While the BMEcat format hasn’t changed much since its introduction in 1999, the market around it has. Commerce is moving faster than ever before. There’s increased competition, decreased brand loyalty, and a whole lot of pressure to optimize every single process. Across Europe, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are expected to do more than ever before.
- __Distributors and retailers want to onboard and process product data faster__, so they can source from more suppliers, find better prices and options, and focus on business strategy.
- __Manufacturers want to prepare and distribute data faster,__ so they can reach more channels and buyers in order to increase overall sales.
Despite these needs, companies continue to prepare and manage product catalogs using inefficient, dated methods. As a result, the business user - as well as their company - lose out. Manufacturers are unable to reach new channels; distributors and retailers are unable to grow their assortment. In short, they can’t take advantage of new opportunities.
Now, product data management methods are changing, and this has implications for those who use the BMEcat format.
Current methods and legacy processes for managing the BMEcat format
From electronics manufacturers to industrial distributors, most businesses continue to rely heavily on IT for support with BMEcat files. If there’s a new catalog to generate or integrate, the business user usually creates a ticket for IT, who then works either manually or with highly technical solutions to create and manage product data files.
In many situations, even a single error can lead to the entire catalog being returned to the manufacturer. As a result, many who work with BMEcat files can become stuck working to maintain the current speed rather than move faster.
New technology enables greater control of the BMEcat format
Many manufacturers and distributors don’t realize that these IT-heavy processes are no longer necessary. This change comes as part of a slow shift that first became apparent in marketing and B2C areas.
Now, the creation, management, and onboarding of BMEcat can be greatly simplified and even automated. The key to success will be finding a solution that fits into your current stack, connecting to all existing tools (like PIM, ERP, or your customers’ systems), and is made for business users rather than technical users.
Below are three capabilities that are helping business users achieve more. As every solution will differ, we’ll use Productsup as a concrete example.
Automate catalog generation according to defined requirements
Problem: Each business a manufacturer sells to (or any channel they want to reach) will have different product data requirements, for example the number of characters allowed or types of product categories accepted. This means, manufacturers need to customize each product attribute according to the designated requirements. This can also include prices tailored to the specific buyer.
Solution: The Productsup platform enables users to create templates uniquely tailored to fit any requirements. As a result, instead of manually tailoring every catalog according to the buyer’s requirements, the platform can automatically map your existing data (be it from a PIM, shop system, ERP, or elsewhere) and funnel it into a catalog specific for the target buyer. It’s also easy to change prices individually or create rules to automatically change them for you.
Onboard product data from numerous sources and in varying formats
Problem_: When buying products, distributors and retailers must source product information from 1000s of suppliers. They need to integrate catalogs from all of these sources quickly and efficiently. However, this process can take a huge amount of time for IT to complete, and many retailers will be forced to simply choose from their existing supplier pool rather than trying out new products.
_Solution: The Productsup platform enables a business user to quickly onboard files from anywhere and in any format, including BMEcat files, spreadsheets, PIM, and more. Users can quickly map incoming data to automatically generate their own catalog. This makes it easy to integrate data from 1000s of suppliers. On top of this, because the process is largely automated, updated information is easy to pull and integrate, meaning users don’t have to worry about out-of-date information or upkeep.
Master ETIM, eCl@ss, and more
Problem: BMEcat files can be structured in numerous ways. For example, the ETIM format was first intended for electrical products. However, now you can find ETIM being used in numerous verticals.
For many businesses, it’s already difficult to prepare and ingest product catalogs. The numerous and varying standards just add to the complexity.
Solution: With Productsup, users can master and manage any kind of file structure, including ETIM, eCl@ss, and more. To create files in these formats, just drag-and-drop the relevant edits in order to apply them in bulk, adapting your existing catalog into a new format. For example, automatically shorten texts that are too long or automatically change keywords to fit the required schema.