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Importing products for retail product monitoring
Importing products for retail product monitoring

Importing products for price monitoring requires some special fields

Bryan Nye avatar
Written by Bryan Nye
Updated over a week ago

Importing manufacturer products into MetaLocator is one of the first and ongoing steps in preparing a Where to Buy solution.  The quality, structure and completeness of the manufacturer product data underpins many downstream tasks, and is therefore critical.  This article summarizes the important steps.  Your specific requirements may vary, and should be discussed with your account manager as part of the on-boarding process.

Preparing Product Data

MetaLocator uses the provided product data to support the following processes:

  • Price monitoring

  • Location stock monitoring

  • Product-retailer availability

  • Displaying product details and options in the Where to Buy Interface

Product data can be imported using MetaLocator's robust import system.  Data sources can range from CSV, Google Drive, SFTP and custom data sources using our Data Management API.  This article will discuss the content of the product data imported regardless of the method used to import the data.

Each important product attribute will be explored below.  Follow the links for important details.  These attributes can vary from customer to customer.  Like the location data, product data can accept a virtually unlimited number of custom fields.

  • *name: Product Display name according to the locale field.  This should be the product's customer-facing display name in the language indicated in the locale field.

  • description: An <strong>HTML-capable</strong> description field.

  • *locale: The ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 "hyphen" ISO alpha2 country code, as in en-US, en-PH

  • *link: A link to the manufacturer's primary landing page for the product. This link can be used as a fail-over when no purchase options for the requested SKU are avaialable.

  • cartlink: A link which, when clicked, causes the product to be added to the user's cart.

  • image: The primary image used to display the product.  Should be at least 600 pixels in width.

  • published: A 1 or 0 to indicate whether the product is active and published in MetaLocator

  • tag1, tag2, tag3 ... tagN: A series of product categories (tags).

  • virtual: A 1 or 0 where 1 indicates that this is a downloadable, non-tangible product

  • brand: The brand display name in the in the language indicated in the locale field.

  • *sku: The unique manufacturer SKU.  Unique key of the products table

  • groupid: The group code that designates a common code among product variants.  Use the same groupid for all variants of the same product.  Groupids are commonly substrings of a SKU.

  • groupsearchterm: When linking to a search on a retailer Website for a product group, MetaLocator will use the groupid to search for the products unless a groupsearchterm is provided.  This can be useful to help the retailer search return the correct results on a per-product basis.

  • grouplabel: When provided, the grouplabel can be used to describe the product group, as opposed to using the product name.  {grouplabel_ml_raw} should be specified in the Interface Settings > Buy Online Settings > Group Summary Template.  If the grouplabel value is empty, the system will "fall back" to the first product name in the group.

  • groupimage: When provided, the groupimage will be displayed for the product group, as opposed to using the product image.  {groupimage} should be specified in the Interface Settings > Buy Online Settings > Group Summary Template.  If the groupimage value is empty, the system will "fall back" to the first product image in the group.

  • category: The category path of the product.  For example: Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Outerwear > Coats & Jackets

  • currencycode: The currency code of the product price following the ISO 4217 specification.

  • price: The numeric price of the product in the currency indicated in the currencycode field. No currency symbols, commas or non-numerics.

  • saleprice: The current numeric sale price of the product in the currency indicated in the currencycode field. No currency symbols, commas or non-numerics.  When provided, can optionally strike out the price and display savings percentage.  (E.g. 20% off)

  • mapprice_start: The end value for the manufacturer-approved pricing range

  • mapprice_end: The end value for the manufacturer-approved pricing range

  • mapprice_currencycode: The currency used in the mapprice start and end values following the ISO 4217 specification.

  • productkey_gtin12: The universal product code (GTIN-12)

  • productkey_gtin13: The universal product code (GTIN-13)

  • productkey_gtin8: The universal product code (GTIN-8)

  • productkey_gtin14: The universal product code (GTIN-14)

  • productkey_jan: The universal product code (GTIN-13) in Japan

  • productkey_ean: The product EAN (european UPC)

  • productkey_itf14: The Interleaved Two of Five code for packaged products.  (GTIN-14)

  • *productkey_model: The manufacturer model number

  • *productkey_mpn: The manufacturer part number

  • productkey_isbn: ISBN number

  • productkey_asin: Amazon ASIN

  • weightgrams:  The shipping weight of the product in grams.  Should be a numeric value.

  • *features: A list of product specification name/value tuples escaped as a JSON string literal. E.g. "Operating system":"Windows 10 Pro 64","Display":"14\" diagonal LED HD SVA Anti-Glare flat (1366x768)"

  • color: The color of the product.  Can also include the HTML color code as Red|#fff.  (Pipe delimited)

  • size: Size option label in the language of the locale field.  E.g. Small

  • startdate: The date upon which MetaLocator should start looking for the product on retail Websites.  Product onboarding is handled by repeatedly checking for a given product on all retailer Web sites.  Providing a start date will ensure the product is at the top of the onboarding queue on the date it is expected to surface on retailer Web sites.

*Indicates a required field.

The above represents the most commonly provided product attributes.  Additional attributes can be imported as custom fields.

Product Keys

The product key fields above identify your product in different contexts.  MetaLocator uses these keys in the product matching process.  Some retailers may use different keys, so the more keys provided, the better.

Keys are of critical importance in the Where to Buy solution. The matching process depends on the imported product data containing product keys which are contained on the target retailer Websites.

File Format

Ensure the file format provided is in the CSV format and UTF-8 Encoded.

Importing Product Data

This topic discusses the specific aspects of importing products.  This procedure described below uses the same robust import procedure used for all aspects of MetaLocator.  Refer to that documentation for other implementation details and features.

To import the file prepared according to the outline above, click the Products table, then Import on the main navigation as shown below.

Choose CSV and select the file from your computer by clicking the Browse button.

On the following screen, ensure all columns are mapped to the appropriate columns.  If the import file follows the format above, all columns should match.  Any custom columns will be created as custom fields automatically.

If the file contains updates and new products, choose Update Existing and Insert New.  If the file includes additions, choose Add.

Click Next to complete the import procedure.

Matching New Products

New manufacturer products must now be matched to retailer products.  Read more about product matching here.

Automatically Matching Products

To match products automatically, click the Retailers tab.  Select the appropriate retailers by clicking the checkbox next to the retailer name.  Then click Automatch in the upper right toolbar as shown below:

The system will report matches by retailer when the process completes.

Manually Matching Products

If an imported product is not matched to a retailer product, this may occur for a few reasons:

  1. The product was not available on the retailer Web site when the data was requested

  2. The product was made available under a different name or without a recognized key

  3. Website availability issues, spider bans or similar connectivity issues.

To manually match a product from a retailer, take the following steps:

  1. First, identify if the product was pulled from the retailer.  Click Retailers, click Offers on the retailer result.  Filter the list to shown only Unmatched and optionally include a keyword search as shown below: 

  2. If the product was found from the retailer, click Match.  Select the manufacturer product to which this retailer product should be matched as shown below: 

  3. If the product was not found from the retailer, click New.  Add the product as shown below: 

  4. Perform Step 2 above to connect the new retailer product to the desired manufacturer product.


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