Bricks to Clicks: Chapter Six Summary
In our sixth post in our “Bricks to Clicks” summary series, (you can read our last post HERE) this week, we’re talking about chapter six of Content Analytics founder and CEO David Feinleib’s book Bricks to Clicks: Why Some Brands Will Thrive in E-Commerce and Others Won't.
Chapter 6: Using the Master Catalog
When we work with a new major brand or supplier, we expand our virtuous circle of brands and retailers. Large brands, after selecting us as a vendor, contact major retail partners and instruct that retailer to integrate with us. That gives us leverage with more retailers (Amazon, Walmart, Target et al), and a distinct advantage for brands/suppliers who want to work with us down the line.
We built our diverse Master Catalog feature to satisfy the real-time needs of the entire online ecosystem, giving our partners the advantage of quick implementation. We created multiple views (image-based or list-based) and search functions that help you find products by UPC, name, or other identifying information that you specify. These records pull up all items associated with that product including images, videos, product descriptions, and other content.
The Tug of War Between Brand Integrity and Unique Content
While suppliers and brands prefer to keep their brand story consistent and use identical content across multiple retailers, retailers naturally want their shoppers to have a unique experience on their respective sites. For example: Walmart does not want a brand to feature the identical product information that’s also published on Amazon. Both sites need unique content to rank properly on Google.
The Master Catalog feature allows brands to customize page content for each retailer. Simply click each tab labeled accordingly by retailer and customize each page. We recommend using the same product images but tweaking the content to keep the retailers happy.
A New Approach to Solving an Old Problem
After speaking at a Walmart supplier summit, we heard the same story from a lot of legacy brands. They were intrigued by Content Analytics’ Content Health Reports (and many requested one on site), but were concerned about how to implement the recommendations.
In the past: updating product pages was time-consuming, and meant dealing with buyers directly (sending countless spreadsheets with content changes) or working with legacy systems (Kwikee or ARS) and waiting weeks for those changes to get implemented. We were told that suppliers had to wait anywhere from six to eight weeks for content updates. No supplier can wait that long during busy buying season (yes, we mean the holidays).
Fortunately for these companies, our close relationship and API integration with Walmart meant that these updates would go live in minutes, solving a legacy issue that had been plaguing big brands in the online space for years. Also: because we’d created the Content Health reports, we’d already crawled the brand pages and pulled the content into our system. These suppliers were pretty stunned when we told them that all they had to do was login and edit their content without a lengthy integration process. We’d done the legwork.
The Master Catalog creates a single view of a brand’s content history. It provides:
- An audit log of all content updates
- Alerts informing partners when content changes on a retailer site
- Easy tagging of products that need optimization
- Manages content across multiple retailer platforms
- Automatic image conversion
- Automatic conversion for desktop and mobile pages
- Centralized repository for all images and videos for marketing and ad campaigns
Suppliers are happy because they finally have a single, robust CMS that manages their content across all platforms. Retailers are happy because we engage suppliers in a way that encourages them to improve their content, improving the shopping experience for consumers right along with it.
Ongoing Maintenance of Existing Product Pages
We crawl specific sites consistently for ongoing content health analysis. The supplier tells us what pages to monitor (in the form of a list of URLs, UPCs, ASINs for Amazon, TCINs for Target, etc.), we pull the items into our system and update them regularly. Crawling also ensures that we know the moment the content goes live, or not. This gives unprecedented control and transparency to a seller’s complete online presence.
Our system also accepts different types of content feeds (XML, XLSX, .CSV, etc.) so we can support any number of legacy systems. No matter where that content lives, we work with sellers to automate the integration process at a pace that makes sense for our clients.
Clients can bulk upload images and videos directly from their desktops as well. Drag and drop a list of products and our system automatically associates a new record with an existing UPC or ASIN embedded in the existing image file. The system kicks back images that do not meet the specified minimum image requirements for any retailer to prevent them from being rejected even further down the line, saving both time and implementation costs.
Product descriptions and text-based content
Media (images and video)
Consistent product attributes (warranty info, age ranges for toys, gender attributions for clothing)
Comparisons to Live Content
SmartLabel support for grocery items
Control and change list export options
Image conversion and resizing
Content health score monitoring
Live content syndication
Our Brand Audit confirms which items are up-to-date in the live shopping environment, ensuring that suppliers have all of the high-quality images and videos they want on all retailer sites. Content Analytics also automatically supports the Google Manufacturing Center (GMC), keeping pace with how the net’s largest search engine continues to compete for eyeballs with Amazon.
Mobile Partner Access
You can deliver content easily to other downstream partners by giving them read-only access to the Master Catalog, allowing them to download updated images, videos and more.
Content Analytics designed the Master Catalog specifically to meet the needs of e-commerce. What we built is the most effective tool available to store, manage, publish, and audit your content across multiple retailers. Suppliers are also using our system as their de facto storage system for their digital assets. From ingesting brand content to storing it, and then delivering that content to a multitude of different channels, the Master Catalog makes it easy for bricks-to-clicks suppliers to deliver a best-in-class brand experience.
Get your copy of David Feinleib's latest book at Amazon.com.
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