Since the inception of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) in 2012, more than 400 product brands representing more than 4 million parts have joined what is now the industry’s largest specialty parts product data repository. The SDC is designed to enable any company, no matter how small or large, to effectively manage and distribute its product data at the lowest possible cost, and the SDC’s expert staff will coach you all the way through the process.
As 2015 rapidly comes to a close, most of us are busy preparing for the SEMA Show and getting next year’s budgets in order. If you are not yet working with the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) to take total management control and ownership of your product data, now is a perfect time to plan for engagement in 2016, just in time for the spring selling season. And remember, the SDC doesn’t charge any initial onboarding or setup fees. In fact, you don’t pay anything until your data is ready to distribute, so you can start the process today and not affect your calendar 2015 budget.
It’s been about eight months since the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) rolled out the Data Quality and Completeness Program, which is designed specifically to help suppliers increase their data quality level in an easy, step-by-step process. In that time, we have seen more than 250 “steps” made by participating suppliers as they have moved up through the quality ratings of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, making their data more valuable to their customer base and creating more sales.
Maybe all this hype about product data is just that—overblown excitement from a few nerdy technologists who are trying to tell us that more and more people will be demanding digitized information to power their so-called “electronic catalogs.” Heck, what’s wrong with paper catalogs anyway? Or the idea that the Internet is going to continue to grow and grow and might even eventually be a big part of consumer purchasing habits? Inconceivable! Statements like these sure make you wonder where some of these crazy ideas come from, don’t they?
Believe it or not, one of the most common excuses for business people to put off change is to simply declare, “We’re too busy.” Too busy to hire more help, too busy to evaluate internal systems, too busy to change a simple process that will pay for itself many times over.
If you are part of the “too busy” crowd, it’s time to stop and take a breath. Spend some time looking around the company, listen to feedback from the folks who are actually doing the work, then take some sort of positive step forward to implement bits of efficiency, no matter how small.
Think about it. More than 80% of adults use the Internet or e-mail at least occasionally. According to the latest Pew research, 71% of Internet users are on Facebook, and 70% of those engage with the site daily. Any way you slice it, that’s a whole lotta communication going on! Add to that the massive growth that sites such as Instagram (now bigger than Twitter), Snapchat and others continue to show, and it’s a safe bet that they will continue to be favorite ways for users to stay in touch with their ever-growing world.
So what does this have to do with your brand? While a bit dated (2012), the latest stat we could find on the subject says that 71% of social-media users said they are more likely to make a purchase based on...
“You’ll never truly understand another person until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” So true. Taking the time to really understand your customers’ needs—from their perspective—can pay big dividends in goodwill and lasting, productive relationships.
For example, ask any retailer who is trying to grow his business online what he needs most from you, and the topic of rich product data will be front of mind.
I was talking to an old friend who runs a specialty performance distribution business, and he said, “You know, it just seems like nobody talks to each other on the phone any more.” Yep, e-mail has changed the way we communicate. The same sentiment can be heard in brick-and-mortar stores across the country in the form of, “You know, people don’t come into the store like they used to.”
There’s no question that the Internet has changed the way we do business as well. So what’s the common thread that is replacing the long-standing virtues of face-to-face business, customer relationships and loyalty? If you ask me, it’s technology.
Stuff CEOs and Sales Managers Really Need to Know
Think about the last time you personally went to the web to research a potential purchase—and remember that, according to the latest Google research, more than 77% of potential buyers of our products do just that. What were the things that led you to a particular product, brand or even place to buy?
Speed to market for new products has been the bane of our industry since its beginning, and it’s an all too familiar story. Hard-earned money is spent on product research and development, WDs stock the shelves and then things just seem to slow down, often leaving new products laying on the shelves for weeks or months waiting to be “discovered.” Even in today’s digital age, we just can’t seem to get everything in sync to provide a seamless path of information from product inception to the warehouse shelves to the reseller and consumer… until now.
About 18 months ago, the SEMA Data Co-op launched its online Product Information Management System, a data-management interface that equips a manufacturer to load product data into the system directly, automatically validates that data to industry standards and...