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Using the Argos Product Service

Version 0.1

Author: Matt Lavis

Home Retail Group. 2010

The copyright in this document is vested in Home Retail Group. This document may only be reproduced in whole or in part, or stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, with the prior
permission of Home Retail Group.
Using the Argos Product Service Version 0.1

1 Contents

1 CONTENTS ...................................................................................................................................... 2

2 MANAGEMENT SUMMARY ................................................................................................................. 2

3 SERVICE OVERVIEW .......................................................................................................................... 2

4 THE CORE PRODUCT SERVICE .............................................................................................................. 3


4.1 SAMPLE XML ......................................................................................................................................... 3
4.2 DESCRIPTION OF CORE PRODUCT SERVICE FIELDS .......................................................................................... 4

5 CATEGORY HIERARCHY SERVICE ........................................................................................................... 5


5.1 SAMPLE XML ......................................................................................................................................... 5
5.2 DESCRIPTION OF CATEGORY HIERARCHY SERVICE FIELDS ................................................................................. 6

6 CATEGORY PRODUCT SERVICE ............................................................................................................. 6


6.1 SAMPLE XML ......................................................................................................................................... 6
6.2 DESCRIPTION OF CATEGORY PRODUCT SERVICE FIELDS ................................................................................... 7

7 ABOUT THE ARGOS CATEGORIES .......................................................................................................... 8

2 Management summary
This document details the functionality of Argos product service, which has been developed to provide
access to the Argos product catalogue for third party concerns and intermediaries. The current product
extracts which are sent from the web application to partners, affiliates, shopping comparison sites and the
PPC agency are now several years old and are no longer fit for purpose. This has the following impact:

Conversion the poor data quality often means product feeds are not being mapped correctly to
partners and affiliate structures. This has a knock on impact on click through and conversions rates.
Sales Poor data shows the site to be uncompetitive in some engines due to the above reasons and as a
result, sales are restricted.
Search Rankings Quality of data in the feed has an impact on rankings within Google Product Search
and the potential achievable sales from this channel.
This product service is designed to replace the legacy feeds.

3 Service Overview
In order to address these issues, a standard product feed has been introduced which will comprise the
following 3 sub-services:

Core Product Service The third party will pass a product reference number and the web application will
return an XML feed containing details of the specified product.
Category Hierarchy Service The third party will pass a category identifier and the web application will
return an XML feed containing details of the category and its sub category hierarchy.

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Category Product Service - The third party will pass a category identifier and the web application will
return an XML feed containing details of the category and its sub category hierarchy. Additionally it will
contain a list of product cat numbers underneath those categories.

4 The Core Product Service


The core product service can be accessed via the following URL:
http://www.argos-
affiliates.co.uk/api/core_product_service.php?pid=<pid>&sid=<sid>&product_id=<product_id>

where:
<pid> is the CJ Publisher Website Id
<sid> is the CJ Shopper Id
<product_id> is the 7 digit product reference number (may need to pre-pad with zeroes up to 7 characters).

4.1 Sample XML


The following XML sample illustrates the full set of data fields which are available to the third-party
integrator please note, identical XML will not be achievable via access to the specific core product service
URL for this product as data for several (non-mandatory) fields has been artificially inserted.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<product>
<format>ArgosUK</format>
<profilename>Core Product Service</profilename>
<status>Success</status>
<date>18/04/2010</date>
<time>07:59</time>
<requesturl>http://www.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/feed?storeId=10001&langId=-
1&profileName=product&input=2858542</requesturl>
<title><![CDATA[ Pierre Cardin Soft Pilot Case - Black.]]></title>
<id>2858542</id>
<brandname>Pierre Cardin</brandname>
<brandreference>MB1090099</brandreference>
<producttext><![CDATA[ Top ABS carry handle. Rear document pocket with file divider. Reinforced
spacious main compartment. Flap over velcro front. Zip down front pocket with organiser section.
Branded Pierre Cardin lining. Padded, adjustable, detachable shoulder strap. Size (H)34, (W)46,
(D)18.5cm.
]]></producttext>
<wasprice>29.99</wasprice>
<price>19.99</price>
<pricesaving>10.00</pricesaving>
<thumbimgurl>http://www.argos.co.uk/wcsstore/argos/images/2858542A65UC231570T.jpg</thumbimgurl>
<mainimgurl>http://www.argos.co.uk/wcsstore/argos/images/2858542A65UC231570M.jpg</mainimgurl>
<largeimgurl>http://www.argos.co.uk/wcsstore/argos/images/2858542A65UC231570X.jpg</largeimgurl>
<promotion>Buy one get one free</promotion>
<colour>Green</colour>
<stock>In stock</stock>
<deliveryprice>5.95</deliveryprice>
<deliverymsg>Home delivery within 2 days</deliverymsg>
<cravailability>Can be reserved, subject to store stock</cravailability>
<internetonly>No</internetonly>
<reviewrating>4.00</reviewrating>
<bulletintxt>The inside lining varies and may be either cream or black</bulletintxt>
<safetytxt>Self assembly required</safetytxt>
<thimgproppingtxt>Batteries not included</thimgproppingtxt>
<fullimgproppingtxt>Batteries not included</fullimgproppingtxt>
<largeimgproppingtxt>Batteries not included</largeimgproppingtxt>
<priceenddate>23/07/2010</priceenddate>
<racoseriesnumber>30</racoseriesnumber>

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<reviewcount>2</reviewcount>
<buyurl>http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-1245-
10764890?URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.argos.co.uk%2Fstatic%2FProduct%2FpartNumber%2F2858542.htm</buyurl>
</product>

4.2 Description of core product service fields


Field Mandatory Description
format Y always ArgosUK
profilename Y always Core Product Service
status Y Success where the product is located
Product Not Recognised where the product reference number does not
exist
date Y date on which the XML was retrieved (dd/mm/yyyy)
time Y time at which the XML was retrieved (hh:mm)
requesturl Y the full URL from which the XML was retrieved
1
title Y the name of the product
1
id Y the product reference number
brandname N product brand (where recorded)
brandreference N product model number (where recorded)
1
producttext Y full product detail text. Currently, all HTML formatting is removed from this
field until complete XHTML compatibility can be assured.
wasprice N where a price saving is available, the previous (higher) price. Node not
included where no saving is available.
1
price Y current selling price
pricesaving N the price saving (where available) = wasprice price. Node not included
where no saving is available.
thumbimgurl N full URL of thumbnail image (used on listers and heroes). Thumbnail is 110px
by 110px
mainimgurl N full URL of main product image (used on product detail page). Main product
image is 250px by 300px
largeimgurl N full URL of large product image (used on product detail page).
promotion N where available, the text of the promotion with the highest priority for the
current product (there may be more than one promotion for the products,
but only one is shown).
colour N colour of product
1
stock Y Where the product is in stock for home delivery in at least one distribution
centre, set to In stock, otherwise set to Out of stock.
1
deliveryprice Y delivery price
1
deliverymsg Y lead time message
1
cravailability Y indicates whether or not the product is available for check and reserve / in-
store pickup. May read Can be reserved, subject to store stock or Cannot
be reserved for store pick-up
internetonly N Yes / No is the product internet only
reviewrating N The average review rating for the product, loaded from reviews integration
partner BazaarVoice between 0 and 5 (where available). Single decimal point.
bulletintxt N populated where a product bulletin (additional explanatory product
information) has been applied to a product
safetytxt N populated where safety text (e.g. age recommendation) has been applied to
a product
thimgproppingtxt N thumbnail image propping text propping text is additional information to
clarify product image content

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Field Mandatory Description


fullimgproppingtxt N main image propping text
largeimgproppingtxt N large image propping text
1
priceenddate Y the end date of the current selling price (i.e. the day before the price changes)
racoseriesnumber N Internal Argos product ranging number
reviewcount N the number of product reviews submitted
Buyurl Y The CJ Tracking link for this product

Y1 mandatory where product has been located.

5 Category Hierarchy Service


The core product service can be accessed via the following URL:
http://www.argos-
affiliates.co.uk/api/category_hierarchy_service.php?pid=<pid>&sid=<sid>&cat_id=<cat_id>

where:
<pid> is the CJ Publisher Website Id
<sid> is the CJ Shopper Id
<cat_id> is the (typically) 8 digit category ID.

The hierarchy service retrieves in a hierarchical structure the name and ID of the current category and those
categories which are successors (children / grandchildren) to the requested category.

5.1 Sample XML

5.1.1 Where the category has no child categories


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<categoryhierarchy>
<format>ArgosUK</format>
<profilename>Category Hierarchy Service</profilename>
<status>Success</status>
<date>18/04/2010</date>
<time>09:28</time>
<requesturl>http://www.uat.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/feed?storeId=10001&langId=-
1&profileName=categoryhierarchy&input=14417898</requesturl>
<cat id="14417898">
<name>Throws, blankets and bedspreads</name>
</cat>
</categoryhierarchy>

5.1.2 Where the category has one or more hierarchy of child categories
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<categoryhierarchy>
<format>ArgosUK</format>
<profilename>Category Hierarchy Service</profilename>
<status>Success</status>
<date>18/04/2010</date>
<time>09:32</time>
<requesturl>http://www.uat.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/feed?storeId=10001&langId=-
1&profileName=categoryhierarchy&input=14417895</requesturl>
<cat id="14417895">
<name>Bedding and electric blankets</name>
<categories>
<cat id="14417898">
<name>Throws, blankets and bedspreads</name>
</cat>

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<cat id="14417900">
<name>Single duvet cover sets</name>
</cat>
<cat id="14417908">
<name>Pillowcases</name>
</cat>
<cat id="14417910">
<name>Valances</name>
</cat>
<cat id="14417912">
<name>Sheets</name>
</cat>
[etc ...]
</categories>
</cat>
</categoryhierarchy>

5.2 Description of category hierarchy service fields


Field Mandatory Description
format Y always ArgosUK
profilename Y always Category Hierarchy Service
status Y Success where the product is located
Product Not Recognised where the product reference number does not
exist
date Y date on which the XML was retrieved (dd/mm/yyyy)
time Y time at which the XML was retrieved (hh:mm)
requesturl Y the full URL from which the XML was retrieved
name Y the name of the category
categories N substructure to contain references to subsidiary categories where appropriate
cat N individual category contained within the <categories> node. The category ID
of each category is referenced in the id attribute.

6 Category Product Service


The category product service permits the third-party to view the both the products which belong to the
current category and those which belong to the child categories. Access the category product service via the
following URL:
http://www.argos-
affiliates.co.uk/api/category_product_service.php?pid=<pid>&sid=<sid>&cat_id=<cat_id>

where:
<pid> is the CJ Publisher Website Id
<sid> is the CJ Shopper Id
<cat_id> is the (typically) 8 digit category ID.

6.1 Sample XML

6.1.1 Where the category has no children


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<categoryproduct>
<format>ArgosUK</format>
<profilename>Category - Product Service</profilename>
<status>Success</status>
<date>18/04/2010</date>
<time>20:24</time>

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<requesturl>http://www.uat.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/feed?storeId=10001&langId=-
1&profileName=categoryproduct&input=14344675</requesturl>
<productcount>2</productcount>
<cat id="14344675">
<name>Built in BBQs</name>
<products>
<product id="3450310" />
<product id="3455377" />
</products>
</cat>
</categoryproduct>

6.1.2 Where the category has children


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<categoryproduct>
<format>ArgosUK</format>
<profilename>Category - Product Service</profilename>
<status>Success</status>
<date>18/04/2010</date>
<time>20:12</time>
<requesturl>http://www.uat.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/feed?storeId=10001&langId=-
1&profileName=categoryproduct&input=14418875</requesturl>
<productcount>63</productcount>
<cat id="14418875">
<name>Barbecues</name>
<products />
<categories>
<cat id="14344675">
<name>Built in BBQs</name>
<products>
<product id="3450310" />
<product id="3455377" />
</products>
</cat>
<cat id="14418876">
<name>Charcoal BBQs</name>
<products>
<product id="3430732" />
<product id="3450028" />
[etc ...]
</products>
</cat>
[etc ...]
</categories>
</cat>
</categoryproduct>

6.2 Description of category product service fields


Field Mandatory Description
format Y always ArgosUK
profilename Y always Category - Product Service
status Y Success where the product is located
Product Not Recognised where the product reference number does not
exist
date Y date on which the XML was retrieved (dd/mm/yyyy)
time Y time at which the XML was retrieved (hh:mm)
requesturl Y the full URL from which the XML was retrieved
productcount Y the total number of products which are available within this category /
category hierarchy. This node is only included at the top level.
cat Y at the top level, a structure to maintain the content of the requested
category. Within this top level structure, further subcategories may also be

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referenced via this node. The category ID of each category is referenced in the
id attribute.
name Y the name of the category
products N substructure to contain references to subsidiary products where appropriate.
Each product is expressed in a <product> node.
product individual product contained within the <products> node. Product reference
number referenced in the id attribute.
categories N substructure to contain references to subsidiary categories where
appropriate. Each subcategory referenced in <cat> nodes. Each <cat> node
may theoretically contain subsidiary <categories> nodes, however this is only
likely up to level 3 (see category notes below).
cat N individual category contained within the <categories> node.

7 About the Argos categories


The categories which make up the online argos.co.uk catalogue are arranged hierarchically from level 1
(Shopping) the store root down to level 5 categories. Products sit typically in level 4s but also on occasion in
level 3s where the category hierarchy is shallow. In the illustrative diagram below, categories containing
products are shaded (e.g. kettles contains products at level 3).

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Grouping Level 3 Level 4

Shopping Kitchen & Laundry Kitchen Coffee machines Bean to cup

Cafetieres

Espresso coff.

Kettles

Cookers & ovens Built-in ovens

Dual fuel cookers

Electric cookers

Kitchen equip

Kitchen equip

The hierarchy labelled Level 3 grouping category show in the argos.co.uk dropdowns and in the left hand
browse navigation, however it is not reflected in the product services. Hence, in the example above, the first
hierarchy would read Kitchen & Laundry Coffee machines Bean to cup ... and the Kitchen level
3 grouping category, which is effectively a label, is suppressed.

The level 1 (Shopping) category cannot be accessed using this tool.

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Categories typically retain their names and IDs from catalogue to catalogue, however it is possible that
category IDs will change at cat launch, particularly if there is a major reshuffle of the product hierarchy. The
intention is to keep such changes at a minimum in order decrease the negative SEO impact.

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