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What is best practice for updating feeds and distributing product data in the age of connected commerce?

With the rise of marketplaces and social commerce, the majority of transactions are increasingly taking place on third-party channels where the consumer might not even be aware of the brand’s (or retailer’s) own e-commerce site.

The trend towards connected commerce is accelerating, with some reports predicting that 80% of ALL sales will take place on marketplaces by 2030. Marketplaces and social commerce present brands and retailers with a significant opportunity to extend their reach and grow their turnover. However, there are some serious technical challenges:

How to manage inventory across a host of technically diverse third-party environments?

How to synchronise orders across multiple platforms?

How to curate the best products for each channel and optimise them for peak performance?

Exporting data the traditional way

Offsite product discovery has become vital to e-commerce success, driving new customers and revenue. Traditionally, retailers and brands built custom export feeds specifically for this purpose, often pulling together sources of data from an internal commerce stack.

These exports have, potentially, millions of product rows that need to be constantly updated. On some third-party channels, stock and price information needs to be updated as regularly as every 15mins.

Much of this data is not actually changing, so merchants are paying a high cost in time, money, and opportunity delaying updates to the minority of products that have changed to update the majority of data that haven’t. Some merchants are building full data sets up to four times a day for over 50 countries, amounting to daily changes to tens of millions of products.

At Intelligent Reach, we are constantly developing more efficient ways to build large data sets at scale. We have been in the cloud for more than nine years now, testing out the realities of auto-scaling infrastructure, API first micro service driven integrations and parallelisation (building smaller data sets concurrently).

Our latest feed-building infrastructure, Feedbuilder 4, can build about 250k products per 7mins, which represents a reduction for larger and complex data sets of up to 80%. As well as ensuring optimal feed building, there are many other things that drive further efficiencies and are simply the best way to do things.

Separate out stock and price data – This is what we call inventory data. It changes much more often and can be done in near real time, especially if data is pushed via our PIM API. When we use one of our platform connectors, such as our Shopify or magneto ones, we can pull this data every 15mins and update it very quickly to e-commerce channels.

Main product data – Products are not likely to change more than once per day. Build this data set after your main update has run on your internal systems, most likely early in the morning. Then, when there are changes to product data…

Build deltas only – Update only the data that has actually changed. Even if our customers can’t send deltas, we can automatically check and import change date to increase the efficiency of your build process.

Push via APIs if available – Pushing data to partners is also done in the most efficient way, depending on the capabilities of the receiving partner. The big platforms like Google, Meta, the marketplaces etc, all have sophisticated APIs which allow us to push deltas to and get messages back if there are any errors.

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The Award-Winning PLatform, Loved by OUR Customers...

Capterra 4.5 out of 5Technology Vendor of the YearGlobas Business Excellence Awards Outstanding New Product ServiceThe Saas Awards Finalist 2021UK Business Tech Awards WInner
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