Custom Feed / Channel
'Custom' channels offer a way to create a custom feed (or channel) for non-standard plugin purposes. So if you, for example, want to create a product feed specifically for an affiliate channel that is not available as a channel, you can use a custom channel for this.
/ Main uses for a custom channel:
- Create a custom feed for a click & ad/affiliate website.
- Use a custom feed for reporting purposes (if part of your product information comes from a different system, this can be used to check or use this data).
- Use a custom feed to forward specific products/data to a third party (for example for a custom listing of your products on a third-party website).
- Use a custom channel as a base for a new API channel.
Setting up every channel in ChannelEngine follows the same steps/flow (even a custom channel/feed):
- Adding the channel
- Filling in the required settings on the 'Setup' tab
- Creating a product selection
- Setting up the mapping (content / offer)
- Activating the channel (this enables all tasks like generating the product feed)
- The 'Listed Product' overview (normally this is where you can see the status of a product, however, this will be limited with feeds as there is no channel feedback).
You can easily change the name and logo of the custom channel to make it easier to identify (especially handy if you want to use several custom channels / feeds).
Once you have created and saved a product selection for your custom channel / feed (and activated the channel), it can take up to 1 hour before a product feed is generated (as the task to do this is run once every hour). You can find the specific feed URL in the product selection overview, in both XML as CSV format.
Custom channels do not have any specific categorisation mapping as some marketplace channels, because there is no fixed category tree to map to. However, it is possible to 'map' attributes in the content mapping section (including the exported category).
While almost all attributes are labelled required (because they are mandatory CE attributes), you can leave attributes empty in the mapping. They will still be included in the export / feed, but will remain empty in the export. It is currently not possible to rename or add 'custom' attributes and exclude product extra data attributes, they will always be included in the generated feed. In the nearby future, we want to make it possible to give more options in selecting attributes and (header)names.
If you want to include specific attributes in a custom channel / feed, it is important that these attributes are marked as public. The public status for custom (or product extra data) fields can be managed via the custom field management screen (Products > Custom fields).
You can change the Is public status bu selecting the pencil and setting it to enabled. More information on custom field management can be found here. If an attribute is set to public, it will automatically be included in the product feed generated for the custom channel (these custom fields are grouped in an element named 'ExtraData').
It is possible to add price rules or currency conversion to the 'Price' field for the channel / feed by setting this up in the 'Pricing' section.
It is necessary to activate the channel in order to have a feed generated, so don't forget to do this. After activation, it can take up to an hour before the feed is generated for the first time.
One of the features of a custom channel is that it offers (channel) API access. This can be used to initially develop and test a (custom) channel plugin, which can be used later by us to convert it to a fixed 'channel plugin'. You can see all available calls on your tenant url with /api/swagger begin it, for example https://demo.channelengine.net/api/swagger/index.html.
Make sure you check the data-flow for channels as well, an important step that is often overlooked is 'acknowledging' a product with your own channel product number in order to mark it as 'listed' on our end. This is why you can use the generated product feed to read in product data, but you will still need to acknowledge these products in order to create orders (as that requires your channel product number).