ART establishing industry-wide data standards

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Accessories Resource Team (ART) is creating a toolkit to help support its members with technical and educational resources around data standards in the furniture and home design industry.

The toolkit aims to get retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers on the same page when it comes to exchanging product information for catalog and inventory management.

“We’ve heard this numerous times during our ART Conference panel sessions: retailers are frustrated with creating their own e-commerce website, manufacturers and wholesalers are frustrated with trying to provide the information the way each platform needs it. There is a flood of options and a drought of agreement on what information is required. We wanted to create a standard that is vetted by all these end users,” said ART Executive Director Sharon Davis.

ART is working with tech company Amber Engine to create the toolkit. It will include a common language for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to describe products. The same data set is easy to use and interpret, ART said, and will clarify best practices across the industry. It incorporates extensive attribute options per category, allowing the individual end-user to make the choices appropriate for their business. The same dataset can be used for all business partners, it added.

“Whether you are an industry veteran or a new hire, the tool can ease your workload of completing the dataset, updating it or distributing it,” said Dan Wieczorek of Amber Engine.

“Companies in this field should compete on products, not on the tools they are using,” added Edi Muresan of step-up.today, one of the tech companies that is supporting ART in the development of the toolkit. “This toolkit aims to help retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers reduce the manual labor that comes with creating and distributing multiple datasets.”

ART said it welcomes input from members and anyone else in the home furnishings interested in data standardization.

“The more we hear from you, the stronger the toolkit will be,” Davis said. “We are currently working on a data standard certification for all contributing companies and we hope this will become a coveted recognition in our industry.”

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