The manufacturer’s role in merchandising has changed. In the past, brands and manufacturers created the product and trusted their partner retailers to merchandise it for them. That approach no longer works; brands need to take an active role in shaping the product experience.
This means knowing how buyers make decisions, creating product content that speaks to their needs and ensuring an accurate and consistent experience across all channels and touchpoints. The challenge doesn’t end once your team produces the rich content necessary to power adaptive merchandising; continually updating, refreshing, and distributing it is an ongoing process that demands the right supporting technology.
Product syndication is the automatic and ongoing distribution of your product content feed to all your sales and distribution channels and touchpoints. Combined with a PIM platform, product syndication ensures that accurate, optimized, high-quality product data is exported to the right place at the right time and in the right format.
This means you can open new sales channels, quickly bring new products to market, and ensure your products are visible, discoverable, and desirable to your target buyers. Downstream relationships also benefit because partner retailers and channels can rely on tailored, complete, channel-ready product content.
Checklist for your syndication solution
The right syndication solution needs to do more than export content; it needs to work with your existing business systems and simplify workflows for your marketing team. There are several key considerations in choosing a syndication partner:
How easy are data-capture and validation?
Data imported from multiple channels needs to be transformed and adjusted to the format and taxonomy required by resellers and marketplaces. A leading-edge solution has powerful data transformation and validation capabilities to automate the process and identify any missing information or errors that may cause the data to be rejected.
Is it easy to optimize and enrich product content?
Brands have to go beyond core product content to create an engaging omnichannel product experience. Your syndication partner should be able to host and distribute rich media content on the same platform. This allows you to optimize, enrich and configure all your product content for each channel from a single location, ensuring a consistent experience.
For global brands, a PIM plus syndication solution should also be able to translate and localize product information. Keeping localization in-house gives brands total control over the accuracy and consistency of their product information and speeds the time to enter new global markets.
Do workflows take advantage of industry standards like GDSN?
Major retailers such as Amazon and Lowe’s use GDSN, the internet-based Global Data Synchronization Network, for automated content delivery. Brand manufacturers can leverage GDSN to securely share regulatory and supply chain data with retail partners. A syndication solution with workflows that can capture your product information, transform and validate it to GS1 hierarchies, and publish it to the GDSN data pool streamlines the process without compromising data quality. (GDSN incorporates the data standards of GS1, the not-for-profit organization that maintains standards for business communications and introduced the barcode in 1974.)
How large is the syndication network?
Your syndication partner should make it easy for you to get your content live across your entire ecommerce ecosystem. Platforms with a large syndication network, comprehensive template library, and access to an unlimited number of distribution channels make it easy to get up and running with product syndication.
Does the syndication platform help me improve my product content?
The goal of product syndication is to ensure a complete, consistent product experience for your customers no matter where they interact with your product. A PIM syndication solution should help you identify incomplete information, analyze your product content, incorporate channel-specific enhancements, and easily publish updated content. This helps you get maximum value from your product information.
PIM is the centralized hub that lets brands create the exceptional product experience e-commerce demands. PIM plus syndication ensures that product experience is consistent and up-to-date across all channels and touchpoints. PIM product syndication removes the need for IT support for essential e-commerce processes such as adding a new digital touchpoint, opening a new channel, and updating product content to keep up with ever-changing reseller and marketplace requirements.
Today’s B2B and B2C shoppers demand accurate product information, and 73% use manufacturers’ product data to inform their purchase decisions according to Forrester. PIM makes it easy for brands to consolidate, manage, and enrich product information to create engaging product stories—and syndication makes it easy to publish them wherever your buyer finds your product.
Johan Boström is the chief strategy officer and a co-founder of inRiver Inc., a provider of product information management technology. Before inRiver, Boström had worked internationally since the mid-1990s at businesses involved with ecommerce and content management. Follow him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @dendarbostrom.