IDEA, a data management organization for the electrical products industry, has launched with web content-monitoring company Content Status a new way for manufacturers and distributors to ensure their website product displays are engaging buyers.

Electrical products ranging from power drills to transformers and load centers have many attributes that make them valuable tools. And having them available in web stores makes it convenient for buyers.

There’s a difference between the product data distributors typically extract from manufacturers and what they actually utilize on their ecommerce sites.
David Oldfather, president
Industry Data Exchange Association

But too often, online product content fails to describe such products effectively, leaving money on the ecommerce site for both manufacturers and distributors.

If only the creators of that content could view the effect their product displays were having on click rates and sales. That’s the view the Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA) is out to provide with IDEA Insight. IDEA Insight is a new online content-monitoring service developed with Content Status. Content Status offers technology that lets manufacturers and their distributors view how well product displays reveal each product’s critical content, including their brand name, image, key attributes, and overall description.


David Oldfather, president, Industry Data Exchange Association

“There’s a difference between the product data distributors typically extract from manufacturers and what they actually utilize on their ecommerce sites,” says David Oldfather, president of the IDEA. In many cases, he adds, distributors develop product descriptions based on information in invoicing documents, “which isn’t complete and doesn’t have the brand and key attributes in the title.”


IDEA Insight tool helps creators view effects of product displays

The IDEA Insight tool, he adds, “enables manufacturers to see what their distributors are using and how complete it is.”

IDEA is a data management organization formed in 1998 by two electrical products industry groups, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED). It also provides tools and services that help manufacturers and distributors digitally syndicate product content internationally, share electronic data interchange (EDI) documents, and manage and enrich product data.

IDEA Insight scrapes product display content from distributors’ web pages and scores each display for critical content, including the product title, description, and overall accuracy. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 the most valuable, the tool scores each display section based on industry-wide information IDEA has compiled on how content engages website visitors.

The effectiveness of a product display can vary based on such details as the number of characters in a product title, which typically should have at least 30 characters but ideally even more – placing them on par with the high-level content typically found on and other established ecommerce sites, Oldfather says.


He adds that electrical product distributors as well as manufacturers are showing interest in using the IDEA Insight tool. “Distributors want to know what manufacturers would like to see and what content they should post on their ecommerce sites.”

Oldfather says that, for now, IDEA Insight indicates how well content is searchable and meets a buyer’s requirements, which are likely to result in higher click rates and fewer product returns. Eventually, he adds, IDEA expects the tool to evolve to also show how well specific content generates revenue.

The cost to deploy IDEA Insight is based on the number of SKUs and distributor websites a client wants to track, Oldfather says. IDEA recommends companies start out small – tracking perhaps 10 SKUs across 10 or 15 websites – to see how some product displays score, then test different groups of SKUs and websites. For most manufacturers and distributors, the monthly cost is likely to start at about $200 and go as high “the low thousands” based on the number of SKUs and websites.

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