Unique free web platform streamlines information sharing
between suppliers, retailers, reps, and service techs
The industry’s numerous suppliers offer untold thousands of discrete products, and each one of them is accompanied by spec sheets, images, pricing information, and other support materials. Simultaneously, there are thousands of retail websites, service centers, and sales reps who need access to this trove of product data to effectively serve their customers. In the past, gaining access was a time-consuming and error-prone process, involving countless emails, excel sheets, FTP portals, web surfing, as well as a bit of “let’s make a guess, it’s the best we can do.” Omacro hopes to change all that with an innovative and free web-based information platform. “We’re about eliminating the pain points in giving everyone in the distribution channel access to accurate and current information,” says Dana Soza, the company’s director of client success, summing up the company’s mission.
Omacro’s free (yes, free) online platform is exquisitely simple in concept. A supplier posts information on its entire product line on the site including specs, dimensions and weights, all pricing data, images, training videos, rebate program information, and anything else that’s relevant. Omacro’s retail subscribers then can access this information anywhere at any time, in three different ways: by manually downloading the data; by pulling the data automatically through one of Omacro’s partner integrations with Retail Up! or Tri Tech; or by manually integrating their own POS, ERP, PIM, CMS, or E-commerce site with Omacro to pull data automatically. The platform also gives service centers instant access to product specs, warranty information, and parts lists, while sales reps can stay current on rebates, promotional offers, and pricing data. Instant access to vital information is, to use the cliché, a “win-win” for everyone.
Putting this straightforward concept into practice has been anything but simple, involving close to five years of writing software code, securing patents, and learning to interpret the way different suppliers organize and present their product information. Yet for those currently using the Omacro service, the effort has been more than worthwhile. Jeff Hawley, Yamaha’s director of customer experience says, Omacro’s “data automation saves countless man-hours and can improve the overall quality and accuracy of dealer sites. It makes data management a breeze.” Dan Kessler, a systems architect at NAMM who heads the industry effort to standardize data, is equally complimentary. “Something needs to be done to simplify this entire process, and Omacro has used NAMM Standards to make that possible. We’re excited about this significant progress,” he says.
Soza says Omacro operates like Facebook but offers the encryption security of a personal bank account. Suppliers post their cache of product information on Omacro in much the same way individuals post photos or videos on Facebook. And, like Facebook, for retailers or service centers to access this information, they first must be approved by the supplier. However, to ensure complete privacy for all parties involved, there is a two-step security process. “You can’t get access to product data unless a supplier has ‘friended’ you, and then assigned the specific information you have access to,” she explains. In the case of a multi-line company like Yamaha, dealers, reps, and service centers only have access to information relating to the products they are authorized to handle.
At present, several hundred retailers, including Sweetwater, West Music, and Washington Music are using the Omacro site to download data from hundreds of top suppliers including Yamaha, QSC Audio, US Music, Sabian, inMusic, Rapco Horizon, Alfred, and PreSonus, to name just a few.
Soza is convinced the only reason every supplier and retailer in the industry isn’t already on board with Omacro is because they don’t know about it yet. “The way product information is shared now is archaic and inefficient,” she declares. “It’s done the same now as it was 20 years ago, which seems silly, given that we’re living in the age of online collective intelligence. Omacro brings information sharing into the 21st century, with a social aspect that ensures everyone is seamlessly getting the information they need real-time.”
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