Perhaps the most common sources for product data are the large content databases known as data pools. The biggest is the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), which includes the GS1 Global Registry. This provides the framework for the GS1 standards used in several industries. There are also other notable data pools, such as Syndigo, Kwikee and Icecat.
Data pools exist to help businesses find the kind of details needed to list and sell products in a format acceptable to major resellers and marketplaces. They receive and publish product content from various sources and are useful tools for channel strategy development, given that they allow companies to publish and receive product information all in one location.
Their function is to act as ‘recipients’ for the kind of basic product information frequently required by retailers and brands – things like attributes (colours and brand names) and as key details for supply chain management such as handling codes or precise dimensional measurements. This pool of data is verified, standardized and ready for use by companies with access to it.
These data pools are particularly useful when it comes to industrial distribution – for sourcing highly technical products where specific and accurate details are crucially important but not always easily available.
Of course, you don’t always want to rely on the data from the vendor feed alone. Unless you have a long-standing, clearly-defined and trusting relationship with a vendor who can consistently provide you with sets of product data which are as complete, correct and, hence, reliable, you will probably have to access information from one or more of the following sources.
Content Service Providers (CSP)
Also known as Content Catalogues Providers, CSPs assist brands, retailers and distributors in simplifying onboarding processes by creating, enhancing and distributing product information data. They can aggregate, enhance and develop product catalogs with rich media content which is compatible and compliant with portals, platforms and marketplaces in terms of high-quality and relevant product information. After all, the better the information is, the more likely it is to motivate consumers to buy.
Moreover, some CSP provide visual asset enrichment services, particularly useful for SMEs or start-ups, who need help to quickly gain market recognition.
If the distributor or retailer has an integrated relationship with supplier data feeds, they may well be receiving product data updates on an ongoing basis. This always supposes such a relationship has been built up, and probably works best for larger distributors with a clearly established product data governance framework and not too many suppliers. Nevertheless, the capability exists to onboard product information files and integrate them with a variety of sources, including PIMs, ERPs, or Data Asset Management (DAM) systems.
External companies specialising in the creation, collection, and enhancement of product data. Increasingly popular in sectors like clothing and furniture retailing, utilising AI developments like augmented or virtual reality to create data assets to stand out from the competition. Content aggregators, like iSyndicate can also provide add-on product information by trawling for sector-specific content from various online sources.
These services allow users to manage most kinds of file structure. They also provide functionalities for users to create files in different formats, applying a drag-and-drop editor. Changes can be applied in bulk, so a retailer can adapt all or parts of existing catalog for different channel requirements. For example, automatically shorten overlong texts or change keywords to fit a required set of schematics