We regularly refer to the notion of offer. By this word, we mean what constitutes a company’s offer, i.e.: the products and services offered to its market on which it communicates.
This article is the first of a series of articles describing the required steps to publish an offer, regardless of the media used: web, email, RS, catalog, flyer, tagging, etc.
The subject is quite extensive. We can situate offer management by saying that it makes the link between :
- the source data upstream of publications (PIM, DAM, CMS, MDM, Excel) ;
- and what concerns the formatting and publication of this data.
Format of the offer
At this stage, it is a question of describing the information that you wish to publish, which immediately raises a few questions. Indeed, the information to be published varies :
- often according to the medium and its destination,
- and sometimes according to the nature of the products,
- and even according to other criteria.
For example: a B2C company whose offer is made up of textile products generally publishes its products in a fairly homogeneous way (colors, code, size, price, sales pitch, titles, catchphrases), whereas a B2B company that offers its products to manufacturers publishes detailed technical information that varies according to the nature of the products.
A good method is to start by formalizing the structure of the “offer” sheets, their variants according to the media, and the levers offered to the user to set them up.
Structure of the “offer sheet”
This is a matter of grouping together the list of information published for an offer: a product, a group of products, a product comparison table, a technical insert, etc.
Generally, this exercise is quite easy to do: it is enough to carefully examine what the company already publishes to identify the type(s) of offers and the content of each.
This work can show us that there is a correspondence between the notion of product sheet and what is published when the data (products) correspond to the publications, sometimes with some rules such as the order in which to order the presentation of characteristics.
In this case, each product sheet is also an offer sheet, which is the default case. This situation generally arises in B2B, as soon as there is an adapted PIM.
It often happens that information is published that does not exist in the PIM, such as the price(s), which are themselves taken from another software. In this case, the offer aggregates several sources, like in this example.
Other considerations may interfere:
- If a PIM is not available, the management of offers can be autonomous.
- Should a PIM be used to manage certain data that are more dedicated to publications, when these publications only concern 20% of the products?
- Is the PIM multilingual, or should the offers be translated?
In any case, we have done the work to describe what must be released for the products. This work will now be completed:
- Are there any published data left out that we want to automate?
- Have we managed to describe all the product typologies in a simple way, or do we have to describe several different files depending on the products?
- Have we managed to describe all the publications (web, email, RS, catalog, flyer, tags, labels, etc.) or do we need to describe several forms, different according to the publications?
- And finally, what do we want to leave as a level of parameterization specific to the offer?
We do not only publish products. For example, in the context of a publication of office furniture, we want to present inserts that show assembly diagrams suitable for the collection presented and product comparison tables, etc.
In this case, other offer sheets are described according to the content to be published, for example, an offer sheet for arranging content to obtain technical inserts. We can also rely on tools that allow us to automate and parameterize the offers, for example when an offer sheet selects the products to be compared in a table.
The tables come under the category of offer parameterization, which will specify the references if necessary, the structure of the table (order, crossing), its breaks, the addition of labels or complementary images, etc. This logic also allows us to create tables that represent different products, according to defined axes.
At the end of this work, we mapped the publications, challenged the number of offer sheets needed, checked the links that connect them to the sources, the data that still needs to be entered to publish, and the parameters that are so many levers to specify what is published in the context of each publication.
We also identified what will not be automated, i.e., what will be managed in the context of the communication medium, such as the list of products already ordered in a merchant site, or manual additions with InDesign for a printed catalog.
In the process, we also defined the structure of the graphic charts for the publications.
In summary, we are ready for the next steps:
- Upstream, connection to source data (PIM, DAM, CMS, MDM, Excel);
- Downstream, the automated formatting and publication of this data.
We will come back to these aspects in other articles, especially the positive impact that supply management can have on the content management for ordering, production, translation, etc., as well as everything related to data acquisition, management of various publications, their automation, reuse and personalization.
Finally, we cannot leave you without saying that J2S Simple Workspace offers exactly what is described here!
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