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As I’m sure you know by now, most major players in the Automotive Aftermarket industry (i.e. Alliance, Advanced Auto, O’Reilly’s etc.) have adopted the Autocare Association’s Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) format. But what is their purpose in doing this?

Let’s think of product data standards as a means of communication between you and your customer. If you’re not speaking the same language, it would be incredibly hard to do business efficiently. Standards are what allow trading partners to better communicate electronically and they are vitally important for maximizing efficiencies between your customer and you.

Not only do standards help identify your products in a way your customer understands, but they also provide other pieces of useful information that will help drive your customers’ internal systems.  Things like packaging information (i.e. each, case, pallet, etc.) allow warehouse management systems to properly prepare where to place your products in the warehouse when shipments arrive.  Warranty, pricing and other important information power their customer-facing applications – all of which are provided for in the standards. But, sales product information that actually helps sell your products in an online setting – like images and descriptions – is typically the last thing requested, if it is requested at all.

If you look closely, you will notice that the required or mandatory fields that your customers have requested do nothing more than identify your product. By providing this limited amount of product data (typically no more than 30 fields) you actually will be in compliance with their minimum requirements and the good news is you won’t be hounded by them after you deliver this. But shouldn’t the proper motivation be to maximize product sales through your trading partner? After all, you worked hard to create a relationship where your products will be available for purchase with a very large customer. The opportunity to increase your revenue through this new supply chain partner is there for the taking, right?

Manufacturers who view their product data as an important company asset and devote the time and resources needed to make sure their products are properly represented online set themselves apart from their competition. Think of it like this: when an end-user is attempting to buy products through your customer’s e-commerce system, you don’t have the luxury of your sales people guiding them towards your product. In most cases, it’s an unassisted sales situation and as such, the product data needs to do all the talking to close the deal.

By implementing a product information management strategy to create, manage and deliver Sales Product Data – features and benefits, textual sales pitches, sales descriptions, product specific attributes, high resolution images and videos – you can crush your competition in the arena of online sales. It’s no coincidence that Amazon and EBay are spending millions of dollars to address this very same issue. Statistics suggest companies that employ a product information management strategy to generate this type of product data actually enjoy an increase to their indirect sales revenue of in excess of 15%. Shouldn’t that be a major focus of yours?

Product Data Command, our software-as-a-service, provides the most cost-effective product information management solution the industry has to offer. Our powerful cloud-based software tool set allows you to gather the information you do have into one place, create information you don’t have, and manage the resulting product data so you can deliver the right data, the right way.

Get started with your Product Information Management efforts today. At Product Data Command, we make it easy and affordable to retrieve, create, manage, and deploy product data. Call us at 215-491-2641 for a short demonstration.