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I am working with an eCommerce company that has outgrown their hacked together backend for managing inventory, pricing and feeds to various shopping engines (Yahoo, 3d cart, Amazon, etc.). They currently manage about 12,000 skus and are doing $40M in revenue.

Their internal people are working on a new Magento solution, but that is six months away and they need to replace/improve their current solution in order to hold them over. Their current solution was developed by two people who have left the company.

What tools/architecture do other eCommerce sites use to manage their inventory, pricing, product descriptions and feed generation for the shopping engines?

The current solution looks like this:

  1. Inventory, pricing and product descriptions are maintained in a database and in NetSuite by employees

  2. New products are added to the database via import

  3. Twice a week data is extracted into a giant Excel spreadsheet

  4. The Excel file adjusts pricing based on some simple algorithms

  5. The Excel file exports about six different csv feeds which are manually uploaded to Amazon, 3d cart, Yahoo, Google and Merchant Advantage

    1. Each feed is a variant of the product which different field names and formatting

    2. Pricing levels differ between feeds

    3. Some products are not sent to all feeds

  6. Orders are manually parsed and the inventory is adjusted as needed once product is sold

The new solution should:

  1. Import data from ODBC, CSV and NetSuite (CSV via ftp)

  2. Apply pricing changes via simple algorithms (< $80 add $10, > $200 add $25)

  3. Ensure margins are being met

  4. Format and generate a bunch of CSV and XML feeds

  5. Perhaps upload feeds to shopping engines automatically

What I need to do is replace the Excel file with something that is maintainable and automated. Something in the .Net stack is preferable but not mandatory.

I’ve been looking at BizTalk but it may take too long to develop and deploy.

Any suggestions?

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1 Answer 1

There are some great plugins for magento to create datafeeds to match any format needed. There's no turn key program which does that it's usually plugins integrated with the shopping cart. Your best bet would be to setup Magento on a private domain purchase and install one of the datafeed plugins and have a few developers focus on migrating the products into this magento store strictly to keep generating datafeeds.

Leave that run and shift focus back to developing the new magento store once the design is ready you can import the products from the development site to your live site.

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We have seven websites plus feeds to shopping engines and Amazon. Using Magento as the "hub" doesn't make sense does it? –  rboarman Oct 18 '12 at 17:05
1  
Magento can manage multiple domains, different products and prices for each. You can have any number of feeds created from each site to meet the field requirements for whoever you're submitting to. If that's the priority i'd get a quick site up and figure out how to import all your products first to continue generating the feeds before you work on a theme for the front end. –  Anagio Oct 18 '12 at 17:07
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With $40M in revenue they should spend some money and get db engineers to help write queries to get the products and variations into Magento. Check out hybridforge.com/ecommerce-implementation/data-migration.php –  Anagio Oct 18 '12 at 17:12

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