Constructor’s product discovery platform requires a regularly updated product feed to serve timely and accurate results. Constructor’s machine learning and AI algorithms combine this feed with the behavioral data generated by your users to provide optimized, personalized results.
The feed only needs to include data that's relevant for powering the Constructor features you're using. This generally includes things like a product name, URL, image URL, description, keywords, and any other metadata you'd like shown in results (price, user ratings, etc). Frequently, products are part of a category hierarchy, which can also be sent.
There are two primary ways of integrating your feed with the Constructor platform:
- By sending a full or partial feed via FTPS or API at regular intervals
- By integrating with Constructor’s REST API for item-by-item updates
There are no defined requirements about the frequency of updates for either method -- this is generally a function of how often your product catalog changes.
Constructor provides an FTPS server and API endpoint to its customers to upload full or incremental feeds at arbitrary intervals. Many customers have existing integrations with third-party vendors that include regular feed uploads, and Constructor can easily integrate with these existing systems.
Both full and incremental (delta) feeds are fully supported. Constructor recommends sending a full sync daily with incremental delta or patch delta updates throughout the day to reflect inventory and other intraday changes. The frequency of the delta and patch delta updates are at the customer's discretion based on their business needs however sending updates more frequently than every 5 minutes is not recommended.
An FTPS or API catalog integration is the recommended approach for product feed integration due to its simplicity and speed of setup.
Constructor also offers a full REST API to support additions, deletions, and changes to a product catalog. This can be useful if customers have existing API-driven systems and/or require complex logic that’s hard to support with a standard product feed.
However, this approach requires back-end coding on the part of the customer and is consequently more time-consuming to implement.
Comparing the Approaches
Based on extensive integration experience across many customers, Constructor recommends an FTPS or API catalog integration for its simplicity and speed. There are a number of advantages to an FTPS approach:
- Customers often have existing feeds being sent to third parties, and there is little work involved in creating another one.
- An item-by-item REST API integration involves a number of complexities:
- Requests should be batched to avoid accidentally hammering Constructor’s servers, and batching logic can be difficult to implement correctly within existing systems.
- Retry logic should be implemented in the event of a network failure, and this can also be difficult to implement within existing systems.