Don't Cross Contaminate Data

This is a fairly important point so I thought I would write a whole article about it. I've said it time and time again in other posts so I thought I would clarify exactly what cross contamination in product data actually is. Cross contamination means you are not supplying product data in the right fields.


Example 1 of Cross Contamination

Lets say we have data like this:

Price 1Price 2Price 3Price 4Price 5
Not Available 1.20 1.15 1.10 1.05
This text will either stop the product importing, or worse case scenario will stop the whole data set importing.
This field should have no text in it.  Its used for + - / * equations which will not work if you put text into the field.  If its not available then start your prices from the next price break...

Example 2 of Cross Contamination

Another example below. if its pallet rate... tell us the pallet rate.

Delivery Cost 1Delivery Cost 2Delivery Cost 3Delivery Cost 4Delivery Cost 5
13.00 20.00 25.00 35.00 Pallet Rate Applies Please Call
This text will either stop the product importing, or worse case scenario will stop the whole data set importing.

Example 3 of Cross Contamination

Using product data in product titles and descriptions.

Product NameProduct Description
30mm Plastic Diameter Keyring in Blue These 30mm diameter keyrings come in blue, pink red, brown, green etc. They are available in only 10 days from artwork approval and price includes a 1 colour print.

This kind of data should not form part of the Name or Description. I know its difficult to come up with a description that is not actual product data but give it a try anyway! if you provide the data in separate fields then at least your client can then combine the data into their own descriptions using the CONCATENATE function in excel.

Example 4 of Cross Contamination

This one is to do with images.  We are not picking on this supplier, we’re just using it as an example.  Below is an image for a 30cm ruler, along with it is a 15cm ruler.
The product data contained in the image field uses the same file name for both products.  And also the same image. This is the wrong way to do this for a few reasons.
  • First off who wants to have the same image on their site for 2,3,4 or more products. it looks messy.
  • If you are supplying your data to trade only, promoserve, sourcing city or sourcing machine etc. Then they all, as do we, create their own product codes and as such the images are usually renamed to match their own product codes. If you have a 2-3 products using the same image then when the files are renamed there will be missing images as the same file name cannot share the same directory.
Basically its quite important to only use 1 image per product and have that image named as per the product code. If you have to have the same image for multiple products and there is no way around it then at least create copies of that image which are in a directory and match the product code of the version it represents. 

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