Channels: Categorisation

Categorisation is something that is mandatory for using some channels (like eBay or Spartoo) and can be used to create (or update) product information on other channels (like Amazon or bol.com). Categorisation is needed to 'translate' your categories to the specific categories (or product types) on a marketplace. In some cases your own categories are a 1-on-1 match, but often the level of detail doesn't match (so either your category is too specific in comparison with the marketplace product type or reverse) or the category tree is in a completely different language.

Categories vs product types

An important distinction which is often overlooked is that the first level of categorisation is often based on the product type and not the detailed sub-sub-category you might see on the marketplace itself. Good examples of this are both Amazon and Bol.com. First you map your own category to the relevant product type. Based on that specific type, the 'recommend browse node' (in case of Amazon) or the 'type of product' (in case of Bol) will be available later in the content mapping. So you might map your shoulder bag to the generic 'Bags' first, but in the content mapping you can map your item to the specific type such as ' shoulder bag' or 'backpack'.

Category mapping

If your products have categories then you can start right away with mapping the categories. In the example below bol.com is used, but the principle is the same for every channel (with the exception of API, custom or affiliate channels - in most cases they will not have any categorisation option).

Click on the channel in ChannelEngine you want to start mapping. Navigate to the tab " Categorisation".

  • On the left you will see your own categories. Next to these categories, you'll see numbers, which indicates how many products have this same category. Note: If your products do not have categories this list will be empty, but you will still be able to use 'Rules' to map to categories. This will however be handled later in this guide.
  • On the right you can see empty bars. Here you have to fill in the categories of the channel. The intention is that you link your own categories to the categories of the channel. This can be done by looking up your category in the bar, you will get a drop down with the categories that contain the typed word(s). To limit the number of results, results will be loaded and displayed as soon as the third character is entered.
  • There is an option to get an overview of all categories of the marketplace. Select ‘Browse’ at the bottom of the screen to see this overview. Word of warning: most marketplaces have a huge list of categories, so it can take a few seconds to load.
  • There is also an option ‘Map automatically’. When you select this button all your categories are checked for a matching category based on the name. Keep in mind that this is a suggestion, always check if the right category has been mapped. This feature will only work for categories in Dutch and English. If the categories of the online marketplace are, for example, in French, this feature won’t work.
Figure 1: Overview of the category mapping screen.

If you want to check which products there are in your own categories, select your category to get an overview. 

Rules for categorisation

If your category isn’t deep (specific) enough and you have/want to split it up, you can do this by creating a rule. For example, you can still split “bags” into “shoulder bags” and “backpacks”. Go to the category you want to separate, if you hover over it you’ll see a button (+ Rule) appear. You can also create a rule right away at the top of the mapping screen.

Figure 2: Overview + Rule function.


You will then see the rule (see image above) with the category prelisted. Here you can apply a rule based on one or more attributes so all complying products are included.

Example: The title of the product always states when it is a shoulder bag, then you can create a rule “IF 'name' CONTAINS 'shoulder bag' use ->  (category) shoulder bag”.

Please note: Rules are applied over regular categorisation. Please make sure that rules don't include other products that might be mapped to the wrong category due to this rule.