Why the SEMA Data Co-op?
You may be asking yourself why you need the SEMA Data Co-op. What value does it bring? How is it different from any other 3rd party data service? Many of your questions can be answered in our FAQ section, but we felt it was important to provide a quick list of bullet points to outline the basics about the SDC’s services and functionality. Here’s our top reasons for becoming a member of the SEMA Data Co-op:
- The SDC is an end-to-end solution to help you author, validate, store, and distribute product data – do it once, and serve all your customers from one place
- Typical membership fees of $300-$600 per month includes all on-boarding, validation, secure data storage, unlimited standard or custom exports, and expert Help Desk support —no setup charges, hidden fees or surprises
- You own your product data 100% and manage it 24/7 using our state-of-the-art online tools. Access data or schedule exports as often as you like
- Our full-time Help Desk is available to assist Suppliers of any skill level, from beginner to expert, and we can begin the on-boarding process with anything from a simple spreadsheet to PIES and ACES ready XML
- Free on-boarding! There are no set-up or upfront costs with the SDC. Get your data on-boarded, validated, and published before the monthly membership fees begin
- Consistent, accurate results—SDC is the only data service to validate all incoming data for compliance to PIES and ACES standards and helps you correct any errors or omissions
- All data is stored securely in the latest industry-standard PIES and ACES formats—no confusing proprietary data formats to deal with
- Unlimited exports to all approved Receivers, and no extra charge for custom (or special) export templates
- Secure private pricing and content support is included allowing you to support unique customer requests with ease
- SEMA Search is a comprehensive Internet-based catalog and reference source powered by SDC data. It’s scheduled for release in late 2013. If you join the SDC, your product information will be included in this exciting new industry resource.
Product Data and the Internet… am I Invisible?
As a supplier in the $30 billion specialty aftermarket, it is important to have a complete understanding of why standardized, well distributed product data is so important to business growth. The bottom line is to sell more parts, right? Well, in this age of instant information and aggressive competition, it’s going to take more than “the way we’ve always done it” to succeed. Consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to having information at their fingertips, and with the myriad choices available, the competition for their money is tougher than ever before.
According to a May 2012 SEMA consumer study, 53.3% of consumers today use internet searches to research product information. This outpaces the second most popular source of information, friends and relatives (33.7%), by 20 percentage points. Following at 30.4% is manufacturer’s web sites and catalogs.
Clearly the ready availability of information and the convenience of the internet are huge drivers in consumer behavior these days. Think about your own personal research habits… where do you go first for information on something you are looking to purchase, either immediately or in the future? More and more, the answer to that question is the internet.
Now this discussion isn’t about where consumers go to buy, but rather where they go to learn about what they may end up buying. As a supplier of goods for sale, you want to be visible throughout the research process so that consumers begin to develop an awareness and comfort level with your offering. Too often, we still believe the old school “everyone knows my brand” position. Well they don’t. And unless you want to limit your sales to a limited group of loyal brand followers, which there are fewer of every day, then you need to ensure that your products are represented broadly, accurately and consistently where people are looking for information! Invisibility may be a cool super hero power to have, but it’s not where you want to be on an internet search.
So, how do I become visible, and what does this have to do with standardized product data?
Well, it’s a lot about subtle details that produce the results we are looking for. As most of us know, the average internet Google search is made up of selected keywords representing what the user is looking for. Some searchers type in very generic terms like “side tubes”, or maybe add a brand qualifier like “Westin side tubes”. However, as internet users become more savvy, they are including more specific criteria in their searches as well, creating what are called “long tail” search terms. An example might be “chrome side tubes for 2008 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab”. If your product data doesn’t include fitment information, finish, bed length qualifiers etc, then you are invisible to the search we just mentioned.
Now being invisible on Google searches is bad enough, but the real problem is being invisible on product searches conducted on e-commerce web sites. Most “selling” sites today are using pretty sophisticated year/make/model (YMM) look-ups and offer the ability to filter search results based on product features or “qualifiers”. Even on products that are universal and don’t require YMM information, it is critical to have enough detailed product data for the consumer to be able to drill down to what they are looking for, and to see a complete, confidence inspiring product detail page that has enough good information for them to make a buying decision.
Take a look at the examples below to see what I mean. It’s not hard to decide which page stands the best chance of selling the product, is it?
Obviously, the first example lacks almost everything a consumer would need to make a buying decision, while the second example is rich with product details and images that make it easy to understand what is being offered for sale. Which way would you like to see your products presented across the internet?
By getting your product data together in the industry PIES and ACES standards and stored in the SEMA repository, you not only take control and ownership of this very important asset, but you save time and money by adopting a “do it once, serve everyone” process.
Contact us today to learn how the SEMA Data Co-op can help you create, manage, store and distribute your product data in the most efficient and cost effective way ever.