How can you use the same images for multiple SKUs?
Representative images allow you to use a single image, or a single set of images, for multiple SKUs. Let’s say you’re a fashion retailer. You sell clothing in all different sizes and you have different SKUs for each size. It would be highly inefficient if you had to photograph every single size of the same exact product just to attach an image to each SKU. Representative images allow you to photograph one set of images for one size and use that image set for all sizes of that product.
This works using media glue attributes (MGAs), the product attributes that are visual in nature that affect product images. For example, attributes like Color or Pattern would be good as MGAs. On the other hand, attributes such as Size or Country of Origin likely wouldn’t work as well. However, it is up to you to determine which of your product attributes should be designated as MGAs. After you’ve made your determination, RetailOps will set the MGAs for you.
After MGAs are set and you take a set of photos for one SKU, any other SKUs whose MGA data matches that SKU exactly will claim the same photo set. So for example, if you set Category, Color, and Pattern as MGAs, any SKUs in the product family with matching data for those three attributes will use the same photos.
The only exception to this would be when a SKU uses exclusive images, images that are completely unique to that SKU. Unlike representative images, exclusive images cannot be used for multiple SKUs. Exclusive images are used primarily for selling pre-owned goods. You may have two pre-owned items with the exact same MGA data. However, though they are both designated as “Pre-owned,” they may vary widely in their appearance. Each item would be attached to its own set of exclusive images to capture the details unique to them.
Different channels require different dimensions/aspect ratios for media. How does RetailOps handle image re-sizing?
When media is uploaded via the Media Upload tool, the original size image is stored in our media system. When a specific format of that image is requested (could even be by RetailOps PIM tool or Product Search results), the media cache is inspected to see if that format of that image exists. If it does not exist, the original image is used to transcode (i.e. create on demand) the image in the size being requested and serve it up. RetailOps also inserts that format into the cacheing layer for future requests of the same size.
The transcoding system will pad the output image with white space to result in the aspect ratio of the output format. It will NOT stretch the image to fit the aspect ratio.
For more info, refer to this article on media methods in the Feed Manager.