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    What's in a Name?

    March 4, 2016
    4 minute read
    What's in a Name?
    Forget file names. Accept metadata.

    The Takeaway: Are you still thinking of product content management in terms of files? Then you should read on to learn why that approach is archaic and, quite frankly, not useful anymore.

     As the ecommerce world evolves, so too must our digital asset management practices. In other words, retailers today demand more product attributes than ever, asking for text, images, videos and who knows what's next, but many brands are stuck in the past when it comes to managing all of those different types of content.

    Take image files for example. You've likely got thousands of those for hundreds of products. You could go through all of those pictures and illustrations, manually changing the names of those files to make them easier to find and share. You could then put those files in folders and optimize the names of those as well. But talk about time-consuming and labor-intensive, likely without gaining much other than a pat on the back from co-workers for devoting that much energy into such a repetitive process.

    "The whole idea of image files is so 20th century!"

    Let it be said: The whole idea of image files is so 20th century!

    Seriously. It's 2016. We're on the cusp of the big data revolution - we don't need image files and we don't need folders.

    Just ask Google. When Gmail did away with folders and replaced them with labels, the world collectively cheered. Now, emails can have multiple tags, and that means any one email can be found in a several different locations. Better yet, it means you can easily search for certain emails.

    It's because labels are a form of metadata - they're data about data.

    Add metadata to your product content equation
    What does this have to do with product content and image files? Well, images have metadata, too. The name of an image, when it was taken, what product it's for, and more are all forms of metadata. Those attributes essentially do away with the idea of managing image files and their names, and replace it with managing digital assets as whole. And when it comes to product content, metadata allows you to more easily find what you're looking for simply because there are more ways (e.g. titles, names, tags, keywords) to search for it by.

    But you can only search for product content metadata with a digital asset or product information management platform that provides that capability. That way, you are able to easily find and share product attributes with retailers and your team members. More importantly, you can upload all of your product content to a single platform and adjust image naming conventions for each of your ecommerce channels - Walmart, Amazon or your brand's website. That ensures every image or product attribute is optimized for search engines.

    With a DAM or PIM that supports metadata, there isn't just one name and one location for your product attributes. Great PCM tools talk about how they create a file with a name on the fly for each use rather than having one image with one name. Content is easier to find, better adjusted for SEO and catered to each of your channels. And in the age of distributed commerce, that just makes sense.

    So what's in a name? A lot of meta data. 

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    Written by: Josh Mendelsohn

    Josh is the Head of Product Marketing at Salsify and an avid online shopper, data lover, beer snob in training and music junkie.

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