Why You Need a Product Data Syndication Strategy

By Kerry Young on Nov 16, 2020

Retail eCommerce has exploded in 2020. Now, as we approach the holiday season, it’s never been more critical to capture every potential online sale. For many, this will be a challenge. Especially if businesses don’t have a rock-solid product data syndication (PDS) strategy in place. In a recent webinar we talked about the importance of PDS and the impact it can have on speed-to-market, efficiency, and ultimately… your bottom line.

Your Checklist for Successful Product Data Syndication

Each product comes with its own product information, including specifications, digital assets, dimensions, and other product content. Consolidating all this product data into a standardized, easily accessible location is the first step. A Product Information Management (PIM) platform provides the single source of truth to make that possible.

However, once PIM is in place, your next challenge is to push that information out to all your sales channels in the most efficient way possible.

It’s no easy task. Even for large, multi-channel businesses who have spent time gathering their data into a PIM solution, this next step (distribution and syndication) can quickly create a bottleneck.

First, each digital sales channel has different templates and requirements for product submissions. Retailers will also periodically change these templates, so you can’t submit information based on the same template in perpetuity.

According to Venzee’s Peter Montross, “What should be meaningful to companies is actually getting your product information to the retailer or selling channel in an effective manner – providing that full end-to-end efficient solution to get your content everywhere it needs to go so that the selling channel can sell your solution.”

In the webinar, Montross further analyzes the roadblocks facing brands without a solid PDS strategy.

Four Data Challenges for Manufacturers

Montross mentions multiple data problems brands face when manually submitting product content.

  1. Hunting Down the Right Product Information
    Your product data needs to be accurate, complete, and accessible. If the information is inaccurate across channels, your brand suffers. If it’s not accessible, it’s difficult to stay agile and react to changes in the marketplace.
  2. Painstaking Data Analysis
    Do you have a single source of truth for all the data you’re generating? If not, you’ll run into roadblocks as you attempt to analyze the numbers. As you build your PDS strategy, think about how it will plug into your existing PIM infrastructure. How will you distribute the information you’ve worked so hard to collect?
  3. Slow Speed-to-Market
    The market moves quickly. If it takes you weeks to add a new product to your catalog and get all the relevant information to your sales channels, you’re missing out on sales (and giving your competition a boost).
  4. Channel Expansion Challenges
    If you manually cut and paste everything into retailer site templates, it places a cap on your scaling opportunities. It’s simply an issue of resources, and unfortunately, it causes companies to resist channel expansion and organizational growth.

You may already have a single, centralized portal for storing product data as part of your PIM process. However, if your retailers, digital channels, and vendors can’t receive that data efficiently, you’ll lose time, money, and sales.

This is the new world of eCommerce. It’s difficult to compete and scale without a full PIM-to-PDS pipeline to get you through the “last mile” of data syndication.

What to look for in a PDS solution

As you hunt for the right solution, Montross suggests thinking about the following:

  • Integration with your existing PIM (and MDM) infrastructure.
    If you already have Winshuttle’s EnterWorks platform, ensure the PDS solution you choose has complete, proven integration with plenty of support.
  • Automation, automation, automation.
    The more manual work you have to do, the larger your team needs to be and the more difficult it is to scale. Look for an end-to-end solution to inject automation into your process. You should be able to make a change from your PIM platform and immediately push the new updates to your retail locations and partners in the required formats.
  • Validation against templates and data.
    You want your product content submissions validated against current requirements, not outdated templates. Otherwise, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to distribute and update accurate product content information to your channels.

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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