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Recommended Reading: E-Commerce – You Have to Start Somewhere

Waiting for perfection will keep you from beginning.
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While independent distributors face myriad challenges around e-commerce, data management is one of the biggest hurdles they often face. Building out and maintaining a consistent catalog can be cost prohibitive for many, says Bob Lewis, founder of B2X Partners, in AD Tackles E-Commerce 'Monster.'

Part of the problem is that it's an ongoing process; it "won't be perfect from day one," says Lewis, who was hired by Affiliated Distributors, Fort Wayne, IN, to help develop an e-catalog for the buying and marketing group's members. But that shouldn't stop you from moving forward.

“We can spend a year-and-a-half going around and around trying to get it perfect, but the more pragmatic approach is to take our best shot and get it well defined, so that it puts us in a good position,” he says. This means ensuring that a clean taxonomy is in place and standards are established so that the maintenance doesn't complicate what has already been created.

Once the taxonomy and standards are in place, applying it to each product is still a process, but it's a much more manageable one.

Read more about how AD developed its e-catalog program in AD Tackles E-Commerce 'Monster.'

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