I’ve been working with Shopify Plus a lot over the last 18 months, with a number of my existing clients replatforming to the popular platform and various new clients wanting support in moving over. There are a number of well-known sticking points with Shopify Plus for larger stores and managing feeds (e.g. shopping feeds, feeds for dynamic remarketing, marketplace feeds etc) is definitely one of them.
Here are the core requirements that most retailers would have for managing feeds:
- Ability to select an output format for the feed (e.g. XML, TXT, CSV etc)
- Automatic updating to reflect changes in data
- Ability to manage the product data included in the feed (e.g. certain tags, custom meta fields etc)
- Ability to control the products that are included in the feed (and the ability to create rules for this – e.g. only certain collections, products within a specific price range etc)
- Ability to add in custom labels
- Ability to choose when and how often the feed is updated
These are pretty standard requirements and there are generally solutions for most eCommerce platforms to meet these requirements – but this is one area where Shopify tends to struggle. There are some apps available for Shopify to allow for feed management / generation etc (as listed below), but they’re very basic and they don’t meet any (or very few) of the more complex requirements around managing feed data.
Basic options for managing data feeds and Google Shopping feeds in Shopify / Shopify Plus:
There are various apps available for Shopify that allow for very basic feed management, such as:
These are just a few examples of solutions which are all low-cost, but also API-based and a bit limited for larger merchants. These solutions don’t provide the ability to export the feed, or add any complexity to the data that’s being passed into the merchant centre etc.
I wouldn’t recommend these solutions unless you are a very small retailer doing very low amounts of revenue via these channels. These apps don’t allow for custom tags to be used for optimised data or dynamic values to be used.
XML template hack
There’s a hack that some people use with Shopify where you can create a template with the XML markup and reference product URLs and attributes – leaving you with the equivalent of an XML feed that can be accessed via a URL. This isn’t a scalable / manageable solution and it doesn’t allow for optimisation of the data or the use of variables.
My preferred solutions for managing feeds in Shopify
I’ve been working on a project recently where we’ve used Feedonomics, which has made the whole process very quick and easy! The integration with Shopify Plus and Feedonomics was very simple (you just need to provide them with API credentials so they can extract product data) and the management of the data is very easy in their admin area.
Feedonomics also allows for rule-based optimisation, additional hard coded values, custom labels and additional variables etc. In addition to this, Feedonomics also optimises the feed manually as part of the process.
The merchant I’ve been working with only has a few hundred SKUs, so it’s a really cost-effective solution (around ~$300 per month), but this will add up for retailers with larger catalogs.
You find out more about Feedonomics on their website.
DataFeedWatch is my other preferred third party solution and it supports both complex product data management and feed optimisation. Like Feedonomics, DataFeedWatch pulls in your chosen product tags and meta fields and allows you to dictate the values that are included in the feeds. DataFeedWatch is lower cost than Feedonomics, but it’s less of a managed service model. I use this on one of our clients and it’s excellent value ($59 per month for a merchant with ~5k SKUs).
I prefer Feedonomics purely because I’ve used it more and I like their advanced dashboard and the managed services they provide around the feed optimisation – but like I say, I’ve not used DataFeedWatch in lots of detail.
Hopefully, this is useful as exporting an XML, TXT and CSV feed out of Shopify is a question I get asked about a lot. If you have any additional Shopify feed management solutions you think I should add, please feel free to add below.