Last month we introduced the technology commonly called RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and explained how it is being used to distribute online content. This month we will look at how ecommerce business owners can use RSS to improve their online presence.
RSS is a syndication technology, which means that it is designed to let you announce things to the world. Communicating with your visitors and customers is important to building consumer loyalty and can help personalize your company with your visitors. Consider creating an RSS feed to provide company news to your visitors. Rather than having to regularly visit your website to find out new information about your company, subscribers to your RSS feed will automatically receive your corporate news and press releases as they are released.
Product announcements are another great way to utilize RSS feeds to generate more business. By providing an RSS feed that is updated when new products are available, when products have been reviewed or when products go on sale your customers can be automatically notified, which in turn can drive an increase in repeat business.
RSS feeds can also be used to share website content with other websites. Taking advantage of this can be especially useful if you have an affiliate program or business partners.
Take the case of an affiliate, who promotes your website or products in exchange for a percentage of each sale they generate. You could provide an RSS feed to your affiliate that broadcasts information about your products. The affiliate could access that feed and have your information automatically appear on the their website. Imagine your products being seamlessly integrated into an affiliate’s online catalog, or your product announcements being displayed on their website.
Sierra Trading Posting, a Wyoming-based retailer of outdoor clothing and gear, uses RSS technology to update their affiliates on the affiliate program itself. Andy Newlin is Online Marketing Manager, “We keep our affiliates up to date with policy changes, new promotional items, ideas about which products to feature and more. Each affiliate simply signs up for the RSS feed, and they receive the updates automatically from us. Works great.”
Newlin continues, “We are experimenting with RSS as a tool to help us improve communications with our customers as well. We believe these feeds will increase website traffic and customer loyalty.”
The beauty of using RSS to share content is that only the feed itself needs to be updated, and you always control the feed. Since your affiliate’s website accesses the feed to get your product information, the site is updated automatically when you update your RSS feed and you retain full control of your content.