The Importance of PromoStandards

Published on August 1, 2017

PromoStandards is a collaborative effort by some of the leading companies in the promotional products industry to standardize how data is communicated. It's a simple, yet brilliant idea, and it has the potentital to have a long lasting positive impact on the industry.

Here's why. For years, promotional products distributors have worked hard to remove friction from their business processes. For the most part, they've been able to do that on the client-facing side of their businesses, primarily by implementing technology - and ecommerce in particular - to streamline the buying process.

On the supply side of the process, where products needed to be ordered from suppliers, things get complicated and difficult. The challenge has been automating the steps involved in placing orders - and by that, I mean automating everything from getting product information, placing orders, tracking their status, and so on.

In some cases, by working with suppliers individually, a one-off, custom integration was possible. While that helped distributors to automate and streamline to some extent, the approach was simply not practical. Every distributor had their own way of defining how data was modeled, and how their APIs were to be accessed. From an IT standpoint, this was a nightmare.

With PromoStandards, all of that changes. Suppliers now have a consistent way to model their data and provide access to it, and distributors can easily consume that data. Spend some time connecting to one supplier that has implemented the standards, and you've essentially unlocked the data from every other participating supplier as well.

PromoStandards greatly simplifies the entire business process, benefiting suppliers and distributors alike.

For distributors, the days of having to implement those one-off integrations is clearly coming to an end. They can now easily tap into the vast, valuable data that suppliers provide. They can automate previously processes that had to be done manually, such as checking product availability and order statuses. They can integrate PromoStandards into their ecommerce solutions to more easily manage their product offerings and provide accurate, realtime access to data to their customers. And as the standards evolves in the coming months, they'll even be able to place orders in a consistent and accurate way, and automate the process of receiving and processing supplier invoices as well.

For suppliers, the standards help them meet the increasingly more sophisticated technology demands of their distributors and lower transaction costs. There's no need to "reinvent the wheel" as the saying goes. They simply provide access to data using the guidelines that have been established by the standards, and they're done. And because distributors are already familiar with the standards, the time and effort needed to support the distributors is minimized. In addition, when the standards support the placing of fully configured purchase orders, processing orders will be an amazingly efficient process. Gone will be the days of receiving orders via email, fax, or on "the back of napkins."

To learn more about PromoStandards, visit the project's official Web site at http://promostandards.org. And if you're a supplier or distributor that needs help with PromoStandards, get in touch.