E-Marketplaces: Then and Now

When it comes to e-commerce, distributors now face what we call a “multichannel mayhem,” where the sheer amount of data and marketplaces distributors need to be on can feel overwhelming.

So how do you sort through it all and position your products for success? To answer this question, lets first take a look at where we came from and where we stand today.

At the Beginning

The early days of e-commerce presented a challenge for distributors to transfer product information from print catalogs to the web. Basically, distributors were concerned with simply getting products online.

Clean data optimized for e-commerce wasn’t their top priority. In fact, they weren’t even thinking about optimizing data for site search or faceted navigation. They just wanted to get data online.

In the beginning, distributors drove traffic and user experience to only their website. They hadn’t even begun to think about optimizing data for user experience and traffic on other sites. Some sites didn’t even take online orders right away. Instead, they wanted customers to make phone orders.

Content Today

Now, there are multiple selling channels distributors must consider. Distributors must take all their supplier’s data and unify it across all experiences. These include the web, social sites, print catalogs, mobile and various other marketplaces.

Within the marketplace channel, there are several “micro-channels” distributors must manage product data for. These can include Sears Marketplace, eBay, Amazon and so on.

Onboarding data for multiple marketplaces is a huge headache. Each marketplace has its own separate requirement for how it wants data organized and delivered. And without a clear leader among these marketplaces, you must prepare product content for all of them.

If there was a “Walmart” of marketplaces, it’d be easy to prepare your content just for them, but unfortunately there just isn’t one.

Managing all this data can quickly get out of control, especially if you’re dealing with thousands or millions of products, with each different site all requesting the specific information for each specific product. You can imagine how mind numbing this can be.

Distributors must:

  • Figure out how to take data from multiple sources
  • Condense, cleanse, and onboard this data to suit various marketplace requirements
  • Classify products to the correct area of the hierarchy on each marketplace
  • Map attributes and values to the correct area on each marketplace

If none of this happens, then discovery is severely diminished, and products just don’t get purchased. And to make things worse, if data is not properly handled, you can face financial penalties or risk losing customers due to product data that is not optimized.

The Fix

Luckily, the right software is the answer to all of these problems. Without the right software, distributors must hire people to do manual, repetitive data work. Then once employees leave, they take their knowledge with them.

Products like Codifyd’s Digital Commerce software institutionalizes knowledge. It identifies content gaps and inconsistencies, eliminating otherwise manual tasks and making product content distribution fast, efficient, and accurate.

This software maps product data from multiple sources to multiple targets, formats data to meet different requirements, promises data accuracy and quality, and onboards vendor data.

Essentially, it cleans up a decade’s worth of mess.

We’ve come a long way. The days of our number one concern being to just get data online are over, but wrangling all this data together has created a whole new level of complex work.

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