Hikashop Google Products Plugin Missing Variants?

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5 years 5 months ago #126105

-- url of the page with the problem -- : waughhd.com/
-- HikaShop version -- : 2.2.1
-- Joomla version -- : 2.5.14
-- PHP version -- : 5.3.27
-- Browser(s) name and version -- : Google Chrome
-- Error-message(debug-mod must be tuned on) -- : None provided

When I utilize the Hikashop Google Products Plugin and click on "Trigger" to download and manually update to Google Merchant Center, I am provided with product errors that will not allow products in certain Google Product Categories to be indexed.

I then went through each item it showed problems with and found that new fields are required to allow clothing items to be indexed. Size, Color, Age Group and Gender. You can see Google's updated explanation on how this works here:

https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/1347943?hl=en

I already have sizes setup as Characteristics with Manageable Variants, ie: Small, Large, XL etc. These do not show in the xml provided from the Hikashop Google Products Plugin.

I created new custom fields for Color, Age Group and Gender and set them up just the same way that you recommended to setup the google_products_category in another thread. I was able to get the google_products_category to work so I assumed it would work the same with the new custom fields. I populated multiple products with these fields to test if that would work. The Hikashop Google Products Plugin does not export this information in the xml provided. Here is the link to the instructions for getting the google_products_category working:
http://www.hikashop.com/forum/3-bug-report/83566-google-product-category-is-missing.html

I really don't understand why the sizes do not show since they're integrated as variants and all of the ones I do have are shown as in-stock with unlimited as the amount in the main product and the variants...

Is this something that has to be coded into the Hikashop Google Products Plugin? Or am I not setting this plugin up correctly? Or am I not setting up the products correctly?

Thanks for your help.

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5 years 5 months ago #126154

Hi,

The google products plugin doesn't handle variants. It just ignores them and consider only the main products.
For referencing, there is not much use to provide the variants in most cases.

Handling the variants of the products would be quite complex and also eat up a lot of resources which might be a problem.
Suppose that you have 3000 products in your shop. It's manageable for the plugin to generate a xml even it is starting to be a lot of data. But if each variant has 5 sizes and 20 colors, that's 100 variants for each product and thus 300 000 product elements which need to be handled by the plugin. That's a whole different story and it will probably not work on most servers because of the PHP restrictions in place.

If we suppose that you have one product for each age group, color, gender, size, then it's quite easy to add support for these fields.
It's basically similar to support the brand attribute where you just have a custom product field and add a few lines of code to support that field in the plugin. But hikashop variants support is way more complex.

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5 years 5 months ago #126356

nicolas,

Google has made many changes to their Google Search Indexing rules. Those members in the United States (I'm one of them) is required to include all these variants.

"You are required to submit one item per variant combination. For example, if a t-shirt is offered in 4 different colors and each color is available in 5 different sizes, you must submit a total of 20 items." - This is from here:
https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/1347943?hl=en

All Clothing product rules have been changed:

"How to include apparel variants for feeds targeting US, UK, DE, FR, and JP: Any apparel item that varies by 'color', 'material', 'pattern', and/or 'size', must be submitted as a unique combination of variant attributes, clustered in a group where each unique combination of variant attributes is identified by the same ‘item group id’. Along with each variant, a respective image that visually depicts that variant product is required. Regardless of whether an apparel item has variant attributes or not, the ‘size’, ‘color’, ‘age group’, and ‘gender’ of an item are required for all items that fall under the ‘Apparel & Accessories’ product category (including subcategories).

In addition, the ‘size’ attribute is only required for items that fall under the category or subcategories of 'Apparel & Accessories > Clothing' and 'Apparel & Accessories > Shoes'. See below for an outline of required attributes that apply to feeds targeting the US, UK, DE, FR, and JP.

Full Listing of Apparel Attributes for Feeds Targeting the US, UK, DE, FR, and JP:

Color - Required for all items under ‘Apparel & Accessories’
Size - Required for all items that belong to a subcategory of ‘Apparel & Accessories > Clothing’, or ‘Apparel & Accessories > Shoes’*
Pattern- Required only when an ‘Apparel & Accessories’ item varies in pattern*
Material - Required only when an ‘Apparel & Accessories’ item varies in material*
Age Group - Required for all items under ‘Apparel & Accessories’
Gender- Required for all apparel items under ‘Apparel & Accessories’
Brand - Required for all apparel items under ‘Apparel & Accessories’
GTIN or MPN - Required for all apparel items in the Shoes, Sunglasses, Handbags, and Watches categories
Item Group_Id - Required for all items that have variant attributes*" - This is from here:
https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/1347943?hl=en

Is it possible to look into these changes and making your plugin compliant now that these things are required for US stores to submit Clothing products to the Google Index?

Thank you,

daurwid

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5 years 5 months ago #126401

Hi,

I read that text already.
But as I said, it will pose important resource issues to handle the variants and it's quite complex to do. I don't see how we can do that so that it works for everyone.
On the other end, as I said in my previous message too, handling these new attributes as custom product fields is totally possible and actually quite easy to do.
So it's a yes for the new attributes and a "I don't know yet but not in the short term" for variants.

On a practical point of view, even if you don't submit the variants data, google will still accept the entries as long as all the required attributes are provided in the XML for each product, so handling the variants is less of a necessity than the new required attributes.

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5 years 5 months ago #126419

Nicolas,

I understand re-writing code is not a simple task and adding all variants as Google expects to see will take some time. I'm not sure what you mean by "I don't see how we can do that so that it works for everyone." because Google indexing XML requirements are standardized. You just need to follow their rules and it will work for everyone who uses your plugin.

So basically - as it stands now - your Google Product Plugin will not function as needed for anyone who owns your software and only sells clothing items.

When I upload the XML provided from your plugin I get these errors for the 32 clothing items I have in the Hikashop system.

Missing required attribute: gender (32 errors)
Missing required attribute: color (32 errors)
Missing required attribute: age group (32 errors)
Missing required attribute: size (31 errors)


In an effort to try and make your plugin work as Google expects, I have already created these custom fields and populated them for each main product. The Google Product Plugin does not export this information to the XML file and therefore Google denies all my clothing items. See the picture attached.



What am I missing when I made the new custom fields so that your Google Products Plugin exports them to the XML file?

Thank you for all your effort and the quality product you have provided me. And because you reply to me - it makes me feel like you care about your product and your customers - keep it up!

daurwid

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5 years 5 months ago #126426

No you didn't understood what I said.
The google products API is indeed the same for everyone. But when you have 3000 products and 100 times that number of variants, if we add the variants data to the xml, you won't be able to generate the xml. It's impossible because there is too much data to load at once, while at the moment it works fine as the variants are ignored. And I don't want to break the functionality for users with lot of variants to help the ones with less variants of clothes. Spending days to work on something to help some while it breaks it for some others is completely pointless. On top of that, I will then have to spend additional time supporting the others as it worked before and it doesn't work anymore. That's what I'm talking about here when I say "I don't see how we can do that so that it works for everyone."

Indeed, just creating the custom fields is not enough. It will require additional code, as I said. And I said that we can do it. But I can't give you the code directly, it still require work to do it. We'll do it for next version of HikaShop.

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5 years 5 months ago #126448

Ah! Now I gotcha.

I guess you could add a option in the plugin settings to use the "new" multi-variant rules or use the "old" non-variant rules. You could also add the disclaimer that using the new rules will require more server resources and may not work on shared hosting environments and have the old rules set as default when hikashop is installed.

I'm sure you're already ahead of me in regards to thinking about updating/upgrading the plugin.

At least all my products in other categories are not clothing items and Google had no issues indexing them.

I'll patiently wait until the next version.

Thank you,

daurwid

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5 years 3 months ago #134352

HI Nicolas,
I followed the conversation and looking at my version of Hikashop it seems that you have made the changes regarding the colour, gender and size.
I have a one colour per product and it would be nice if I can use that colour on google. At the moment I set a colour on Standard in the google plugin.
Is there a way to add the colour field in to the product page (much like a brand field) so I can select it there and the plugin will use it in my google feed?
Thank you.

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5 years 3 months ago #134463

Hi,

There is indeed such support now. You need to create a custom field of the table "product" via the menu Display->Custom fields for each field that you want to support. In the google feed plugin, you need to enter the column name of each field in the respective options. Then, in each product, you can select/enter the value you want for the product for each field and it will be included in the google feed that is output by the plugin.

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5 years 3 months ago #134471

Thank you very much.
That was what I needed.

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5 years 3 months ago #134573

Nicolas,

Thank you for updating the plugin. I have a question though.

I have created custom fields for gender, age_group, and color. I set each of these to only be used on one category, however the Google Products Plugin puts these fields on all my products in all categories. Is there a reason for this? Or does it just not check if it's allowed to be used on a category?

Thank you,

Daurwid

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5 years 3 months ago #134578

Second question:

I am using the sizes as a characteristic with multiple variants. I attach the characteristic to the main product and unpublish any of the sizes that are not available for that product. I notice that the Google Product Plugin does not create a listing for each variant and only takes the main product default value for the main product and only creates the listing for that one product, even if I have multiple sizes. I also made sure that all the variants have their own size selected for the custom field "size."

Is there a way to have the plugin create each product with the different characteristics so size will work or do I need to make a single product for each size (lots of work for many products) so that I can get this plugin to work?

Thank you,

Daurwid

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5 years 3 months ago #134594

Hi,

No the xml element should only display for a product if you enter something in the custom field. If you leave the custom field empty or if there is no custom field for that product, the xml element won't be added for that product.

Variants are not yet taken into account by the plugin. If you want to specify several sizes for each product, you would have to create one product per size.

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4 years 5 months ago #174234

Sorry, I realise this is an old topic. I'm wondering if its going to be possible to export the variants. I'm doing it manually at the moment, which is extremely time consuming! I'm selling shoes, so plenty of sizes...

Thanks,
Hal

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4 years 5 months ago #174259

Are you talking about a CSV export or the generation of the XML for Google products ?
If it's for a CSV export, if you click on the "export" button of the products listing, you'll get a CSV including the products and the variants data.
For the XML for Google products, it's still the same as last year. There is no method right now to do it. It would require a big rewrite of the code of the plugin and that's not easy.

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3 years 8 months ago #208626

Hello everyone, I've launched a crowdfunding campaign to get enough money to fund the creation of a google shopping plugin that will handle variants within Hikashop.

Not only will this allow you to compete directly on the shopping pages, but it will also facilitate other features of the Google merchant centre, including dynamic re-marketing.

This will ultimately save you a lot of time and potentially generate more business for your e-commerce store.

Take a look here and please donate generously :)

www.indiegogo.com/projects/google-shoppi...op/x/11441208#/story

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3 years 5 months ago #216332

Hi Nicolas,

Found this thread, I too need to export variants to Google products, it can't work any other way.

The parent products are not real products, they don't have a price, they don't have a real sku, the product description is generic (doesn't included size or finish information) so it's useless.

Making the variants into main products is just not an option, the whole site has been designed around using variants.

Really gutted to find another feature of Hikashop that doesn't work because it's not been designed for real world use.

Regards,

Ian

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3 years 5 months ago #216382

Trying to find a way round this, have looked at the plugin code and it's easy enough to change the products selected from 'main' to 'variant' in the SQL on line 121, but this throws up an SQL error with the later query to find the category on line 166. I assume this is because variants don't exist in categories, the parents do. I'm hoping that this can be made to work by changing this to use the parent's category id ( we can get the parent product id easily enough), but this is a bit beyond me, any suggestions please?

Ian

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3 years 5 months ago #216407

Hi,

When you develop something there is always a limit that you need to set on when you decide that you have a v1 ready. Then, you add more features little by little based on the feedbacks and the time you can allocate to them. If you try to support every possibility and every new things before publishing a v1, you never publish it.

So far we only had a handful of persons requesting that capability so it hasn't been a top priority for us. It doesn't mean that we'll never support variants in the Google Products plugin. It's just that it's not the case for now.

Furthermore, @Holmes-Pierce went through the trouble to create an indigogo campaign in order to add that capability, and we would have been happy to chip in in that case. But no one else, not even you, manifested an interest in it. So I believe we were right in thinking that this feature isn't a priority and that most people don't need it. Thus "it's not been designed for real world use" is a bit of a stretch for something that work just fine for most people using it.

We're still happy that you provided your feedback on that. It's one more vote for the feature.

Regarding the customization of the code of the plugin, it's hard to say what changes will be enough in your case. The whole code is based on the fact that we're loading main products. Changing the main query to load the variants instead is possible, but then you'll miss a of of things like the categories, the main product prices, the discounts applied to the product, the ACLs on the main product, etc...You might not need some of these, but others will be a problem. Properly supporting all the things necessary to handle variants in all the cases will require a full rewrite of the code as I said before.

For the categories query, you'll have to change the code:

$queryCategoryId = 'SELECT * FROM '.hikashop_table('product_category').' WHERE product_id IN ('.implode(',',$ids).')';

to:
$parent_ids = array();
foreach($products as $key => $row){
 $parent_ids[] = $row->product_parent_id;
}
$queryCategoryId = 'SELECT * FROM '.hikashop_table('product_category').' WHERE product_id IN ('.implode(',',$parent_ids).')';
But you'll probably just bump in the next problem.

Last edit: 3 years 5 months ago by nicolas.

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3 years 5 months ago #216427

Hi Nicolas,

Apologies if the tone of my query was a bit tetchy, it was late, I had offered my customer this feature and worked all day to implement it and now find it doesn't work (in my case), and I don't think what I am trying to do is that unusual.

I found this thread last night and saw Holmes-Pierce's post and looked at the campaign but the campaign closed in August. Lack of interest in the campaign does not necessarily reflect lack of interest in the feature, but I can assure you that anybody who uses variants (how many of your customers do?) and tries to integrate a feed to Google products (how many of those do that?) are going to hit this problem head on.

As to customisation of the code, it needs to use some data from the variant (SKU, price, image) and other data from the main product, notably URL and possibly description.

Thanks for your suggestions, I'll work on those and see how far I get.

Regards,

Ian

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