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Fiona McGuinness26-Jul-2021 10:00:404 min read

The Modern Catalogue – New Ways for Merchants to Access Product Data in a Digital World

How to leverage product data in your merchant ERP system?

Managing the product data in your business software is a challenge. Even if you start with a clean, robust product data repository it can be a challenge to continually cleanse and maintain this data to ensure it is always up-to-date and accurate. Merchants often rely on suppliers to provide them with product data, including specs and images, so when this falls short the integrity of the merchant’s product database gets compromised. The end result is that merchants are often left with product files containing huge variations in terms of the quality of the data.

Impact of Poor Quality Data

Given the vast quantity of product lines merchants have access to, the complexity and effort required to manage a clean, robust product database has, in the past, been significant. Where merchants ignore the integrity of their product database it causes significant negative knock-on effects for their e-commerce, sales and trade counter operation. Lack of good quality images, poor product descriptions, the appearance of deleted product lines etc. all leads to confusion and a general lack of professionalism, which ultimately impacts customer relations.

However, for those working to avoid these issues by ensuring their product database is clean and up to date, there are huge levels of manual effort involved. Your commercial team may be spending a lot of their time updating your ERP software, e-commerce site, etc. and this is an exercise repeated by merchants all over the country. In our opinion your team’s time could and should be better spent elsewhere. The manual, repetitive nature of this work lends itself to applying technology to address the issue.

A Better Way?

With a centrally maintained product data source in situ for merchants, the duplication of effort we are currently seeing across merchants up and down the country could be greatly reduced. The onus would shift towards suppliers to feed product data into a central database in a standardised format that can then be used to feed the product data file in your ERP software, your website and can also be readily used in marketing & print collateral. Initiatives such as NMBS OnePlace highlight that easier access to centrally maintained, readily accessible merchant product data is a requirement.

The Role Of Your ERP Provider?

Merchant ERP providers, like Intact iQ, are working to ensure merchants can easily access trusted product data sources like NMBS OnePlace or other Product Information Management (PIM) solutions. By leveraging new technology, we can give merchants access to view live product catalogue information from within their ERP system. That can include product specifications, images, links to the manufacturer’s website etc. This data doesn’t need to be synchronised so you can have ready access to vast quantities of supplier product data. It is easily searchable, always on and always up to date. In addition, you could easily create a new product for your ERP product file from the data sources you have access to.

Trade Counter Experience

With this level of data access, searching beyond your standard company product file can easily be facilitated in Intact iQ,  with live links to relevant industry data sources just a click away. Products in the data sources can be immediately entered into a sales order as a back to back order ensuring your business doesn’t lose out on the sales opportunity and your customer doesn’t have to look elsewhere. Accessing this data is as easy as shopping online for your sales team and effectively extends out your product range far beyond the capacity of your warehouse.

The Business Benefits

  • One click access to extended product data and rich product data attributes for your sales operations.
  • Expands your product range with minimal effort thus creating an endless aisle of choice.
  • Eliminates the manual effort of syncing data files.
  • Reduces the manual effort of maintaining product files.
  • Easier for suppliers – update one source in an agreed standardised format.
  • Easier for merchants.
  • Easier for your end users.
  • Result – increased customer satisfaction!

At Intact we are dedicated to the merchant industry. Our software, services and our related product roadmap are designed to enable your merchant business to operate at its best. Our leading merchant ERP solution, Intact iQ, sits at your digital core but we extend ERP out to your customers and remote employees through the range of integration, mobile, ecommerce and deployment solutions we provide. This omni-ERP experience ensures you retain one central business hub with your ERP solution centrally managing operations to ensure you  maximise productivity, improve decision making and ensure both employees and customers can engage with your business seamlessly. Beyond software our expert merchant consultants work with your team to understand how best to employ the technology we offer to optimise operations. Uniquely flexible our software enables our consultants to accommodate your unique ways of working in the software. We don’t believe your competitive advantage should ever be compromised as a result of software limitations.

Here to support your business for the lifetime of your ERP solution our local customer success team goes beyond traditional technical support to offer consultancy expertise, online learning portal, ideation forum and innovative updates that bring new merchant focused functionality to you continuously.

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Fiona McGuinness

I've been part of the Intact family for 16 rewarding years. After completing my Business Studies degree, I knew Marketing was a field I wanted to pursue. Prior to joining Intact, I primarily worked in the financial sector, focusing on marketing for credit unions. When I started at Intact, I handled all the marketing tasks by myself. Over time, as our team expanded, so did my role. Now, I specialise in crafting compelling content across various platforms, from blogs to video scripts. No two days are the same, and I thrive on the dynamic nature of my role. Whether it's diving into customer case studies or lead campaigns, I'm driven by the positive impact our solutions bring to businesses. In an age where AI plays a significant role, I remain a firm believer in the power of authentic content. When I'm not working, you'll find me enjoying quality time with my family, sewing, or watercolor paintings.