Recently, the Beer Industry Electronic Commerce Coalition (BIECC) announced a partnership with Syndigo to create a Master Product Catalog (MPC) that will house basic item information and images for all participating beer brands. We caught up with Dave Christman, Vice President of State Affairs for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, who is helping spearhead the project, to see how things were going.
What is the MPC? Why was it created?
The BIECC is creating a Master Product Catalog (MPC), to maintain a single product record for beer brands. The goal of the MPC is to have a single source of product information that can be freely available to all industry stakeholders including distributors, retailers and third-party solution providers. This catalog can be accessed by beer distributors to ensure they all have the same information – such as item codes, pack sizes, ingredients, dimensions, and images – for your brand. That way, your product looks the same no matter where a consumer sees it online.
What is a ‘single product record’? What is that good for?
Think about it this way: Your products are merchandised and sold all over the place. All of these different stores – grocery, mass, convenience, plus online outlets – feature your products. If each outlet has to maintain a separate file of all your product information and images, it can get out of sync pretty quickly. During the research phase of this project we discovered literally dozens of individually maintained item catalogs in the beer industry that often featured old or inaccurate product information or images. It’s better to have a single, centralized product record that everyone can access. Then, if there is ever a need to update a label or ingredient, you can make the change once and then it goes everywhere.
Who can submit their information to the MPC? How many are doing it?
We wanted to make this available to all brewers, but it’s especially beneficial for newer or smaller brewers who may not have the digital marketing capabilities of some of the larger players. We know that it can be tough to pull together and manage all the proper information in-house, so we want to make the process as easy as possible for these companies.
Can I use the MPC to store my information for my own use?
The MPC is available for distributors to access, and you will be able to upload/download your information there as well. Since it’s a central repository for beer product information, we hope it becomes the source of basic item information for all stakeholders creating consistent information across the supply chain.
Can I use the content created for the MPC for my own business purposes?
Yes! We encourage you to use this content in your materials for consistency across the industry.
What does it cost to join the MPC?
The BIECC is working to make it easy for smaller brewers to join the MPC – brewers can populate their content to the MPC at no cost. If they need assistance creating and managing the content, then the BIECC will fund content creation with Syndigo for smaller brewers. And even larger brewers can benefit, as they can receive a deeply a discounted rate if they would like their product information to be created.
Who can participate in the MPC?
We hope that all brewers participate, especially smaller to medium size brewers who may not typically have access to providing this kind of information to distributors. Once the catalog is populated we hope beer industry stakeholders from all tiers of the industry use the MPC as their base source of item information.