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Import: Merge files - Merging supplemental files with your primary import source

Sarah Bacchus
Sarah Bacchus
  • Updated

What is a merge file?

Merge files – or supplemental data files – are secondary data sources that allow you to add additional products or product data attributes to your catalog without adding or modifying data in your store platform.

Merge files are a great way to add additional data to your existing catalog that may not be set up at the import source level. Some users also use this to complete A/B testing on certain feed attribute fields. 

Essentially, merge files can add to/update your primary source data – without altering your import source data -- so you can better optimize your feeds. Refer to the requirements, best practices, and import directions below to effectively tune your data via merge file.

 

 

Example merge file templates in Google Sheets

The table below shows some examples of how merge files can be used. Use the 'Make a copy' link to get your own copy in Google Sheets. Next, we'll show you how to prepare the file in Google Sheets to be used as a merge file.

 1. Add or override custom labels for campaign management

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

 2. Add or override promotion IDs for retail promotions

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

 3. Optimized versions of attributes like titles or descriptions - great for A/B testing specified attribute fields

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

 4. Adding missing data like item specifics or additional attributes

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

 5. Exclude products from feeds using a column as a flag for filters

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

 6. Add missing GTINs

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

 7. Providing costs like COGS, variable overhead, returns and shipping, return rate, cancellations, LTV

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

 8. Add product categories from Google's taxonomy

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

 10. Flag priority, like Hot versus Weak items

 GoogleSheets.png Make a copy

Creating a merge file: requirements & best practices

The first step is to prepare your data file. 

In the spreadsheet editor of your choice, like Google Sheets or Excel, you’ll first create a unique identifier column – which is used to join this file to your source data – and the additional columns of data that you want merged into the product catalog on import. Read how to set these up below.

Unique Identifier (SKU) column

  • Our system merges data using the source field name that is mapped to the “SKU” system field, which can be found in the app in the 'Import' tab > 'Mapping' page.

    sku system field.png

    Include your source field name that is mapped to the SKU system field as part of the naming convention for the first column in the merge file. So for example you would title the first column of the merge file: SKUMerge, and in this column include all of the SKUs you would like to submit additional data for.
  • This field is case-sensitive.
  • The unique identifier values in both the primary source and any merge files must be unique, not a global product identifier.
  • Avoid blank unique identifiers.

Additional attribute columns

  • The rest of your file will contain the additional product data you would like to bring into GoDataFeed, so for example a column to use as a filter flag, improved product titles, values for campaign custom labels, etc.
  • Each column name should be unique from any other column name in your source or other merge files to avoid overriding data.
  • You can import a maximum of 200 fields -- this includes all fields from the primary source and any/all merge files -- and IF you have more columns than that, then our system will still import data, but you will be missing any columns beyond the limit. If needed, you can choose which fields are imported via your import mapping (see 'Import' tab > 'Mapping' page).

Accepted file formats

Your merge file must be in one of the following file formats:

  1. CSV
  2. TXT
  3. XML (Google or GoDataFeed schema)

Next, we’ll discuss how to host and import your merge file into GoDataFeed.

 



Hosting and importing your merge file

Once you have your data file ready to merge, you will need to host the file so our system may retrieve is either from FTP/SFTP or HTTP. You can also easily use a published Google Sheets CSV and merge using HTTP.

  1. Using Google Sheets (easiest method)⭐

    Google Sheets is the fastest and easiest method of creating and uploading merge files, but please note that your file will be unprotected - the Google provided URL is publicly available to anyone with the URL.

    Once you have your merge file ready, simply publish it to a CSV file. 

    After you have successfully imported your Google Sheet, any changes you make to the sheet going forward will import into GoDataFeed on your existing import schedule -- so we will import your primary source data along with merge file data at the same time. If you need to import changes before your next scheduled import time, simply click into the 'Import' tab and click the 'Import' button in the left-side menu card. 

  2. Using HTTP

    As previously stated, going the Google Sheets route is a variant of the generic HTTP import option. If you’re hosting your merge file on some other medium, you can always use whichever relevant URL you have for your file.
  3. Using FTP/SFTP

    When importing a merge file via FTP/SFTP, you’ll be configuring GoDataFeed to pull the file from your preferred FTP location.

    FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is one method to send files over the web. You can use any FTP location, but if you don’t have one, GoDataFeed provides one for every store. 

    Once your file is ready to upload, you will need to use an FTP client like Filezilla or WinSCP to upload the file to the FTP location. 

 


When to use Stack Merge

If we cannot match a SKU from the merge file to a SKU in your source data, then we will append it to the end of your imported catalog and only the merge data will be available in GoDataFeed. 

This might happen if a SKU is no longer being imported from your source data or if the merge file is using a different unique identifier than what is mapped to the system field 'SKU' in GoDataFeed. 

We do not recommend enabling stack merge unless it is required for what you are trying to do with merge files, like if you are combining multiple product files from suppliers. If left enabled, appended rows of old SKUs may cause you to reach your product allotment max.

 


 

Review and verify your merged product data

Remember, you should download and review your product catalog after the import is complete.

Navigate to the 'Import' tab > 'Catalog' > click “Download” from left-side menu > open the downloaded. csv file to make sure all of your data has merged as intended. You will find the merge file fields (column names) are automatically mapped to the next available custom fields in the import mapping table (see the 'Import' > 'Mapping' page).

Contact our support team if you have questions about merge files

Open support ticket

 

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