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First, too few of big merchants have understood power of marketing via RSS feed and affiliation. These sluggish retail giants, many with a long-standing presence on English high streets, are missed by those of us with neighbourhood corner shops. We want to pass business their way, for a small commission. So, take note please big merchants, costs of setting-up and maintaining RSS feeds, and paying us small commissions, are far outweighed by value of increased sales.
It seems that some of ‘giants’ have been caught off-guard by cost-effectiveness of this new technology and approach to marketing in combination. It’s simply a matter of them re-writing their product lists in XML and offering coded feeds to affiliate networks. When they do so, I suggest humbly that they seek out networks offering small shopkeepers like me an unlimited number of feeds at no cost, and that they avoid studiously any ‘exclusive’ deals.
Some merchants are quicker to exploit new technologies than others; that’s way markets work. The most agile survive: least agile suffer. This creates an opportunity for small and medium sized merchants who are inherently more agile than larger competitors. We English shopkeepers, need them to master RSS technology and affiliation quickly, to plug gaps in market left by big merchants.
Recently, for example, I’ve been hunting English merchants who can offer me affiliated RSS feeds for used and new cars. I have also been hunting similar merchants capable of offering me regularly updated RSS feeds for package holidays and real estate. Cars, package holidays and houses are just sort of products that would sell well in my shop, yet there are big gaps in market there right now.
To conclude, Napoleon was right: we English are a nation of shopkeepers. Many, like me, love our work. To continue tradition, what this particular English shopkeeper needs is two things. Additional, big merchants offering affiliated RSS feeds with broad appeal and smaller merchants offering narrower, deeper feeds that cater for niche interests.
Steve Hawker is a partner at http://www.ehawker.co.uk E-mail him at: email@example.com © Steve Hawker 2005. All rights reserved. This article must be reproduced in its entirity.