February 10, 2006, 12:00 AM

New group will develop common standards for product description

Online retailers, search engines, marketers and others are working to develop a common standard for describing products for SKU-based advertising and comparison shopping.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Online retailers, search engines, marketers and others are working to develop a common standard for describing products for SKU-based advertising and comparison shopping.

The group met informally at Shop.org’s FirstLook 2006 event in January to discuss members’ concerns about the lack of a common platform for describing products and receiving advertising reports, says Alan Rimm-Kaufman, CEO of consultants the Rimm-Kaufman Group.

“The current state of how retailers describe the products to the feed engines and how the feed engines then provide feedback to the retailers is just a cacophony of different standards,” Rimm-Kaufman says.

The lack of common standards means that data elements often don’t get loaded into the search engines. “For many retailers, it wouldn’t be surprising for half of the products not to even make it in,” Rimm-Kaufmann says.

The group will meet formally for the first time at the Feb. 27 meeting of the National Retail Federation’s Association for Retail Technology Standards in Menlo Park, CA. The group decided to work with ARTS since the association has experience in setting protocols for retailers, Rimm-Kaufman says. The group hopes to have the standards completed before the 2006 holiday season.

Retailers and others interested in participating can sign up at a link at onlinefeeds.org or at NRF-ARTS.org.

Participants at the initial meeting included Sierra Trading Post, RedEnvelope, Bare Necessities, CompUSA, Cutter & Buck, Coldwater Creek, REI, Yahoo, MSN, and Google.

 

 

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