March 28, 2016

IDEA Dictionary: Taxonomies

When dealing with data, and all related terminology, you may feel like you’re trying to speak a foreign language. In the interest of keeping things clear and simple, we will introduce commonly used terms that will help you navigate the data shorthand and learn the lingo. This week, we bring you: taxonomies.

A taxonomy is a classification scheme, used to organize individual items. In other words, taxonomy is categorization.

The goals of a taxonomy include:

  • Improved search functionality, resulting in a better customer experience

Not every person will think to search for what they need in the same way. For example, some may look for a certain brand, while others may look for a particular wattage. A taxonomy system classifies like products together, allowing the customer to find all of his options by applying different search attributes. Taxonomy-based storefronts allow for multiple paths to the same information, ensuring that a customer’s search will lead to a product for sale, no matter which attribute they use in their search.

  • Industry-wide standardized structure for creating, managing, and maintaining information

The global UNSPSC® product categorization taxonomy, or classification system, allows for the categorization of products in multiple different industries. IDEA’s Classification and Marketing Descriptor Model (CMD5.0, formerly known as the Electrical Attribute Schema) is a categorization and attribute system based on the full UNSPSC® code set. Put more simply, CMD5.0 is a taxonomy that helps the electrical channel determine which attributes and related values should be included in each product category to ensure complete data, serving as a manufacturers’ guide for uniformly providing descriptive marketing content to their trading partners.

As more companies expand internationally, IDEA has also begun working with ETIM International in order to align its technical product classification system – Europe’s ETIM Technical Information Model – with the North American CMD5.0, in an effort to harmonize industry standards across the board, and help facilitate international trade.

  • Smoother business transactions across the channel

For distributors, attributes in a well-defined product taxonomy ensure that the necessary product data is provided by manufacturer partners upfront. Similarly, operating within a taxonomy-based system enables manufacturers to group like products together and figure out the exact attributes they need to provide for each of their items.

Taxonomies allow distributors to create webstore hierarchies, which facilitates browsing and searching, and increases visibility of manufacturers’ products online. The same categorization is used as a way to effectively organize product information in business systems and warehouses, and facilitates spend analysis and reporting. When product content is presented in a standardized, logically organized structure, it’s a win for all individual players and the industry as a whole!

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