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Today, according to Gartner and Forrester, up to 70% of product research is done online. Additionally, per Channel Marketing Group, the number one reason contractors visit distributor websites is for product information (the second reason is to obtain spec sheets).

With more and more of your customers seeking convenient access to this information online, thorough and high-quality product data is the “rocket fuel” needed to ensure customers have the best possible e-commerce experience.

Having rich, complete and accurate product data on your website gives your customers the information they need to quote the right material, purchase the right items and gather information for submittals, all of which enables self-serve customer support while increasing sales and reducing ordering errors and costly returns.

Better data also keeps customers on your website, so they do not have to go to a manufacturer’s website, or worse to a competitor’s site for more information. As an added benefit, your webstore becomes an essential resource for your company’s own sales and customer service staff (it is the new “catalog room”).

Yet for all these benefits, gathering the data and keeping it up to date can be a labor intensive (and never-ending) job.

That is why IMARK Electrical and Distributor Data Solutions (DDS) are teaming up to provide IMARK Electrical members with best-in-class e-commerce product content, via an innovative delivery system that simplifies the entire process for distributors.

The IMARK Electrical eCommerce Data Accelerator powered by DDS features a subscription-based pricing model that ensures:

  • Access to 1,000+ electrical brands
  • An unlimited number of SKUs on your site
  • A constant, automated flow of product information from all your manufacturers in a single format, tailored to your unique webstore and product file
  • Regular maintenance of content direct from manufacturers

And if you need plumbing, HVAC or industrial supply product content, that is also included.

Why DDS?

According to Steve Ruane, IMARK Electrical vice president of marketing and member services, “We have noticed that DDS has been making important inroads with both distributors and manufacturers. The purpose of our joint marketing program is to make sure that our members fully understand the capabilities and resources that DDS has to offer.”

Continues Ruane, “The results of a 2022 IMARK member survey indicated that members with webstores typically feature between 15,000-20,000 SKUs on their store. The more products on your webstore, the more sales opportunities you will generate and the better served your customers will be. DDS distributor customers typically have well over 100,000 SKUs on their sites.”

As a leading product content provider serving the wholesale distribution industry, DDS already works with hundreds of manufacturers and distributors—including many within the IMARK community—to help improve how they exchange and work with product content for e-commerce and other digital applications.

DDS’ Manufacturer Network page lists the 1,400+ brands (and counting) for which they offer ‘next-gen’ e-commerce product content.
DDS’ Manufacturer Network page lists the 1,400+ brands (and counting) for which they offer ‘next-gen’ e-commerce product content.
Sample product detail page for a Legrand product on Edges Electrical Group’s website (eCommerce Data provided by DDS).
Sample product detail page for a Legrand product on Edges Electrical Group’s website (eCommerce Data provided by DDS).
  • DDS ( was founded by former electrical distributors with the extensive e-commerce expertise necessary to support all distributors.
  • DDS has more than 4 million web-ready Electrical SKUs, and they are constantly adding more to their data set from both IMARK and non-IMARK suppliers. And if DDS does not have a brand that you feel is important, they can help you obtain it—at no extra cost to subscribers.
  • DDS’ next-gen product content features accurate and high-res images, multiple images and 360-degree/3D product spins where available. Many SKUs have videos and there are millions of supporting documents. This results in an improved “search and find” experience for your webstore customers.

“The challenges and opportunities around e-commerce and digital product content are significant for companies in the wholesale industry, so it’s encouraging to see how IMARK is committed to finding solutions that will really set their members up for success,” said DDS President Matt Christensen.

Keeping Up with Manufacturers

Manufacturers are always adding new products, as well as the rich marketing content (graphics, brochures, videos, BIM and CAD files, etc.), that go with them. While there are a plethora of PIMs, partners and data pools that manufacturers might utilize to make their content available to distributors, it’s ultimately up to each of those distributors to “pull” that updated content and transform it for their unique webstore and sync it to their ERP. But the eCommerce Data Accelerator works differently: with DDS’ unique content delivery system, any new product information and assets from manufacturers will be automatically added to your regular (weekly or monthly) feed for uploading to your webstore—so your customers will always have access to the latest and greatest.

Again, there is no limit on the number of manufacturers, brands, or SKUs—and no extra charges to add new SKUs.

When it Comes to Product Data…One Size Does NOT Fit All

Again, manufacturers spend a ton of money to produce high-quality imagery and supplemental information/assets to sell their products. However, the data is often produced, and then provided, in formats that vary significantly from one supplier to another.

Sample e-commerce product content comparisons can be found on DDS’ website.
Sample e-commerce product content comparisons can be found on DDS’ website.

Each manufacturer (or product category) requires differing product attributes, i.e., wire versus lighting. Because DDS does not have rigid specs, or a single template used to ingest manufacturers’ product data, they can receive and pass along more types and higher volumes of content for each SKU than other data providers. Manufacturers like this because it reduces the “commoditization” of their products and gives them (and you) the opportunity to “tell a better story” than your competitors.

DDS does the heavy lifting when it comes to data management for e-commerce. They do not just dump the data into a single repository and require you to manually pull out what you need and then painstakingly format it for your specific use or application(s). Instead, DDS develops a custom exporting process for each distributor. They perform an automated product file match to synchronize each manufacturer’s product with the corresponding product in your unique product file.

So, each week, as a distributor subscribing to the program, you will receive an automated, scheduled export that contains everything from your manufacturers and is already formatted for your e-commerce system and ready for easy upload. DDS has experience with common e-commerce platforms like Billtrust (formerly Second Phase), Magento, EvolutionX by ES Tech Group and dozens of others (their content works in any system). DDS has calculated that this saves distributor e-commerce personnel an average of 12 hours (per every 10 manufacturers) each month spent on data management.

“Our goal really is to make e-commerce product data easy for you,” added Christensen.

From the manufacturer perspective, Christensen said it’s important to note that, “It’s really this “last mile” of the content process that results in information being missing, inaccurate or otherwise delayed in getting published on distributors’ websites, so this program is valuable and helpful to manufacturers as well, who absolutely want their product content to be consistent and current across their partner websites.”

Help Customers Quickly Find Exactly What They are Looking for

Categories, facets and normalized attribute values (used for left-hand navigation drilldowns) make up another major aspect of e-commerce data, and these values do not come from traditional ERP data sources, nor are they provided by manufacturers. For most distributors, these must be assigned and periodically maintained “in house.” A lot of time and effort is required for a distributor to set these categories and values for display on the website, and then maintain them.

DDS helps distributors manage this part of their data as well. According to Christensen, “While the choices are yours, DDS offers a robust base-level categorization that adheres to industry best practices and provides you with tools developed by DDS that allow you to update your varied product categories as necessary.”

This is a unique and valuable offering that is only available to DDS subscribers.

For complete information on the IMARK Electrical eCommerce Data Accelerator, log on at and click on the “eCommerce Data Accelerator” icon on the homepage.