This article at The Retail Gazette demonstrates that consumer demand has driven retailers into a brick wall - product information management....
The Edge - The official blog of Edgenet, Inc. Talking smart about the world of buyers' guides, product data feeds, and data feed optimization solutions.
For years, we've been touting Edgenet's ability to collect, structure, score and distribute product data. It's a set of technologies which lie at the core of many of our products. We've been careful to steer clear of using the term "PIM" (we've gone with "PIM-like") to describe Edgenet's Ezeedata and associated products, largely because we understand that PIM typically encompasses a Master Data set, which leads us on the path of Master Data Management, when really we're the Product Data Management guys....
In a recent meeting at Edgenet we discussed the growing evolution - across practically every industry we encounter - of awareness about the need for organized product data. Just a few years ago, our sales "Pitch" included a discussion of what product data was, and why distributors, retailers and search engines needed it....
You thought the Internet of Things was coming? It's here. Wait, you don't know what the Internet of Things is?
Today, there are a lot of things we know of and about and could likely accurately describe that we might know the proper name for. Like the yellow line that represents the first down during a football game. That probably has a name (turns out the technology is called "First and Ten").
So, the Internet of Things - is it a video game? Technology Horror Film?
If you don't know about the O'Reilly books, then you can click the link and do a quick learn - most people have seen an O'Reilly book on something through the years, even if it was part of a required course at school, or in a bookshelf at a friend's house. Wikipedia explains, "an American media company established by Tim O'Reilly that publishes books and Web sites and produces conferences on computer technology topics. Their distinctive brand features a woodcut of an animal on many of their book covers."
We've been telling you folks for years that bad data means lost sales. Bad data comes in all shapes and sizes: it could mean incomplete, unstructured, bad images, inaccurate - or in the case of the company in the Twitter conversation above - decentralized, so that the catalog and the website don't match.
As mentioned previously, we can't cover all of the insights in this article with a single blog post. The article covers so much of the ground we discuss here at the blog and on our website that we're going to take our time with it.
The article asks "What Is Product Data And Why Should You Care?", and then explains that we have realized the need to maintain lists of contact data - and the burgeoning need to structure, de-dupe, and complete that data. We just haven't carried that same practicality and sensibility into the world of product data, even though it's just as necessary. How does product data get so complex, and why should you care?
Purveyors of this blog might come to a conclusion that we're pushing hard to show the importance of product data so that you'll run - don't walk - and buy our product data solutions.
That's only half true.
As borne out by this article at information-management.com - one of the best articles we've ever seen on product data - the importance of quality, structured product data is only now being recognized across industries.
We blame unstructured product data.
Structured product data will improve your organic SEO results. So says a recent article at the website "practical ecommerce: Insights for Online Merchants."
The article, written by Jill Kocher, indicates that early decisions regarding site structure and how it uses a product catalog can "have surprising ramifications for SEO."
The secret is understanding HOW shoppers are searching for your products and organizing your website's navigation and pages to mirror and reveal product data that matches popular searches.
We're not saying anything about this particular brand of Baking Tin. They appear to be very nice baking tins, and they look greyish or maybe a pewter tone. We're going by the picture, because the Baking Tin's product data says they have no color....
We've been telling you for years that better, highly structured data results in a bigger bottom line. Better data reduces inefficiencies, as indicated in an IBM study showing that companies lose an average of 8.2 million dollars annually from data collection issues.
And that's just data collection, not dissemination. One of our partners indicated that a supplier in their industry had to create between 50-100 data sets for 50-100 distributors.
Even though the changes are massive, there's no need for panic. Google may be a giant, but it's no Godzilla.
By now, most savvy retailers - and even a few of the late adopters - have realized that Google has changed online retail with its announced changes to move to a pay-for-play model. Here are a few details you might not have realized.
It's likely you've heard about the shift in both Google and Bing's algorithm which rewards fresh content in organic search. But you might not have realized that the search engines prize freshness - perhaps to an even higher level - within product search.
It makes sense, doesn't it? You don't want shoppers showing up at your stores looking for merchandise that is outdated at prices that are no longer in effect (as described in this interview Edgenet's Craig Cervenka performed earlier this year with Robert Hintz, a Powersports Dealer).
We at Edgenet continue to hear from manufacturers and suppliers who are certain they know who is shopping for their products, and therefore these manufacturers and suppliers KNOW what product details their shoppers want and need.
You sure about that?
We'd like to present Exhibit A: The Cave People.
The LA Times reports that millions of people in China live in caves. They like it there. Some of the caves have running water, electricity.
What product details are valuable to Chinese cave people?
We'll give you a moment to think about it.
The mighty, always-informative Internet Retailer reports that more and more e-tailers are improving their websites to accomodate shopper research. A study conducted by the site showed that more retailers are allowing shoppers to use advanced search, as 39% of retailers now have this feature, compared with 21% in 2010.
So, when shoppers search these sites for your products....what will they find?
When veteran technology reporter Steven Levy wrote a book, "In The Plex," he was given unprecedented access to the campus and the minds of the geniuses at Google. From the founders on down, he found that one word was mentioned everywhere, in any strategic conversation. "In The Plex" mentions the word 319 times: