Publishing Product Information to Web Sites

I am working a PIM project now. This business is ecommerce, selling products, provided by many suppliers, on the internet. At this point, product data is published to over 30 selling partners like ebay, google, amazon, and others. One additional point, this business works in a fast moving market. New products and product edits move fast. Plus promotions and specials are rampant.

And not to bore with too much detail, but this market being served by this etailer seeks a lifestyle. The customers seek not only a hard good but matching products to fulfill the look and feel of this lifestyle. Offering a hierarchy of products, a subset of the catalog is an objective. And the business does this now, yet with much manual effort and much time being consumed.

Now getting back to the issue of publishing. I will leave getting data, storing, cleansing, enriching for another post. But publishing data to selling partners and to the company websites is slow, and painful. Of the thirty or so selling partners, each has different requirements. Each presents product data in a different way on the ecommerce platform. This can be color, or size, or image, or videos, or many other attributes. One example, may be men’s shoe size. One site needs Euro others need US sizes, many need both. And the variance on images, size, colors adds to this complexity. Items that sound simple, like header name requirements cause pain. I do not mean physical pain, although headaches may start to pound as products are worked on.

Publishing to the partner sites is in several different formats. TXT or csv, xml, and excel among the crowd. And each format has many structural and attribute variances. Today, this business, has a very smart person, transforming data for publishing. Extracting, concatenating, or cleansing to make the feeds work.

A PIM solution, or product information management tool solves this issue simply. But not all solutions do this well. The vendor speak says “sure we do this.” Meaning services dollars will create the template or data feed format for publishing to a selling partner. And on day one of a product information management solution solves the immediate problem. Day two is different.

Day two brings new selling partners on board. On boarding the new partner consists of the same publishing problem solved on day one. Yet creating the new selling partner template is not easy. Often the ill equipped PIM vendor charges service fees to create the new product publishing template. And then day 3 comes and more cost. The ecommerce business becomes addicted to the vendor for over and over costs for what should be a simple task; on boarding a new selling partner or channel.

The simple task, in best of breed PIM solutions, is for a business person, not an IT resource. This business person, a product manager, or marketer, or merchandiser, which ever title, can use a clean UI with choices and drop downs for easy, standard entry of data formats for publishing. Standard entry is important. Data quality must be maintained. Workflow can alert and notify if nudges in data pop up. Perhaps a color is not in a drop down, this is fixed fast and work continues.

I have a paper on multi channel publishing. This paper details how a world class PIM or product information management software solution solves multi channel publishing pain. Please request your copy here. And your email will not be used for another purpose.

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About Sales Pro
Master Data Management and Product information management solutions.

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