The notion of product content syndication might not sound very sexy, but if you are looking to expand your presence on a global market and sell on various sales channels, let’s eat that dog. Promise, you won’t see any too complicated terms here. Nowadays the Internet is full of misconceptions, and the notion of syndication of content could be both quite accurate as well as misleading. This article is here to clear out what is product data syndication in E-commerce 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 content syndication and more).
What is product content syndication?
Product content syndication or product data syndication is the distribution of product data feed across multiple ecommerce sales platforms and marketplaces while complying with each of their different requirements. In other words, it is here to synchronize product data across various sales portals and channels. Let’s act out a situation to see who and why needs it:
⟨⟨ Vivienne Westwood fashion brand looks for ways to expand the market presence. Managers decide to sell on 5 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 to sacrifice more time on technical tasks, where they do not have solid expertise ⟩⟩
*this is a fictional example to illustrate product content syndication
Side note. Be aware 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 of syndicated product content?
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, content syndication services are still needed.
Generally, why do we pay attention to the quality of the syndicated product content? Gartner’s research shows that poor data quality is costing firms an estimated average of $8.8 million per annum.
As a customer can’t naturally touch, smell or experience a product in any way, it is retailers’ job to convey this information in product content. Rich product content, together with a successful multichannel strategy and accurate on-time product content syndication, largely impact consumer’s decision. To better understand what is 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 kind of demands. Failing to meet those puts a threat of just being ignored by the buyers as well as missing the potential of raising 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 the other options then? First, take the already established global marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Walmart, 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 it takes 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 content syndication done manually? Let’s see what could go wrong.
a) Conforming with 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’ll do it quickly, it still might cost you quality. The possibility 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 only on one platform.
c) A possibility of revenue loss should be a reason good enough to think of product content transformation and delivery automation. Any marketplace can reject the products not adhering to their standards. And that could be the silliest micro mistake.
d) One might lose a potential gain of 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 content syndication? (how it solves retailers problem)
Product content syndication might be a burdensome process if done manually. So, what it takes to create a flawless product content syndication?
It takes minimum effort if have an automated product content syndication software 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 software can solve on the example of Gepard solution:
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 data syndication platform 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 efforts 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. Content syndication portal transforms the product content into the taxonomy of the retail partners, syndicate and keep it up to date. No coding needed from the client's side.
What are the benefits of product content syndication done automatically?
- Products are discoverable
- Product data is always accurate and updated
- Team can concentrate on solving tasks requiring creativity rather than filling in spreadsheets
- No need to do coding from brand’s side
- Brand consistency and image is retained
- Faster time-to-market enabled
- Sales revenue increased
- Costs for possible mistakes eliminated
Quick guide to how the product content syndication software works
Not to waste your time digging into tech specs, it is always better to rely on the ones, proving its professionalism in the industry. Though it would be handy to check on the quick scheme.
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 and say hi to Gepard. Also, you could check how we implemented data syndication in the HP Case Study.