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How to Channel Your Inner PIM: Helpful Hints for Achieving Syndication Zen

January 26, 2021

When contemplating the Akeneo platform, there are a few considerations before deciding how many channels your product information management (PIM) system requires.

What comes to mind when you think of a PIM channel?

Where are you selling? Who are you selling to? How are you getting products to market? What type of information do you want customers to see?

All are great questions as you begin your journey on this PIM path.

Let’s break it down. The key concept to remember; a selling channel does not always equal an Akeneo channel.

Clear as mud? Don’t worry. It’s time to sit back, take a deep breath, and clear your mind as we explore channels together.

First, what is an Akeneo channel?

According to Akeneo, a channel defines a selection of products and information to export.

*Insider Insight: Akeneo also references a channel as Scope in case that comes up in discussion.

What, then, is a sales channel?

This defines how and where you are selling products. Examples of sales channels include an eCommerce website, a physical store, print catalog, mobile app, and/or marketplace (Amazon, eBay, Walmart).

In summary… an Akeneo channel defines the products and type of information you are exporting, while a sales channel determines the location where your products will live for end user consumption.

Focusing on a Few Channel Examples

A few scenarios determine why you may need additional channels:

  • Does your attribute content differ from one [selling channel] to another?
  • Do you need a different selection of products for downstream destinations (i.e., print catalog, mobile site, or Amazon)?
  • Do you have different completeness requirements based on selling destinations?

As I mention completeness, this is an important and valuable concept to understand as it is critical to the end user’s perception of your product data. Completeness defines the required attributes needed before a product can be published (to a channel). The value of completeness is measured from within your product families. For more information on completeness, check out Akeneo’s documentation.

During practice, bhavana is our continued contemplation and meditation. Here are some channel examples on which to meditate.

If you have an eCommerce website, AND a mobile app for your retail store.

You will need multiple Akeneo channels IF:

  • You have long product descriptions for eCommerce and short, succinct descriptions for the mobile application. Because these are the SAME attribute but DIFFERENT values, that would require separate channels.
  • The mobile app is for US shoppers only, so certain products that are sold on eCommerce will not be available here.
  • You have a different requirement for completeness for eCommerce to mobile. For example, you may require 40 attributes to be visible on the website, but only 25 for the mobile version.

Your sales channels are Shopify, Amazon, and Wal-Mart.

Does this mean you need to set up three channels in Akeneo? No. Here’s why:

  • All attribute values are the same in this case. In other words, the product content is the same for each channel. Therefore, there is no need for a different image or description for each destination.
  • An API sends this product data to external web services. The products need only one Akeneo channel even though there are three separate destinations.
  • Side note, each destination has the same completeness requirements so they will all be enriched with the same information!

If you are still questioning channels when you are researching or starting up an Akeneo PIM project, you can reach out to Sitation, an Akeneo Gold Partner with the largest team of Akeneo-certified developers and implementation specialists in North America! Our goal as a system implementer is to get you up and running with your PIM successfully and within your control.

Understanding critical concepts from the get-go will help achieve PIM nirvana knowing that you are on the right track.

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