Brands and retailers don’t always have the product information they need to start listing and advertising products online. Sometimes this data is hiding on different sites around the web; other times, the data is in a completely different format than is needed. So how can a business gather all of the data necessary to populate a complete, amazing product feed?
We’ve got 5 tips on how you can find missing data and fill out that incomplete product catalog (so you start selling more!).
1. Consult content databases
Did you know content databases like GDSN and IceCat were made to help manufacturers and retailers reliably share product information? These are powerful repositories for basic information like brand name or color. Importantly, all of this data is standardized. This data is available for all who are granted access by the data’s owner; however, there are also open databases like Open Icecat, which is free and available to anyone.
One downside of content databases is that they may not have all the information you need. Because these databases were created originally for the logistics industry, they won’t have flashy images or marketing-friendly product titles.
Information commonly found in a content database includes:
- Height, width, and depth
However, because it is up to manufacturers to choose what data to include, you can even find very specific attributes such as “subwoofer size,” “volts used,” or “allergen relevant data.”
In order to use a content database, you will likely want to create a direct connection from your product information to the database. This will help ensure that the product information is never out of date or corrupted from the transfer. Productsup users can do this easily within the platform.
2. Use a generator to create attributes from scratch
Several IDs are crucial to a healthy product feed—especially Unique IDs. Without these, your feed will not be accepted by most channels. This is because Unique IDs allow the channel to differentiate between products and pair data from supplemental feeds with the correct product.
This ID is just a simple string of letters and/or numbers, and it will need to be provided for every product in your feed. Don’t forget: no two products can have the same ID. So what happens if your products are lacking this absolutely essential attribute? It’s easy: generate new ones. (It really can be as easy as that!)
There are plenty of generators out there that can do this for you. Plus, if you’re using feed management software like Productsup, this can happen directly in the platform by adding the service Unique ID Generator. Once set up, this will run automatically. Productsup also generates Category IDs based on a source feed’s product categories.
3. Use existing information
What if you could repurpose and remix product information already in your feed to populate new attributes? That would be pure magic, right? Well, that’s also a great (and very real) option to fill in your missing product data. The key to making this work will be a little creative thinking. Consider how can you take the product information you do have and use it to fill in the information you don’t.
Before starting, consider your technical capabilities. Your resources and needs will determine whether this process is more automated or more manual. With Productsup, you can create rules to automatically and dynamically pull data from different attributes and create a new one.
[product title] in [color] - New from [brand]! → Classic Ballerina Flats in black - New from Gucci!
Here are some great possibilities:
- Create descriptions from a combination of data points.
- Generate Product type by using Google product category or information found in the product title.
- Create custom labels based on product price, product type, ROI, etc.
- Turn the exact number of products available into an acceptable availability like “in stock” or “out of stock,” or use it to calculate shipping time.
- Split up existing products into variants based on details like color, size, and more.
4. Use automated mapping tools
Mapping Google product categories can be very tough work. All categories must be entered exactly as in Google’s current taxonomy. Luckily Productsup makes this step much easier and more automated.
The easiest way to fill in Google product category information is to use category mapping. For Productsup users, there are just three steps to complete, then the entire process can run on its own.
- First, choose where to pull data from. For example, which attribute has information that will most likely be related to the product category? Title and product type are common choices here.
- Map the Google taxonomy that should replace the data from step #1. This is done using a drop-down list of options taken from the official Google taxonomy.
- Then, all you need to do is apply the changes. That means the correlations you have made (linking one attribute to one Google product category) can now run for the entire feed (or even all feeds!).
5. Crawl your site
Maybe you have all the product information you need - it's just scattered across several places. Maybe no one ever got around to saving those product images in one central location. Perhaps you have no way of easily connecting product availability to your numerous feeds. No worries. This last option is pretty special. However, it’s not going to be offered by all feed management services. Productsup has helped pioneer the use of website and image crawlers to scrape product data from a business’s existing websites and funnel it into a product feed.
In short, the site crawler turns your website into a feed. Take data from around the web, consolidate and cleanse it on Productsup, then distribute the resulting feed. Kind of like this:
It is commonly used to find, centralize, and inform:
- Product images
- Data, especially dynamic information like price and availability
Compile and master your product feed—easily
Once you’ve mastered these tools and options, there won’t be any product data you can’t find. In order to reach new channels fast and keep your data agile, you’ll also want to ensure your product feed management is as automated and reliable as possible. Productsup can help you take advantage of all of the options listed above.