What is an Inventory Data Feed?

If you are in the dropship ecommerce world you have likely heard the term “Inventory Feed” or “Data Feed” in your day to day dealings with partners and suppliers. However for those new to dropship, ecommerce, or online retail in general you may have never come across such an odd and technical sounding term. What an Inventory Data Feed lacks in sex appeal it makes up in practicality, power, and efficiency.

A data feed essentially is what it sounds like. Data is stored in one system and it is “fed” into another system. The mechanism that accomplishes this is a “data feed”. Add the word “inventory” before that and boom! You have inventory data feeding from one system to another.

Now you may already be thinking the next question I am going to pose…

Why Do I Need a Data Feed in Dropship Ecommerce?

To answer this question, we’ll need to think about how dropship works and why connecting inventory data is so important.

In the dropship model as outlined the diagram below, dropship online retailers advertise products for sale on their website that are actually stored in their supplier’s warehouse. The supplier sells to this retailer along with many others after the retailer receives and order from a customer. As products sell, and inventory quantities decrease with each unit sold, the online retail has no idea if the item has been purchased by other retailers and is now sold out at time of purchase. Unless they sync inventory quantities using… an Inventory Feed!

dropship-feed

What is in an Inventory Feed?

So now that you understand the importance of an inventory data feed, let’s talk a little about what it looks like and what data you can find in it. You may have noticed a few three letter acronyms in the diagram above. A data feed can come in many different formats and it seems they are always broken down into a three letter acronym. They can be a f placed on an csv-data-feed

In Conclusion

It is critical to connect to an inventory data feed when selling from dropship suppliers that also sell to other online retailers to avoid running the risk of selling products that are out of stock. However it is also beneficial for uploading initial product data and auto-loading new products as they become available in the feed. Data feeds can come in all shapes and sizes and can change frequently, so leveraging