Welcome to Data Here-to-There Ask An Expert, a series where our integration specialists tackle real questions from store owners who want to launch, build, and scale their stores. We can get you all the way from first store… to full-fledged marketplace.

Who are we? We’re the ecommerce data integration experts. We have integrated dozens of your stores, connecting them to a long list of suppliers from Banggood, DNH, Petra, RSR Group, BigBuy, Premiere, Keystone, SEMA and DCI. For a complete list of the suppliers and data feeds we support, look here

Since we started we have learned a lot from our customers. Do you have a question? Feel free to ask. Chances are good that someone else has had… or will have… the same question. Some of our customers are just getting started, while others have been managing entire online marketplaces for years now. So when you ask us a question, you are actually drawing on the expertise of a whole diverse team of ecommerce integration experts.  Let’s get started!


Question: How do I get the products from my supplier data feed into the right categories in my store?

Answer: With the Product Mapper

So you’ve decided what you want to sell online.  You’ve designed your website and chosen your suppliers. But how do you actually get your items into your store, in the right categories? If items aren’t easy to find, then how long are your potential new customers going to stick around? Answer: Not very long! But the challenge is that the supply category structure from your supplier might not be quite the same as what you want in your online store.

For example: say your store has men’s fashions – belts, shoes, shirts etc. – and you have your own categories for everything. But your supplier is giving you different categories, and so if you try to import the data into your store without mapping those categories, your items end up in all kinds of weird places. So what do you do?

Category Mapping: How it Works

We can rename categories and change the structure to suit your needs.  By default we simply import the same structure as the supplier as this is usually sufficient for a new store.

The system we use, the Product Mapper, is basically a translator.  It takes the source categories from the supplier and creates target categories for the store.  For example, let’s say your supplier has the following categories:

Men’s clothing > Accessories > Belts

Men’s Shoes > Trainers

Men’s Shoes > Volleyball

Men’s Shoes > Soccer

But maybe we don’t want that structure in the store.  Perhaps you as the store owner want something more simple, like this:



Our Product Mapper would turn the above into this:

Source: Men’s clothing > Accessories > Belts, Target = Accessories

Source: Men’s Shoes > Trainers, Target = Shoes

Source: Men’s Shoes > Volleyball, Target = Shoes

Source: Men’s Shoes > Soccer, Target = Shoes

 The Product Mapper is something you would get as part of your Data Here-to-There subscription, when you purchase a Catalog Data Mover. This handy gadget (the Product Mapper) does a number of things to get your products into your store correctly. One of these things is to map the categories from your suppliers to your store categories.

We use a spreadsheet to configure the system.  This allows us to bulk-load large numbers of categories, rules, filters, and other configuration.  We will configure the spreadsheet with you during the interview process to suit your store.  You can also modify it at any time.

Here is an example of the category mapping section.  We take the ‘source’ categories from your supplier and map them into ‘target’ categories in your store.  This is quite flexible so we can match pretty much any structure.

source_level1 source_level2 source_level3 source_level4 target_level1 target_level2
Clothing Women’s Scarves * Fashion Women
Clothing Men’s Hats * Fashion Men
Clothing Children * * Fashion Kids
Home and Garden * * * Home
Electronics Printers Ink * Technology Accessories
Electronics Printers Laser * Technology Printers

Once your categories have been set up and mapped, your store is ready to be loaded up with all your products! After the initial load it may be necessary to do a little tweaking. We can rename, move, make categories more generic or specific – whatever you require. Once all is set up to run smoothly then that’s just what your store will do. Allowing you more time to cater to your customers and stay on top of the market trends… or just sit back and allow that passive income stream to come rolling in.

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