Before we get started let us go over terminology and outline some things that you need to account for prior to importing catalog data into the system, and ultimately listing it for sale.
Web Ready Data
Getting catalog data into a usable format that translates into an enjoyable buying experience for shoppers on any eCommerce platform is no easy task. In fact, we have found that more people fail at it than succeed.
How you format your data matters! If you rush through it and don't give it the attention that it requires you can expect lackluster results on any E-Commerce platform. We have spent years helping dealers get their Private Catalog Data to perform on various marketplaces and we feel that we have a very user-friendly system in place compared to other tools.
Products vs Product Groups
We group similar products with different attributes together so that they can display on a marketplace with "drop-downs" or attribute selectors.
A Product is an MPN. There is only one MPN per product.
A Product Group is all the different variations of a single product. There are multiple MPNs in a Product Group.
Below is an example of a Product Group. You can see that all of these products have the same Name. This is the "Product Group Name". Also notice how each line has a unique MPN, Size, Color. Each size/color variant has its own MPN.
Sizes, Colors, Options
The database breaks out attributes so that they can be filtered on a marketplace and worked into various parts of an eCommerce product page with tags. If the products you are working with have a size, color, or option, you will want to make sure that you assign the attribute to the proper column. This way when you list products on your webstore the listings will have drop-down choices.
Product and Product Group Best Practices
Make sure the spelling a naming of your product groups is accurate
Use Proper Capitalization. Don't do all caps!
Make sure your entries do not have any trailing spaces that would cause the cell to be unique
Make sure that your MPNs are accurate and only appear once
DO NOT use different formats or spelling for attributes. If you use Yellow, continue to use Yellow. Don't start using YLW. Keep your cataloging methods consistent.
Try not to put size, color, option attributes in your Product Group Name.
DO NOT put the Manufacturer Group in your Product Group Names.
Try not to put fitment into your Product Group Names. Use the Private Catalog Import Fitment feature for this
Take your time. Do it right the first time.
Anyone can list a product for sale but it is your ability to only allow people to purchase an in-stock product that remains the biggest factor in long-term eCommerce success.
For the Aftermarket Catalog, we aggregate inventory from every single warehouse for every distributor on a daily basis and take care of this for you.
For Private Catalog products, there is more reliance on you the dealer, and your internal systems. The software gives you the ability to upload daily inventory or post it to a place where we can retrieve it, including Lightspeed. We will handle pushing it out to the Webstore daily, you just need to get it to us.
We cover the Private Catalog Inventory at length in a later article.
Video Tutorial - Private Catalog Overview (Best Practices)