MerchantProductNo's / SKU's
The SKU (or MerchantProductNo) is the attribute that makes your products both unique in ChannelEngine and makes your offers unique on most marketplaces. Therefore, this is the most important attribute a product has (even more important than an EAN / GTIN, or the product name etc) and can not be changed (in ChannelEngine). Also, parent/child relations are based on SKU's (the 'child' refers to the SKU of the 'parent' product) so this may have an effect on relationships as well.
Should you submit product data in which the SKU is changed, this will lead to the creation of a new product. Depending on what type of data connection you have to ChannelEngine, this will lead to a deletion of the product with the old SKU (but in case of the API you will need to set the old product to inactive / delete it).
Most marketplaces will not accept SKU's longer than a specific amount of characters or containing special characters. Please make sure your SKU's comply with the below requirements (please note that while ChannelEngine will accept them in most cases, they can't always be used in exports causing the products to not be exported):
- Your SKU's should not be longer than 20 characters. Ok = 'HDP406WH-A-UK', not ok = 'Kenwood HDP406WH Hand Blender with multiple attachments'.
- Your SKU's should not contain special characters (like spaces, (back)slashes etc) with the exception of dashes / hyphen-minus characters ( - ). Ok = 'HDP406WH-A-UK', not ok = 'HDP/406WH A ^UK'.
- Your SKU's need to be unique. This seems logical as it's the attribute that makes products unique in ChannelEngine, however, some webshop software or order management systems do not have such a restriction. This could result in problems with the listing of items (only the first product with that SKU will be created and exported to channels) and subsequently processing orders for that SKU.
Therefore in case of such systems (like Magento, which does not have a unique constraint on SKU or EAN), we advise using the unique productId as the MerchantProductNo.
If you do not have any SKU's, a common alternative is using the EAN / GTIN as a MerchantProductNo. This does pose risks if your EAN is not unique and parent products do not have an EAN (as they are not saleable). Therefore, if you use this while having product variations, you may run into issues with setting up the relationship correctly.
In case of changing SKU's
If there is no other option then changing your SKU's (for example, if you transfer to a new warehouse management system or webshop software), please take note that this is a risky procedure. Please note that this also applies if you change the attribute mapping of your SKU in the feed mapping. This will also trigger 'new' products and deactivation of the old products.
Things to take into account:
- Make sure the 'old' products are deleted / inactive in ChannelEngine.
- Please make sure the old products do no longer comply with any product selection filters for channels.
Usually, this is automatically the case when the old products are deleted. However, if the change is for a large number of products (1000+) and the marketplaces does not support any bulk calls (like eBay and Wish) it will take a while before the old product offers are deleted. During that time something might go wrong, which could lead to 'ghost products'.
- Once all the old offers are deleted, then and only then start exporting the new products to channels so offers are created for the new SKU.