How small retailers keep up with the big ones using automated content
Insights into B2B retailer Metav's experience with automated product descriptions
Hello Stephan, please introduce yourself and Metav Werkzeuge GmbH to our readers.
Metav Werkzeuge GmbH is a family-owned business and has existed in this format since 2007, however we can look back to a history through our forerunner companies as far back as the early 90s. We sell everything that requires a well-equipped quality assurance: from measuring tools and microscopes to the complete equipment for machining.
We dispose of a wide network of suppliers in more than 40 different countries. This means we always know what's currently trending and can quickly provide our customers with the latest trends and the best prices on the market. You won't find bulky catalogs with us - they are out of date relatively fast. We prefer to keep our homepage up-to-date instead. Every couple of months we issue a small 40-page booklet, in which we present the latest developments in metrology, machining or microscopy.
What challenge led you to AX Semantics?
No challenge - rather the interest in new technologies. 2-3 years ago I stumbled across an ad on Facebook or LinkedIn. I think the anchor was "automate product descriptions". We like to invest in technologies that makes our and our clients' lives easier. That's when my interest started to be awakened. I always found it boring to include product descriptions into the store or into our booklet. Especially when there are 2,000 to 10,000 of them. Once we even added 12,000 items to the store within 1 month! That was unpleasant, but still worked out well.
Anyway, I had created a test account with AX and had the idea to create an Excel spreadsheet onto one side and get a finished text onto the other. So far, so naive. Of course, that didn't work. Honestly, I was totally overwhelmed at first. After a few more or less good attempts, I stopped. Over time, however, the topic has not gone out of my head, because the topics of SEO, duplicate content, import of new articles, etc. came up again and again. At the beginning of this year I simply got in touch with AX Semantics again, and now we finally got into the topic.
How many product descriptions have you already generated? You say that you once added 12,000 articles per month to the store - does that mean that these will now also be generated automatically every month?
Currently, there are about 2,500 generated descriptions. The plan is to add content to about 15,000 products. The 12,000 articles were then all made within a month of manual work, an insanely large Excel table and many individual imports. The raw data is now there and will be updated with AX in the future.
Do you already see any benefits of the use of automated content? If so, which ones?
Except for the time saving - once the framework is in place - we don't see any results yet. But since we've only just started with AX, I don't expect to see any measurable results until the end of 2021, beginning of 2022.
Do B2B tool customers need continuous content?
Personally, I don't separate the whole thing so much into B2B and B2C anymore. I think we have rather reached B2P - "Business to People". The dividing line is becoming more and more blurred as more products are offered and purchased online. Customers need different approaches. One wants to read only a few bullet points, the next may prefer a continuous content. So the answer is a definite "no." Continuous content is not a must for our customers, but sometimes it's simply better as information.
What are your expectations regarding your goals by using AX Semantics?
First, the goal is a better presentation of the articles in the store. This automatically results in a better overview for the customers about the products. The customer can thus inform himself better and feels heard. We have several products that require a lot of explanation, and we always offer an informative conversation or a written option through an e-mail exchange about the articles. If the customer is informed well beforehand, this helps us in the sale. The start of the conversation is completely different from starting from scratch.
The next steps are the internationalization of our offer and regular updates of the content. Above all, of course, the goal is to generate traffic and qualified sales.
What's on your to-do list for the next few days?
We want to continue preparing our data and content, content, content. We're also thinking about offering the combination of AX Semantics and data preparation as a service to smaller companies. I think there are a lot of people out there interested in this topic. We can lend a helping hand there.
What exactly does the service you're talking about here entail?
I see hurdles for the use of AX that smaller companies cannot overcome. That's where we can help. How this can be designed in the end will become clear in the discussions.
Stephan, thank you very much for the interview!
Stephan Bayer, the owner of Metav Werkzeuge GmbH, about his company:
"Metav Werkzeuge GmbH sells everything a well-equipped quality assurance department needs. Measuring tools from well-known manufacturers such as Microtech from the Ukraine with their innovative measuring tools that come with their own microcomputer or the budget series IndustryLine. Microscopes from Euromex and Optika and especially Dino-Lite microscopes, which we sell exclusively in Germany and can proudly claim to be the largest seller in Europe.In addition, you will also find the complete equipment for machining - drill rods, corner milling cutters, face milling cutters, solid drills, clamping holders, inserts - the full range. Fortunately, we can rely on a luminary expert in the field of machining. My father Ludwig has been doing machining for more than 40 years, an absolute treasure of knowledge!"