Being the CEO at Gepard, the PIM & Syndication solution, I'm talking frequently with customers about eCommerce challenges with the product data management they want to resolve. And 80% of the challenges are either how to receive the data or how to deliver them. The big reveal here, is that people often don't know that there is a special term product content syndication invented. And because of that whole omni-thing (read omni-channel, omni-marketing, omni-sales, etc.) the amount of issues caused by the content is multiplied, so it's becoming quite omni-challenging.
There is no shadow of a doubt the PIM is useful, but there is a bit of concern you might have in order to have the right setup PIM.
Product Content Syndication: Do Retailers Need It?
What Is Product Content Syndication?
Product content syndication is a process that enables automated product content distribution from suppliers to the retailer, and from the retailer to sales channels. Selling thousands of products made by different manufacturers, you have to take care of the product data feed collection process, which is becoming very resource-intensive.
Frequently, product data from suppliers is not of sufficiently good quality and always comes in a diverse format. Thus, retailers need to spend hours on manual work adapting product content to the internally acceptable format and fix conversion errors.
If you strive to rank with the big brands and the retail giants, remember that 86% of shoppers are willing to pay for a better customer experience. Product information consistency is one of the criteria that most affect customer loyalty and consumer experience. Some brands & retailers already use syndication software as their primary tool for sharing the product data. As a result, they speed up time-to-market, accelerate product sales, and nurture customers with quality data.
Product Content Syndication Challenges for Retailers
1. Manual Product Data Processing and Validation
According to GetConvey, big retailers can have up to 5,000 suppliers of goods. Considering the diversity of communication channels, a company has to use 7-10 different sources to get well-built product data. Being required to carry out content standardization for their own platforms, most of the work is done manually.
A supplier writes you an email, sends a notification to WhatsApp, then calls back to clarify that some products are coming out in a new weight/color/volume. And then, you should transfer manually all these updates to all of your marketplaces. Sound familiar?
2. Wasted Work Routine Time
As the Shift survey shows, the monthly average deviation from planned working hours of full-time specialists is, on average, 32%. Just imagine, an average manager has to work a third of his schedule overtime. And the reason for this is mostly routine. The lack of basic automation of product content takes hundreds of working hours. This is the time your content team could have spent bringing on new sales strategies, generating PR ideas, which instead is being consumed by boring data mapping.
So, it is 6 pm on the clock, and you get an urgent call that 50 thousand items arrived at the warehouse in another color/fabric/size. To sell them during a high demand on the market, you need to update the information right here and now. Yes, outside working hours. Ugh. Sound familiar?
3. Most Syndication Software Doesn’t Offer Data Enrichment
Congrats, you have the PIM. But still, there are bits of additional information here and there about products to enter manually. And only particular solutions provide users with data enrichment and data validation features. This means, you can enrich the product content centrally and still keep the original data safe. The product variations feature allows you to define the basic product once and apply the variants of the product only by describing the difference to the basic product, like colors, or client-specific prints.
Working with a supplier for more than 3 years, you have already developed standards for describing the product range and manufacturer's assortment. But one day, the company will send you plenty of new catalogs, photos, certificates, and price lists. It will definitely help you sell more. But you can’t quickly process all the information and distribute it to the website. Thus, you have to choose which products will go live first and which ones will be delayed. Sound familiar?
Okay, but we still want to have an enjoyable experience with product content, right? So how do we get there? There are several questions you have to ask yourself about the solution.
A Checklist on How to Choose Product Content Syndication Platforms That Will Benefit Retailers
1. Is Product Data Validation and Delivery Automated?
Data validation & enrichment automation can reduce the content team’s workload by 90%, ensuring data integrity across all distribution channels from suppliers.
2. Can I Integrate This Solution into an Existing IT Ecosystem?
On average, each retail company uses various systems as CRM, ERP, CXM, analytics, and other custom platforms. Therefore, product syndication solutions should be easily integrated into the current business IT infrastructure: they should exchange common file formats, use basic APIs, and export/import data between content repositories.
3. Does It Help You with Product Data Standardization & Enrichment Flows?
Exporting and importing information is an essential task for syndication systems, but it is even more important that such software helps create new standards for providing information that can be more useful for the buyer.
4. Can I Take Advantage of Industry Standards Like GDSN with This Syndication Software?
The global data network using GDSN standards allows access to reliable information about the supplier's assortment, which guarantees 100% relevance and freshness of the data. That is why it is important to consider the ability to synchronize with GDSN pools when choosing syndication systems. Or one can think of ETIM or mainstream content providers like Icecat or Etilize.
5. Does This Product Syndication Solution Have Advanced PIM Features?
Advanced product information management features are tailored to the individual needs of retailers to centralize, enrich, and deliver product content to meet buyers’ demand. Сontent syndication tools with PIM features will allow you to store product data in a single source of truth, manage and enrich basic product data (images, marketing texts, its translations) with bullet points, reasons to buy, videos, rich media.
6. How Does Product Information Management with Product Content Syndication Platforms’ Features Improve Product Content?
With PIM you can define your own standard of product information or use existing internationally accepted standards such as GS1, ETIM, BMEcat, etc. Mind that your vision and your competitive advantages need to extend into the content area and the way you define the content. So it's an unusual case and you will need something different from what standard datapools may offer, but they are still a great data source. And the standardization simplifies content exchange between you, your suppliers, sales partners, and keeps the data clean. The input data still needs to be transformed and validated according to your taxonomy and requirements.
Consult with Gepard on Integrating the Product Content Syndication Solution into Your Company’s Flows Seamlessly
As you can see, there are plenty of challenges down the road.
Managing product information and syndicating up-to-date assortment data is a routine that takes at least 30% of working time every day. You can increase the productivity of your eCommerce department and improve the user experience with consistent product information, Gepard is happy to help you in this journey!
Our team of 150 developers and marketers has been working daily for 15 years to improve PIM and syndication tools to meet the changing demands of the EMEA market. We have already proven the effectiveness of our Gepard PIM & Syndication solution, nearly doubling the operational efficiency for our customers: Elkjop, HP, Lazada, GS1, Amazon, and many other market leaders.
We are eager to help your business to save time on product data and adapt all the required product information to your taxonomy using intelligent data mapping algorithms. Fill in the contact form, and our eCommerce expert will reach out to you immediately.