Thursday, March 29, 2012

NUMBER1DIRECT DECIDED TO MOVE AWAY FROM OFF-SHORE THIRD PARTIES FOR BLOSM

In order to automate and expedite content gathering for their vast product catalog, Number1Direct decided to move away from off-shore third parties in favor of blosm.

With 40,000 SKUs coming in from various manufacturers across several industries, gathering and inputting the necessary amounts of data was rather laborious and time consuming. In order to get things running more smoothly, Steve tasked Jeff Minor, CIO & CTO with overseeing the project. As Jeff recalls, “we tried manually gathering and entering the data, we tried scraping programs, and we even tried off-shore third party companies. Before blosm, our best approach was scraping data with a crawler and then manually entering the data. We had five full-time people and combined, they averaged about 200 products a day at their peak.” Because of the stiff competition, Jeff determined that in order to get ahead of the competition, he needed to not only gather more complete product information at a much quicker rate, but also needed to do it without taking on added expenses through new hire’s or reducing SKU count.

Knowing that there were inefficiencies in the process of manually inputting and updating their tens of thousands of SKUs, Jeff set out to find guidance on a better approach. “I wanted another way. I knew there had to be a better method so I did my research and laid out all my options and did my due diligence and in the end, I decided to go with Thanx Media and their blosm solution,” Jeff recalled.
In order to get a feel for what blosm was capable of Number1Direct started with a small segment of their data and let the technology do the rest. The results were better than Jeff could have ever imagined, “I don’t know how else to say it, other than, I was blown away with not only the quantity, but the quality of the data that blosm returned. After just six weeks we were able to touch 8,000 SKUs through the entering of new or updated information and in some cases, completely new product information.”

After seeing the first round and the results produced, Number1Direct decided to let go of the reins and open blosm to their entire catalog. Since letting it loose in early January, Jeff and his team have seen production go through the roof. “In three weeks, with one person, we were able to gather content on roughly 20,000 SKUs. With other solutions and technologies this would have taken me months and even then insufficient data was being returned and we needed four more people on the team to manage everything,” Jeff said while shaking his head.

Number1Direct has streamlined the way they gather and import product information for their existing inventory. Jeff and his team can take another step toward getting a leg up on their competitors. Right now they offer around 40,000 SKUs due to their past resource limitations. With blosm, they can now on-board products more rapidly, expanding their catalog and SKU count. According to Jeff, “our suppliers and the manufacturers that we order from have always had a much more complete product line, but due to ceilings on our end, we’ve been limited in what we can offer. Now that we’ve seen blosm’s power we would love to double our product line in the next twelve to eighteen months.”

Number1Direct determined early on that in order to be number 1, they needed to offer unparalleled product information on their existing products, but also expand their catalog without jeopardizing the quality of the user experience. After trying other solutions including manually gathering data, third party crawling technologies and off-shore solutions, they settled on Thanx Media’s blosm technology and couldn’t be happier with the decision.
 

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