The ability to reliably onboard retailer data is the backbone of strong online retail practices. Of course, hiccups are bound to happen when you’re integrating data from numerous third parties, all of whom use different standards, platforms, and who knows what else.
However, there are some mistakes that can be avoided just by following best practices and planning ahead. We asked our integrations experts to compile some of the most common issues that occur, and how they can be avoided. Here are 5 of the most common issues faced when businesses onboard retailer data—and how to face them head on!
Most common issues when onboarding retailer data
1. Normalizing data and getting it to a high quality
It’s incredible how different each brand’s product data can be. Even if every brand you work with uses the same attributes, the actual format and data can be completely different. For example, ever wonder how many ways you can write a single attribute?
That’s why careful standardization and cleansing of data is key. Everything from the formulation of the title to the granularity of the color description should be edited in order to appear consistent across every touchpoint. Regardless of whether a business plans to optimize data (for example, preparing it for individual channel requirements or further enriching the information), it absolutely must be standardized.
To combat this: leverage solutions that include automation and easy-to-apply bulk edits. Automation helps ensure that new errors are not introduced and that changes can always be applied at scale.
Ideally, chosen solutions should also be business user-friendly (and coding-free). This ensures that marketing and sales teams can make changes without extra blockers, such as waiting for IT or assistance. Lastly, built-in analysis tools are also available to immediately locate problem data or missed opportunities.
2. Segmenting data and feeds for brand-specific strategies
Every brand is a unique butterfly, and they expect to be treated as such. As a retailer, you don’t want to list every brand on every channel using the same strategy, nor do you want to budget and bid the same for each brand.
For example: let’s say, a strong French brand doesn't perform great in Latin America. That brand should therefore be segmented and not listed on Latin American channels. On the other hand, if that same brand performs well in the French market, the related product information should be tailored for success on French channels.
Many retailers wait until the campaign stage to tackle this task. However, it’s much easier to address this segmentation from the very beginning.
To better segment brand data and tailor channel strategies: integrate required information during the data onboarding stage, rather than waiting until the campaign phase. This will cut down on errors as well as the resources wasted on ad hoc projects.
Moreover, by planning this from the beginning, retailers can integrate additional data into their feeds.
Common data that may be included at onboarding:
- In-store availability
- Additional creative
3. Handling special promotions data and feeds
Who doesn’t love a promotion? Well, your team might not, if they don’t have the right tools to manage Merchant Promotions or other sales feeds. Brands are going to regularly have special promotions and fluctuating sales prices. It’s part of their day-to-day operations.
Furthermore, promotions information is going to be constantly updating, meaning feeds need to be fetched and integrated on an ongoing basis.
To combat complicated promotions feeds: you’ll need automated data management as well as solutions that can easily onboard and integrate different types of data feeds. This will ideally include the ability to merge feeds of any format and from any place.
4. Managing and integrating local inventory data and feeds
Local inventory ads are uniquely popular for retailers. And that’s no surprise, given the amazing results they can drive. For example, Bax Music drove a 20% in-store revenue uplift with Google LIA.
However, staying on top of inventory data is even more difficult than product or promotions feeds, as these numbers will change multiple times per day. Plus, the accuracy of this data can have a real impact on sales and the customer experience. For example, this is the kind of data that ensures you don’t list products that are out of stock.
To manage local inventory information: you’ll likely want to move beyond basic feed management solutions and leverage something stronger, including order management and built-in APIs.
Furthermore, consider how you’ll keep on top of changing stock levels throughout the day or week. For example, consider scheduling the import of product data. This means you can ensure that stock levels are updated and out of stock products are correctly designated, or even removed from your feed entirely.
5. Adapting when brands start using new systems, attributes, and naming conventions
Retailers tend to move fast. They’re often agile, forward-looking businesses who want to get cozy with new technology. That’s amazing, right? It is, but this can also lead to disruptions in ongoing data onboarding.
For example, picture this: a retailer decides to upgrade to a new data management system.
The new system functions slightly differently. Now the product data feed is structured differently. The feed has a different name. Attributes have different structures. All your onboarding setups and processes to deal with these feeds are now disrupted.
Some amount of time will need to be spent restructuring the retailer data onboarding. However, the amount of time this process takes will depend directly on your management software.
To be sure your data management is agile: again, automation will be key. The ideal solution will make it easy to apply bulk edits and integrate new attributes into existing data. You’ll want the ability to simply replace your existing setups or attributes with the new data.
Be sure to keep your solution provider up to date, too. Solution providers are much better equipped for these kinds of changes. If you have a strong support team or contact, they should be able to help you prepare. That means you can roll out changes smoothly and effectively.
Productsup helps you tackle each of these hurdles and onboard retailer data with ease(and make your work more rewarding)
Productsup is designed to make onboarding data painless and efficient. We want to help you automate as much of the process as possible, so that you can focus on tasks other than upkeep and standardization.
Standardize and cleanse data fast. Select from 100+ available rules right onto your data to instantly apply changes across your feed.
- Remove errors like broken HTML or consecutive whitespace
- Enrich titles and descriptions with the right keywords
- Replace unwanted brand-specific terminology with your standard terms
Manage new or additional feeds and stay agile with minimal complexity. Integrate data from analytics, promotional, and other feeds in just a few clicks. Even if your sources or attributes change, it’s easy to realign your data.
- Add new data sources via URL, Google Sheets, shopping platforms, or anywhere you store your data
- Schedule fetches or distribution to suit your schedule
- Integrate additional data quickly just by pairing an attribute from the main feed with the additional feed