Are You Following the Three C’s of Product Data Management?

SEMA News—May 2016

SEMA DATA Co-op

Are You Following the Three C’s of Product Data Management?

By Jon Wyly

Ask any retailer that is trying to grow its business online what it needs most from a product supplier, and the topic of rich product data will be at the top of the list.

Millions and millions of dollars are spent every day to drive traffic to websites where, without the benefit of a live salesperson, the parts presentation itself becomes the “silent salesman.” Poor-quality or incomplete data will send customers away in a matter of seconds, with all that effort and money wasted when the deal can’t be closed.

So where to start? Testing your data against these three C’s will help ensure that you have the critical elements covered:

  • Current: Are you showing all of your current year applications?
  • Complete: Are all of the important data elements in your data set populated?
  • Content: Do you have quality content that properly represents your products?

These can be pretty big questions, but the good news is that there is quality help available to clear away the fog, and very affordable systems to make your data management as painless as possible.

We at the SEMA Data Co-op are often told, “We just don’t have the time to manage our product data.” As a business owner or sales manager, would you as easily accept a buyer telling you that he doesn’t have time to purchase raw materials or goods? Or a salesperson who says that he doesn’t have time to call on customers? Probably not, and I use those examples because they illustrate how fundamental good data management and ownership have become to successful businesses.

Your customers are counting on a supply of data to run their business systems and retail operations. Your own company needs data to manage a website, shipping systems and more, and retail customers are making buying decisions daily based on the message being conveyed by your product information. Worth repeating as well is the fact that if you don’t provide good data to your customers, many will just do the work themselves. The net result might be some success, no thanks to you, but it is often accompanied by inaccurate information and a loss of control of your marketing message, resulting in unhappy consumers, excess returns and other costly issues.

The answer? Own the process! Manage the data! Treat it as the valuable business asset it is. Turn its power loose and grow your sales in today’s digitally driven marketplace. Your product data simply cannot be ignored and is as sensitive and valuable to your bottom line as maintaining your pricing.

Don’t wait a minute longer to see what is going to happen, because I can tell you, it won’t be pretty. Sales will decline, customers will slowly migrate away from you, and competitive brands that understand the value of having their product data well managed and available will rob you of your market share.

To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SEMA Data Co-op Director of Membership Jim Graven at jimg@SEMAdatacoop.org or 888-958-6698 x4.

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