Since many of our customers are distributors and wholesalers who are new to the digital commerce arena, our staff gets a lot of questions related to eCommerce and product content. We’d like to share those questions – and Unilog’s answers – to help inform everyone looking to learn more about running an efficient and profitable e-business.
Q: I’ve heard of the term APIs but I don’t really understand what they do.
|APIs are application programming interfaces; in layman’s terms they are tools used with software applications to make sure your systems stay connected with one another.|
|Purpose:||APIs allow communication between cloud-based software applications and on-premise systems or other online applications so that data can be stored and shared in real-time.|
|Benefits:||They’re key to building system integration, which is a must-have for any business. In addition, APIs streamline information between applications for greater efficiency, and they make software development and upgrades easier to implement. A business can have dozens or even hundreds of APIs within their organization, which is where an API management tool set comes in. It automates and controls the connections between all the APIs and the applications that use them.|
|Key Takeaway:||Without APIs or an API tool set, your internal systems and third-party applications won’t be able to connect effectively, causing compatibility issues and ineffective process flow.|
Editor’s note: Unilog’s eCommerce platform, CIMM2, comes with a built-in API tool set that uses a large stack of web services that allow applications to perform queries for data – making communication between systems smooth.
Q: What’s enriched content mean and how is it different from my current product information?
|The dictionary defines “enriched” as something that offers an abundance of anything desirable and adds greater value or significance. So when it comes to products, the more enriched the product information is, the more valuable and desirable it will be to buyers.|
Enriched content goes above and beyond basic product information like a product name, size and price. It includes essential material to help buyers make an educated purchasing decision. Enriched content includes:
|Benefits:||Comprehensive content and relevant taxonomy improve visibility during browser searches and helps people find your products faster and easier while on your website.|
|Key Takeaway:||Online shopping has changed the playing field for distributors. With many of today’s B2B buyers using the Internet to research products before making a purchase, you need enriched content to stand apart from the competition.|
Editor’s note: Unilog’s content services team will enrich a few of your products to show you just how robust and relevant they can make your content. For your free enriched sample, go to https://www.unilogcorp.com/sample-product-data/.
Q: What is a PIM and does my business need one to sell online?
|PIM stands for product information management, which is a way to manage product data across your organization and various sales channels. It is considered the “single source of the truth” for information because everything feeds into and out of the system, so you know whatever data you’re pulling from the PIM is going to be accurate and reliable.|
|Purpose:||A PIM tool is really important for an eCommerce platform to work properly. In addition, it holds unlimited amounts of data, so it can store all your content needed to power eCommerce. That includes product descriptions, part numbers, pricing and even product images, videos and documentation. Features within the PIM allow you to group and categorize the data into organized and logical hierarchies, check the data for quality and make sure you present information consistently across product lines.|
|PIM vs. ERP:||Some people think because they have an ERP system, they don’t need a PIM to run an online storefront. But, while an ERP can manage business transactions and store basic product information like pricing and inventory, it cannot store all the product content needed to power eCommerce. It also doesn’t offer any quality controls to make sure the data housed there is current.|
Editor’s note: CIMM2 and its inbuilt PIM work with many of the ERPs on the market including Epicor Eclipse, P21, Infor SX.e, JD Edwards and more.
If you have a specific question related to product content, eCommerce or technology, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be glad to answer your questions, share our expertise and show you what a responsive, product-enriched eCommerce site powered by CIMM2 looks like.