Doba

Inventory and Supplier Feeds

Inventory and Supplier Feeds

  1. How often is inventory updated?

    Inventory is updated on the supplier basis. You can see the average time between updates by suppliers on each suppliers’ Scorecard:



    As the inventory updates are determined by the supplier, it is often a different schedule for each supplier. As long as you are running inventory updates a couple times daily, you should avoid most issues. If you run inventory updates on a quicker schedule, it will be better for your business in the long run.

    For FTP inventory updates, see the section above entitled “How often do my files get updated?

     
  2. How often can I update my inventory? What is the best method?

    Doba gets updates from the suppliers generally during the hours of 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Mountain Time. That accounts for the “9:00 am-5:00 pm” warehouse operation hours within the various timezones of the contiguous US. However, we also have some international suppliers (check the “Primary Location” field of the Suppliers page) that likely send us updates outside of those hours.

    Each of the suppliers generally send Doba a couple of inventory updates daily, at a minimum. Those inventory updates are usually not strictly based on a schedule, but could be triggered for various reasons. Some suppliers will only update inventory on sales or expiration of goods. Other suppliers may send Doba their entire list of products in an inventory feed as they do counts at various points in the day. There are many reasons for best practices for inventory feeds on the supplier end.

    With that in mind, we recommend that you update your inventory often. If possible and your application allows, you should at least do daily inventory updates. If your application can handle updates more often, do them as often as you can without causing your business or your customers any problems.

    For API users, we recommend updating inventory in batches, perhaps based on an inventory list or an array of item_ids. For FTP users, we recommend updating inventory based on categories or the requirements that you have given us in your private folder. For UI-only users, we recommend updating inventory based on inventory lists or saved searches saved within your account specifically from the Data Export page.

     
  3. What is included in a standard inventory feed?

    The item_id, ship_cost, price, prepay_price, qty_avail, and stock. The

    item_id - integer(11) - The item ID is the unique identifier for the item or product.
ship_cost - float(9,2) - This is an expected cost for shipping this product in a single item order. The cost could change depending on the shipping address, shipping method, and quantity ordered.
price - float(9,2) - The purchase price of the item. This is also known as wholesale price.
prepay_price - float(9,2) - The purchase price of the item if funded via Doba PrePay.
qty_avail - integer(11) - Number of product available for purchase. Current stock available.
stock - enum("in-stock", "out-of-stock", "discontinued") - Only purchasable if "in-stock".

For more information go to the following link:
http://www.doba.com/developer/20110301/api_introduction_retailer.php#data_export_item_definition

 
  1. How can I get more images for the products?

    Images of the items are given to Doba by the suppliers. Doba does not modify or remove any images. Doba provides the images as the suppliers provide them.

    If images are incomplete or lacking, we recommend giving feedback to the supplier through the “Tell us about it” link beneath the image of each product.



    When you click on the link you can provide feedback about the images specifically:



    There are other options to get better images as well. You could purchase the item yourself and take pictures. This method is a good practice because you own the images, you will never run into copyright issues and as a nice side effect you can get a review out of the product and still resell it, if you wanted.

    The other option is to pay for a service that gives you more information such as semantics3.com or Klee Studio. These services require data validation to make sure that you are matching to the correct items. As long as you can do that correctly, services such as those will be useful to you, if only for the images.

     
  2. How can I get more higher resolution images for the products?

    Images for items are provided by the suppliers. If they are not high enough resolution, you may request higher resolutions through the “Tell us about it link” on the product and make the request. You can also place a test order on the product, receive the product,and take high resolution images yourself. The last option is to pay for a service that gives you product data including images such as semantics3.com or Klee Studio.

     
  3. How can I get rid of the discontinued items in my inventory?

    Discontinueds items in your inventory list will look like this:



    You can get rid of the items via a few different methods. To get rid of the items via the UI, you can select them one-by-one if you select the checkbox and then click on the remove button at the top of the screen.

    You can also use the Advanced Filters on the left-hand side of the page and select the “Discontinued” status from the options in the “Status” filter. That will effectively remove all items that are not discontinued.


    At this point, you can “Select All” and then “Remove” all of the items simultaneously.

    If you would like to do this via the API, you can use the “getProductInventory” method in conjunction with the “editList” method. First you will use the “getProductInventory” method using the “list_id” parameter to go through the inventory list inventory counts and also provide the “stock” (this will state ‘in-stock’, ‘out-of-stock’, or ‘discontinued’). Using that stock tag to count the items that are ‘discontinued’ and saving the item_ids provided will allow you to create an array of ‘item_ids_to_remove’ that could be used with the “editList” method. You then would then use the same “list_id” parameter from the getProductInventory method with your editList method and provide the list of ‘item_ids_to_remove’.

    The following is an example of the editList method to remove the discontinued items from inventory:

    <dce>
     <request>
       <authentication>
         <username>username</username>
         <password>password</password>
       </authentication>
       <action>editList</action>
       <list_id>2197219</list_id>
       <item_ids_to_remove>
         <item>3209903</item>
         <item>27074495</item>
         <item>35284597</item>
         <item>5074005</item>
         <item>29158032</item>
       </item_ ids_to_remove>
     </request>
    </dce>

    If you are using the FTP for product and inventory updates, you will need to address the discontinued items in a different manner: you will need to remove the items via Excel (or an Excel-like program), a text editor, or a script.

     
  4. If an item goes discontinued, will it ever come back in stock?

    There are a few reasons for the ‘discontinued’ status and a number of scenarios where it is applicable.

    The first scenario is that the manufacturer discontinues manufacturing the item. That would discontinue that version or model of the product. In that scenario, it is highly unlikely that the item will ever come back in-stock. Doba leaves the item in the catalog and allows it to be searchable for 90 days before it is removed from the catalog. The item is still searchable within Doba’s database by our Customer Service team. If there are any questions, you may ask them through the “Help Center” within your account.

    The second scenario is that a supplier that distributes the item decides to no longer carry the item. It becomes discontinued for the supplier only. The item may still be available or later become available through a different supplier within Doba. Although unlikely, the supplier may reverse that decision and start to carry the ‘discontinued’ item again. That would mean the supplier could either bring the item back under the same SKU and item_id or create a brand new SKU and item_id for it. No matter the case, if an item goes discontinued, Doba will leave the item in the catalog and allow it to be searchable for 90 days before being removed from the catalog.

    The third scenario is that a supplier gets a new model of the same product and discontinues the old model. The SKU, MPN, and UPC usually get updated in this scenario and the old, ‘discontinued’ version of the item will be sold until it is out-of-stock. In this scenario, the item has not truly been discontinued, but rather has been updated.
    The fourth scenario is that there is a problem with the item and the supplier discontinues the item based on an emergency. This can happen with a recall, pricing change, change in brand or ownership, etc. The specific reasons may vary, but the general occurrence is a rare emergency. In this scenario, the item will be discontinued until a solution is reached. Once that happens, the item is brought back in stock. If no reasonable solution is found, the item is added to the catalog again with necessary changes or updates under a brand new SKU with item_id.

     
  5. Am I required to only use what the supplier gives or can I modify that data?

    Doba’s Terms of Use indicate the following around the use of the supplier data:

    “Doba and its supplier and distribution partners reserve ownership and copyright to all materials published by Doba. Reproductions and alterations of individual product images and descriptions may be used for marketing & reselling purposes. You must receive written consent from Doba for any other use or any modification of product images and other copyrighted materials. Doba allows its members to resell the products we have from our suppliers.”

    “Doba diligently strives to provide as accurate information as possible. However, as all specifications and descriptions are provided by the supplier of the product, Doba makes no warranty expressed or implied with respect to accuracy of the information, including price, product descriptions or product specifications. Both the product and manufacturer names are used only for the purpose of identification. Members are responsible for making sure the product information is correct prior to selling any products from this site with the product’s respective Manufacturers.”

    “Manufacturer may require strict adherence and how their intellectual property is advertised. As such, some products may only be advertised at a Minimum Advertised Price (referred to herein as MAP). For all products under a MAP agreement, we will provide two prices: the wholesale cost and MAP. As a reseller, you agree to never advertise any products protected by a MAP agreement to end consumers for less than the MAP price. Products with a MAP will be clearly marked with an asterisk. Under no circumstances shall Doba or any other party involved in creating, distributing, or supplying products for Doba be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages that result from, products purchased from Doba. It is the reseller’s responsibility to verify with the manufacturer, any product information, images and descriptions prior to marketing any and all products. Product images are subject to change at anytime and are not to be construed as exact representations of any products ordered since the manufacturers can change their products at any time without any notice.”

    As long as you abide by that agreement, you can make the modifications you see necessary for your business. If there are any questions beyond that, please feel free to contact our Customer Service team for specifics through the “Help Center”.

     
  6. Does Doba modify or validate the data the supplier provides?

    Doba uses a standardized catalog. Most of the suppliers do not follow this format normally. Doba must rearrange the data they provide in order to make all supplier data seem similar. On occasion, this may mean duplicating or separating data out of a single attribute given by the supplier and adding it to the proper Doba attribute.

    Depending upon the requests of the supplier, we may modify the quantity available (‘qty_avail’ attribute) to be a lesser amount. This is usually done in order to mitigate risks involved with the drop-ship model.

    Doba’s “Terms of Use” indicate the following about the supplier data:

    “Doba diligently strives to provide as accurate information as possible. However, as all specifications and descriptions are provided by the supplier of the product, Doba makes no warranty expressed or implied with respect to accuracy of the information, including price, product descriptions or product specifications. Both the product and manufacturer names are used only for the purpose of identification. Members are responsible for making sure the product information is correct prior to selling any products from this site with the product’s respective Manufacturers.”

     
  7. In addition to being a retailer, can I also sell products through Doba?

    Yes, you can also be a supplier. If you provide products that our current catalog doesn’t carry, or if you can provide better pricing than our current suppliers, apply to become a supplier. The services and membership fees are listed in the “Choose the Best Plan for Your Business section of the “Supply” page.

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