Where Does DDS’ Product Content Come From?

Matt Christensen

July 2, 2020

This is a question we get a lot, so we think it is important to share with the industry where our content actually does come from. The short answer is, 100% of our DDS-sourced product data comes directly from manufacturers—no exceptions.

The long answer is, within our DDS-sourced content we have more than five million SKUs from over 900 brands (mostly Electrical, Plumbing, Lighting, HVAC and Automation) that we source direct from manufacturers, and the method by which we receive a manufacturer’s content varies from supplier to supplier, and can even vary within a manufacturer’s different sub-brands.

DDS receives product content directly from manufacturers in a variety of methods.

It’s worth a quick note here that a manufacturer’s product information can exist in multiple locations and formats within their internal organization. (That’s why it’s not always “as easy as it sounds” if a distributor were to reach out directly for a manufacturer’s content.) So there typically isn’t one magic file that exists—but rather a significant amount of compiling or aggregating of information that is required—to get “complete” content for display on an e-commerce website.

  • The majority of our DDS-sourced content comes from files delivered in various formats (CSV, JSON, BMEcat, Excel, TXT, etc.).
  • Some manufacturers prefer to give us a distributor portal login in order to download their content.
  • For others, it’s easier for them to give us API access to consume their complete product information.
  • Some of the larger global suppliers are usually a combination of multiple files, documents, digital assets from various internal sources, plus API access.

Our proprietary technologies allow us to be extremely flexible in how we ingest each manufacturer’s data, resulting in an easy (and repeatable) process for manufacturers to provide their complete product information. This also allows us to maintain/update the content regularly to ensure distributors have accurate information. (For any manufacturers reading this, we’d love to show you the easiest way to provide more content to support your distributors and differentiate your products from competitors’ on their websites.)

What if a distributor has other sources of data?

In order to provide a complete solution to our distributor customers, we also work with a select number of third-party industry and buying group content providers, to which some of our medium and larger customers also subscribe.

Yes, there are definitely valid reasons why distributors may need more than one source of content for various uses within their organization. In some cases they may need specialty product information, or perhaps they are already contracted with another provider for select content, and sometimes it may be a supplier that we don’t (yet) have. In this scenario, we act as a facilitator or pass-through to help streamline delivery of multiple sources (DDS plus their additional content providers) in a single, automated and customized feed—thus reducing the complexity and effort for our distributor customers’ content teams. Ultimately this results in a significant reduction in “time-to-market” for product data to travel from a manufacturer to a distributor, and onto a website where it is visible to a contractor or end-user customer.

So, all of that said, where does your content provider get their content? Do they copy it from anywhere on the web, or do they guarantee that it comes directly from your manufacturers? Make sure you ask, as we have seen some providers copy content from wherever they deem is the easiest source across the web, which usually results in inadequate—incomplete and inaccurate—data.