April 23, 2014

New Product Launches and Online Sales


The sooner manufacturers can provide their distributor trading partners with product information (e.g. pricing, images, spec sheets, good descriptions, or video clips) when launching new products, the better.

The Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) enables manufacturers to share the type of product marketing content found in their catalogs and on their websites with their distributors electronically, in one place and one format. When a manufacturer loads a new product in the IDW prior to launch, a distributor’s IT team can quickly access the product information they need from the IDW in a standard format, rather than waiting longer to receive that same information directly from their manufacturers. It becomes easier for distributors to quickly deliver accurate information about new products to their sales teams, web storefronts and, ultimately, end users.

For this reason, manufacturers looking for the fastest way to get their new products to market and off to a strong start should make sure they’re providing their distributors with the information they need to sell right away. Distributors must have time to educate their sales teams on each new product from a manufacturer before introducing it to their customers and end users. They don’t want to wait for a manufacturer’s sales rep to come knocking on their door with information about an item that has already been in the market for a month. Using the IDW, distributors can have necessary product information in their sales team’s hands and on their web storefronts and mobile apps within 24 hours, before the big box companies and e-tailers. In addition, a manufacturer’s product information can be made available to contractor software estimating packages, the SmarteCat catalog and, ultimately, end users through the IDW.

If you’re a distributor, ask the questions below of your manufacturers as you meet with them in your office or at industry events. If you’re in a manufacturer product management or marketing role, ask your data team the same questions, and make sure you’re giving your distributor customers all of the information they need to be educated on your products, get them out to their sales teams and web stores, and to start selling.

  • Are all items on my price list loaded in the IDW?
  • Is there a process in place for new items to be added to the IDW prior to launch?
  • Are the following elements loaded in the IDW for all items?:
    • Good-quality images that comply with the IDW-recommended electrical industry image standards.
    • Spec sheets and/or brochures.
    • At least four product attributes that are standard (non-standard attributes are available but difficult for distributors to use).
    • Attributes. If so, are the attributes normalized (i.e. “black”, spelled the same way for all items)?
    • Accurate brand names, spelled the same way. 
  • Are List Price and Distributor-Published Net Pricing (Column 3) loaded?
  • Is a distributor’s net-into-stock pricing in the IDW?
  • Is there a process in place to update the IDW prior to a price change?
  • Is the IDW Analytics Tool being used on all brands to make sure the data is complete and error-free?
  • Is there a video URL loaded in the IDW on products?
  • Have you reviewed all available fields in the IDW to make sure they are accurate and complete?

Are you making the most of the IDW? Contact Susan Streich at sstreich@idea4industry.com to learn other ways to maximize the IDW for your business.  

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