|PROJECT||InDesign Print Catalog Plug-In Integration with CIMM2|
When Fairmont Supply searched for an e-commerce platform to stand up its first online storefront, the full-line distributor and materials management company wanted a tool that not only could handle its large product catalog, but could also repurpose the data for its sales and marketing efforts.
As subscribers with the wholesale buying group Affiliated Distributors (AD), Fairmont Supply built a 95,000-item product catalog filled with rich content – content the distributor looked to mine as an added internal resource. “We wanted a platform that would let us leverage the content on our website and put it in a form that we could give to our various internal groups in order to educate and update them on our products and offerings,” said Matt Babko, Director of Information Technology at Fairmont Supply.
When Unilog Content Solutions met with the distributor to demo its e-commerce product, CIMM2, Fairmont Supply broached the topic of using product data to create sales flyers and catalogs. “We described our needs to Unilog and they said with their software platform and new plug-in we could connect to the data and extract it for our different uses,” Babko said. Called the InDesign print catalog plug-in, Unilog explained how it takes advantage of all the product content, images and other information stored in the CIMM2 PIM to let businesses with Adobe InDesign software build a variety of sales materials. “It sounded interesting and a really great way for us to leverage the valuable content we already have,” Babko added.
Unilog explained that the plug-in was in its final development stage, and asked if they wanted to assist in the design and testing to ensure it would meet their needs. Realizing the benefits Unilog’s all-in-one software provided, Fairmont Supply chose CIMM2 for its web platform.
While Unilog was building the Fairmont Supply site, they were working in tandem to finalize the plugin. Together, Babko’s team and Unilog set up the processes in the PIM, configured the connection and went through different layout iterations until they created a finished tool that checked all the boxes for Fairmont Supply.
The InDesign print catalog plug-in enables Fairmont Supply – as well as any other CIMM2 customer – to choose a subset of products from its catalog, along with selected taxonomy attributes, and output a finished file in a prebuilt design template which can be opened and edited in Adobe InDesign software, or simply saved as a PDF. The files can then be printed or shared electronically.
In Fairmont Supply’s case, the distributor prefers sharing its content as electronic files. “Our goal was never to create full-fledged print catalogs using this plug-in,” explained Babko. “The goal was to have an easy way to make targeted flyers for sales presentations and booklets of items based on the customer, application or promotion. And that’s what we’re able to do; we circulate files quickly and easily, so it’s very streamlined for us.”
Babko says his team typically receives requests for flyers from their sales or purchasing groups. If one of their vendors is having a sale on certain items or closeouts, purchasing will ask them to create a flyer featuring those products. Sales, on the other hand, may ask for a booklet of items based on a customer’s sales history, or a flyer showing all the promotional items for the month, which they can then reference while they’re out on calls.
The MRO supplier creates a few sales and marketing pieces a week, and includes anywhere from 10 to 20 items in a flyer, up to 400 items, depending on the promotion or segment. With the CIMM2 plugin’s capabilities, Babko’s team can create the content fast and circulate it to teams in minutes to keep everyone aligned and up-to-date on their products.
“The biggest gain for us is helping our sales team with product knowledge based on what we represent,” remarked Babko. “Additionally, there’s a cost savings from not having to outsource catalogs and flyers. We’ve done print pieces in the past and they’re very, very expensive to print. They may look really professional, but the cost difference between producing them with a third-party supplier and having us create them with the InDesign plug-in is vastly different. With just a little bit of InDesign knowledge, you can tweak it to the point where it looks good to print out for internal use.”
About Fairmont Supply
Fairmont Supply is a recognized leader in materials management and one of the largest full-line distributors of industrial maintenance, repair and operation supplies in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, PA, Fairmont Supply has 16 distribution centers and on-site store management locations throughout the country. www.fairmontsupply.com
Unilog is a global technology and services company that specializes in eCommerce solutions and enriched product catalogs for the B2B marketplace. Unilog’s flagship product, CIMM2, is a fully integrated eCommerce platform designed to fit the unique requirements of the wholesale distribution industry. www.unilogcorp.com