What Is Product Content Syndication In eCommerce (a.k.a. Product Data Syndication)
The notion of product content syndication might not sound all that sexy, but if you are looking to expand your presence on a global market and sell on various sales channels, let’s do it to it. Promise, that you won’t see any overly complicated terms here.
Nowadays the Internet is full of misconceptions, and the ”syndication of data” notion could be both quite accurate as well as misleading. This article is here to clarify what is eCommerce content syndication and all the necessary info on a topic (like challenges retailers are facing; what does a consumer expect when shopping; how brands, manufacturers, and retailers can benefit from automated product data syndication, and more).
What Is Product Data Syndication
Let’s play out a scenario to see who needs it and why:
⟨⟨ The Vivienne Westwood fashion brand looks for ways to expand its market presence. Managers decide to sell on five more sales platforms (both British and global ones). So all apparel information (product content) the company has on its website should be transferred to the new channels. Although, as each such place has loads of different requirements and standards, it becomes a big challenge. But VW has no intention of sacrificing more time on technical tasks, where they do not have solid expertise ⟩⟩
*this is a fictional example to illustrate product syndication
Side note: Be careful not to mix it with a similar term — web content syndication, which is republishing/broadcasting of content such as blogs, articles, photos, audios, videos across various sites (ex, Medium, Slideshare) to increase exposure.
What else should we clear out when talking about syndicated product information?
What is rich product content?
Rich product content makes a buyer imagine and dream of using a product, while it is about:
- Comprehensive product info (product names, prices, dimensions, descriptions, functions, competitive advantage and anything else that would help customers to make a decision)
- Engaging visuals (quality pictures made from different angles, with a possibility to zoom in; 360-degree rotation images; close-ups; videos, any supporting graphics/infographics; tutorials on how to use a product, etc.)
- Accurate relevant product data (which could be extracted from a CSP, a Content Service Provider). Note: even if you have chosen a content provider, data syndication services are still needed.
Generally, why do we pay attention to the quality of the catalogue syndication? Gartner’s research shows that poor data quality is costing firms an estimated average of $8.8 million per year.
As a customer can’t naturally touch, smell or experience a product in any way, it is the retailers’ job to convey this information in product content. Rich product content, together with a successful multichannel strategy and accurate on-time syndication for product information, largely impact consumer’s decisions. To better understand what are rich syndicated product descriptions, consider reading a guide on writing product descriptions.
What does a consumer expect when shopping?
Nowadays, buyers are exceptionally information-thirsty. The shopping process itself becomes more complex: on a way to find an ultimate product, customers are using various channels & devices. Thus brands & retailers face the challenge of keeping up with such kinds of demands. Failing to meet those puts a threat of just being ignored by the buyers, as well as missing the potential for increasing the company’s sales.
Consumers are looking for flexibility. Brands and retailers have no choice but to be omnipresent. And no, your own web store is not enough. What are some other options then? First, take the already established global marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Walmart, and Google Express (which, in contrast to Amazon, for ex, gives a customer an opportunity to enter the specific brand’s store and search within it). And do not pass by the smaller platforms, like Etsy and niche-focused like Zalando, Bonanza, etc.
What else does a consumer expect from an ecommerce shop? Product information to be accurate and complete? Yes. Data to be consistent throughout different sales channels? Of course. So what does it take to cover these?
Challenges retailers are facing (when going multichannel)
Setting a seamless product content distribution across multiple sales platforms is not a piece of cake even for experienced ecommerce managers.
Product data syndication done manually? Let’s see what could go wrong.
a) Conforming to different sales channels’ formats and other specific requirements is a big challenge for manufacturers and brands. Adapting a product catalog to all these specifications and managing hundreds of complex spreadsheets and codings take not even weeks of time. Even if you do it quickly, it still might cost you in terms of quality. The likelihood of errors is still high.
b) Then, there’s another challenge — keeping up with the constant changes and updates in the requirements of marketplaces. Imagine, if you sell not just on one platform.
c) A possibility of revenue loss should be a good enough reason to think of product content transformation and delivery automation. Any marketplace can reject products not adhering to its standards. And that could be the silliest micro mistake.
d) One might lose a potential gain from the time spent on manual product content transformation and delivery. Instead of exploiting internal human resources that have expertise in more valuable or creative tasks, let the software do the job.
How brands, manufacturers, and retailers can benefit from automated product information syndication? (how it solves retailers’ problems)
Ecommerce syndication might be a burdensome process if done manually. So, what does it take to create flawless product content syndication?
It takes a minimum effort if you have an automated product data syndication platform set. Decided to syndicate product content automatically? First of all, congrats — you still rock in ecom!
Let’s have a look at the challenges automated product content syndication solutions can solve (in the example of Gepard Data Syndication):
1) Transformation of product information
Wherever you publish your product information, you always need to fulfill a wide range of requirements. These requirements differ, and basic mapping capabilities are not enough. Product content syndication software maps content on the taxonomy level, using intelligent transformation algorithms.
2) Data transformation from multiple sources
When you import product content from various channels, it needs to be adjusted. Data sources, either content providers or direct suppliers, use different data models and formats. Content syndication eCommerce software adapts all the required information to your needs automatically, with no effort from your side.
3) Automated product content distribution across multiple channels
If you share your product descriptions with more than one sales channel, adjustments are assumed per each of them. The product content syndication portal transforms the product content into the taxonomy of the retail partners, syndicates, and keeps it up to date. No coding is needed from the client’s side.
What are the benefits of product data syndication being done automatically?
- Products are discoverable
- Product data is always accurate and updated
- The team can concentrate on solving tasks requiring creativity rather than filling in spreadsheets
- No need to do coding from the brand’s side
- Brand consistency and image are retained
- Faster time-to-market enabled
- Sales revenue increased
- Costs for possible mistakes eliminated
Quick guide to how the product data software works
Gepard, for example, provides an end-to-end product content syndication, meaning that all would be set up and run automatically on behalf of the merchant. Get full support: the product would be adjusted to the necessary format (whereas a product content would be provided by our catalog provider partners Icecat), mapped to meet each of the sales channels’ requirements, and pushed to any amount of sales touchpoints needed. Besides, we are all flexible.
Now, content syndication and ecommerce challenging question: would you like to have some extra time to evolve your business instead of managing product data manually? Come on by and say hi to Gepard. Also, you could check how we implemented data syndication in the HP Case Study.
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