Digitization and Data Maintenance: A fundamental challenge for distributors and manufacturers – Industry 4.0 of today for the demands of tomorrow.
The digitization of sales processes is constantly evolving: Customers nowadays are not only predominantly buying over the Internet, but also use it to search for products and information, prior to placing an order – smart phones, tablets and PCs are for most people the first gateway and primary point of contact when it comes to the products and services they desire and demand.
The data exchange between producers and distributors opens up exciting perspectives and prospects and is revealing itself as a great opportunity to respond to increasingly complex target markets and to keep up with customer demands, technological advances and, last but not least, the competition.
Companies must ask themselves: Which specific information in terms of data do I require for my sales, shipping/logistics and marketing activities? But also: What do my customers want, what interests them the most and how can I acquire or attract these clients and retain them? This is the only way companies can directly appeal to, satisfy and inspire their target audience.
The goal: Improved data flows between suppliers and retailers
In this day and age, solutions for merchants and their partners are necessary, inter alia, in order to improve the quality of data in a context of growing digitization. The exchange of product-related data is not a one-way street during this process, but instead should ideally occur in close cooperation between all the parties involved. The aim of retailers and manufacturers should be to integrate and link together their product data flows in such a long-term, sustainable, effective and productive manner, that both sides maintain complete control over their data and its use. This also includes the option to improve, enhance and monitor data quality further down the road.
The solution: A flexible platform to facilitate data networking
SmartStore developed the Smartstore ShopConnector for the optimization of data flows. It does not require any data standards, as all formats between two Smartstore shops are identical.
Especially the data requirements are very demanding: The Smartstore ShopConnector provides a highly sophisticated and detailed data design model, which can be adapted to individual customer requirements. In the course of this process, both the product classifications and the definitions of attribute values are configurable and can also be expanded with utmost flexibility. Thus, with the help of the Smartstore ShopConnector it is very easy to integrate and interconnect with partners, to exchange and share product information and ultimately to make such data available to distributors and retailers. Simultaneously, all participants reduce their expenses and efforts devoted to data maintenance and administration while retaining complete control over their data – contributing towards an integrated and consistent value-creation chain and secure growth in the digital age.
Cross-linking of product data
The exchange of product data is only seldom a one-off job or a one-dimensional task. Many market participants are in constant communication with one another using a wide range of different formats, types of content and reporting cycles. Various connections result from this interdependence, which in turn are subject to constant changes. The Smartstore ShopConnector cross-links the critical data flows between retailers and suppliers. At all times during this process, all parties involved retain full control over their respective product data and its usage thanks to a particularly transparent application.
About the Smartstore ShopConnector
The Smartstore ShopConnector interconnects individual data flows and streams between retailers/merchants and manufacturers.
Quite relevant for maintaining a professional online presence are, besides having properly functioning processes, the quality and comprehensiveness of the available product data. The higher the quality of the existing product data, the easier it will be to customize or personalize a given e-commerce channel.
The Smartstore ShopConnector was developed as a result of our many years of experience in this field, and is entirely devoted to actively addressing the needs of retailers/merchants and manufacturers. Due to the growing commercial benefits and usefulness of product data, many companies are investing in and adopting Product Information Management Systems (PIM). These systems encompass the individual data models and stand ready to provide relevant product data to the sales/distribution channels. Such PIM systems are only limitedly suitable for consolidating and transforming data models and structures coming from the various parties and sources involved. This gap in the product data value chain can be filled by the Smartstore ShopConnector.
B2C and B2B: What the Smartstore ShopConnector can do
The Smartstore ShopConnector is an add-on or expansion of the Smartstore platform, which allows the direct exchange and sharing of product and merchandise category data between different shops. Providing and uploading data files is no longer necessary for this purpose.
The Smartstore ShopConnector and its related services offer numerous benefits to retailers, dealers or distributors:
- Safeguarding the individuality of one’s own data design
- Intellectual property for the use of the data model remains with the retailer
- Outsourcing of data quality control and assurance
- Automated data quality control
- Savings made by not having to implement supplier-specific interfaces
- Use of supplier attributes, which are not yet included in the retailer's data model
- Increased motivation for suppliers to deliver/share data
- Lower content acquisition costs
- Increasing the conversion rate
- Lowering the rate of returned goods
Not only retailers/merchants* enjoy many benefits and advantages, but also - and above all – data providers. These can be, for instance, manufacturers or wholesalers:
- Cost savings inherent to merchant-specific content maintenance and updates
- Flexibility in the provision and delivery of personalized formats, content and structures
- Cost-effective data management of retailer/dealer data.
- Guaranted data quality
- Direct, centralized and straightforward access to content services
- Support concerning product liability claims or issues through transparent and properly logged data mapping
- Quick availability of data for business partners
- Acquisition of new business partners
*Even a retailer can be a data provider. Using Smartstore ShopConnector a variety of business models do emerge and totally new possibilities can be created. Give us a call – we will be glad to advise you!
The winning formula for successful data networking
Solutions for the transmission of product data using Smartstore ShopConnector
As a data provider you can share your data with any number of shops. To do this, simply enter on the “Export” tab the URL of each shop and optionally you may specify manufacturers, to whom the access is restricted. As a result you will receive two access keys, which enable the other shop to gain access to your information and data. As a data recipient you shall type on the “Import” tab the URL of the shop together with the access codes or keys and thus you gain access to the released data. In principle, the data exchange is always performed in two stages. At first the data is retrieved and stored/saved as an XML file. Afterwards, the data file can be seen on a preview page and also imported. The following control options are available for retrieving and importing data:
- Rolling data retrieval (only applies to data, which has been modified since it was last accessed)
- Data may be limited to certain manufacturers/producers and merchandise categories
- Complete vs. partial data updates
- Import limited to selected shops (multistores)
- Import of selected products
- Optional upload of data files
What is imported/exported:
- Manufacturer’s and categories data
- Product data/specification, product images, product tags, keywords and references of required products
- Product and specification attributes, combinations of attributes (incl. images) and tier prices
- Data specific to a given type of product such as bundle components and linked/associated products of group products
- Quantity units and delivery times
- Localized information/data
For additional information, please visit:
Smartstore ShopConnector on Youtube
The Smartstore Shop-Connector is open source from 11.2020 and available here https://github.com/smartstore/ShopConnector#smartstore-shop-connector
Do you have any further questions about the Smartstore ShopConnector? Our skilled customer service team is looking forward to hearing from you. Please send us your request or inquiry by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone during the business hours indicated below. Phone: 0049.231.5335.0 Mondays to Fridays, from 10.00 to 17.00 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) CET