Onboarding vendor product data is a daily task for companies around the globe. From startups looking to create new marketplaces to long-standing household brands, data onboarding is a key part of doing business in the modern world. But what would happen if these companies could onboard data from vendors and suppliers faster than before? How much more competitive and scalable could these businesses become with better practices?
By enlisting better onboarding practices (whether you call it “vendor,” “supplier,” or “seller” onboarding), businesses can make the most of their business relationships and sell more. Let’s dive into some of the key benefits of better onboarding — and why you may want to consider locating a modern solution for your vendor onboarding needs.
But first, let’s take a look at some of the current methods you may be using and examine why these older methods are problematic.
Pitfalls of current, manual methods and basic tools
There are two phases for onboarding vendor data: the initial integration and exchange, and the upkeep. However, most businesses do not have a streamlined process when it comes to either of these.
For example, they require all incoming vendor catalogs to adhere to strict requirements and formats (like BMEcat or item setup sheets). This is understandable, as businesses need to be able to easily integrate and understand vendor data. However, this can also cause problems. If a vendor is not able to completely adhere to all the requirements, or they simply make a mistake, the entire buying partnership is stalled, and both businesses lose out.
Similarly, instead of integrating only new products or updated data, businesses are generally forced to re-integrate entire catalogs every time a change is made. That means, even if two businesses have worked together for a decade, the onboarding team will still be working to integrate the same products time after time, year after year. In the end, it’s difficult to shorten time to market and capture new opportunities.
In order for a business to grow and expand, processes like these need to be streamlined.
On top of this, the process of data validation is highly resource-intensive. Most likely, vendor product data is onboarded manually, either in-house or through an agency. As a result, even when the work of onboarding is given to a dedicated agency or specialized team, businesses may still be wasting resources due to inefficient practices.
But what would happen if businesses started enlisting better onboarding practices?
Larger assortments and better strategies: the benefits of efficient vendor onboarding
It should be clear that vendor onboarding speed is not at all a vanity metric. Moving faster means not only that teams can spend less time onboarding data, but it also implies numerous benefits for a business’s overall health. Here are just a few of the greatest benefits of better vendor onboarding practices.
1. Larger product assortments
When businesses spend all their resources managing existing product assortments, it becomes difficult to actually grow and modernize those assortments. However, by automating upkeep processes and streamlining initial integrations, businesses can work faster than ever.
That means business can integrate with new vendors and suppliers quickly, increasing their product assortments overnight.
2. Better business and buying strategies
Every facet of business today needs to be optimized in order to achieve maximum competitiveness. That includes buying strategies. Faster onboarding practices makes it easier for buyers to get a clear and timely overview of their purchasing options. Now, there’s no need to stick to the same products or strategies. Instead, a buyer can optimize their purchasing and achieve long-term goals.
Clear oversight lets buyers not only ensure they’re choosing the best deal, but also ensure that they’re getting access to the most relevant, modern products out there.
3. Shorter time to market, happier customers
Marketplaces and retailers are under a lot of pressure to always have the latest goods. Trying to keep with power players like Amazon make it absolutely necessary that these businesses are able to move quickly and get new products to market fast.
When a business is able to handle any kind of product data format or file, they’re able to reduce the workload on their suppliers, and they can easily transform these products and funnel them to the public.
4. Reduced departmental spend and work
Whether a business onboards data in-house or through an agency, it’s going to take resources. That means money is being spent either on an agency or an internal team to manage the load. However, as described above, less efficient strategies often require manual data entry. At best, they may use a very simple tool that still requires a lot of human input.
By automating vendor onboarding processes, a business can quickly reduce their resource spend and allow existing stakeholders to take on more meaningful tasks.
5. Keep existing vendors happy and find new ones
What’s just as important as growing quickly and expanding your assortment? Vendor satisfaction. Currently, vendors go through a lot of work to share their catalogs. They have to carefully and pain-stakingly craft dozens to thousands of catalogs each year. They might even have to call or fax just to confirm the status of their catalog. In other words, this is the opposite of an easy, self-service job: it’s highly personal and intensive.
By enlisting better onboarding practices, your suppliers’ workload can be greatly reduced, making them more likely to have a positive view of your business partnership. On top of this, relaxed product catalog requirements enable you to work with businesses who have been previously unable to manage your product catalog requirements, like startups and SMBs in particular.
6. Keep processes in-house or keep clients happy
Agencies who take control of the onboarding process offer businesses a great value. They let teams focus on more meaningful, transformative work instead of onboarding. However, agencies using dated methods can also waste resources.
- If you’re a retailer or distributor yourself: a strong vendor onboarding solution will enable you to __move work in-house__ and cut out the need for external agencies entirely. This means you can make changes faster and cut costs.
- If you’re an agency: more efficient onboarding practices will help you __work faster, beat out competitors, and keep your clients happy__. Plus, scaling will be easier than ever before.
The backbone of faster vendor onboarding and validation: automation
Clear dashboards, ease-of-use, and delta upload options are all hallmarks of a strong vendor onboarding solution. However, if you’re looking for a solution to completely transform your processes, you’ll need to find a solution that lets you take complete control through automation.
Automation can be used to make every part of the vendor onboarding process easier. It lets you easily connect incoming product attributes and information to your own internal specifications; apply changes in bulk so you can cleanse and standardize catalogs en masse; and validate that the catalog fits your requirements, or get a clear visual overview of issues.
Whether you’re onboarding traditional products, job listings, flight information, or any other kind of product data, automation can make it easier to succeed and scale. More importantly, automated onboarding practices will become increasingly common in the coming years, as business look to completely digitally transform.
Whether you’re an agency, startup, or long-standing retailer or distributor, now is the time to examine your current processes and see what value faster vendor onboarding could have on your business.