How To

Shopping and Flex Feeds Getting Started Guide

The ChannelAdvisor application allows for the creation of multiple outgoing feeds that can be sent to the destination of your choice. You will want to reference each step in this guide while you are going through the data feeds portion of your Digital Marketing Launch Process. 

Depending on your level of access you will have the option to either create and submit flex feeds or you will have the option to create and submit both shopping and flex feeds.

  • Flex Feeds   -  Flex feeds are product data feeds customized to your specifications and designed to satisfy the needs of many e-commerce providers that require a product data feed. Flex Feeds can be used as part of ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing for retargeting or affiliate network efforts.
  • Shopping Feeds   -  ChannelAdvisor supports a large list of Comparison Shopping Engines by providing you with precreated feed templates that contain all of the fields that each site requires data for. 

 

Launch Options


When setting up shopping and feeds with ChannelAdvisor you have two options, as part of Digital Marketing Launch Services:

  1. Launch Assistance Service   - A paid service offered by the ChannelAdvisor Launch Team that allows for you to have a dedicated email box for setup questions and a limited number of phone-based training and assistance calls to help you get setup quickly.  See    Sales    for more information about this service.
  2. Launch Plus Service   - A paid service offered by the ChannelAdvisor Launch Team that includes a dedicated email box for setup questions and a limited number of phone-based training calls, but also includes additional setup elements and assistance: the setup of your  templates and providers, the assisted upload of products and help launching products to the Comparison Paid Search Engines.  See   Sales   for more information about this service.   

 

Complete Prerequisites


Before beginning the launch process with any of the launch service options, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Create your seller accounts at each site.
  2. Review provider data requirements.

 Video


 

Configure Inventory


Before including your products on data feeds it is important to be aware of the listing requirements of the various feed destinations. You can view the Shopping Providers Recommended Inventory File Content table  for a list of data points that are typically required for most shopping providers, but as a best practice you should visit each provider's site to view their specific list of data requirements.

  • Adding Data Points to Inventory  - If you do not currently have data for certain required data points you may need to add a new attribute to your inventory and populate that attribute with the values accepted by the provider.  

    View the  Using Inventory Attributes  page for details.
  • Using Business Rules and Lookup Lists to manipulate inventory  - If you already have a similar data point in your inventory but your values do not match the provider values, you can utilize a business rule or a lookup list to transform your value to match the values required.  

    View the  Business Rules  and  Lookup Lists  pages for details. 

 

 

 

Installing Tracking Pixels


 

Tracking pixels must be installed on various pages of your website to capture traffic, order and event data. The pixels are JavaScript and HTML code and are very similar to others you may already have on your site. Each pixel is a 1x1 image that is invisible to the user. For active campaigns, once the pixel is installed you should expect to see reporting in ChannelAdvisor within 24 hours. Below is a list of the tracking pixels that can be installed on your website.

Please Note:    If you do not have the access or knowledge to make these changes to your website you should contact your web developer or whoever makes changes to your site. 

  •  Visit Pixel (Required)  - This pixel captures inbound traffic information and goes in the <Head> section of every page of your site including the order confirmation page.
  • Order Tracking Pixel (Required)  - This pixel captures order and conversion information which is used to measure the effectiveness of each campaign.
  • Event Based Pixel (Optional)  - This pixel allows you to track different actions on your site and measure them as part of your overall search marketing program

View the Implementing Tracking Pixels  page for additional information. 


 

 

Select Your Feed Destination


 

To create a product feed ChannelAdvisor has provided a simple guide that walks you through each step of the process. Whether you are creating a feed designated for a Comparison Shopping Engine or a Flex Feed designated for any other destination you will need to complete each step of the guide starting with the first step of designating the feed destination.

  1. Begin by navigating to Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Feeds.
  2. Select the ' New Feed ' button.
  3. Choose a feed destination site (Comparison Shopping or Flex Feed).
  4. If you selected a Comparison Shopping Engine as your feed destination, you may need to complete Category Mapping to ensure that your products display in the most approriate categories at the CSE.
View the Selecting Your Feed Destination  page for additional information.

  

 

Select Your Inventory


 

Selecting your inventory to be included in your shopping and flex feeds is an important step in the feed creation process that involves the use of labels to assign your inventory as well as a process called Reference Field Mapping.

  1. Simply select the appropriate label assigned to the inventory to be applied to your data feed.
  2. Choose to customize your label using the Inventory Selector.
  3. Complete Reference Field Mapping so that feed templates will be mapped automatically with the correct fields from your inventory.  

For additional details view the Selecting Inventory to Include with Your Feed  and Using Reference Field Mapping pages.

 

 

Map the Template


 

Templates determine what data from your inventory will be sent to the various feed destinations and in what format that data will be sent in. You can create and assign a template to a feed as part of the feed creation process. The  ChannelAdvisor Merchandiser  is a tool that allows you to map your template to your inventory.You will also have the ability to utilize some advanced mapping options, such as  business rules  and  lookup lists  that will allow you to dynamically manipulate your data in order to optimize how your data appears on the various comparison shopping sites. 

View the Mapping the Feed Template  page for additional details.

 

 

Complete Feed Settings


 

This step in the process is where you can configure the settings that your feed will run on. You will need tom complete the following settings to complete this section of the guide:

  1. Assign a Schedule - You have the ability to determine when your feed is sent and when to stop sending your feed by completing the schedule section of your settings. 
  2. Enter Provider Account Manager Information - This information can be used to contact a Provider Representative if needed, troubleshoot issues.This information is optional, but recommended.
  3. Enter Provider Estimated Cost - Estimated Cost is a value used to approximate the costs for Providers that do not send Actual Cost Data.  The rate information entered here will be used for Performance and Reporting information. 

View the Configuring Feed Settings  page for additional details.

 

 

Preview and Activate Your Feed


 

In order for your data to be sent to your designated site you must take the final step of previewing and activating your feed.  

  1. Previewing Your Feed - It is always a best practice to preview the information you will be sending to any provider.
    • Navigate to Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Feeds
    • Click into an existing feed.
    • Enter your email address.
    • Select the  Create a Full Feed Preview  button.
    • Depending on the size of your feed, it may take some time to complete your preview feed.  Once your preview feed is ready, you will receive an email address notification.
    • You may access your feed preview on the Feed History page.
  2. Activating/Deactivating Your Feed -  If you have completed all of the necessary feed configurations you will have the option to activate your feed.  A Feed can be activated or deactivated in three ways .
  3. Validating a Feed After you have made your feed  Active , it will be sent to the site configured in your Feed Info section.  Be sure to login to the site destination to validate that the feed was received and can be processed.  If there are errors you will want to resolve them and re-send your feed.

View the Making Feeds Active  page for additional details.

 


Managing Your Feeds


 

After activating your feeds you will need to monitor and manage your feed performance. There are several tools available that can assist you with this important step.

  • Managing Feeds view the Feeds View - Located at Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Feeds, the feeds view will serve as your primary location for managing all of the shopping and flex feeds from your account. You can perform a variety of feed management tasks from this view.

    View the  Using the Feeds View  page for additional details.
      
  • Resolving Feed Errors  - Feed errors can be viewed directly from the Feed History table (Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Feeds).   Within the Feed History table you can click on any non-zero value in the Errors column to open details about the error. Clicking on the error link will take you to see details on the errors contained in the feed.
     
  • Reviewing Feed Status in the Digital Marketing Dashboard - The Feed Status widget of the Digital Marketing Dashboard (Digital Marketing > Dashboards > Digital Marketing Dashboardpresents a table that will give you detailed information on all of your current feeds. The column headings and a description for each are as follows:
    • Provider - click on the provider name to link to the provider configuration.
    • Feed Name - click on the feed name to link to the feed configuration.
    • Last Run - time the outgoing feed last attempted to send.
    • Status - the status of the feed.  Completed is a successful delivery.  Queued, In Process, Transform Pending are all phases of sending a feed.  Canceled or Failed is an unsuccessful delivery.
    • Eligible Inventory - either inventory items sent to ChannelAdvisor in an external inventory feed or inventory items associated with your label used to indicate items for comparison shopping.
    • Filtered Items - items removed from the feed sent to comparison shopping engines based on filters - ex. zero quantity items.
    • Errors - items that were not sent due to an error.
    • Items Sent - items sent to the comparison shopping engine.
    • Last Success - time of the last successful feed sent to the comparison shopping engine.

 

The ChannelAdvisor application allows for the creation of multiple outgoing feeds that can be sent to the destination of your choice. You will want to reference each step in this guide while you are going through the data feeds portion of your Digital Marketing Launch Process. 

Depending on your level of access you will have the option to either create and submit flex feeds or you will have the option to create and submit both shopping and flex feeds.

  • Flex Feeds   -  Flex feeds are product data feeds customized to your specifications and designed to satisfy the needs of many e-commerce providers that require a product data feed. Flex Feeds can be used as part of ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing for retargeting or affiliate network efforts.
  • Shopping Feeds   -  ChannelAdvisor supports a large list of Comparison Shopping Engines by providing you with precreated feed templates that contain all of the fields that each site requires data for. 

 

Launch Options


When setting up shopping and feeds with ChannelAdvisor you have two options, as part of Digital Marketing Launch Services:

  1. Launch Assistance Service   - A paid service offered by the ChannelAdvisor Launch Team that allows for you to have a dedicated email box for setup questions and a limited number of phone-based training and assistance calls to help you get setup quickly.  See    Sales    for more information about this service.
  2. Launch Plus Service   - A paid service offered by the ChannelAdvisor Launch Team that includes a dedicated email box for setup questions and a limited number of phone-based training calls, but also includes additional setup elements and assistance: the setup of your  templates and providers, the assisted upload of products and help launching products to the Comparison Paid Search Engines.  See   Sales   for more information about this service.   

 

Complete Prerequisites


Before beginning the launch process with any of the launch service options, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Create your seller accounts at each site.
  2. Review provider data requirements.

 Video


 

Configure Inventory


Before including your products on data feeds it is important to be aware of the listing requirements of the various feed destinations. You can view the Shopping Providers Recommended Inventory File Content table  for a list of data points that are typically required for most shopping providers, but as a best practice you should visit each provider's site to view their specific list of data requirements.

  • Adding Data Points to Inventory  - If you do not currently have data for certain required data points you may need to add a new attribute to your inventory and populate that attribute with the values accepted by the provider.  

    View the  Using Inventory Attributes  page for details.
  • Using Business Rules and Lookup Lists to manipulate inventory  - If you already have a similar data point in your inventory but your values do not match the provider values, you can utilize a business rule or a lookup list to transform your value to match the values required.  

    View the  Business Rules  and  Lookup Lists  pages for details. 

 

 

 

Installing Tracking Pixels


 

Tracking pixels must be installed on various pages of your website to capture traffic, order and event data. The pixels are JavaScript and HTML code and are very similar to others you may already have on your site. Each pixel is a 1x1 image that is invisible to the user. For active campaigns, once the pixel is installed you should expect to see reporting in ChannelAdvisor within 24 hours. Below is a list of the tracking pixels that can be installed on your website.

Please Note:    If you do not have the access or knowledge to make these changes to your website you should contact your web developer or whoever makes changes to your site. 

  •  Visit Pixel (Required)  - This pixel captures inbound traffic information and goes in the <Head> section of every page of your site including the order confirmation page.
  • Order Tracking Pixel (Required)  - This pixel captures order and conversion information which is used to measure the effectiveness of each campaign.
  • Event Based Pixel (Optional)  - This pixel allows you to track different actions on your site and measure them as part of your overall search marketing program

View the Implementing Tracking Pixels  page for additional information. 


 

 

Select Your Feed Destination


 

To create a product feed ChannelAdvisor has provided a simple guide that walks you through each step of the process. Whether you are creating a feed designated for a Comparison Shopping Engine or a Flex Feed designated for any other destination you will need to complete each step of the guide starting with the first step of designating the feed destination.

  1. Begin by navigating to Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Feeds.
  2. Select the ' New Feed ' button.
  3. Choose a feed destination site (Comparison Shopping or Flex Feed).
  4. If you selected a Comparison Shopping Engine as your feed destination, you may need to complete Category Mapping to ensure that your products display in the most approriate categories at the CSE.
View the Selecting Your Feed Destination  page for additional information.

  

 

Select Your Inventory


 

Selecting your inventory to be included in your shopping and flex feeds is an important step in the feed creation process that involves the use of labels to assign your inventory as well as a process called Reference Field Mapping.

  1. Simply select the appropriate label assigned to the inventory to be applied to your data feed.
  2. Choose to customize your label using the Inventory Selector.
  3. Complete Reference Field Mapping so that feed templates will be mapped automatically with the correct fields from your inventory.  

For additional details view the Selecting Inventory to Include with Your Feed  and Using Reference Field Mapping pages.

 

 

Map the Template


 

Templates determine what data from your inventory will be sent to the various feed destinations and in what format that data will be sent in. You can create and assign a template to a feed as part of the feed creation process. The  ChannelAdvisor Merchandiser  is a tool that allows you to map your template to your inventory.You will also have the ability to utilize some advanced mapping options, such as  business rules  and  lookup lists  that will allow you to dynamically manipulate your data in order to optimize how your data appears on the various comparison shopping sites. 

View the Mapping the Feed Template  page for additional details.

 

 

Complete Feed Settings


 

This step in the process is where you can configure the settings that your feed will run on. You will need tom complete the following settings to complete this section of the guide:

  1. Assign a Schedule - You have the ability to determine when your feed is sent and when to stop sending your feed by completing the schedule section of your settings. 
  2. Enter Provider Account Manager Information - This information can be used to contact a Provider Representative if needed, troubleshoot issues.This information is optional, but recommended.
  3. Enter Provider Estimated Cost - Estimated Cost is a value used to approximate the costs for Providers that do not send Actual Cost Data.  The rate information entered here will be used for Performance and Reporting information. 

View the Configuring Feed Settings  page for additional details.

 

 

Preview and Activate Your Feed


 

In order for your data to be sent to your designated site you must take the final step of previewing and activating your feed.  

  1. Previewing Your Feed - It is always a best practice to preview the information you will be sending to any provider.
    • Navigate to Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Feeds
    • Click into an existing feed.
    • Enter your email address.
    • Select the  Create a Full Feed Preview  button.
    • Depending on the size of your feed, it may take some time to complete your preview feed.  Once your preview feed is ready, you will receive an email address notification.
    • You may access your feed preview on the Feed History page.
  2. Activating/Deactivating Your Feed -  If you have completed all of the necessary feed configurations you will have the option to activate your feed.  A Feed can be activated or deactivated in three ways .
  3. Validating a Feed After you have made your feed  Active , it will be sent to the site configured in your Feed Info section.  Be sure to login to the site destination to validate that the feed was received and can be processed.  If there are errors you will want to resolve them and re-send your feed.

View the Making Feeds Active  page for additional details.

 


Managing Your Feeds


 

After activating your feeds you will need to monitor and manage your feed performance. There are several tools available that can assist you with this important step.

  • Managing Feeds view the Feeds View - Located at Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Feeds, the feeds view will serve as your primary location for managing all of the shopping and flex feeds from your account. You can perform a variety of feed management tasks from this view.

    View the  Using the Feeds View  page for additional details.
      
  • Resolving Feed Errors  - Feed errors can be viewed directly from the Feed History table (Digital Marketing > Marketing Management > Feeds).   Within the Feed History table you can click on any non-zero value in the Errors column to open details about the error. Clicking on the error link will take you to see details on the errors contained in the feed.
     
  • Reviewing Feed Status in the Digital Marketing Dashboard - The Feed Status widget of the Digital Marketing Dashboard (Digital Marketing > Dashboards > Digital Marketing Dashboardpresents a table that will give you detailed information on all of your current feeds. The column headings and a description for each are as follows:
    • Provider - click on the provider name to link to the provider configuration.
    • Feed Name - click on the feed name to link to the feed configuration.
    • Last Run - time the outgoing feed last attempted to send.
    • Status - the status of the feed.  Completed is a successful delivery.  Queued, In Process, Transform Pending are all phases of sending a feed.  Canceled or Failed is an unsuccessful delivery.
    • Eligible Inventory - either inventory items sent to ChannelAdvisor in an external inventory feed or inventory items associated with your label used to indicate items for comparison shopping.
    • Filtered Items - items removed from the feed sent to comparison shopping engines based on filters - ex. zero quantity items.
    • Errors - items that were not sent due to an error.
    • Items Sent - items sent to the comparison shopping engine.
    • Last Success - time of the last successful feed sent to the comparison shopping engine.

 

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