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What is a CSP?

A Content Service Provider (CSP) is a technology partner that helps brand manufacturers streamline the process of getting product data to retailers.

Content drives ecommerce. Brand suppliers should be the best source of data, but getting high quality content for new SKUs from brands can be a lengthy and error-prone process.

HOW CONTENT SERVICE PROVIDERS CAN HELP RETAILERS

Brand suppliers are investing in technology partners to streamline their internal processes, build and protect brand compliance and recognition, and manage and enhance content. Because of this trend, working with Content Service Providers (CSPs) with broad supplier adoption can dramatically reduce time-to-market and increase the depth and quality of content retailers receive. 

However, there is no silver bullet. No one CSPeven for a given categoryhas full coverage of every supplier and every piece of data you need to merchandise effectively online. Each CSP offers different brand coverage, data capabilities, and other services. It takes multiple sources to build the breadth of content that enables delivering unique and compelling product experiences to consumers.

AMAZON AND WALMART ARE USING CSPs TO WIN ON THE DIGITAL SHELF

Working with as many CSPs as possible is quickly becoming the best practice for optimizing the growing ecosystem. In fact, retailers like Amazon and Walmart have moved to an agnostic model, certifying and integrating all CSPs to increase SKU coverage and enhance product content as quickly as possible. Walmart has even taken this approach so far as to publish their CSP partner list along with their respective capabilities.

WHAT TYPES OF CSPS ARE THERE?

Depending on your priorities (e.g. SKU count, time to market, retailer-specific content), the best CSP options for you will differ--knowing how each CSP operates can help you work with them.

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Catalog Creators

Agencies that create their own content catalogs and make a standard catalog commercially available. They often lag in SKU creation to market compared to other sources and lack brand-approved material. These companies operate autonomously from brands, which allows them to send all content anywhere, but limits the accuracy, depth and format of content. e.g. Gladson, CNET, Etilize.

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Content “Middlemen.”

Networks that facilitate content exchange between brands and retailers. They typically have high % of SKU coverage - though not 100% - within a category, but with relatively low depth of content. These companies-- often referred to as Data Pools-- own brand data, however exported data still needs to be transformed to retailer requirements. e.g. 1WorldSync, Edgenet, Shotfarm.

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Peer to Peer.

Brand internal systems that have connectivity capabilities enabling a brand to expose “source of truth” content directly to retail partners in their required format. These companies typically do not own or have rights to the data as they are the brand’s internal databases so cannot provide brand lists or SKU coverage reports to retailers. e.g. Salsify, Tagglo.

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