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Javier’s Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Product Data in Order

February 1, 2021

Practical advice on where to put your energy when it comes to product data

Javier Garcia, Data and Onboarding Manager at EDA Data Services, knows data.

“I work with manufacturers and their product data all day, every day,” says Javier, “And with 30 manufacturers signed up to EDATA, the data pool, trends emerge.

“Every manufacturer starts their data and digitalisation journeys in a different place but it doesn’t matter how big your business is or whether you operate in the UK only or globally, the data challenges are pretty much the same.

Javier Garcia, Onboarding and Product Data Manager, EDA
"Whether you operate in one market or many, the data challenges are very similar."

Javier's Top 5 Tips

Tip 1

Everything can always be improved; don’t wait until you achieve perfection to share your data.

It is always better to have something that meets the minimum criteria (and is accurate) rather than nothing at all. It means that manufacturers don’t lose brand visibility against their competitors, while for the distributors it means they can at least have in their systems, and possibly also online, more products available for their customers.

Tip 2

Remember the 80/20 rule.

Creating data for products is a huge project, especially if you are just starting out, so focus on your best sellers. Identify the 20% of your products that drive the 80% of your sales and prioritize those. Once you see the impact of those it will be easier to keep the ball rolling.

Tip 3

It is key for the success of the project to get the basics right (systems and resources required, teams that need to be involved, etc.)

Everyone is tired of spreadsheets and they are not an acceptable way of storing data. As a business you should investigate what your needs are and objectives. You may have a number of business systems containing product data that do not communicate with each other, creating silos.

One of the keys to have and maintain good quality consistent data is to have a system that works as the source of true data and feeds the rest of the systems. This will traditionally be an ERP system, although Product Information Management (PIM) systems are becoming more popular. A PIM feeds any Content Management System (CMS) or Web Content Management System (WCMS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, and external databases like EDATA.

This is not a one-team task. It needs the collaboration of multiple departments. The Marketing Team could create most of the enriched content, but will require the product knowledge from the Product Team, and IT will always be required for the usage and connection of the systems involved.

Tip 4

Do not underestimate the value of good quality assets.

When we talk about data, and even with ecommerce data, we tend to lose sight of the assets. Nowadays images are as important as any data field, if not more so. The days where a generic image could be used for many different products are long gone.

Images must be good quality and, more than anything, they have to be accurate. If a product has a specific characteristic the image should reflect that. If a product is black and the image is for the white version, this is only going to hurt your sales.

But assets are not just images but include datasheets, Control of substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) documents; manuals, technical drawings, etc. These are not only important to generate sales, they also result in fewer queries for your commercial teams to deal with.

Tip 5

ETIM can be the difference, don’t ignore it.

As a classification system ETIM can help in many ways. Businesses can share data across countries without going through complex translation exercises, facilitating the use of a central database for international manufacturers and allowing everyone to use the same data for the technical specifications of the products.

For eCommerce, ETIM is used not only as a way of storing and displaying the technical attributes, but also as a way of filtering. Lack of ETIM data could mean your products do not appear in web search results when customers apply filters. If they can’t find your products they can’t buy them.

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