FROM MIKE SPAGNOLA
SEMA Data Update: Harnessing the Power of the Internet
In its mission to help the industry succeed and prosper, SEMA invests in infrastructure that allows the industry to move forward. The SEMA Garage and SEMA Show are tangible examples. Another key infrastructure investment, less tangible but no less significant, exists primarily as a digital platform.
We’re referring to SEMA Data, originally conceived in 2010 as an affordable industry cooperative, a digital silo that would house manufacturer product data to be tapped by resellers. Over the past decade, as e-commerce gained steam, the original co-op grew and grew, ultimately evolving into the full-service resource that today serves as the primary B2B digital product information source for our industry.
A big step forward came in 2020 when SEMA Data acquired PartsHub, an easy-to-use, collaborative data management platform for manufacturers. PartsHub’s intuitive user interface is especially conducive to serving smaller manufacturers who might not have a specialized data management team in their workforce. For 2023, a priority is to continue to integrate the benefits of PartsHub with the existing Product Information Management System (PIMS) to deliver a singular experience to the manufacturer members.
Another task for the SEMA Data team is normalizing the product data to become consistent across the brands housed in the database today. The goal is to achieve search-ready product content, and the capability to not only display the product lines of the biggest and best-known manufacturers in our industry, but also hidden gems from smaller manufacturers who might not have been visible before.
While the product data specialists have been growing the product content, the software developers have also been in overdrive. That’s because transaction volume has accelerated exponentially since the new Reseller and Exports portal was released and SEMA Data e-commerce plug-ins went live. Not long ago, data exports to resellers might have amounted to 500,000 per year. Now they number in the millions. This automated data flow greatly speeds time to market for manufacturers, and allows retailers immediate access to the newest product launches. Currently, the SEMA Data plug-ins are available on three major e-commerce platforms—WooCommerce, Shopify and BigCommerce—helping companies quick-launch their data processes and online stores.
SEMA Data upgrades, although frequent, will never be finished, and for manufacturers, data excellence will always be a moving target. That’s because, as the marketplace and technology evolve, new categories of information become necessary. Just one example: With state and federal authorities taking a more aggressive stance when it comes to emissions enforcement, it is more important than ever for wholesalers and retailers to have an awareness of the parts that may expose them to EPA or CARB violations. SEMA Data worked closely with Auto Care and SEMA Garage to update the emissions status codes of any given part, so now resellers will be aware of emissions compliance status for any product.
Over the years, SEMA Data has developed resources to offer complete, affordable product data management for any business, large or small, and new features are always under development. Manufacturers who could use a little help creating or updating their data can tap into SEMA Data’s expert team of data specialists, who have experience creating the best electronic representation of any given product line. Visit www.semadata.org to stay current with new services and capabilities of SEMA Data as they’re launched.