Growing Sales in a Data-Driven Marketplace

SEMA News—June 2019

Growing Sales in a Data-Driven Marketplace

Chris Kersting

Chris Kersting

There’s no longer any doubt that better digital product information sells more parts. A recent SEMA market study reported that 86% of automotive accessorizers used online sources to research their parts purchases. And broader market studies show that strong product data increases the frequency of sales, positively influences the amount of each sale and drives brand loyalty.

Well-presented product information, video and images available online are having an increasingly positive impact on sales made at brick-and-mortar locations as consumers routinely turn to digital sources to learn about the products they intend to buy. For many SEMA-member businesses, taking advantage of those trends is improved by generating and using the highest-quality data possible and making it as widely available as possible.

These days, “high-quality” data has come to include descriptions that are much more expansive than they were even just a few years ago. And more than ever, product data is being supplied in a form that can take advantage of the rapid global growth of smartphone usage, with a strong push for formats that include succinct bullet points and video.

One indication of the growth rate of data-driven commerce is that the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC)—the association’s industry-owned data service—has seen an average 41% increase year-on-year in export activity since 2014. As the demand for quality product data grows, the SDC is evolving to help our manufacturer members meet the need to improve their product data, expanding to provide do-it-with-me services when needed.

To that end, the SDC has recently doubled the number of staff providing data assistance to members—helping manufacturers upload, clean, verify, enhance and complete supplier data as part of the SDC’s standard program. Personnel have been organized into product-category-specific teams to better assist the process. While the SDC staff experts still require participation by the manufacturer, services are now tailored to help get enhanced data to market faster and be more complete.

The SDC has also grown its software-development team to help make timely and valuable improvements in the SDC tools used by members. For example, the team has recently upgraded the SDC Product Information Management System to improve the user interface and functionality. SDC-user feedback on those improvements has been very positive.

Making the data ever more widely available is another priority in today’s e-commerce landscape. The SDC has achieved double-digit year-over-year growth in resellers joining the program at an average of 28% annually. And to further the goal of making speedy, efficient connections between manufacturers and resellers, the SDC team is optimizing systems so that resellers know right away when a supplier loads a new product or product updates into the system.

As of this writing, planning for the 2019 SEMA Show is in full swing. Manufacturers are reserving booth space, planning new-product introductions and developing sales strategies for the more than 70,000 buyers who will attend the Show from around the world. Exhibiting manufacturers will serve themselves well by having up-to-date product data available to help launch new products and maximize their Show return on investment. The SDC stands ready to assist.

This year, the SDC will be making special arrangements to direct the Show’s buyer attendees to exhibitors who have achieved SDC Platinum-grade product data. Manufacturers aiming to sell more products should visit www.semadatacoop.org to learn how to best utilize the SDC’s full-time data lab services in preparation for the Show. With your data upgraded and securely stored, your business will be able to supply product data exports in whatever format a reseller requires to drive sales anywhere in the world.

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