August 18, 2020
Welcome to the second in our “Top 10” series of posts explaining exactly why so many distributors are choosing DDS as their partner for next-generation e-commerce product content.
In the first post (Distributors want UPGRADED product content) we established, albeit briefly, the fundamental fact that DDS has more and better quality content than distributors can get from any other provider or develop themselves.
But we’ve barely scratched the surface in demonstrating just how—or better, why—our content differs from, and is superior to, anything else available in the market. Here we dive deeper into how our processes and our philosophy truly set us (and our next-gen content offerings) apart.
Having upgraded e-commerce product content starts with ensuring you are benefiting from all of the exceptional and robust content that your manufacturers make available—and as we’ll discuss here, that’s an issue for most content providers.
But due to some key technological differences, not only is DDS uniquely able to deliver everything that your manufacturers produce, but we provide it in a format that is tailored to your unique e-commerce system and ready for you to upload without additional manipulation of files. NO ONE ELSE IS DOING THIS—and as one of our manufacturer (SYNDICATION/io) customers likes to say, comparing our data with other providers’ “isn’t just ‘night and day’; it’s like a whole different planet.”
- You’ll find the entire “Top 10 Reasons Distributors Choose DDS” list here, which is building out as we speak—so stay tuned for the rest!
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With that, we proudly present the second Reason why distributors choose DDS for their e-commerce product content:
REASON #2: DISTRIBUTORS CHOOSE DDS’ NEXT-GENERATION E-COMMERCE PRODUCT CONTENT BECAUSE IT INCLUDES EVERYTHING THEIR MANUFACTURERS MAKE AVAILABLE
Ever wonder why you see missing images, or a general lack of robust information, on distributor websites, when you know that additional detail and media exists? Most of the time, this isn’t a reflection that manufacturers have “poor” data—most of them have extensive and impeccable content; they spend a great deal of time and money to produce supplemental information to help market and sell their products, and they’re constantly updating and adding to it.
The challenge lies in the processes and technologies available to them to get it to you (and hundreds, or even thousands, of other distribution partners) in a format that is usable.
Suffice it to say, the wholesale distribution industry is behind the times when it comes to the exchange of product content for e-commerce and other digital purposes. Because most content systems were built around ERP (basic transactional) data, they have a very structured (and limited) template for the data required from a manufacturer. Even where these legacy systems can be adapted to accommodate some additional information, they still use standard templates for capturing multiple manufacturers’ information, as well as for passing it along to multiple distributors. While the logic of a one-size-fits-all solution made sense in the past, it’s an insufficient approach when you consider how different one manufacturer’s data looks compared to another’s, as well as how one distributor’s needs (i.e. technology platforms) may differ from his peers.
Put simply, no two manufacturers’ data is the same, so we don’t ingest it, store it, or treat it the same.
Because we don’t have rigid specs or a single template for ingesting each manufacturer’s data, we can pass along more types and higher volume of content than other providers. (Manufacturers love this too, because it reduces the “commoditizing” of their data, which makes it harder to differentiate their products from their competitors’, on most websites.)
So if a manufacturer has “extra” images, or unique types of content that don’t “fit” into a standard database, that information isn’t getting passed along to you, the distributor. Period.
Since day one, we’ve taken the time to create a unique import for every single manufacturer (even for different product lines from the same manufacturer) so that none of this information gets “lost” in transit.
And the process doesn’t stop there. On the other end of the equation, we pass manufacturers’ data on to each distributor via custom exports—again, not a standard, one-size-fits-all format—to ensure they are receiving all that rich content in a usable format. Much more on this to follow (Reasons 4 – 8), but here’s the skinny:
Unlike other providers, we don’t just “dump” all the content in one master repository, requiring each distributor to manually pull out what they need, and then painstakingly format it for their webstore. This is another point at which information can get lost in transit, as distributors—even those who may have in-house e-commerce and/or content teams—have to spend significant time mapping each individual manufacturer’s data fields to the fields required for their e-commerce system. (And this isn’t just required once; it has to happen every time updated info is available from each manufacturer.) As we’ll explain further, this can be the source of errors and certainly frustration. Under such resource-intensive circumstances, it is understandably difficult for companies to justify the ROI of an e-commerce offering.
However, DDS does most of this heavy lifting for our distributor customers. As part of our custom export process, each time we deliver data (typically weekly), we perform an automated product file match to sync each manufacturer’s products with the corresponding products in the distributor’s unique product file. The reason for this is twofold: first, distributor product files can vary in completeness (and cleanliness); think of how many ways “Square-D / SQD” or “120 Volt / 120V” can be spelled… And second, because this is such messy process—even with the cleanest of product files—we don’t want to dump half a million products’ worth of data on them and make them do that themselves. We’ve been there ourselves, and we’d much rather hand them a usable file, as opposed to one requiring hours of cleanup and manipulation. So each week the distributor receives an automated, scheduled export that not only contains everything from their top manufacturers, but is already formatted for their unique e-commerce system and ready for easy upload.
In short, we make it easy for manufacturers to get us all of their data, and we make it easy for distributors to receive it in a format that’s ready for them to use.
And of course, the ultimate question is, What about results? There are a number of obvious (and not-so-obvious) benefits to having more and better information on your site, including:
- A higher quantity of products, and higher volume of information per product, helps bring more traffic to your site via search results (SEO).
- Better data keeps customers on your website—so they don’t have to go to the manufacturer’s site—or heaven forbid, your competitor’s—for complete information!
- Better quality of data (especially accurate images, multiple images, and 360-degree/3-D product “spins”) helps ensure the customer selects the correct product, reducing the risk of costly returns by as much as 40%.
- What’s more, the e-commerce-savvy distributor understands that having more products on their site, with more robust information for each product, results in increased sales—whether direct or indirect—at each of your branches, not just online.
Much More to Come!
This “Top 10” list is part of our ongoing efforts to educate the industry as to the realities—and also the tremendous opportunities—involved with e-commerce product content. Stay tuned for the next Reason, where we’ll discuss what makes DDS’ product content truly e-commerce-ready, another major differentiator of our next-generation product content solutions.