Solving Marketplace Syndication Challenges with Data Governance

July 31, 2020
By Jean Bordelon,
Lead Architect

Whether you’re new to the world of Marketplace Syndication or an established pro, you’ve probably wrestled with the concept of Data Governance and how it relates to what you’re trying to achieve with syndication.

Let’s address the topic by breaking down the conversation:

  • What is Marketplace Syndication and Data Syndication anyway?
  • What are the most common challenges with Marketplace Syndication?
  • How does Data Governance impact Marketplace Syndication?
  • What are the advantages of using Data Governance and Marketplace Syndication together?

This blog is the companion to a webinar we hosted with our partners Akeneo and Productsup. We will overview the topics discussed and provide an in-depth look into Marketplace Syndication. You can also access the webinar recording below.

What is Marketplace Syndication?

We define Marketplace Syndication as doing whatever is necessary to publish and distribute content to third-party sites, e.g. marketplaces, who are able to use the content to sell the publisher’s products via their marketplace. The content publisher does not control the marketplace. As such, content publishers must provide their content in a manner and form the marketplace accepts.

What is Data Governance?

Like most things, often it depends on who you ask. There are many definitions of Data Governance and many different contexts, but the best one we’ve found for this conversation is:

“Data Governance is the process of managing the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data in enterprise systems, based on internal data standards and policies that also control data usage. Effective data governance ensures that data is consistent and trustworthy and doesn't get misused.” - TechTarget

What are the Most Common Challenges with Marketplace Syndication?

Operational Complexity

The point of syndication is to expand your market reach and to grow revenue. You want the best possible experience for your buyers/shoppers, which means that you need to make your products available wherever your customers shop. But, each marketplace or channel has its own rules.

Assembling the right data for each channel for a product experience in context to that marketplace is challenging. Moreover, you might have a marketplace syndication team that's separate from your eCommerce and in-store merchandising teams. Coordinating amongst these teams creates additional operational complexity.

Getting the Right Product Data

With so many moving parts, how do you ensure compliance with each channel’s product listing requirements? 

Overcoming these challenges requires you to define how and when to collaborate with your teams regarding product data, and agree upon how each team can change and get access to authoritative product data. Otherwise, everyone is scrambling all over the place to find the product data they need for their specific channel and this often leads to using product data that is incorrect, incomplete, or inconsistent.

Deciding Which Marketplaces to Join 

From the business side, it can be challenging to identify the best marketplace opportunities. Operationally, it can be a lot of work. Each destination has its own requirements and processes. And those processes can change with or without notice. 

This means there can be significant resources required to support each marketplace. Without a syndication platform like Productsup, you’re forced to be much more selective that the marketplaces you choose will be a good fit and advantageous for your business.

Ask Yourself:

Do you use third-party tools to facilitate product data governance and syndication? 
(Note: the percentage of webinar attendees who chose the answer appear after each answer option) 

  • Yes for Product Information Management (PIM) only (27 percent)
  • Yes for product data syndication only (0 percent)
  • Yes for both (33 percent)
  • None (27 percent)
  • I don’t know (7 percent)

This question is intended to get you thinking about the tools in your arsenal and whether you’re using the right tools to best support your business.

How Does Data Governance Impact Marketplace Syndication?

Data Quality

Employing Data Governance (with a Product Information Management (PIM) solution for example) ensures the catalog is right for each channel, measures and enforces completeness, and facilitates workflows to manage and govern internal processes.

Data Conditioning

All of your syndication destinations will have their own rules and processes. Data governance can start to automate the processes that will ensure your data compliance with the syndication destinations. At the end of the day, data governance processes are “financial controls” for your data. They’re designed to help ensure data compliance. So, having these controls in place makes it easier to maintain over time and as you scale.

Ask Yourself

On a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is no data governance and five is comprehensive product data governance, how do you rate your company’s current level of data governance?

  • 1 (7 percent)
  • 2 (40 percent)
  • 3 (27 percent)
  • 4 (20 percent)
  • 5 (7 percent)

This question is meant to get you thinking about whether you’re leveraging Data Governance effectively to improve the quality of your product information and simplifying your data operations.

What Are the Advantages of Using Data Governance and Data Syndication Together?

They Complement Each Other 

Each of these tools is designed to perform a distinct and complementary function. You can use a PIM to ensure high-quality data and govern the enrichment and clean-up processes.

With clean data enabled by a PIM, internal syndication becomes easier, whether it’s to your own webshop, POS solution, print catalog, or to third-party marketplaces.

Fewer Headaches 

When you consider all that's involved in executing an effective Marketplace strategy, it can become overwhelming. However, by leveraging these platforms together you can dramatically reduce the heavy lifting so your business can focus on growth instead of managing the overhead associated with supporting each new marketplace.

Broader Syndication 

A PIM like Akeneo allows you to build a single, clean, authoritative product data database. When your clean and comprehensive product data is paired with a syndication platform like Productsup, the effort to syndicate and add new marketplaces becomes far easier.

Productsup not only handles all of the product information transformations, they maintain each marketplace connection so when the marketplace requires new data or changes formats, you generally have little to do. Moreover, syndication platforms offer you ready-built access to a myriad of syndicate marketplaces. And because the overhead associated with adding a new marketplace is minimal, you can dramatically expand where you're able to sell your products.

Ask Yourself

How many people do you currently have working on product enrichment and/or content syndication?

  • None (13 percent)
  • 1 (27 percent)
  • 2-5 (40 percent)
  • 6-10 (13 percent)
  • More than 10 (7 percent)

This question speaks to your current investments in product information. If you have a small team, are you using the tools available to multiply your efforts? If you have a large team, are you effectively automating workloads to make sure your people are spending their time on the highest-value activities?

Data Governance Benefits Marketplace Syndication

Data Governance clearly can play a significant role in an effective Marketplace Syndication strategy. So much so, that we rarely encounter a project that has syndication without a PIM. It’s become standard practice, if not a best practice to include a PIM, or a similar solution in your eCommerce strategy. 

If you are engaging in Marketplace Syndication, it’s certainly to your benefit to investigate what role data governance can play in strengthening your execution.