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 10 reasons for becoming a member of the SEMA Data Co-op:
- The SDC is an industry-owned, non-profit solution, where suppliers own their data 100% and can update & maintain data 24 x 7 x 365 – create and manage your data on your schedule
- It’s an end-to-end solution to help you author, validate, securely store and distribute product data to your trading partners – do it once, serve everybody from one place
- We are the only data service to validate all incoming data for standards compliance and help you correct any errors or omissions – guaranteed consistent, accurate data
- Our full time help desk is available to assist suppliers of any skill level, from beginner to expert – we can take files from a simple spreadsheet to PIES & ACES ready XML
- All data is securely stored in the latest version industry standard ACES and PIES format – no confusing proprietary data to deal with
- Permissions tools allow supplier to have complete control over who receives their data
- Exports are available in standard formats or virtually any custom receiver requirement – no more handling of multiple exports to your customers
- One low monthly fee covers all on-boarding, validation, storage and distribution, including unlimited exports to trading partners – no “special” or hidden fees
- You will be supporting the industry sponsored (not for profit) initiative that will become the most comprehensive single repository for product data, while reaching the largest base of receivers
- Future applications driven by the co-op including a comprehensive internet based “catalog” for use by WD’s & retail sales people for product reference
***BREAKING NEWS***June 7, 2012
The SEMA Data Co-op free Beta phase (running through September 2012) is expanding! We have doubled our capacity from the original 50 supplier spots which filled in less than 3 weeks, so contact us today to get a head start making your data available through the SDC. Services include free help desk support, data validation, secure storage and permissions-based exports to participating trading partners.
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 recent SEMA consumer study (May 2012), 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.