Collecting and sending product information is a big challenge for brands and retailers. For a long time, retailers received millions of product sheets in different formats and adapted them to their website data structure. But, it took plenty of labour days. Then large retailers said to manufacturers: "Okay guys, we know that you wanna sell your goods here, but send your product information in the format we need, please. Here is an example of it". That's why, nowadays, brands have to adapt all their product descriptions to retailers and marketplaces requirements and send it via email, portals or API.
But what is the most optimal way of sharing product content for both brands and retailers?
Well, there’s only one way to find out and that’s to ask. So, we asked experts, who work in eCommerce from various industries to find out their opinion on this topic and gathered their answers in this article.
Let’s dive in!
Senior Manager, Global Data Architecture at Hanesbrands Inc.
API, no contest, but done in such a way that allows back and forth communication, so that errors are clearly communicated to the brand for a quick resolution. Some major retailers allow instantaneous injection of product data into their production environment if you're using an API layer, whereas typically you would need to go through a Vendor Manager that approves your data before it would go live, so much quicker speed to market.
Roger Graell Sole
Director Of Ecommerce at Mango
I will definitely recommend API system to make sure that the product is updated on real-time across partners and removing any workload associated with it.
Director of Partnerships & Alliances at JetRails
The best way would be to make the data available via an API so that retailers could access and transform the data as needed. However, small retailers don’t always have the resources to easily leverage an API system, so it’s not uncommon to see a CSV or other flat file generated.
So, as we see, the API connection is definitely a leader now. But, let's check what other experts think of the issue.
Barbara Jenny Wilson
Director - Digital Operations, Consumer Beauty at Coty
Brand manufacturers need to right-size the sharing method to each retailer or marketplace. How high to go on the 'automated axis' will depend on assortment size, variability (usually based on trade cycles), shopper journey considerations, resource constraints and also the technical readiness of the customer.
Jorge Trashorras Serrano
Digital Project Manager at Leroy Merlin - España
The best way is first to share a common goal: the best product info always comes from the supplier. So the first step is that the supplier has to have an efficient way to share his information ( shared database, API microservices, SQL... ). Of course, the ideal scenario is to make an agreement with all your partners to use only one tool where they can upload the data and the retailers can download it or directly use it. We use that kind of platform with more than 200 suppliers and it is seamless the process between the supplier upload the info, and we process it and use it in the technical data of our front web site.
Ecommerce Manager at Lacoste
In Lacoste Ukraine we are using email, excel, API - in general, it depends on the partner needs and our possibilities also.
Nordic & Baltic eCommerce Channel Manager & eTail KAM at GROHE
For me, the best way is whatever makes it easy for partners to implement, to be honest. Formats, structure etc. is secondary, but if we make it easy and smooth then the convenience overcomes everything else.
Head of E-Commerce & Digital at Vinicio Srl
The integrated brands controlling the whole chain (end-to-end) should give them access to their DAM and PIM systems which they have to duly 'feed' and maintain and evolve over time though.
So, as many people, as many minds. But, here are some conclusions based on expert opinions:
- API seems to be the most progressive way of sharing product information to retailers, marketplaces, and eCommerce platforms.
- The way of sharing product data depends on the sales partner's needs and supplier's possibilities.
- The ideal scenario is to make an agreement with all your partners to use only one tool.
At Gepard, we think that the best way of sharing product content is the one which takes fewer resources. We provide both brands and retailers with fully automated product content syndication service. It allows brands to speed up product and pricing data delivery to retailers and decrease operational costs. And retailers receive product content from suppliers automatically in their template. Request Guided Demo to find out how your company can benefit from Gepard.