Data loading isn’t necessarily the flashiest part of a new site project, but ensuring your product information is properly loaded in is essential to a successful launch. Here are a few things that you should consider when scoping the data-loading portion of a new website project.
First, how many SKUs are you going to have to load? If your SKU count is greater than forty thousand and you’re managing your data from a centralized location, you should probably be looking towards an integrated solution. However, if your SKU count is less than forty thousand units, a manual load of data may be the best option.
Manually loading data into your site can be a very large task, but with the right amount of planning and information, it can pay huge dividends your site’s appearance. Planning the entire scope of a manual load should encompass the formats needed for each section, your data sources, and the appropriate person to import and test the work.
Once you have the overall scope of the task, start small and test as you go. Take one product line, category, or type of product and start there. Populate your products with data by importing their data sets, and then test your results. See what your information looks like on the site, and iterate from there. Once you are satisfied, look at the rest of your data before proceeding. It may be that other content will need to be normalized to match the format used in the first set data.
Each data section will generally have a specific import format, a good way to find the proper format is to export the data section that you need, examine it, and note the names of the column headers. If column headers are missing for data fields that you want on the site, work to find additional column header formats.
If you’ll be gathering your data from multiple sources, it can be stored in one central large spreadsheet but it’s not recommended to use it for data loading. Instead, break the data up in to smaller product groups with similar pieces of data in each sheet. This way, these smaller imports can be done and tested individually; and changes, if needed, will be easier to manage.
The resource responsible for your data load should become an expert on your console, understanding the product data fields needed, how to manipulate the data in those fields, and how to run processes in the console necessary for the data to be presented once it’s been loaded.
Having the right amount of visually pleasing, informative, and appealing content on your product detail and search results pages will be worth the effort put in to create an engaging site.