Printed catalogs are experiencing new levels of popularity. Nothing induces customer confidence like the feel of paper based catalogs. Research from the Data & Marketing Association shows that younger generations are even more responsive to printed catalogs than retirees. However, the production of catalogs and price lists has a reputation of being too time-consuming. Indeed, manually entering data onto pages, proofreading, and error corrections are expensive and slow. Last-minute updates are dreadful.
With catalog automation catalog automation, organizations can not only significantly reduce cost but also their time-to-market.
Learning about these five simple secrets will help pave the path to success:
Most organizations have their product data electronically stored in one form or another. Some use word processing files or simple spreadsheets, while others rely on databases or product information systems (PIM). Often, data collection suffers from incompatible supplier data or from incomplete information. Frequently, matching images to product data seems daunting.
The quality of the source data is key to a successful catalog automation, regardless of its file format. It seems odd that some organizations opt to rely on cumbersome, manual processes rather than sorting the underlying data issues out. It may turn out to be well worth its efforts.
Check with your supplier for catalog automation on how they can help with data and image acquisition:
- What data formats can be imported?
- Does your supplier understand the syntax of your data?
- Can data with variations in the format and/or syntax be imported
- Does your supplier offer import logic such that missing data can be filled in automatically?
- Can your supplier offer intelligence in combining data and images?
- Can images be imported from external sources?
- Does your supplier support multiple languages, indexes, and tables of contents?
A successful implementation requires teamwork to create a workflow that remains simple. Users of DIY software more often than not end up frustrated about the level of attention to detail and time that their setup requires. It ends up to be dreadful. Experienced suppliers can help in combining data from multiple, even inconsistent sources and apply intelligence to merge data with images. For example, absent of a file naming standard, most suppliers name their product image files differently, based on proprietary in-house logic. How do you unify such data into a unified master file? In cases where unique product identifiers are missing, tools can help to create them automatically during the import process. They can also assist with importing your existing file format and data syntax or with getting your system to exchange data directly with supplier systems.
While data is key for a successful automatic catalog production, system intelligence and supplier support can greatly enhance and expedite the experience for clients, whether small or large.
In short, relying on the assistance of an experienced supplier for the establishment of intelligent data workflows will, in most cases, end up costing you less than DIY and will greatly enhance your experience in automating your catalog.
Learn more about Onison's catalog automation