Product Data Feed FAQ

CSV Product Data Feed - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Product Data Feed?
  2. What is a CSV file?
  3. What is a 'Live' Product Data Feed?
  4. What is a 'Static' Product Data Feed?
  5. OK, what are Shibby's CSV Product Data Feed Specifications?
  6. How to I create a data feed?
  7. Can I upload my product data feed?

1. What is a Product Data Feed?

A Product Data Feed is a text file that lists all your product information, such as product description, price, stock levels etc. The are various accepted formats for Data Feed files, and SHibby presently accepts CSV format data feeds - this simplest and most common data feed format.
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2. What is a CSV file?

CSV file is a generic term for a text file that contains data, normally separated into fields, or columns, by the use of a comma (although other characters may be used to separate fields). Each entry, or row, in the CSV data feed is then finished with a new line, marking the start of the next entry. Below for an example of a simple three product CSV Data Feed (for this example, Comma separated):

Product ID, Product Name, Product URL, Image URL, Price, Shipping
000001, ACME Super Gadget, http://www.acme-world.com.au/product001.html, http://www.acme-world.com.au/img001.jpg, 19.95, 9.95
000002, ACME Organiser, http://www.acme-world.com.au/product002.html, http://www.acme-world.com.au/img002.jpg, 44.95, 9.95
000003, ACME Accessory, http://www.acme-world.com.au/product003.html, http://www.acme-world.com.au/img003.jpg, 89.95, 9.95
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3. What is a 'Live' Product Data Feed?

A live Product Data Feed is when the contents of the CSV file are dynamically generated each time the CSV file is requested. This is the best way to provide a data feed to Shibby, because it means your products are always kept up to date with the latest prices and information.
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4. What is a 'Static' Product Data Feed?

A static data feed is a CSV file is a physical file, which is only updated when you update and save the contents of the file. Shibby recommends a 'Live' Product Data Feed (see above) so your product information is up-to-date every time the Shibby-Bot reads your CSV contents. This results in more relevant product information for potential shoppers, and in return, more potential sales.
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5. OK, what are Shibby's CSV Product Data Feed Specifications?

Shibby supports practically any valid CSV file format, so long as the Required Fields (see below) are present and the data is validity formatted.

Required CSV Product Fields

Product ID - A Unique Identifier
An identifier for each product which must be be unique within your Shibby merchant account, and cannot be re-used between feeds. If you have multiple product data feeds, the ID's of each product within different feeds must still be unique. You can use any sequence of letters and digits for the item id.
(Required - Alphanumeric up to 128 Characters. Example: "1234")
Product URL
A link to the Product Page on your website. The user is sent to this URL when your item is clicked in the product search results. We also refer to this as the landing page. It must point to a page showing the exact item the user was looking at. You can use your own tracking URLs to distinguish users coming from Shibby if desired. All Product URLs must link directly to web pages about your products without pop ups. We don't allow landing pages requiring sign ups, passwords, or direct links to files/email addresses. The URL must not redirect or forward to a location external to your site. The URL must start with 'http://' or 'https://' and use the domain name setup for your Site in your Shibby Merchant Manager.
(Required - Alphanumeric up to 255 Characters. Example: "http://www.example.com/product.php?id=1234")
Product Name
This is the name of your product. We recommend you include characteristics such as colour or brand in the title which differentiates it from other products.
(Required - Alphanumeric up to 255 Characters. Example: "ACME Widget - Green")
Product Description
Include only information relevant to the product, but be comprehensive since this text is used to find your item. We recommend you submit around 200 to 500 characters, with a maximum length of 2000 characters.
(Required - Alphanumeric up to 2000 Characters. Example: "This ACME Widget is Green and made from real fibre. Packaged in a retail box and ready to go.")
Product Price - The actual price the product sells for
The price of the item has to be the actual selling price for ordering One (or the minimum available purchase quantity) of the product. If multiple items are displayed on the same page with multiple prices, it has to be straightforward for the user to find the correct item and corresponding price. All prices must be in Australian dollars ($AUD), and include 10% GST where applicable. Dollar signs or other currency symbols are not required.
(Required - Numeric. Example: "199.95")

Recommended Additional CSV Product Fields

Product Image URL - Strongly recommended
This is the URL of an associated image for a product. Shibby recommends images of at least 250 x 250 pixels, however images can be as large as 1280 x 1024. All images must be in either JPEG, GIF or PNG format with a file extension of .jpeg, .jpg, .gif or .png.
(Optional & Recommended - Alphanumeric up to 255 Characters. Example: "http://www.example.com/img/product1234.jpg")
Stock Available - Strongly recommended
An indicator of whether the item is in stock. The value can be expressed exactly as the number of available items in stock (eg: 17), or a simply In Stock/Out of Stock value like; 0 or 1; "yes" or "no".
(Optional & Recommended - Alphanumeric up to 32 Characters. Example: "5")
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6. How to I create a data feed?

Most modern eCommerce Shopping Website software features built-in support for producing CSV Product Data Feed exports of your product information. However if such a feature is not included within your online shop's website, you may require the skills of a web programmer to enable this capability.

However, if you already list a CSV product data feed with another Australian shopping website, then the chances are that feed will work with Shibby. Just sign into your Merchant Manager, add the Data Feed URL and we'll take it form there!

Choose your situation:

"I already have all my products listed on another Australian 'price comparison' shopping site"

We can read your existing data feed for most popular Australian price comparison sites. This means you don't need to employ the services of a programmer to create a feed just for Shibby.

Email us with the URL of your existing data feeds, and which sites they are designed for. We will then setup the appropriate filters for your existing feeds. You won't need to do any further programming.

"We have a web developer/programmer who can prepare a CSV file from our database."

Great, just give them the data feed specification and they should be able to create the data feed from your database.

Make sure they have read this Data Feed FAQ and understand they are ideally creating a Live Data Feed, not just a CSV output of your products.

After the data feed is created, they should be able to login to your merchant console and add the URL

"I am a programmer, how do I create a data feed?"

You need to loop through all your products in the database one by one, using the appropriate script e.g. ASP, PHP etc and output the results in order of our field specification to a CSV file, using an appropriate field separator (TAB is recommended). This file should then be stored on the server in a public location that can be trawled by our bots.

"I don't have access to any programmers or developers, and I am not sure if our shopping cart/ecommerce system can actually create a CSV file"

Contact your eCommerce provider or shopping cart merchant and tell them you need to create a CSV data feed of your products for Shibby. Your existing shopping cart may have an export feature that allows you to save your products into a plain text file list.

This should allow you to produce a simple list of your products and import them into Microsoft Excel. You can then copy and paste the data and columns into an Excel product template designed just for Shibby. For full instructions see can't I just send an Excel file of my products?

At this stage, you will have a CSV file of your products that meets our data feed specs. You then need to upload the file to a location on your server so our spider can come along and read the products.

You will also need to update this file at least every month.
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7. Can I upload my product data feed?

Shibby strives to keep Australia's largest searchable index of products, with a focus on relevant, up-to-date product data. For this reason all CSV data feed files must be stored and updated regularly on your own server. We recommend updating your CSV file with your latest products and prices at least every 1-2 Weeks.
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