In some industries, such as the food trade, it has long been standard practice to obtain documentation and descriptions from the supplier as part of the product delivery. However, this was especially critical for labeling on the shelf or proof to consumers. Today, in every company in the consumer goods industry, purchasing seems to be including more and more data delivery in its supply contracts, or it is even actively offered by the supplier’s sales department as an additional sales promotion up to and including discounting.
And the scope of the required and demanded data increases with the size of the company and the standards already implemented there. Requirements as diverse and extensive article attributes, individual article descriptions as well as a multitude of images with requirements for model presentation, backgrounds and perspectives are not uncommon.
Anyone can do e-commerce?
Online commerce has long been on the rise and unstoppable, not only Amazon has shown this. But the pandemic has given online retail a real boost. There were times when you saw more parcel drivers on the roads than normal cars. And during the pandemic, online retail was the only way for many small and medium-sized retailers in all industries to generate any sales at all. Many simple store solutions were installed and it quickly became clear that there was more to it than simply putting a store on the Internet. Somehow no one was able to get around it. But neither were most of them experts in Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Advertising to generate traffic nor were they content experts to convert a visitor into a customer, because the shopping experience was just not good.
A supposed way out seemed to be the large, successful web stores. More and more of the large e-commerce retailers had already expanded their own web store as a marketplace before the pandemic. Amazon was certainly one of the first, but other retailers such as Zalando, Galeria, Otto and Görtz were also quick to incorporate this into their stores. The next step in the pandemic was then to connect smaller retailers as well. However, in all cases there were more or less strict content requirements. So the data had to be obtained from the industry or create it yourself at high cost.
The costs for content are not insignificant for the retailer who should bring the goods to the customer. Therefore, there is a high interest in obtaining it from the industry. If a supplier does not provide this data, or provides it incompletely or not in time, purchasing departments today go so far as to charge these costs back to the supplier.
An own industry
Content sourcing has become its own industry and business model. There are a number of aggregators that handle data collection, preparation and conversion into suitable data formats and interfaces in various industries. In many cases, this service is still cheaper than creating the data yourself.
Also, in some industries you can find partners who take care of the aggregation of smaller merchants and your inventory and content in order to facilitate the integration into various marketplaces.
Impact on purchasing
For purchasing in the manufacturing industry, the topic of master data and data quality is becoming increasingly important. The data required by their own customers (especially dealers) originally comes from purchasing and product management. The materials required and used, technical attributes and compositions are essential for sales promotion to the end customer, because these provide arguments that would otherwise have been given to the customer by the stationary salesperson. Not to mention sustainability aspects, which are reflected in the customer’s CO2 balance from the materials used, origin and delivery method.
For retail purchasing, data is becoming an item on the regular agenda in supplier discussions, as are advertising subsidy, delivery reliability, delivery and payment terms, and net prices. In order to minimize costs in one’s own company, content must be procured from the industry and, if possible, in high quality and free of charge.