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How Data Makes a Difference

How Data Makes a Difference

By Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine


As an industry, we have to accept some important truths when it comes to e-commerce.

The first is that we aren’t really selling B2B.  That second “B” is a real person.  Not a logo, sign, truck, or brand.  A person.  And that person would like to make the purchasing process as fast and easy as possible.  Whether that person likes it or not, he must go to your website. Maybe not to actually purchase anything, but definitely to see what is available. Let’s not underestimate the power that people who work for the company that makes up that second “B” have.

Second, we have to accept that people have a reasonable expectation of what happens on a website where e-commerce occurs. They have been to too many sites, especially in their personal lives, to know what makes up a strong webstore and what makes up a weak webstore.  The use of the Internet to purchase has become too strong to ignore.

That brings me to something that happened a week ago.  A friend of mine is seeing a nutritionist and getting advice on what she should be eating.  As a joke, she texted me a picture of a box of Runts candy on the Walgreens website.  Turns out they are on sale this week, and while she is like most people and doesn’t like Runts, she was noting that it’s bad timing when candy goes on sale the week she is giving up eating candy.

After reminding her that Runts are hardly anyone’s first-choice for candy, I noticed something on the web page she sent me. Five pictures of the box.  Every angle.  The edges of the box where it just says “Runts.” The nutrition information, as if a person buying a box of Runts is really concerned about nutrition. Like most people, I thought, “Who needs all of this?”

And then it hit me.  It’s not about if I need the pictures of the box. It’s about what I expect.  I expect to see all of that information, because the websites where I buy items have all of that information.  I would almost feel like I was working with a lesser company if it didn’t provide all of that data.

As a supply chain, we are still working to provide those “expected” e-commerce experiences.  We are continuing to work with manufacturers to have their data loaded into the IDW for their supply chain partners to use.  We know that creating that data file takes time, effort, and money.  But with the number of people using e-commerce in everything they do, we know that this is essential.

We are also continuing to work with distributors to make sure they are using that data properly. We are partnered with DATAgility to get the maximum impact from that data.  We know that creating a website with vibrant e-commerce capabilities takes time, effort, and money. From all sides.

By the looks of this one box of Runts, both manufacturers and distributors can understand there is a lot of work to be done. Because our customers are expecting it.


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