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IDEA Certification Program Streamlines Online Offerings

The concept of a printed catalog is not new: list your items, show a picture, give some details and say how much it costs. Simple enough. But the transition to offering those same items online in our modern digital world has been more of a challenge for some businesses, including those in the electrical industry. For years, manufacturers have spent countless resources developing their own informative websites without necessarily considering how to share that detailed information through their distribution channels.

The IDEA (Industry Data Exchange Association) has been serving the electrical industry since 1998 providing product content and supporting the development of eCommerce technology for the electrical industry. Through the IDW (Industry Data Warehouse), they created a tool for manufacturers to disburse their content to distributors and while they developed recommended standards, the quality of that content was left in the hands of each individual manufacturer.

IDEA introduced their Bands of Excellence in 2012 to measure the quality and usability of what was being published and identify manufacturers that needed help making improvements. The Data Certification Program that’s now in place has been refined to meet the demands of customers and now focuses on enhancing every individual item. The end result? More complete information from manufacturers, more streamlined handling by distributors and more details available to help end users make educated choices.

The Data Certification Program is just one reason NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) has recently renewed its endorsement of IDEA as their preferred source for product data. By supporting distributors with quality images, digital media, pricing and packaging information, customers are now presented with the robust details required to make confident choices. With all this information now in one place, end users no longer have to jump site to site to find the product information they need; they can make informed selections from multiple brands and complete their transactions all at the same time.


Written By: Michelle Carter, Product Content Team Supervisor at North Coast Electric