When working with product information I usually put the data into this five level model:
The model is explained in the post Five Product Data Levels.
As a downstream participant in supply chains being a distributor or retailer your success is dependent on if you can do better than other businesses (increasingly including marketplaces) of your kind fighting over the same customer prospects. One weapon in doing that is using product information.
Here you must consider where you should use industry wide available data typically coming from the manufacturer and where you should create your own data.
I usually see that companies tend to use industry wide available data in the blue section below:
The white area, the internally created data, is:
- Level 1: Basic product data with your internal identifiers as well as supplier data that reflects your business model
- Level 5: Competitive data with your better product stories, your unique up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and your choice of convincing advanced digital assets
- Level 3 in part: Your product description (perhaps in multiple languages) that is consistent with other products you sell and a product image that could be the one provided by the manufacturer or one you shoot yourself.
Obviously, creating internal product data that works better than your competitor is a way to win.
For the blue area, the externally created data, your way of winning is related to how good you are at on-boarding this data from your upstream trading partners being manufacturers and upstream distributors or how good you are in exploiting available product data pools and industry specific product data portals.
In doing that, connect is better than collect. You can connect by using Product Data Lake.