10 Tips for Successful Integration of Icecat Data
August 29, 2016
Based on the experience of thousands of Icecat and PIM implementations, I distilled the ten most critical tips for a successful implementation of rich product content in your apps. These advises are about full integration of Icecat Data, not about the lighter Icecat Live or URL integrations.
1. Use Index Files for Matching a Big Catalog
Index files are designed for you to match large portfolios daily with the Icecat database and optimally download product data. Besides standard Files Index (for initial import) and Daily Index (for daily updates) you can also easily generate a Personalized Index (PIF) by uploading your feed in the user panel. From any index file you can directly download product XMLs with the given path.
TIP: in case of small portfolios, use the real-time call of a data-sheet based on Brand+Part code or GTIN
2. Match Your Products by Brand Name + Part Code or GTIN
All product datasheets in Icecat have a Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) and about 70% have also at least one GTIN barcode (EAN, UPC). To ensure the best coverage of your portfolio, include all these identifiers in your matching process. All our identifiers, including brand mappings and part code mappings, are published in the Index files to optimize your coverage.
3. Upload Your Product Feed to Monitor Coverage
By uploading your product feed in Icecat you can automatically generate your Personalized Index File (PIF), which is a customized index for your product list. Icecat is doing the match for you, so it simplifies your interface and ensures a more efficient download process.
Furthermore, uploading frequently updated feeds enables the Icecat Data Production Teams to track your new products and ensure a high coverage, and provide you with a coverage service level.
4. Utilize reference data structures
The most optimal way to maintain your data-structure mapping with Icecat is making use of reference structures. All category, feature group, feature value lists are available and daily updated. Use these files to build your data-structure and only import product-specific content from product XMLs.
5. Use Local Value to populate product features
Icecat publishes multiple feature values for each feature in the product XMLs: Value (International), Local Value and Presentation Value. Local Value is the newest and most fitting value type to populate your product features as it`s fully standardized and atomized to be easily used in your PIM/PDM system and adapted to your local language and standards (units).
TIP: use Local Value and not the International Value or Presentation Value
We strongly advise NOT to use the International (INT) Value, unless you build a global PIM, and we migh phase it out from the local product XML. Further, we only advise the pre-formatted and textual Presentation Value in case of low-end ecommerce environments with rudimentary data transformation capabilities.
6. Add feature groups and tip texts in your data model
Feature groups help simplifying your spec-sheet by grouping features under certain titles. All feature groups can be found in references. It is helpful to create visual order for your website visitors, in the orderwise long lists of specs.
Further, the most used features contain explanatory tip texts. Include these to improve the shopping experience, as not all shoppers are familiar with all terms used in specs.
7. Apply Video, Reasons To Buy, Feature Logos and other rich media content
Multimedia assets help to increase conversion on product pages and Icecat also syndicates all available assets from brands. Multiple images, 360 degree product tours, feature logos, reasons to buy, multilingual PDF leaflets, manuals, energy labels, images, and enhanced marketing texts are already included in product XMLs as well as CSV/JSON data to download.
TIP: prepare your interface and PIM from the start for rich media
8. You can also directly integrate (rich) media content by using Icecat Live
As your legacy systems may not be ready yet for rich media, it’s a pragmatic model have a dual interface: basic data via the XML and other data interfaces, the easy Live interface for rich media.
9. Subscribe to our newsletters to stay tuned
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10. Spread the word to get better product information for free
Inform your brands about Open Icecat and its benefits for you if they improve their product data, and provide it for free to you. The Icecat team is happy to talk to your brand contacts to explain how it all works.
Featured image: "Field notes" by Beth Kinder