Written by Joe Bennett, Senior Strategic Account Executive, Unilog

In sports, there is an expression, “I’ll take what the defense will give me.” I was listening to a podcaster the other day, and he used that saying relating it to his overall health. He said that when he was young, he could be less disciplined with diet and exercise because he “took what the defense would give him,” Now, as an older man, he needs to monitor his diet and exercise to feel and be healthy carefully. This saying also applies to business. Your company will take what your competition’s defense gives you and vice versa. This is particularly relevant when it comes to connected product content and commerce. Rich product content, connected to your ERP system via an eCommerce platform, and published as a public-facing website, is your organization’s defensive – not offensive – move.

To better explain, let me break down the main components of the above statement:

  • Rich product content: Refers to the “fuel” that fires your eCommerce engine. It is also the “fuel” that can fire your print catalog engine, product data in your ERP system, or product data that needs to be published to any subscribing systems. Rich product content includes:
    • Your taxonomy (how you classify your products in a multi-tiered grouping)
    • The attributes of data you store at a “node” or endpoint of a taxonomy
    • Features associated with these attributes (for example, if this is an attribute you would want to be included in your faceted navigation)
    • Data for the attributes of your products
    • Digital assets (images, PDFs, etc.)
    • Normalized data so your content looks consistent, regardless of the original source.
  • Connected to your ERP system: As your ecosystem of technologies increases (meaning you have more “systems”), it is important to identify the “source system of record” or SSOR for different data components. A distributor’s single largest IT asset continues to be its ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, and the ERP system is the SSOR for data such as price and availability.
  • Via an eCommerce platform: An eCommerce platform is a software system that will power your website(s) and your native mobile commerce application(s). It is comprised of:
    • PIM: A production information management system. This is a repository or a “container” to house all your rich product content.
    • CMS: A (marketing) content management system. This is a tool for designing your web pages. It is where you would edit or create the pages displayed on your public-facing website. Banners, images, events, landing pages, and contact forms are all managed through the CMS.
    • Site Search Engine: This is the utility to search through the data (marketing data, event data, landing page data, and product data) to present the user with information about what they are most likely searching for on your site.
  • Public-facing website: Everyone sees this when they go to your website. It should be responsive, meaning it adapts your website’s layout to ensure that the site’s content, images, and structure remain the same on any device a customer uses (e.g., phone, tablet, or computer monitor).

Together, connected product content and commerce solutions help you sell more, stay relevant, and fuel your success in the digital marketplace. They are the perfect defense for winning in today’s competitive landscape.

IDCO saw an opportunity to work together to help its members benefit from a scale advantage. IDCO has partnered with Unilog to offer members an exclusive content subscription program and eCommerce platform offering purpose-built hose and fittings distributors to further fuel their members’ success in the digital marketplace.

This connected product content and commerce solution gives IDCO members access to over 300,000 enriched items from nearly 900 brands in their market housed in a PIM that works seamlessly with Unilog’s feature-rich eCommerce platform that comes with all the tools and functionality you need to meet your customers where they are.

To learn more, we invite you to join our upcoming webinar hosted by Unilog. We’ll show you how our connected product content and commerce solutions will drive efficiencies and create new opportunities for your business.

Click Here to register.

Remember, the best offense is a good defense, so make your digital commerce move today!

Joe Benett is a Senior Strategic Account Executive specializing in effectively conveying the functionalities and attributes of Unilog’s products and services to distributors. Simultaneously, he plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between internal teams and the unique requirements of these distributors, ensuring a harmonious alignment for mutual success. He is passionate about fostering productive partnerships and aims to empower clients and internal colleagues.