Data feeds is code that allows affiliates to sell your products and services without having to individually type in the code for each product they want to promote to their websites. Instead, they can use the code and insert it into their own shopping cart that allows data feeds, or they can use a plug-in for their website that allows data feeds for product promotion.
As a merchant, a data feed can be an easy way to upload a lot of products at once to your own shopping cart. It's a lot faster to make a Notepad text file or an XML file than it is to type and upload individual products in a shopping cart. This is most helpful when you have a lot of products and services.
As a merchant you will want to have data feeds to help you upload multiple products to different shopping carts such as Google Merchant. You can upload your products for Google Merchant Center so that your products come up when someone searches for them. They won't buy from Google, but they will see the products, and if they click on the product it will take them to the right page on your website where they can buy it.
Aside from Google Merchant accounts, most online shopping cart software allows for data feeds to be uploaded so that you don't have to manually enter each product one by one. This is especially useful if you have hundreds or thousands of products that you want in the shopping cart. As a merchant you can use a data feed manager such as SingleFeed.
SingleFeed Link: https://www.singlefeed.com/whatwedo/feedmanagement.php
Data feeds for affiliates are provided by merchants, affiliate program software, and shopping cart software so that affiliates can easily promote products by many different merchants using only one file. As an affiliate you can download the data feed as a .csv, or XML file.
It's better to use or change a .csv file than an XML file because sometimes data separated by commas can get messed up. Therefore it's best to use data separated by the pipe symbol |, or a tab, which is a very easy fix once you have the feed downloaded for editing.
Once you have cleaned up the data, because it is likely to have mistakes once you download it, you can easily turn it into a webpage using your shopping cart software or another script on your website. Double check that all the field names are accurate and that there are no spaces, for instance, for field names.
Some systems do allow for underscores but it'll go smoother if you don't use spaces at all in field name, like Category|Description|Website URL|Image URL| and so forth. You can however have spaces in the actual category and description, just not in the field names.
Luckily, most affiliate programs will offer some instruction on how to use their data feeds on your website. You can also use a WordPress plug-in called Datafeedr.com. Using data feeds is highly beneficial for both merchants and affiliates due to the ease at which they can be uploaded, updated, and created.