Every merchant is able to export all his product information from his store. That export is unfortunately not suitable for the channels to which he needs to upload it. Every channel has its own feed specifications and they are always different from whatever is in your store. The basics of data feed mapping are therefore all about creating a data feed that contains all the required information in the appropriate format. The four basics are:
Every channel has a list of fields that they must have. Often, this involves fields like ID, Title, Price and URL. All products without these fields will be disapproved, so they will not be advertised.
A merchant that does not have some of these fields in his feed has three options:
- Create these fields in his store and add a value for each product
- Add a field and enter a fixed value for all products, for example: Condition = New
- Derive the field from other data in his feed, using a data feed tool. For example: add a field for Color and take the values from the description.
The feed needs to be in the file format that a channel requires. That is usually a CSV or an XML file. The channels also have format requirements for certain fields. When entering the values, the merchant should ensure that they meet these requirements. Examples:
- Price should be a numerical field
- Title should not contain more than 150 characters
- Condition can only have the values "new" "refurbished" or "used". Nothing else
- GTIN must be a 12-digit number
Each channel has its own categories. Channel visitors will often click a category and a sub-category when they are looking for a product. Making sure that each product is in the right (sub-sub-)category is therefore not only important for the channel but also for the merchant. So the channels want the merchant to add the appropriate channel category to his data feed for each of his products. Obviously, just like with field names, the merchant’s product types do not match the channel categories. The easy way out is to add just one category for all products (“clothing”), but both channel and merchant are better off if each of the merchant’s product types is matched to the most appropriate (sub-sub-)category. Mapping categories can best be done with a data feed tool.