Filtering: what is it good for?

Product Filtering and Curation

A lot of suppliers have thousands and thousands of products. So why use filtering to narrow it down? Because when your customers have a world of choice available to them, filtering will help you run your store efficiently enough to put you ahead of the competition. For that you want customization aka product curation aka filtering.

For example: you just want to sell smart backpacks and not have your customers searching through pages and pages of the more generic kind of kid’s backpacks to get to what they want. It’s not like the “old” days of early eCommerce when you’d have a simple catalogue with only 50 SKU’s; nowadays things are in a constant state of flux and you want your list – and therefore filtering ability – to be dynamic. You, as a Data Here-to-There client, can define how you want your filtering done in our Product Mapper before you get your store online or upgraded to a “next level” store or even marketplace with our system. Here’s an example of what a store’s Product Mapper can look like:

But filtering isn’t just about curation to enable your customers to find what they want quickly and easily. It’s also a matter of your brand’s reputation, which can be make-or-break in the online world. If you try to put certain products into certain marketplace, you may find your reputation taking a hit — if you don’t get everything right — right out of the gate. Or you may even find yourself shut down. The right kind of filtering will enable you to protect your store.

Here’s an example. Shopify’s payment gateway has a ton of restrictions. Say your catalogue includes a type of beauty product that claims to make any woman who uses it look way younger, in a short amount of time. There are restrictions against this type of claim that will be noticed by Shopify’s bots and so your products will never pass their gateway. Other products including licensed toys, or rails (a certain type of gun accessory) can also cause a product or even whole store to not make it through the gateway.

Also you have to be aware of Shopify’s Risk Assessment team, which can send you a takedown notice. Or you could inadvertently violate their copyright protection rules.  Amazon also refuses to carry certain things, such as certain brands of cell phones, video game cheat codes, or Streaming boxes where you can get pirated movies . 

Trying to carry any of these can cause you to get a warning or even have your store shut down. It’s great to be able to load thousands of products into your store quickly via dropship suppliers… but the other piece of making that formula work is to have built-in category filtering.

What does Category filtering do?

Category filtering – lets you take any category — for example, clothing — and filter it down to just the specific types of clothing you want in your store, such as just women’s clothing → scarves (only, not ties), or just men’s clothing → ties (only, not scarves), certain brand names but not others, and so on. Here’s another example:

Stock level – You can also filter by stock level. Say for instance you have a pretty lean operation where you want to ensure that you only offer an item that you can be sure you have in stock, and can ship immediately.

Manufacturer names filter – This filter allows you to keep certain products out of your store. Say your supplier has 10,000 products and you want to leave out a certain brand for whatever reason: copyright issues, or you simply don’t feel that products from that brand fit with your brand.

Fitment Filters – select products by fitment

Poison word filter – allows you to keep anything containing one or more keywords out of your store e.g. explosive, ammunition, guaranteed, click here, links to, etc. You can also keep out specific SKU’s; maybe ones that have caused your store to be flagged in the past. Bot filters can also be problematic.

Custom filtering – Custom filtering will let you customize based on any of a number of criteria. For instance you can custom-filter by price. Say you only want high-end, or a certain margin; say 30% markup; or if it goes down to 10% you can set it to filter out. You can also filter by weight. Maybe an item is so heavy you would have to pay a liftgate service and/or a bulky shipping costs. You don’t, so you filter these out!  You can filter by dimensions if you only want to carry products that are within a certain range, or not over a certain size. You can even add custom fields in the supplier data. Say there’s a column for “dropship enabled” or a flag for “discontinued” or “minimum number of boxes”.

We can make custom filters for any of these. Custom filtering can be popular because doing this sort of operation manually in Excel (or whatever spreadsheet you’re using) can be very time-consuming for you or your employees. This is an area where automation really shines as it can result in substantial savings of both time and money for you and your store. You can add other fields too. Do you want to filter by title? Description? Shipping code? We can filter by just about anything!

Do you have an idea for a filter that you don’t already see on this list? Let us know! We can probably do it for you.

 

The ImageFinder

Bad supply data is everywhere. The worst is when you get products without images. How can your customers tell what they are buying if they can’t see it? E-Commerce is mysterious enough – virtual products appear online and we order them. We hope that reality matches the online experience. So why make them guess what a product looks like?

Most carts will offer you the option to hide products which do not have images. But this can sacrifice a large part of your inventory.

We have come up with a way to solve this issue with our Shopify “Image Finder” app.

The Image Finder searches everywhere to get the best images for your store. It finds them, imports them, and lets you choose the ones you like. All automatically!

This app is great when:

  • Your dropship supplier does not provide images, or has a lot of missing images
  • You want to improve the quality of your product displays
  • You want to get rid of those annoying “image not found” placeholders

This app will do the manual work for you, searching for the best match for your products. It imports a set of pictures that you can choose from. All you need to do is review the images and discard the ones you don’t like. And it runs all day, every day to fill in the gaps when you add new products.

Images are also given some SEO attention, giving your store an extra boost!

Click here to check out our Image Finder App for Shopify.

We also provide image services for WooCommerce, Magento, 3dcart, EPages, PrestaShop, Wal-Mart, BestBuy, Amazon, and many others.

TopDawg Dropship Images

TopDawg provides a data feed to keep your store catalog up-to-date.  It has CSV data with titles, categories, descriptions, prices, and other things that are typically needed. The inventory is updated on a regular basis.

The products are great but the data feed has a common problem – missing images. Lots of “Image Not Available” placeholders.

How can you sell products with placeholder images?  Or completely missing images?  It’s not easy.  Most people want to see what they are buying.

If you are using Shopify the Image Finder app can help you to find matching product images and import them into your store.  We can also provide the same thing for WooCommerce and other carts.

D&H Dropship Images

D&H provides great products.  They publish a data feed that we use to keep our client stores fresh.  It contains the product titles, descriptions, prices, and other things that are typically needed for a catalog.

But it has a common problem – missing images.

The FTP location (ftp.dandh.com) has a standard repository that dropshippers access to get the latest images.  There is a single image per product that you can match by SKU.  Taking a random look at the thumbnails we can see there are lots of placeholders:

Lots of “Image Not Available” and Lenovo brand logo images.

How can you sell products with placeholder images?  Or completely missing images?  It’s not easy.  Most people want to see what they are buying.

If you are using Shopify the Image Finder app can help you to find matching product images and import them into your store.  We can also provide the same thing for WooCommerce and other carts.

Our Boosters

What are boosters?  Our features page shows a number of added features you can add to your account.  These boosters are special purpose extras that can help you achieve your supply chain goals.

Here is an introduction to each one.

Data Feed Booster

Drop ship suppliers want their partners to sell their products. It’s why they have created a data feed in the first place. Still, it is amazing how many data feeds are *really* bad. Missing images, descriptions, titles, oh my. Sometimes these products look like the island of misfit toys.

One of the most common problems is that the data feed doesn’t provide proper variants. A variant is an option for a product that comes with a separate SKU. The textbook example is the t-shirt. They have Small, Medium, and Large variants. Color is also typically described as a variant too. Some product feeds list each variant as a separate product without *any* way to know which group they belong to.

 

Our Data Feed booster can intelligently group individual products and import them into your store. Magento calls them “Configurable Products”, WooCommerce calls them variations, Shopify calls them Variants, etc. This looks far more professional than placing three copies of the same t-shirt onto your web store.

Another common problem arises with missing product attributes. Sometimes a supplier will craftily inject these into the product description and you end up with something like this:

ADV TS BRWN SM 2658

Huh? What do you think this means? With some investigation – either by talking to the support team or by comparing other products we can expand this.

Adventure T-Shirt Brown Small Stock number 2658

And from here we can create a proper variant and attribute structure for the store.

Data Here-to-There can actually improve the quality of your data feed before it goes into your store. The Data Feed Booster adds the following functionality to your account.

– Create attributes automatically
– Sometimes we find valuable information about products in the title or description
– We can identify these and make them searchable in your store

– Generate product variants
– Build variants from flat products

– Flatten products with invalid variants
– Clean up bad variants that are in the data feed

– Create table descriptions
– We can create a nicely formatted table that can be added to your supplier’s product descriptions
– The table contains attributes and their values.

– Suppress text from descriptions
– Want to remove text from your supply data that you don’t want in you store?
– We can add text suppression to clean it up

– HTML code stripping
– Some stores don’t handle HTML encoding very well, we can remove it

– Dynamic tagging from attributes?
– Create WooCommerce or Shopify tags to facilitate advanced search, even if your supplier doesn’t have this in their data feed!

 

Continuous Curation Booster

What is Continuous Curation(tm)? It is something we have invented at Data Here-to-There.

The most important thing a store owner can do is select the right products for his store. It is what sets the store apart from others, makes it unique. The right product niche will create a reputation and a place for ongoing sales. Customers will think of that niche and go back to the store.

Setting up a new shop is exciting. Choosing products from suppliers and listing them in the store paves the way to future prosperity. It is part strategy, part luck, and a lot of creativity. When you choose products you are defining the store.

But this isn’t a one-time thing. A store owner needs to keep the store relevant, adding new products in response to their customer’s needs. Automation allows us to add new products dynamically. So how do we tell the automation system to pick the *right* products?

Suppliers are always adding new, innovative and exciting products. The simplest approach is to add all of them. But then what happens to our niche? If we add everything it’s going to lose that original spirit. Another approach is to add them manually but that could take hours.

This is why we have created Continuous Curation. Our clients are able to ensure that only the best products end up in their store. Data Here-to-There allows you to identify rules for picking products from the supplier before adding them to your store.

During our consultation process we can help you to choose products by SKU, by category, by keywords, by manufacturer, or through a custom process that fits your e-commerce strategy.

Image Booster

Pictures sell products. Online shopping poses a challenge to vendors because the customer can’t actually touch the clothes they are buying. Instead they rely on pictures and the sparse bits of text to decide if they are going to buy something.

Good pictures have impact. That’s why some marketplcaes require specific dimensions, formats, and image quality. For example, it is a common requirement to have images in 500×500 pixel resolution. Some marketplaces will simply reject images that don’t meet this specification. So if a vendor tries to import 300×500, 900×700, 1024×768, or anything else it won’t work. The Image Booster can automatically resize the images from your supplier’s data feed. We provide a wide variety of configuration options to match any marketplace’s requirements.

Sometimes you need to protect your images with a watermark. We can do that too with the Image Booster. Specify your own image to overlay to signify that it is your own.

We can also compress images to reduce the footprint on your server and speed up download times, thereby optimizing your store. This can make a big difference if you have lots of products.

What if a supplier doesn’t provide images? We can fix that too. Our system will automatically locate images based on your product data and find the best ones.

 

Web Scrape Booster

Do you have a supplier who does not provide a data feed? It’s common for smaller suppliers to simply post their products on a regular e-commerce site. They ask their vendors to copy the data from their site manually. While this is super easy for the supplier it is difficult and time consuming for vendors.

This is why we have created the Web Scrape Booster. Add this to your account to automatically grab products, images, descriptions, inventory, and more from your supplier’s web site. We will tailor it to suit the web site(s) that you want to use and keep it running. Our consulting approach is different. We don’t give you the tools and tell you to do it yourself. We listen to you and build it for you.

Web scraping is notoriously fickle. A simple change to the original web page causes a scraping algorithm to break. It is far better to get a proper data feed to avoid these issues. However, with our Web Scrape Booster we will fix these kinds of problems for you because it is included in the package.

The Web Scrape booster can also be used to obtain prices from competitor sites. We can automate the retrieval of prices and product data which can be compared to your store. We can even link this into your web site automatically – adjusting your prices to be cents below theirs. Be the most competitive while retaining a protective margin on your products.

Marketplace Booster

Common web shops like Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, and PrestaShop come by default with every standard curation account. Web shops are kept on web hosts and have their own database and store application. Marketplaces require more advanced integration and have strict API metering and sharing restrictions. Our Marketplace Booster handles these for you.

Want to reach more markets with your products? The Marketplace Booster adds the capability to reach Amazon, eBay, BigCommerce, Walmart, BestBuy, Shop.com, and more. Some of these marketplaces are brand new. Walmart is still developing standard shipping functionality and this means weekly updates to the API. Similar with BestBuy, we are adapting our system to match theirs on a regular basis. The Marketplace Booster handles this volatility for you so that you can focus on running a successful e-commerce empire.

Monitoring Booster

The standard account comes with basic auditing so that you can see how many products are updated per day. This works for most clients. However, sometimes there are many stores or suppliers that are being synchronized. That is why we provide the Monitoring Booster.

The Monitoring Booster provides you with an online portal where you can see the latest updates – changes to existing products, new products added, products which have been abandoned, and other statistics. This is provided in a simple roll-up so that you can tell at a glance that your stores are up-to-date.

The Monitoring Booster also comes with weekly email digests to keep you informed automation activities. We can include all of the products so that you can inspect them one by one or simply provide a summary.

The Monitoring Booster gives you more insight into your e-commerce empire.

Time Booster

Daily updates are usually sufficient for most e-commerce suppliers. However, sometimes it is necessary to increase the frequency during peak shopping seasons. We can boost the frequency so that your store is updated more times during the day.

Supplier/Store Booster

Every account comes with the capacity to integrate a single supplier. Add more suppliers or stores with a Supplier/Store Booster. We can tailor each supplier to your specific needs. Each additional supplier automatically includes the other boosters that you have bought.

When you add multiple suppliers to a single web store like WooCommerce it is important to properly categorize products. We can map suppliers to special categories, include manufacturer names, and even tag the products so that you can tell which products came from which supplier. We can also adjust the profit margin for each supplier to account for their pricing models.

Perhaps you want to synchronize the same inventory across multiple stores or marketplaces? We can do that as well using a Supplier/Store Booster. Keeping inventory accurate reduces oversells and automates a lot of manual work.

Shopify Image Finder

This booster is Shopify-specific.  It Find images for your products, like magic.  Our system searches for the best fitting images and imports them into your store.  You can review them for copyright, source, and other factors before accepting them.  No more “image not found” icons and no more products without images!

 

SEO Booster

Most articles online talk about SEO as a general topic.  However, there are SEO tactics which are unique to e-commerce and online shopping.  For example, we can cycle the products in your home page to show activity.  This improves the rank over an equivalent store which shows no activity.  We can also speed up page load times by optimizing your store images.  These are just a few examples of how we can optimize your store.

International Booster

Do you sell to a wide variety of countries?  Perhaps your products need to be described in multiple languages.  We can automate the synchronization of these product descriptions to your store.  Our system also provides currency conversion using a real-time exchange service.  This means that you can convert your supplier’s prices from one currency into another.  International supply chains also need warehouses in different locations.  We can link the correct data and shipping from your warehouse supplies.  Internationalization is especially easy with PrestaShop because of the native support for these features.