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productcart:marketing-generate_google_base_file [2010/07/09 00:22]
cedric
productcart:marketing-generate_google_base_file [2013/07/12 14:44] (current)
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-====== ​Generate Google Base Data File (Google Products Search) ======+====== Google Products Search ​data feed generator (Google Base) ======
  
-===== Posting Products to Google Product Search ​(formerly '​Froogle'​) ​=====+===== Posting Products to Google Product Search =====
  
-Basically, "​Products Search"​ is a product index within the larger Google Base database. You will need a Google account to submit products and content to Google Base. [[http://www.google.com/​base/help/sellongoogle.html|More information about uploading data to Google Products Search]]. ProductCart will create the Google Base file for you. You will then need to [[http://​www.google.com/​base/​register.html|register it with Google]].+In a nutshell, "​Products Search"​ is a product index within the larger Google Base database, and powers the results that you see when you click on the //​Shopping//​ link on Google. You will need a Google ​Merchant ​account to submit products and content to Google Base. [[https://support.google.com/​merchants/answer/188494?​hl=en|More information about uploading data to Google Products Search]]. ​
  
 +ProductCart contains a feature that allows you to quick generate a Google Product Search data feed. You will then need to [[https://​support.google.com/​merchants/​answer/​188475?​hl=en|register it with Google]] and provide the data feed by uploading it manually or letting Google automatically "fetch it" from your Web store.
  
-<​note>​Good news! On-line merchants no longer need to upload their products to Google Products Search. See below for more details..</​note>​+===== Unique Product Identifiers =====
  
 +==== New requirements for Google Product Search data feeds ====
  
-===== Exported Fields =====+Starting May 3rd, 2011 (and the requirement goes in full effect on June 20th, 2011), Google requires product search listing to include at least two of the following three [[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​answer.py?​answer=160161|unique identifiers]]:​
  
-ProductCart will automatically create a tab-delimited file structured according to the Google Base guidelines. The file will include the following fields (Google Base Attributes). +  ​Brand 
-  ​Title \\ The product name, up to 80 characters. +  * MPN 
-  * Description \\ The product description. Google recommends that you don't include promotional or boilerplate text. Up to a maximum length of 10,000 characters. ​ +  * GTIN
-  * Link \\ The full URL to the product details page. +
-  * Image_Link \\ The URL to the product image. Google recommends that you use your full-sized images, and not thumbnail images, so ProductCart uses the General Image. +
-  * Id \\ A unique product identifier, for which ProductCart uses the SKU. IMPORTANT: Once you submit an item with a unique id, this identifier must not change when you send in a new data feed. Each item must retain the same id in subsequent feeds. +
-  * Price \\ The online price is used. +
-  * Currency \\ An option selected on the page when you create the data feed. +
-  * Condition \\ An option selected on the page when you create the data feed. +
-  * Additional fields (MPN, UPC, ISBN) \\ If you are submitting to Google Base in the US, Google started requiring the following, additional attributes in June of 2007. Clearly, there are many products for which this information is not available. If that is the case, you can leave them blank (see [[http://​base.google.com/​support/​bin/​answer.py?​answer=69826&​topic=11909|FAQ on Google Web site]]).+
  
-<​note>​**Apparel Add-on users**: it is NOT possible ​to export Apparel sub-products to Google ​Basebecause all sub-products ​have the same URL as the Parent ​Product ​(on the Product ​Details page).</note>+This is so that your products can be matched ​to Google'​s "​product pages",​ where users are able to view useful data such as product specifications or reviews.  
 + 
 +This requirement means that unless you [[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​request.py?​contact_type=unique_id_exemption|requests a special exemption]],​ unique product identifiers must be included for all products. Specifically,​ one of these 3 combinations must be included: 
 + 
 +  - BRAND + MPN 
 +  - BRAND + GTIN (UPC, EAN, JAN, or ISBN) 
 +  - MPN + GTIN 
 + 
 +==== Leveraging Custom Search Fields ==== 
 + 
 +To do so, you need to leverage the ability to [[managing_search_fields#​mapping_custom_search_fields_to_export_fields|map specific search fields to export fields]] in ProductCart. The system will then automatically retrieve those values from the database when generating the data feed. It is important that you become familiar with this [[managing_search_fields#​mapping_custom_search_fields_to_export_fields|special use of custom search fields]] before you create a Google ​Product Search data feedunless you have been [[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​request.py?​contact_type=unique_id_exemption|granted an exemption]] from submitting unique product identifiers. 
 + 
 +==== Requesting an exemption ==== 
 + 
 +If your items do not have unique identifiers (e.g. custom-created ​products, services, etc.), you can [[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​request.py?​contact_type=unique_id_exemption|requests a special exemption]]. 
 + 
 +For example, on the ProductCart software store we sell digital goods (our ecommerce software) for which unique identifiers are not available. We requested an exemption and it was granted by Google within a couple of days of submitting ​the request. 
 + 
 +Note that even after the request has been approved, you might still see "​Missing Unique ​Product ​Identifiers"​ error messages in the your Google Merchant Center. We contacted Google ​on this matter, and they indicated that those messages can be ignored once the exemption has been approved (June 2011). 
 + 
 +==== Feature Limitation: Apparel products (US only) ====  
 + 
 +In the summer of 2011 Google ​Product ​Search introduced additional required attributes for Apparel products ([[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​answer.py?​hl=en&​answer=188494#​US|see sections 4 and 5 of the Google Product Search data feed specifications]]). These additional requirements apply only to US merchants at this time.  
 + 
 +The additional attributes are '​gender',​ 'age group',​ '​size'​ and '​color',​ plus the 'item group id' attribute if there are product variants, and the '​pattern'​ and '​material'​ attributes if the variants vary by pattern or material, plus the corresponding product image for each variant. 
 + 
 +As you can see, these new requirements are quite extensive, and will require several database and code changes to ProductCart. We will be reviewing the project again after the release of ProductCart v4.5.  
 + 
 +As of now (October 2011), the data feed generator will not support apparel products for US merchants. This is to be considered a feature limitation at this time. 
 + 
 +===== Setting up Tax and Shipping at the Account level ===== 
 + 
 +Starting June 6th, 2011, Google also requires product search listings to include **tax** and **shipping** information. This information is required at either the account or item level in order for your items to process and appear in Google Product Search results. 
 + 
 +  * **Shipping**:​ 
 +    * In ProductCart v4.5 and above the Google Product Search data feed generator has been updated to include the product weight 
 +    * You need to [[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​answer.py?​answer=160162|setup shipping]] in your Google Merchant Center account 
 +  * **Taxes**:  
 +    * You need to [[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​answer.py?​answer=160162|setup taxes]] in your Google Merchant Center account
  
 ===== Generating the Data Feed in ProductCart ===== ===== Generating the Data Feed in ProductCart =====
 +
 +==== v4.5 (or file downloaded in June, 2011) ====
 +
 +  * **Products to include in the data feed** \\ Select the categories that contain the products to be included in the Google Product Search data feed. Press down the CTRL key on your keyboard to select multiple categories. Use "​Include sub-categories"​ to be able to select a parent category above and have all of its sub-categories be included. You can limit the number of categories shown by clicking on the links:
 +    * Only Categories with Products
 +    * Only Parent Categories
 +    * Show All Categories
 +  * Other product selection settings:
 +    * **Exclude wholesale categories** \\ Check this checkbox to exclude categories that are only visible to wholesale customers (and therefore hidden to the casual visitor to your e-commerce store).
 +    * **Exclude 'not for sale' products** \\ Check this checkbox to exclude products that are not currently available for purchase. Note that inactive products are always excluded. ​
 +  * **Unique product identifiers** \\ As mentioned above, in the spring of 2011 Google Product Search started requiring the use of unique product identifiers (learn more). If unique identifiers are not available (e.g. custom products), you will need to request an exemption.
 +  * **Data feed file name** \\ The file name must be a TEXT file (*.txt) and must not include the date. The file will be saved to the pcadmin folder.
 +  * **Currency** \\ Select the currency that applies to your store from the Currency drop-down when generating the data feed.
 +  * **Condition** \\ Select the products condition from the drop-down when generating the data feed.
 +  * **Expiration Date** \\ The date that the item listing expires or that information about this item is going to change.
 +  * **Brand** \\ ProductCart will use the brand associated with each product. If you are not using Brands in your store, you can enter a generic brand here (e.g. your company name):
 +  * **Include shipping weight** \\ Note: you need to setup shipping options in your Google Merchant account
 +  * **Display reports about included and excluded products** \\ Note: This option can slow down the data feed generation process, and it only works when exporting all categories
 +
 +<​note>​**Tax settings**: Google Product Search now also requires that you specify tax information. However, this is something that you need to do at the Google Merchant account level. The data feed will not contain a tax rate or amount at the item level (as that information does not exist in ProductCart)</​note>​
 +
 +==== Previous versions ====
  
   * **Categories** \\ Select categories that should be excluded. To improve performance,​ you can limit the amount of categories included in the map. To select the categories that you would like to exclude from the map generation process, click on any of the categories shown in the Exclude These Categories field. Keep the CTRL key on your keyboard pressed to select multiple categories.   * **Categories** \\ Select categories that should be excluded. To improve performance,​ you can limit the amount of categories included in the map. To select the categories that you would like to exclude from the map generation process, click on any of the categories shown in the Exclude These Categories field. Keep the CTRL key on your keyboard pressed to select multiple categories.
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 <​note>​v3 only (this limitation was removed in v4): in order to avoid having the same products appear in separate data feeds created by selecting different categories on the first page of the Google Base export feature, ProductCart saves the product IDs in a session variable. If this creates a problem when recreating the file (e.g. no or only a few products are included in the new data feed), you will need to close and restart your browser.</​note>​ <​note>​v3 only (this limitation was removed in v4): in order to avoid having the same products appear in separate data feeds created by selecting different categories on the first page of the Google Base export feature, ProductCart saves the product IDs in a session variable. If this creates a problem when recreating the file (e.g. no or only a few products are included in the new data feed), you will need to close and restart your browser.</​note>​
  
-===== Uploading ​or Scheduling ​=====+===== Submitting your Product Search Data Feed ===== 
 + 
 +There are [[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​answer.py?​hl=en&​answer=188477|three ways to submit your data feed to Google Product Search]]. 
 + 
 +  * Direct Upload (Files under 20 MB in size) 
 +  * FTP Upload (Files under 1GB in size) 
 +  * Automatic Upload (Scheduled Fetch) (Files under 1 GB in size) 
 + 
 +Take advantage of the scheduling feature to automate the posting of the data feed: [http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​answer.py?​answer=1219255|more information on this feature]. 
 + 
 +Once your data feed has been registered by Google Product Search, your items will become searchable in the Google Product Search database. However, remember that they will expire in 30 days from the date of the last upload, so remember to either use the scheduling feature ​or upload a new version of your bulk upload file regularly. 
 + 
 +Also note: 
 + 
 +  * the file name for your Google Product Search Data Feed must remain the same if you want to update existing items. However, you can also register a new bulk upload file 
 +  * do not include the date in the name of the file.  
 + 
 +===== Troubleshooting ===== 
 + 
 +===Data feed rejected due to Google Product Category attribute being required ​==== 
 + 
 +The Google Product Category (google_product_category) attribute is Google'​s category of the item. It has nothing to do with the item category in ProductCart,​ which is submitted as part of the data feed as the "​Product Type" attribute (product_type).
  
-In the fall of 2008 Google announced a new feature that makes it easy for merchants to post data to Google Base. The feature is called **Scheduling**. ​[[http://base.google.com/​support/​bin/​topic.py?topic=2929|Learn more about Scheduling your Google Base data feed]] on the Google Web site. Here are step-by-step instructions for [[http://base.google.com/​support/​bin/​answer.py?​hl=en&answer=76749|creating your schedule]].+ You can find detailed information on this attribute on the [[http://www.google.com/​support/merchants/bin/answer.py?answer=188494|Products Feed Specifications]] page.  It is only applicable to a small subset of categories, and must use exactly ​the category definition included in [[http://www.google.com/​support/merchants/​bin/​answer.py?​answer=160081|Google’s taxonomy]]. 
  
-So you now have two options to post your products data to Google ​Base:+Automatically filling in this information in ProductCart would require substantial changes to the system, as you would have to specify a mapping between a ProductCart category and the Google ​taxonomy at the category or item level.
  
-  * Point Google Base to a URL on your Web site taking advantage of the scheduling feature +Therefore, at this time, if you are getting an error indicating that this attribute is required, you have two options:
-  * Upload the file yourself to your Google Base account+
  
-In either caseplease note the following:+  - **Contact Google** and explain that your products do not fall into one of the categories for which this attribute is required 
 +  - **Manually Edit the File" as follows: 
 +    - Download the data feed to your computer 
 +    - Open it in MS Excel (it is a tab-delimited file) 
 +    - Add a column with the value "​google_product_category"​ in the first row (the header row) 
 +    - Add the values to the products for which this attribute is requiredconsistent with the [[http://​www.google.com/​support/​merchants/​bin/​answer.py?​answer=160081|Google’s taxonomy]].  
 +    - Save the file in its current (*.txt) format. 
 +    - Submit the edited data feed
  
-  * The file name for your Google Base Data Feed must rename ​the same if you want to update existing items. However, you can also register a new bulk upload file. [[http://​www.google.com/​base/​help/​about.html?​hl=en_US|More information on how to use the Google Base administration area]]. ​  +We understand that manually editing the data feed is certainly not an ideal solution, and we are looking ​for the best way to automate this process ​in ProductCartAs mentioned abovethis will require changes both at the source code and database ​levelso it is not something ​that can be implemented immediately.
-  * Do not include the date in the name of the file +
-  * Once your data feed has been registered by Google Baseyour items will become searchable in the Google Base database. Howeverremember ​that they will expire in 30 days from the date of the last upload, so remember to either use the scheduling feature or upload a new version of your bulk upload file regularly.+

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