Overview of SKUcapture Process
To source product content from suppliers who do not deliver it as part of syndication, SKUcapture is used to proactively contact suppliers and give an easy upload process to clients.
- Delivered as a managed service through SKUlibrary to enable vendors to deliver content to their customers.
- SKUlibrary is configured to provide suppliers with an easy process.
- Used by major retailers, across diverse categories to source product content for any volume of products in B2B or B2C.
- Also used to support onboarding for marketplaces.
- Priced as a monthly fee with supporting services where required (to clients and their suppliers).
What exactly is SKUcapture?
SKUcapture is a service from SKUvantage that provides suppliers with an extremely easy to use process for providing product content to a retailer or wholesaler client, and for retailers/wholesalers to proactively source this from their suppliers. This leverages the SKUlibrary platform to make the process much more efficient for both the supplier and the retailer client.
The basic steps are:
- The retailers’ image and date requirements, including data validation rules, are built into SKUlibrary, SKUvantage’s PIM platform, that many suppliers already use to syndicate their content to their customers.
- The retailer provides SKUvantage with supplier contact details and products for which it requires product content and this data is loaded into SKUlibrary, ideally via a feed.
- Emails are automatically sent to suppliers requesting them to load product content into SKUlibrary.
- The supplier logs in and enters product content in a process specifically designed for the retailer, with validation rules on images and data, and with help guides.
- Suppliers are given support as required e.g. formatting images, data, etc… They can also draw on product content production services if required, though these are optional.
- Reminder emails are sent where required and SKUvantage can proactively chase suppliers through phone, email etc…
- SKUvantage can also send additional emails (customised) to target specific products. For example, priority lines for catalogue or promotion, seasonal only products, topical products (e.g. Hand sanitiser during COVID).
- Supplier contacts lists are also maintained to ensure that the correct person is being contacted (including monitoring bounces).
Why is this better than traditional methods?
SKUvantage is focussed on this as a core part of their proposition and provide this service for numerous retailers. As a result, we know how to be successful in executing the process, and will evolve the service accordingly, and apply the appropriate resources to retain their clients. There is little chance that a typical retailer or wholesaler could match SKUvantage’s efficiency and would also have to build a team, process and technology that mirrors SKUcapture’s service.
Other key benefits are:
- Proactive chasing of suppliers, both automated and manual if required, is outsourced.
- Easy to use process, with supporting training and guidance material, configured to the retailer/wholesaler specific requirements.
- Workflow for rejection and other client specific processes if required etc…
- Easily updated if your requirements change, without involving client’s IT team.
- SKUlibrary may already be providing content to your business in one form or another.
- The client could use SKUlibrary to modify the content before approval if it uses SKUlibrary as a PIM.
- Frees up the time of the client team to focus on higher value adding activity, rather than being distracted on chasing and editing content.
- The support to suppliers means the client will never have to deal with a supplier asking them ‘how large an image has to be for online?’ – they can ask SKUvantage instead (or not need to because it’s very clear on the page).
- SKUvantage has >85% of the top 100 FMCGs that need a syndication service. This makes getting product content from these larger vendors much easier.
What is the difference between SKUlibrary and SKUcapture?
SKUlibrary is the platform that numerous retailers use as a PIM (Product Information Management) solution, and that suppliers use as a product content syndication platform.
SKUcapture is a managed service, that uses the SKUlibrary platform as a vendor portal for suppliers that do not normally use SKUlibrary, to easily provide this content to their retailer/wholesaler customers. The retailer client does not have to use SKUlibrary as a PIM in order to use the SKUcapture service, but there are significant benefits in doing so:
- Syndicated content is fed directly into their SKUlibrary PIM catalogue and;
- The client has ongoing access to modify content received via the SKUcapture process.
What if the supplier is already a client of SKUlibrary?
If the supplier already has products in SKUlibrary their products are automatically syndicated through to the client as part of the SKUcapture service.
However, if the clients require products from a syndication supplier that are not on SKUlibrary, the vendor is given a notification of the number of products being requested by their retailer customer when they log in to SKUlibrary. Clicking on the logo takes the user to the list of products being requested by the client, where they can load content against the client requirements, into the client catalogue. These products are not shared with other retailers (because they are only seen in the retailer client catalogue).
Can suppliers update content that the client already has on SKUlibrary?
Yes, suppliers can be given log in details to update content that the client already has on file once this has been uploaded into SKUlibrary. On logging in, they can only see their products, and can be given notification of any missing attributes. Alternatively, suppliers can be disallowed to make changes to products that are already live. These variants of client requirements are possible.
How would the content sourced via the SKUcapture service interface with the retailer client SKUlibrary PIM?
If the retailer uses SKUlibrary as a PIM, then product content is automatically syndicated to the SKUlibrary PIM catalogue for the retailer client.
What control would we have as a client?
Whether you use SKUlibrary as a PIM or not, the client can be given access to SKUlibrary such that it can have final approval and editing of product content.
Does product content being loaded to SKUlibrary help other retailers?
Absolutely not. The organisation that pays for loading of product content to SKUlibrary decides where it goes. The client will have its own catalogue of product content and given the client would be paying for this service, anything loaded to the client catalogue is not shared or made public.
SKUvantage does not use any data provided by one retailer to support operational processes with another retailer, or for its own business development efforts. No supplier contact information is used for anything else other than contacting suppliers for the client.
Is there a cost for vendors?
There is no obligatory cost for vendors. Vendors may use SKUvantage for product content production (photography etc.) if required, but this is optional for them.
Will SKUvantage check or improve product content provided?
By default, no, SKUvantage will not change product content provided. However, SKUvantage has significant experience in writing product descriptions, and has written many tens of thousands for retailers. SKUvantage can provide one of the following options:
- Normalisation of descriptions: Ensuring the description provided is in a consistent format, and is spell/grammar checked.
- Enhancement of descriptions: Creating full formed, well-structured sentences for product content, using information provided.
- Writing of descriptions: If no product description is provided or it is very short, SKUvantage can research the product and write product descriptions for from scratch.
- Sourcing product content from store for photography and transcription of content: Funded by the client or supervisor.
There is a cost for this, borne by the ultimate owner of the content (retailer client or their supplier), however, this will ensure good product quality across all products.
What if vendors do not comply with requests?
By default, vendors are chased by email. SKUvantage can also contact vendors by phone during the initial high intensity “blitz period” if they do not respond for a long period of time. There is reporting which can advise which suppliers have not logged in or provided content.
What is the time to set up?
The time to set up the service will largely be driven by the time it takes the client to provide the necessary data (lists of products to chase, and supplier contacts details, and a vendor ID for each product). It will take 3-6 weeks to develop the necessary workflow, training material, and data management processes from the point of commitment to move ahead.
What is the likely success rate and what are the critical success factors?
The likely success rate is largely driven by how well the client supports the workflow of directing suppliers to provide product content via the new process with appropriate communications (which SKUvantage can draft). With the necessary direction to suppliers, the onus is then on SKUvantage to ensure compliance.
SKUvantage also strongly recommended a 3 months “blitz period”, to more aggressively target suppliers with additional resource, to create initial momentum.
Can we execute SKUcapture ourselves, using SKUlibrary?
Yes, this is possible and this results in a lower managed service cost. However, the cost saving is unlikely to outweigh the benefits of SKUvantage expertise executing the SKUcapture process.
SKUvantage would build a vendor portal with associated material for vendors to load content to SKUlibrary, where this is not already available from suppliers who are a client of SKUlibrary. The client would then use SKUlibrary workflow to chase vendors for this content, support these suppliers in loading it and deal with day to day questions etc… SKUvantage would deal with any ongoing support of this process and also deal with inbound chat and customer service questions, manage users etc.