It is not common to create product data feed in TSV format. In this article, we will explain how it stands out from other formats and how you can use it in your online store. We will show you also how to open TSV files and how to optimize and update them.

What is TSV format and how to use it?

TSV is an abbreviation for “Tab Separated Values”. It means that records in the file are stored in columns and rows and separated by a tab character.

TSV format is an extension of human readable text files, so its structure is not highly complicated, however it’s capable of containing complex data, like product feeds from online shops.

You can easily import data from TSV file to your online store and offsite advertising channels, like:

  • Price Comparison Systems,
  • Social Media,
  • Sites with Promo Codes,
  • Web Browsers,
  • Affiliate network,
  • Marketplace Sites.

Product feed in TSV format supports eCommerce inventory management and can be easily updated – changes are made within one place.


What is the difference between TSV and CSV files?

TSV is an alternative to the common CSV files. They have the same structure and capabilities, both are text file formats, but they have different column separator:

  • In CSV files data are separated by commas.
  • In TSV files by tabs – thanks for that it is easier to interpret them, because text within columns may also contain commas.

How to open TSV files?

Opening TSV files is very easy. They can be loaded into most spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel or LibreOffice Calc. Both are capable of presenting TSV data in columns which is good for readability. You can also open TSV file in text editors like Notepad or Notepad++.

Here is an instruction of how to open a TSV file in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Open Microsoft Excel.
  2. In menu choose “File” and click “Open”. In the next step change the type of file selecting “All files” instead of “Excel files”. Then find TSV file using file browser.
  3. Open the file by clicking it twice.
  4. The “Text Import Wizard” should pop up. Choose the file type in “Original data type”, check “Unicode” checkbox and click “Next”.
  5. In the next window choose “Tab” from “Delimiters” section and select quotation mark in “Text qualifier” box. Click next.
  6. Choose the right data format for each column (if needed) and click “Finish”.

Creating and optimizing TSV files

You can easily create TSV product file using Google Sheets:

  1. Open Google Sheets.
  2. Create a new sheet.
  3. Add attributes to all columns. It could be for example product’s ID, name, colour etc.
  4. Fill in rows with data.
  5. Export the sheet to TSV file choosing “File”, selecting “Download” and then “Tab separated values”.
  6. The file will be downloaded. Then you can import it into your eCommerce platform.

TSV files have the advantage of being clearly structured due to tabs separators. However, inputting data manually into a TSV file would be a waste of time and luckily is not necessary. Instead, you can use XML product feed (many eCommerce platforms create it automatically). Just import it and convert to TSV.


How to optimize TSV files?

In TSV product feed you should place all your data, which are important from the target group perspective. Remember to follow the requirements and directions listed by eCommerce platform that you are using, because the obligatory attributes can be different.

Data feed attributes depend also on the product type. For example – the most common clothing attributes are colour, size, or brand. Whereas food sellers describe their products in completely different way, concentrating on taste and ingredients.  It is worth to portray the product in detail, so the customers will be able to easily find whatever they need.

In general the most common attributes in TSV files are:

  • Product ID.
  • Cost and method of delivery.
  • Warranty period.
  • Terms and conditions of the promotion.
  • Call To Action.

Ecommerce owners should also monitor and update TSV files with their product feeds.

Properly optimized and systematically updated product feed will help you:

  • Increase your conversion rate
  • Maximize your business profit.
  • Improve campaign efficiency.
  • Increase the return on the marketing campaign investment.
  • Improve brand image on the internet.

TSV file management on Feedink platform

With Feedink platform you can easily create TSV files and convert them to any format. Feedink helps you also with regularly updating your product feed, even if you don’t have any technical knowledge, so you will not have to consult an IT team. It is also possible to add any eCommerce platform or Google Analytics as your data source.