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Written by
Sofiia Kondrat
Content Manager at Gepard
Content Service Provider product content

What Is Content Service Provider (CSP), And How It Helps You To Distribute Product Data?

5 min read
Published: September 2, 2019
Updated: March 29, 2023

If you wonder how to deliver content that drives sales and increases buyers’ pastime on a website, then it’s time to discover what is a content service provider. Want to be sure your product catalogs are always up-to-date? Whether you’re a manufacturer or a webshop owner, you probably have already been concerned with a range of product data challenges. Therefore you could have heard of Content Service Providers (also known as Content Catalogues Providers). Content Service Providers (CSP) help retailers and brands simplify their e-commerce processes by creating, enhancing, and distributing product information.

What Is A CSP?

A CSP (Catalog Service Provider, also known as Content Service Provider) is a company aggregating, enhancing, and creating product catalogs with product descriptions, images, videos, and other rich media content. CSP provides a cloud-based platform where the product content becomes available for retailers and distributors.

The evolving market of CSP is presented by a wide range of platforms that provide companies with content services. Some of the most popular examples of CSP are Icecat, GFK Etilize, Hyland, and Alfresco. However, there are many new emerging content service providers that can fulfill the specific data-related needs of diverse brands.

What Are Content Services?

Content services include the collection of services, platforms, and tools aimed at the creation, collection, management, and distribution of content across various sales channels, business departments and databases, applications, and users, to provide the effective usage of data and gain business value.

Content As A Service – Is That For My Business?

Content As A Service (CAAS) is a way of delivering information from content providers on consumer demand through web services.

Over the last couple of years, CAAS became a rising trend and the number of content provider companies is constantly growing. What drives companies to adopt content as a service solution?

  • Personalization of product information

With the help of CAAS, businesses can manage content with a level of flexibility and personalization, as required. The custom rules can be applied, to address particular product information to individual channels or devices.

  • Omnichannel content delivery

Content As A Service enables businesses to distribute content to as many sales channels, platforms, social networks, and devices as possible, without losing the quality of data – product information can be automatically delivered to the ever-rising amount of users and at the same time comply with any established requirements.

  • High level of scalability and safety

With CAAS, online content providers allow product information to be distributed and stored globally without limitations. Eliminating the physical risks, as in the case with on-site content provider companies, and embracing the best encryption practices, CAAS ensures a high level of security for any business.

Companies Using CSP

An example of a company using a content provider service can be such a technological giant as Lenovo, utilizing the services of 1WorldSync Content Solutions. Some other examples of companies getting product information from CSP are HP, Sony, Dell, CDiscount, Microsoft, Acer, 3M, Tefal, L’oreal, and many others.

What Is The Business Model Of Content Provider?

Unlike businesses that gain revenue from selling products, the CSP business model implies generating profits from advertising (banner ads, etc), download payments, usage fees, subscription plans, access to custom-made content, or syndication of industry-specific content.

Why Consider CSP

CSPs help to ensure that webshops and marketplaces are stocked with relevant and high-quality product descriptions. As a result, customers become more interested in purchasing products. The more accurate information is, the greater are the chances it’ll motivate customers to buy goods.

How Do CSPs Work

Content service provider mainly integrates with webshops, manufacturers, marketplaces, distributors, and all kinds of vendors. The content provider aggregates the product information into its repository, enriches it with additional information, and shares it with retailers. Since now content provider is responsible for keeping everything accurate and up-to-date.

After uploading product data into Content Provider’s repository, you (or CSP’s editorial team) are allowed to edit brand characteristics when it’s needed; manage their pictures, videos, and other files. Some CSPs, in addition, provide services in the field of product photography, and videography (Newscred, Fashot) which is especially important for start-up brands that need help to promote their product as quickly as possible and bring it to market.

There are CSPs that implement additional customized tools that tend to contribute to webshops’ sales boost. Among these tools are so-called product finders, online advisors, tools for product comparisons, or even interactive product demonstrations in 360-degree mode.

Which Content Service Provider to Choose? 

There are several types of content providers, that slightly differ from each other in their services and other characteristics. Here comes a big question to answer: which one of the existing CSPs would suit best for your company?

To determine which one is more applicable to your business, you need to be conscious of your priorities and pain points. You should also ask yourself questions like: how high is the rate of sales conversion of your products? How fast is the process of a new product’s entry into the market? How many verticals and product categories are there on your webshop? Are you in need of content editorial services?

Such content catalogs as Icecat, GFK Etilize are the most popular in a niche. They offer both a high percentage of product coverage and first-rate content.

See the comparison of the most popular content providers below. To get the most out of cooperation, we recommend focusing on product portfolio coverage.

IceCat’s product catalog includes the following categories: Computers & Electronics, TVs & Monitors, Health & Beauty, Toys & Accessories, Pet Care, Fashion & Lifestyle, Domestic and Home Appliances, Baby & Children, Office supplies, Sporting and Entertainment goods.

Besides, there are a few smaller CSPs you may find appealing specifically to your business. Nielsen Brand Bank specializes in FMCG, proving its credibility by working with global entities such as Unilever, P&G, Tesco, and many more. One more, though having a smaller database of 7,000 brands, Flixmedia strikes an interesting feature  — an augmented reality shopping platform, that lets shoppers try before they buy and therefore, accelerates the decision-making phase and reduces product returns. How does it work? Simply place your phone with a cam looking at the surface and the virtual 3D product will appear.

DDS is a great deal for the ones operating in the electrical, lighting, solar, plumbing, industrial, and automation categories. CSP promises spec sheets, brochures, installation manuals, CAD, 2D & 3D drawings, marketing descriptions, and more.

Read more about how to choose a content provider in this detailed guide:

How To Choose A Content Provider?
7 min read
Liubov Pesotska
Product Information Management

How To Choose A Content Provider?

Discover how the right content provider can make your business flourish.

content catalog content provider CSP product content

How to Distribute This Data to All Resellers You Deal With?

Every manufacturer, every webshop, and every marketplace has its own unique data structure. Moreover, there is no one-size-fits-all content provider. How can you get automated imports for new and updated products in your webshop structure from partners?

Usually, this process occurs the following way: retailers/brands either spend their own resources or hire a third-party organization to constantly download, transform and edit content. A lot of manual work is involved here, which can be quite expensive both in terms of budget and time. Moreover, a human factor can play its role here — a person may be mistaken and edit information incorrectly. How To Automate Product Data Management

Optimizing Product Content Syndication With Gepard

Generally, the most cost-effective option is to get content delivery processes automated with the help of a content syndication solution. The Gepard platform makes all of the above-mentioned processes occur automatically. Commonly it works as middleware between content providers and channel partners. Gepard Syndicator imports product data from content providers and then applies mappings for product categories between a content service provider and channel partner’s catalog taxonomy. Then Syndicator delivers real-time updates of product data via REST API.

Why not move your focus from data storage and spend your time on more creative tasks? Entrust Gepard’s dedicated team with your content-related goals and experience the benefits of automated data processes. Contact us here for more information.

How To Automate Data Input From Content Service Providers


Written by Sofiia Kondrat
Content Manager at Gepard
Sofiia Kondrat is an experienced content writer and content manager, passionate about creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of industry trends, Sofiia is dedicated to producing informative, well-researched content that helps businesses stay ahead of the curve. When she's not writing, you can find her doing music & singing, exploring the great outdoors, or planning her next travel adventure.

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