Wonder how to deliver content that drives sales and increases buyers’ pastime on a website? Want to be sure your product catalogs are always up-to-date? Either 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 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.
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
CSPs mainly integrate with webshops, manufacturers, marketplaces, distributors and all kinds of vendors. The content provider aggregates the product information into its repository, enriches it with the additional information and shares it with the 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, 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 CSP 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, CNET, 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 the product portfolio coverage.
CNet, in its turn, has a slightly different list of categories, including Printers & Scanners, Displays & Projectors, Networking, Displays & Projectors, Applications & Games, Optical equipment & Cameras, Home & Kitchen Appliances, Office Products. 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 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, letting shoppers try before they buy and therefore, accelerate the decision-making phase and reduce product returns. How it works? Simply place your phone with a cam looking to 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. An example would better speak for itself:
But another challenge appears here.
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.
Optimizing product content syndication
Generally, the most cost-effective option is to get content delivery processes automated with the help of a content syndication solution. 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 CSP and channel partner’s catalog taxonomy. Then Syndicator delivers real-time updates of product data via REST API.
If you’re interested in knowing more information about Gepard, feel free to fill the contact form here.
P.S. We're currently holding a survey on content services providers. Please respond, we will share the results on our blog soon.