September 22, 2020
Welcome to the fifth in our “Top 10 Reasons Distributors Choose DDS” series highlighting what makes DDS’ product content—and the way we deliver it—the most intelligent and sophisticated solution available in the marketplace.
Taking the “usability” aspect of the e-commerce product content experience to another impressive level, here we focus on the frequency and automation of our content delivery process, which makes it even easier and faster for distributors to get their manufacturers’ web-ready product content added to their e-commerce sites.
We’ve spent a good deal of time already talking about “the great data chase” that distributors face in getting content from manufacturers—both initially, and when any of that content has been updated—and transforming it to match their product file and their webstore platform.
Where other content providers/sources offer a “self-service” model, acting as “warehouses” for a select number of manufacturers’ data, we set out to offer something more like a “concierge” service, where we deliver data from any and all manufacturers that each distributor needs, in a consistent and web-ready format—and via a pre-scheduled export—to make the ingestion process as quick and painless as possible.
In other words, DDS does most of the work for you. For the “longer answer,” keep reading, as we proudly present the fifth Reason why distributors choose DDS for their e-commerce product content:
REASON #5: DISTRIBUTORS CHOOSE TO PARTNER WITH DDS FOR PRODUCT CONTENT BECAUSE DELIVERY IS AUTOMATED AND SCHEDULED, ALLOWING THEM TO REMAIN FOCUSED ON OTHER INITIATIVES
While we covered the process and benefits of DDS’ distributor-specific custom exports in detail in Reason #4, it’s worth highlighting the frequency and automation of DDS’ content delivery to further demonstrate how we’re “easing the content burden” on distributors.
Because most industry data sources are designed for a collective (one-to-many) approach, rather than an individual (one-to-one/partner-to-partner) setup, it’s up to each distributor to obtain and work with manufacturer content on an ad hoc basis, according to what they need, how they need it, and when they need it.
There are certainly parts of the data transformation ritual that can be automated to an extent, but there are still a lot of manual processes that take up many precious man-hours, not to mention a fair amount of technical proficiency and software/application requirements. (Some industry data tools actually require SQL database knowledge, which is neither cutting-edge, nor part of a typical distributor staff skillset, to say the least.)
Once again, if it requires a team of people and a myriad of expensive, technical tools to consistently chase and manage data, it can be hard to realize a healthy ROI for an e-commerce website.
Keeping your manufacturers’ content maintained (as we’ll dive into deeper in Reason #7) is an added layer of “the chase.” What’s the process for obtaining (and how often do you seek out) updated information? How do manufacturers communicate when new info is available? How do you know about, and then deal with, discontinued/obsoleted products?
With DDS’ Content-as-a-Service offering, CONTENT/io, each distributor’s weekly custom export automatically contains the latest updates from their manufacturers. (Again to be covered in Reason #7, our regular, custom imports from said manufacturers automatically pick up any changes and add them to distributor feeds.) And, we provide detailed reporting as to exactly what has changed—i.e. new and obsolete products—down to the individual SKU level, so you’re aware of it immediately.
(These also become fantastic bits of intel that you can share with your executives, your sales team, and your manufacturer reps.)
During our implementation process, we work closely with each distributor to perform an initial match of their product file to their manufacturers’ data, then we set up the automated delivery according to the frequency and file format(s) they prefer. After some QC testing (because HELLO), they’re “up and running” with regular exports, delivered each week in a customized feed unique to their company, containing all their content from all their manufacturers, already matched to their product file, and already formatted for quick and seamless integration into their e-commerce system (and any other apps they’ve requested).
There is no additional file manipulation required (unlike with a PIM, or other standard, one-size-fits-all format)—content is delivered ready-to-use on a scheduled basis. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
As one of our customers—a major electronics distributor in the Northeast U.S.—recently remarked, “DDS can transform the content from our 250+ manufacturers into a format that is easier for us to consume; there’s no way we have the resources to do this ourselves.”
Especially compared to their prior experiences with product content, our distributor customers appreciate having the delivery and management of content both streamlined and automated so they can stay focused on serving customers.
Not surprisingly, some distributors (or select staff therein) hear this and think such an “outsourced” solution may put them out of a job. Quite the opposite—by partnering with DDS as a third-party expert for product content, your website will result in a vastly improved customer experience (not to mention a game-changing sales enablement tool)—that will drive revenue, whether directly via the site or through traditional sales channels (as plenty of data now shows that up to 70% of product research is being done online, before a customer ever engages with your sales force).
The bottom line is, not only does this turn your e-commerce site and team into a revenue-generating profit center, but it frees up your staff to work on other projects, like onboarding customers and educating them on how to get the most out of your webstore and other digital investments.
Hungry for more?
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. Keep an eye out for Reason 6, where we’ll talk about how DDS offers distributors access to unlimited product SKUs featuring our next-gen product content.