Friday, June 24, 2005

Get your products into Froogle

Do you have an online store with your own products? Are you providing a feed to Froogle? If not - you really need to read this!

I do a ton of online shopping - but more often, I do what I guess would be called "monitor shopping" (like window shopping) :) I browse, read reviews, collect information on what I want to buy some day. And, much of my research is centered around Froogle.com - a sort of mega marketplace for researching products and prices. So, as I was off studying the costs of laptops, I thought I'd tell you how you can get YOUR products into Froogle so they can be found.

For those of you who haven't used it yet, Froogle.com is a product based search engine powered by Google, that lets you search by brands and keywords and then sort the results by price and so on. It's particularly useful if you know the model you want of something - it'll find it and tell you which online shops sell it and for how much.

Froogle gets its data from independently submitted feeds, and from it's own web scouring activity. The more accurate data is that which is submitted by a store - and so your goal as shop owner would be to get your feed picked up by Froogle. Best of all, getting listed is FREE (as of today).

Free to anyone? Not exactly - there are requirements. Your site must be in English, in the US, have fixed prices, be your own products (not an affiliate shop) and the site must be "crawlable" (meaning, a spider can hop from link to link to link within your site).

To get started, go to the Froogle Merchant page and sign up. They will send you information, including a universal data structure they need your product data provided in (Excel spreadsheet or a comma separated text file) and instructions - all pretty standard formatting you can export your products to.

The instructions will say how to FTP (upload) your product data - which you need to do monthly or else it will be dropped from the database. But they encourage shop owners to do this more often than monthly, to ensure highly accurate info in the search results.

That's it in a nutshell. Whether you do this yourself or need a web programmer depends on 1) your own prowess and 2) the existing system your store is utilizing. To be efficient, I'd suggest automating the process so you can do it frequently - depending on the number of products. The important thing is that, if you do have an online store with your own products, that you get some of the traffic and hang your shingle in the global marketplace!


##

© 2005 All rights reserved.

Eileen Parzek is a graphic designer and writer providing graphic and web design services. Always found at the intersection of information, creativity and technology, her business, SOHO It Goes! (www.sohoitgoes.com) helps small businesses make a big impression.