Quality product data is the difference between an \”adequate\” website and one with \”quality\” data that is valued by customers. And \”valued\” is determined by increased traffic, increased sales, a better search experience and being easier to be found via better SEO.
The concern, and challenge, according to distributors is that many, if not all, current sources commoditize data – all distributors have the same content. Concurrently, they all say they want an \”Amazon / Grainger\” experience defined as \”robust content.\”
Concurrently, manufacturers comment that they want the ability to have \”all\” of their content attributes – product, marketing, application, videos, collateral, extra photos, CAD drawings, 3D images, links to configurators, etc – available to their distributors and/or used on distributor sites. They reference what is on their site and/or the ease of populating content on AmazonBusiness.
In fact, in our two most recent eCommerce-related surveys, product content is a key issues:
- In our State of eCommerce, Distributor Perspective Report,
- #1 personnel investment is \”People for product catalog development.\”
- When asked \”What two areas would be most helpful in improving your online sales?\”, the #2 answer was \”better product content\” (#1 is a better eCommerce system).
- #1 site usage is product research
- Key need is improved site search
- In our State of eCommerce, Electrical Buyer eCommerce Insights Report, your customers said\”
- #2 site usage is downloading product info, #3 is product research (#1 is obtaining pricing information\”
- When asked to rate the importance of various site attributes, \”complete product descriptions\” received a 5.4 out of 7 (#5 out of 10 with the top 2 relating to delivery issues and accurate pricing being #3) and search receiving a 5.75 out of 7. The most requested enhancements to distributor sites … robust product content inclusive of installation material and better search.
Distributor Product Data / Content Needs
- Quality data
- Comprehensive information for products
- The distributor to have the choose of which content to deploy to differentiate their site
- Updated, maintained, content
- Obtaining the data to be cost-effective
and for it to be quickly deployed for their site
Or think of it this way, they need information for their customers to make a buying decision. They need more than just the information to enable a transaction to be culminated. Just as they are aggregators of product, they need to be aggregators of information to be their customers \”one-stop resource.\”
Our new advertiser, Distributor Data Solutions (DDS), is an eCommerce content provider developed by electrical distribution veterans (used to own / manage Codale Electric, now a Sonepar company). They use leading edge technology (rather than outsource overseas) to deliver robust, manufacturer-provided content that can be customized for any eCommerce system and to provide as much or as little product information for a distributor\’s site.
They just redesigned their website to more clearly communicate their evolution over the past 3 years and their distributor and manufacturer offerings (from their website):
Distributor Data Solutions (DDS), a premier e-commerce product content provider focused in the electrical and automation industries, has re-launched its website, www.distributordatasolutions.com.
Recognizing that electrical distributor needs have changed significantly over the past couple of years, as have the services offered to distributors and manufacturers, the company sought to clarify and communicate its expanded offering serving the e-commerce needs of distributors, manufacturers and other partners within the electrical distribution industry.
DDS was formed in 2014 by veterans of the electrical industry to assist distributors with the challenges of obtaining and presenting top-quality product content on their e-commerce websites. For the past four years, DDS has been quietly developing a suite of products using intelligent technologies and concepts to power e-content for distributors seeking to differentiate their e-commerce offering and provide exceptional service to their customers. The launch of this robust new site reflects the company’s advanced entry to the marketplace, with a refined solution that includes product content maintenance, advanced search insights, reporting and tools to support manufacturer content syndication.
“There is a distinct lack of technology in the distribution industry with respect to gathering product data from manufacturers and making it available for distributors’ customers,” says Dale Holt, former owner of Codale Electric Supply, now a Sonepar company, and founder and president of DDS. “We have been hard at work building solutions that flat-out do not exist in the marketplace. We truly took an outside-the-box approach to helping distributors navigate the complex realities associated with building and maintaining an exceptional e-commerce presence. And with the technology that exists today, why would someone want to employ hundreds of people to manually enter manufacturer-provided information?”
DDS boasts a full suite of product offerings centered around enhanced product content, including intelligent category management, regular content maintenance, detailed change reporting, and a couple of game-changing industry exclusives: foreign language translation and ETIM classification.
DDS’ solutions are e-commerce platform-agnostic and scalable to fit any size or type of company. Their services feature an automated and seamless delivery system that works effortlessly and cost-effectively, with little resource burden on distributors through implementation and beyond.
DDS began serving electrical distributors in the U.S. and Latin America and has quickly gained traction in Europe and the Middle East, where distributors share similar e-commerce pains.
“E-Commerce is changing the way every industry does business,” says David Gordon of Channel Marketing Group, a consulting firm serving the distribution industry. “Distribution is a massive, global industry, and the need for improved e-commerce is a pervasive and urgent concern among distributors and manufacturers alike. In fact, our recent research reports highlight that customers are going online for product information more than ever, and our clients report that improved product quality is converting into higher online sales. DDS is addressing all of this head-on with some really smart strategies.”
In developing their distribution-centric technologies and processes, DDS works with hundreds of manufacturers, both as a direct source for product content and for their insight into its delivery for e-commerce. As a result, in addition to their solutions for distributors, DDS also helps manufacturers and other industry partners with product content enhancement and syndication, translated content, taxonomy and more.
“The tools we’ve been able to build to help distributors have proven equally valuable to manufacturers and other groups, who have their own challenges when it comes to getting complete, consistent content to distributors and ultimately end-users,” says Matt Christensen, vice president of DDS. “We are bringing the same level of customer experience that you find with leading e-commerce sites to this vastly under-served, but globally critical market.”
And, for manufacturers, participation to enhance their content in the Distributor Data Solutions database is free.
Take a look. Talk to them and let them know you read about them on ElectricalTrends.
(And yes, they are \”live\” with a number of leading distributors, have content from over 250 manufacturers and 2+ million SKUs and have integrated with a number of different ERP and eCommerce platforms.)