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chughes
Starting Member

USA
29 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  11:02:49  Show Profile  Visit chughes's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Does anyone have any suggestions on product management? What have your experiences been and what are the quorkes with VPASP? I am going to build a site and have over 17000 products available to me. I get it in one master feed to load and then an hourly feeds with just product availability, cost, etc. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated...

devshb
Senior Member

United Kingdom
1898 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  11:05:23  Show Profile  Visit devshb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Depending on how automated you want the feed/import to be, you might want to have a customised import/xml-reading in place, but if not, have a look at:

How can I import tab-separated files in vpasp?
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/support/issue_view.asp?ID=442&CATE=8

How can I import products using multiple categories/branches?
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/support/issue_view.asp?ID=224&CATE=8

Simon Barnaby
Developer
[email protected]
www.BigYellowZone.com
Web Design, Online Marketing and VPASP addons
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apswater
VP-ASP Super User

317 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  14:57:43  Show Profile  Visit apswater's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have about 12000 pages online. You really need Simon product updater because once you load your products you will still have to contantly manage the pricing. THats where simon saved me a ton of work.

I am not sure if they added it in 6.0 or not, but I added on the fly edit links to all my pages. THat way as I surf the site and see something I want to change, I hit edit, and I can quick edit any product or category. It is also an easy way to add products to same categories. All I do is pull up and existing product, change what needs to be changed and then "add" product. All the category tree entries then work fine. The only problem with a bulk import is that you have to deal with the categories. Simon as a cool little program that lets you select only the deepest category or subcategory when you first put up the product and then it will back fill all the upper categories automatically. That also saved a ton of time. Simon also wrote me special category links that gives you a count of how many products or categories you have below a link...

You can see it here http://www.apswater.com/shopdisplaycategories.asp

I sound like a commercial for Simon eh? Not the intent, he just has some cool things that will make you life easy when you have so many products to manage.


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chughes
Starting Member

USA
29 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  15:46:41  Show Profile  Visit chughes's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Well, what I am up against is the fact that I have 18 segments with 10 - 12 subcategories in each segment and are then broken down even further into a content groups.

For example, a Meridian Series Bike mount falls under the segment of 2 way radios, scanners, GPS in a category of GPS and a content group of GPS Accessories.

I not only need to be able to effectivly load/update products into the system from a csv based on segment. Maybe it would be easier to do away with the category field?

Another concern is accidentally adding duplicate items. Will VPASP use the item code of a product as the unique identifier and if it is already in the system only update changes as apposed to adding a whole new items that has the same item code?

How about quantity updates from my distributor? Those are all identified by item code so I want to make sure that daily updates are only going to update the fields I am importing.

I want the process to be as seemless as possible. What product should I buy to manage all of this given these needs?
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chughes
Starting Member

USA
29 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  15:59:05  Show Profile  Visit chughes's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Also with managing 12000 products ho much time do you spend making updates, etc on a weekly basis?
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apswater
VP-ASP Super User

317 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  16:17:05  Show Profile  Visit apswater's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We update products most days. There is no autmoatic way I can think of becasue of the way the the category trees are made.

I also have the same product in multiple sub categories. With Simons add on, you just pick the all the lowest sub categories you want the product in and then run the category fixer and it puts the product in all the upper cateogies so when they list all product of a category, all the products show up. The old way was to have to select every single category and subcategory a product would be in...

ie. catalog, coats, wool coats, blue wool coats.. You would only have to select the blue wool coats and the fixer will add the product to the rest of the upper categories.

once you add all your products, then say supplier X have a 4% price increase. Then all you have to do is go to the category and bulk change the pricing with Simons price fixer. If the products are scattered and mixed with other products, then you will have to update them one at a time which is where the on the fly product edit comes in handy.
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chughes
Starting Member

USA
29 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  17:39:58  Show Profile  Visit chughes's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Im not so concerned about putting a product in several cateories and yeah the bulk update of pricing per category is a real nice to have.

My biggest concern is importing 17000 products from a single csv which includes fields mentioned above as well as logo file name, msrp, real price, weight and size, headline, full desciption, quantity, etc. Then once that is imported being able to update the quantity available and price on a daily basis from the distributor feed/csv. I just need to feel confident before buying this product that it is going to do what I need it to.
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apswater
VP-ASP Super User

317 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  21:03:11  Show Profile  Visit apswater's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I am sure you can get a mod that will read a feed and update the database, but I dont know af anything written yet. I have paid both VPASP and Big Yellow zone (simon) to write custom modules for me. They are both very reasonable. Maybe ask then for quotes. The VPASP software is amazing and entirly customizable. I have been using it for about 4 years.
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devshb
Senior Member

United Kingdom
1898 Posts

Posted - March 22 2007 :  23:45:32  Show Profile  Visit devshb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've only just spotted those postings; thanks apswater; much appreciated!

yes, the bulk-updater is explained here:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=103

the "category bundle" definitely looks like something that you'd find useful, either for importing/updating or just for general checking:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=124

(which in turn includes the following 2 addons) -

Category Tree:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=31

Prod/Cat Check/Fix Tool:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=74

If you do want to continually re-import using a feed from a supplier etc, then, especially with that many products, you'll most likely want/need a customised/dedicated tool to do it with.

One thing to watch out for; if you have a blank value in your import source file for a product, then importing it into an existing record (ie a product-update rather than a new-product) won't set that product's value to blank/null; for some reason the generic vpasp import says "if the value's blank in the spreadsheet then don't change it on the database", whereas what I think it should say is "if it's a column in the spreadsheet then update the value on the database with the value in the spreadsheet, regardless of whether the old/new value is null". If you don't tweak the import to do that logic, then you could end up with out of date descriptions or invalid stock levels etc.

Simon Barnaby
Developer
[email protected]
www.BigYellowZone.com
Web Design, Online Marketing and VPASP addons

Edited by - devshb on March 22 2007 23:51:08
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