Product Syndication

Intershop Commerce Management provides two mechanisms for distributing products across channels: product sharing and product syndication. For a general introduction, see Product Sharing vs. Product Syndication.

With product syndication, sales channels can derive master products from parent sales or partner organizations. The master products are actually copied to the channel repositories. Copied (or derived) products are sometimes also called "offers".

Products are stored in product repositories.

  • Each sales or partner organization can set up a master product repository. From the master repositories, products can be derived into the available channel repositories.

  • Channel repositories are defined in the context of a channel. Each channel has a channel product repository. The channel repository contains the products to be made available to customers or partners.

Using master and channel repositories, products can flow down the demand chain: from the sales organization to customers and sales partners, from the sales partners to indirect resellers, and so on.

Product syndication involves the following general workflow:

  • Define Attribute Mapping Rules

    Product syndication requires the mapping of attributes (standard product attributes, catalog assignments, prices, etc.) of the original source product into attributes of a target product (offer). Attribute mapping is governed by product data mapping rules.

  • Select Products for Syndication

    Products can be derived in different ways and from different repositories, depending on whether you derive products into a master repository or a channel repository.

  • Manage Synchronization

    Synchronization ensures that derived products remain synchronized with their sources in case the sources are updated.

For details about executing syndication processes, see Product Syndication and Synchronization.

Attribute Mapping Rules

Product syndication requires the mapping of attributes (standard product attributes, catalog assignments, prices, etc.) of the original source product into attributes of the derived product.

Figure 1. Attribute mapping rules
Attribute mapping rules

The simplest mapping operation is to copy the value of a source product attribute into the same attribute of the target product. A more complex operation is to copy a source product attribute into a different attribute of the target product or, even more complex, to manipulate the attribute value before storing it into the target product, such as calculating a margin on a product price or translate the name of a product into another language.

Tip: If no mapping rules are defined, the following attributes are copied automatically (via copy 1:1): seller ID, product image, product thumbnail, short description, and product price.

Different rule sets can be defined depending on the source repository from which products are derived. Each rule set enables you to specify the following:

Table 1. Attribute mapping rules
Data Description
ID Defines whether product ID's for seller, supplier and manufacturer are copied, and if so, whether they are copied as-is, or with a prefix and/or suffix added.
Attributes Defines (for each attribute) whether the attribute is to be copied as-is, or to be mapped onto a different attribute. Attributes for which no mapping rule is defined are not mapped at all.
Attribute Groups This option makes it possible to automatically synchronize all attributes that belong to a certain attribute group. With this option, attribute values are always copied as-is.
Category Defines whether category assignments are preserved. This option is only applicable in case products are syndicated from a master repository into a channel repository. This option also presumes that the master catalogs to which the category assignments relate have been shared to the respective channel.
Classifications Defines whether assignments to classification systems (such as eCl@ss and UN/SPSC) are preserved. This option is only applicable in case the classification system is available for the current repository as well.
Attachments Defines whether attachments to a product (such as data sheets) are preserved. Attachments can be copied or be defined as link to the original data source.
Assignments Defines whether product bundle, retail set and variation assignments are preserved when syndication takes place.
Price Price can be copied as-is, or be mapped to a different currency using a certain exchange rate. Note that for each target currency, only one rule can be defined. In addition, you can define a surcharge or discount that applies when copying or mapping prices.
Links Defines whether settings for product links of the original data source are preserved. Note that links to other products are preserved only in case the products in question have been syndicated as well.

Synchronization

Synchronization ensures that derived products remain synchronized with their source products in case the sources are updated. You can define individually for each source repository whether synchronization should be triggered manually in Commerce Management, or via an automated job at regular intervals.

Synchronization can be set to:

  • Apply to all products in the source repository, regardless of whether source data have changed (Synchronize All).

    This option is used, for example, in case product data mapping rules have changed, requiring a synchronization over the entire set of products.

  • Apply to only those products in the source repository which have been modified.

    This option is used to apply changes in the source repository to the syndicated products.

You can use the product history to track updated, changed or added products in accessible source repository. In addition, differences between source and derived products are automatically tracked by the system.

The synchronization process runs as a batch process. Updates are applied automatically.

Note: Depending on the type and the configuration of the Intershop Commerce Management system and the amount of data to be changed, a bulk operation (e.g., batch processes, import and export processes, audit reports) may cause negative effects on the system performance or the data consistency. Contact your Intershop Commerce Management system administrator before triggering a bulk operation.