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Nationally Recognized Distributor Deploys Akeneo PIM to Manage High Volume Product Content for Commerce

pim-for-AD-industrial-distributor

StrikeTru implemented Akeneo PIM for a nationally recognized distributor of industrial and other products as part of a digital transformation program. This distributor deployed PIM to streamline product introduction and rich content updates on its eCommerce website, and to have visibility and control over product content management processes. This company also wanted the capability to easily onboard high-volume and richly attributed SKU data from Affiliated Distributors to support sales across eCommerce, Punch Out, and Print channels.

 

Challenge

In response to industry trends, this distributor was digitizing its business to create a strong online presence. The digital transformation program had the following key goals:

  • offer and sell a greater number of products in the market by increasing SKUs counts
  • improve customer experience by making it easy to search, select, and buy products online
  • prepare for growth by setting up a scalable product data management infrastructure

 

This distributor realized a few key challenges were hampering its transformation efforts. The lack of a centralized product data repository that was integrated with the ERP and eCommerce systems meant data quality and trust issues. A largely manual and disconnected process to introduce products to the web was slow and error-prone. It also did not provide users the visibility and control they needed over what product data goes onto the web.

 

AD is the largest contractor and industrial products wholesale buying group in North America.  It provides independent distributors support and resources to accelerate growth. One such resource is the AD eContent Service program that enables its members to compete better in the world of eCommerce. As a member of Affiliated Distributors (AD), the distributor had access to over 1 million SKUs with rich product data, images, and other digital assets. The distributor wanted to enrich existing ERP SKUs with AD eContent and also onboard a significant number of new SKUs to grow its product assortment. It was simply not practical to manage all this content for the web in Excel spreadsheets and file folders, and the eCommerce website launch was getting delayed as a result. This distributor needed a modern PIM tool to manage large volumes of SKU data, and scalable data services to match and merge ERP SKUs with those from AD and other 3rd party sources.

 

An increasing number of the company’s customers were demanding Punch Out integrations. The lack of trusted product data also meant delays in onboarding Punch Out customers, and hence lost sales.

 

Solution

StrikeTru, the leading Akeneo experts in the US, worked closely with this distributor to discuss a potential PIM solution and associated data services to support the company’s eCommerce efforts. StrikeTru articulated how PIM helps address the various product content challenges the company faced, and how the ultimate solution would satisfy the company’s current and future requirements.

 

StrikeTru implemented an Akeneo Enterprise PIM solution to help manage product content. As a first step, SKUs from AD eContent Catalog were downloaded and matched with those in the company’s ERP system. Matched SKUs were enriched with rich data, images, and SDS data sheets provided by AD and all this content was stored in the PIM. Product data was further enriched via custom content rules that produced better titles and descriptions to facilitate online searches. The integration of product content from Akeneo PIM to the Magento website was automated and it was setup so that products and their variations were created automatically in Magento based on product grouping data provided by AD. This also provided the distributor an easy way to manage data and meta-data changes in PIM and sync those to the Magento website. Rich and granular product data from AD was used to drive the website navigation and exploration features (i.e. selection menus, facets, and rich product detail pages) to help optimize SEO rankings and online conversion rates. Additional critical data (weights, UOM) was sourced from other feeds (ORS Nasco) to fill in data gaps found in AD eContent. StrikeTru also helped cleanse data (e.g. remove special characters) and prioritize SKUs for enrichment by providing various analytical reports (e.g. top SKUs and customers by sales, SKU distribution across top customers, etc.).

 

Result

With the PIM solution in place and content flow automated between PIM and Magento website, this distributor is able to execute an effective eCommerce strategy. Products can be setup and released to web faster than before. StrikeTru’s data services helped enrich products with data from AD eContent program and ORS Nasco. Richly attributed SKU data from AD including images and product sheets were deployed to help provide compelling product detail pages online. Rich and granular content will help improve search engine visibility and drive more traffic to the site. The website also delivers an improved customer experience in terms of improved site navigation, product search, selection, and ordering capabilities.

 

PIM also enabled the on-boarding of several thousand SKUs from a new supplier onto the web relatively faster than before and set the stage for rolling out Punch Out catalogs. In short, the distributor now has a long-term solution to handle bigger product assortments and grow its online leads and sales.

 

“PIM enables us to place products on our website without the error prone manual processes we have been relying on. It gives us more visibility and control into the product data that goes onto the web.” — eCommerce Team Member

 

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