Managing prices and product availability in TecDoc webshops

Price management can be resource intensive when the site needs to process hundreds of thousands of items from several suppliers in different formats.
Integrating TecDoc webservice API in your webshop gives you access to millions of parts. You may not be able or want to sell all of them but you will have at least 2-300 thousand products for which you have prices from own ERP or from suppliers. 
Keeping the prices updated is a key feature for your online spare parts shop success. Going to market with wrong prices will not be a force driving your business development forward.
The two most common ways that prices are provided are data file transfer over FTP or other file transfer methods and direct API connection. I will not advocate for one or the other because my opinion is that they both have their place and work best when used together. It's best to have over night list processing for bulk updates and API methods that allow quick and real time price update from suppliers or ERP.
Each supplier developed a way to organize the price information to his partners and usually it's little or not at all standardised. This means that the webshop will have to adjust and use the data in the format it gets. The supplier will not change the file type from text to excel because your site can't process text files and formatting the data every time you receive an update quickly gets tedious.
Associating the price to the correct product is very important. We do this by using product code and manufacturer title pair as unique identifier for the product. This method is not perfect but has a high accuracy rate. The most issues we had with this aproach were with prices that were not saved and not with prices being associated with the wrong product. Prices not being saved usually is caused by the supplier modifying the manufacturer title or code. For these situations rules cand be set up to correct the changes.
One product can have prices from multiple suppliers. In most cases we need the site to show the lowest price to the customer but there are exceptions to this rule. It is possible to have the lowest price from a supplier that doesn't have the product in stock. This issue can lead to decreasing profit margins. If we have accurate stock information from all or most of suppliers then it's better to show the lowest price from the supplier that has the product in stock. The price management solution we implement in the webshops we develop using TecDoc webservice API adapts to the supplier format, uses both API and price files, allows showing the smallest price and setting rules for correcting the code and manufacturer title.
For more information about how we deal with price management feel free to contact us.

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Daniel Ispas

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