experience. Once an ad is clicked, users will not wait around to see loading images and content.

Depending on the shopping feed size, it can be difficult to showcase overall consistency because feeds are often automatically produced. However, it is essential to check both the quality and quantity of images within the feed, as well as product descriptions and valid information. The more consistent the feed, the better the result within the SERP (search engine results page).

Mastering the art of feed production is essential for shopping comparison success
Productcaster is now helping retailers enrich their feeds with better content, which can bring benefits for both shopping comparison and in natural search. Since shopping comparison partners such as Productcaster are essentially casting products across the web, and the globe, there is a necessity for an accurate feed. Mistakes or inaccurate information could cost you a sale.

Telecoms as a category has never been particularly well-served by generic Google ads. In this instance, Aylott said that telecoms can be boosted by comparison sites such as Productcaster with relevant and detailed content, allowing consumers to make the right choices.

The importance of quality content

Aylott described how information around product, location, stores, availability, stock are crucial for a successful feed. “How many times have we seen in Google shopping the same fridge freezer, the same picture, the same description?”, he challenged.

He continued: “How can I make my description better than your description? You’re not going to do that by using the stock description that the manufacturer gives you.” Point of difference, accuracy and quality are all important attributes to outstanding feed content and that’s what Productcaster provides.

The difference between a good product feed and a bad product feed is simple; a bad feed will have gaps in its informational content. Aylott said, “In a product feed for Google Shopping, every product should have an EAN number.” Elsewhere, all fields relating to the item should be filled in, including pictures and a short description.

Product images and reviews are the difference between a click and a sale

Similar to producing quality content, high resolution and varied images are essential when producing a shopping feed. If images are missing from your feed, it is likely a user will go elsewhere to purchase their desired product.

As well as images, reviews are deemed more persuasive when making a buying decision. Particularly when buying more expensive products or white goods, reviews are a primordial factor when making a purchase. If your brand or company is willing to share customer reviews of both the product and service, it is more likely to be trusted by future customers.

The introduction of boutique comparison and the future

Aylott also shared his thoughts on the introduction of a “boutique shopping comparison service”. In the past, there has been a stigma surrounding the types of brands that would want to appear next to each other within comparison services with luxury brands being reluctant to be shown alongside budget retailers.

He stated: “I think there’s real space for perhaps providing more boutique comparison between brands that are happy to co-exist with each other.”

The future looks bright for Productcaster and Google Shopping, and upon being asked about future endeavours outside of Europe, Aylott said: “We are testing and trialling it in Europe, and we want to find a format and find the categories that are under-served today… and then we will look at which territories are applicable.”

You can listen to the podcast interview below (the Google CSS discussion begins at 27 minutes and 36 seconds):