You found a supplier who’s products you want to sell, and they told you they have a data feed. They may have thrown around acronyms like API, FTP, XML, JSON, or some other confusing set of letters. What does it mean? How do you use this information?
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What is a data feed?
A data feed is an amazing tool that can automatically update your product listings! That means:
Ability to easily and quickly sync inventory to multiple sales channels, such as Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Big Commerce, etc.
No more cancelling orders across platforms due to incorrect quantity amounts.
No more incorrect prices, descriptions, ingredients, or images when your supplier updates their data.
Supplier data feeds often contain rich data and high-quality images; nothing drives sales like great images.
No more manually updating inventory data! This can save you hours, days, weeks, or even months of time.
Now then… in this article, I’m going to run you through all the scary acronyms out there, and break them down step-by-step so you understand what they mean, and (more importantly) how you can use them.
Note:Shopify does not have any sort of data feed integration method. In order to use this method, you must download an app, such as ChannelApe, and run the feed through that.
Types of Data Feed Methods
Your supplier may have given you one of the following “methods” through which they can sync their inventory data with your store (aka a “data feed”):
FTP Method (File-Transfer Protocol)
An FTP is just how it sounds – it’s a way to transfer files from one server, or computer, to another. It’s one of the most common methods for a data feed.
Normally, with an FTP, you will have a username and password to log in to the feed and start receiving their files, or in our case inventory data. The types of files you may encounter are covered in the next section.
HTTP Method (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
You may be familiar with HTTP since you see it in front of most web URLs. It’s just another way of transferring data through data feeds.
You may or may not need a username and password to access this type of feed.
API Method (Application Programming Interface)
If you’ve ever tried to import data to Shopify via a CSV file, you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with them. They are simply a handy way of containing large amounts of information in a table for easy transfer. CSV is about as common as XML.
TSV Files (Tab-Separated Values)
Bill is a content marketer and eCommerce lover. From video games, to vitamins, to imported products, he's sold them all. Find out more at www.billwidmer.com!