FAQ for Brand Owners
October 19, 2016
Icecat is an independent global syndicator of rich product content. In order to use Icecat’s product content to its full potential and merge it easily into your channel, we provide you with below FAQ to answer all the questions you might have as a Brand Owner.
Product Syndication – managing your product data in Icecat
How can my product content be included in the Icecat database?
There are two easy ways for manufacturers to add their product content to the Icecat database.
- Manual data-entry – just provide your product content to Icecat and our editors will describe and standardize the product information for you. You can also enter it yourself using your Icecat PIM account details. Content to our editors can be provided in any format, e.g. Excel, Word, PDF, links to websites, etc. As long as the information is available, our editors will be able to describe the products. This method is recommended for portfolios smaller than 500 SKUs.
- Automated import – use our API-in interface between your PIM and Icecat’s PIM (Product Information Management system) to import all available product information automatically. This is only worthwhile in case of large numbers of products (>1000). Contact us for information about the Icecat API-in.
How can I check the described data?
Once our editors have described or changed a product in the Icecat database, a notification e-mail will be sent to you, so you can check the products either directly in www.icecat.biz, or modify/approve the information in our PIM back office.
How long does it take to Icecat to update my product content if there are changes to the product?
- Manual data-entry – it depends on the amount of changes and products involved. If you do it yourself, using an Icecat PIM account: updates are real-time, and the content distribution may take one more day. If you have outsourced data-entry to Icecat editors, it depends on the amount of products. Up to 5 products: two (2) business days, from 6 to 50 products, up to 5 business days. For more than 50 products, time estimates will be provided.
- Automated import – once you have added the updated content to the data feed, it is updated according to the settings of the import.
Do I have direct access to the Icecat database to manage data myself?
Manufacturers participating in Open Icecat will receive a secure login to the Icecat Product Information Management system (PIM). Through this, you can directly add or adjust your own product information according to your needs.
If a product is no longer available, will Icecat delete the datasheet from a channel partner’s database or webshop?
No, as Icecat is not managing the portfolio and stock of channel partners. Bigger etailers have their own warehouses with stock, that trigger the presence of absence of products in their webshop. Smaller etailers often show virtual stock: they daily import datapacks from their preferred distributors. These datapacks dictate a virtual channel partners’ portfolio. Channel partners only import the (Open) Icecat datasheets of the products which are listed in their webshop. Therefore, in the case that a product is no longer available at the distributor or warehouse level, the respective channel partner will not list the EOL (End of Life) product anymore. As a result, channel partners don’t import the EOL product datasheet if the EOL product is no longer in their shop.
I noticed some channel partners are offering a product that is out of production. How is this possible?
Usually this means that a distributor or warehouse still has the product in stock. Another explanation could be that the EOL product code was not removed from the datapack of a source. In this case, we recommend to bring this to the attention of the distributor or channel partner.
How can I see which distributors are offering EOL products?
Manufacturers participating in Open Icecat have access to the Icecat Product Information Management system (PIM). In the Icecat PIM, you can select the EOL article code and directly see which distributors still offer the EOL product.
My brand is currently not yet participating in Open Icecat. However, I see my brands’ products described on icecat.biz. Does this mean my product content is distributed via Open Icecat?
These product data-sheets are not available through free Open Icecat. However, we might help certain advanced retailers, such as Amazon, on a project bases to improve their product database.
Upon participation in Open Icecat, your product content will automatically be syndicated to tens of thousands of Open Icecat users, at no cost to them. Please, contact us to discuss the possibilities.
Is it possible to exclude channel partners from accessing my product content in Open Icecat?
Yes, by participating in Open Icecat, manufacturers have options to regulate which channel partners can access which product content. We call this Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM is more time-intensive, than open content policies. Be careful that DRM policies are not used to hamper certain etailers, and conform to anti-trust laws and regulation.
As a manufacturer, I want to forbid channel partners to use my ‘copyrighted’ images. Can I do this?
According to EU copyrights regulations and the US the Fair Use clauses, there are possibilities for etailers to use or link to copyrighted materials that are already published online by your brand. However, the legal environment differs per country. In certain cases, limiting resellers of your products can be interpreted as a violation of Anti Trust Laws & Regulations. https://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
In essence, the EU copyrights regulation have two cummulative criteria that need to be met to speak of copyright violation:
- The material is used in a new communication
- to a new audience.
In jurisprudence of the European Court, the internet is seen as one audience, i.e. a new communication including copyrighted materials already published by you on the internet, is not seen as a copyrights infringement.
In essence, US Fair Use is related to the following arguments:
- What is the commercial value of the copyrighted materials? The commercial value of an image is zero as manufacturers are not publishers making money by selling these materials.
- Is there a commercial intention with the copyrighted materials? The commercial intention is to promote the products depicted, but not to sell the images and other copyrighted materials.
- Are the materials ‘public domain’? Manufacturers publish their images in a public domain where they are freely downloadable by any user.
The re-use of online published copyrighted materials, can in many cases be considered fair use.
If my brand is participating in Open Icecat, does that mean my product content is automatically available in 40 languages?
Yes. All specifications, e.g. spec names and values, are automatically translated into the 40+ languages Icecat supports. Marketing texts will be added in the languages agreed upon in your contract with Icecat.
Is it possible to include additional languages in my current contract?
Of course. Get in touch with your account manager to discuss the options.
How can I inform Icecat about the cross-sell items I would like to display?
Manufacturers can manage their cross-sell products by filling out a cross-sell template. Once received by Icecat, the cross-sell items will be included in the Icecat database. To request the template, please contact your account manager at Icecat.
How often can I send a new cross-sell template to Icecat?
There is no limitation on the frequency of sending new cross-sell lists. It is common for manufacturers to send a new list quarterly.
I have created a filter including various compatible items (e.g. for Kingston Memory). Is it possible to integrate these relationships into the Icecat database?
Yes, Icecat advises manufacturers to integrate these compatibility lists into the Icecat database as it will increase online visibility, and sales conversion. It helps channel partners to develop supplies selectors, for example. Please, contact Icecat to discuss the possibilities.
Does Icecat support multilingual product videos for one product?
Icecat supports multilingual product videos. Distribution of multilingual product videos depends on the data integration method the channel partner has chose: Data or Live. Icecat Data users can find the link to the correct video file depending on the language of the catalog. Icecat Live users receive the datasheet in the language of their choice and view the video according to their language setting.
What video format does Icecat support?
Icecat supports 265 different kind of video formats (e.g. gif, ico, mov, mp3, mp4, mpeg, wav, etc, etc). By default, we’ll transform the video to mp4, but can also distribute the original format.
Does Icecat also create product videos, animations and 3D/360 degree views, etc?
In general, all rich media is provided by a manufacturer. But, we can be of help in creating rich media assets.
Standardization of data
What data structure does Icecat use to standardize its data?
The Icecat data model is set-up according to the UNSPSC categorization. For all category/spec definitions, the manufacturers and merchants are leading.
Besides the standardized data, does Icecat also distribute original vendor product specifications?
Yes, Icecat does distribute original vendor product specifications. This way, your channel partners can also use/import your original data. But, be aware that channel partners prefer to have standardized product specs, so that they can use these for product filters and product comparison tables.
I sell products that I don’t see on www.icecat.biz. Does this mean Icecat does not support these product categories?
No, the Icecat model is flexible and applicable to multiple business segments. Please, contact your account manager for more information.
Does Icecat also distribute price information to channel partners?
Icecat provides rich product content information primarily. But, through additional services such as Iceimport, Icecat can help channel partners to connect to their suppliers and receive their reseller pricing automatically.
There is pricing information on icecat.biz. Why?
icecat.biz also supports price comparison. All listed prices are uploaded by channel partners for free. Icecat has no influence on these prices. All leads they receive via the www.icecat.biz comparison website are free. The price monitor is also helpful for brands and channel partners. Further, it helps Icecat editors to focus their energy on products that are popular and on market.
Can Icecat help me entering a new market or country?
As Icecat is connected to thousands of channel partners worldwide, we help manufacturers with marketing and sales activities. This includes increasing online brand awareness and developing a new channel (e-tailers and distributors).
How often are download reports being distributed?
The download reports are automatically sent on the first day of the month. The reports contain the figures of the previous month. It is also possible to receive the reports on a weekly or quarterly basis. Please, contact your account manager to discuss the possibilities.
Can my competitors access my brands’ download figures?
Yes, as the internet is open, download figures per product are accessible to competitors as well. The reports, we provide, take care that statistics are aggregated and they don’t give insight in your channel partners, specifically.
Can I prevent my competitors from receiving reports about my brand?
This is not strictly possible. But, we will not share privacy-sensitive data. And, by aggregating data, we’ll take care to be discrete regarding brand/retailer relations.
Is it possible to receive a custom-made download report for my brand?
This is possible, please contact your account manager at Icecat to discuss the options.
Is it possible to receive a list of the users of my content?
Yes, we can provide a report of users per brand/country/region.
Hatch – generating leads
What are the advantages of Hatch (former Iceleads)?
Hatch converts leads into sales, increasing your revenue through your own website or online campaigns.
How much do channel partners have to pay for Hatch?
Participation for retailers is free.
Can we include our preferred business partners?
Yes, Hatch will connect partners upon request.
Why do we need Hatch to list our partners’ offers?
Because Hatch receives product feeds from thousands of retailers enabling worldwide coverage of your portfolio.
Can we manage the reseller that are displayed?
Yes, through a control panel you can manage the partners listed for each country.