Vesta-Central, a cloud-based system designed to streamline the process of inputting product information into online stores, has secured a $15m, three-year R&D grant from Callaghan Innovation.
Vesta-Central says its platform automates moving the products of a traditional bricks and mortar store online, ‘stocking’ the digital shelves with the product pictures, pricing, descriptions and consumer information sourced directly from suppliers.
“Vesta-Central makes this process faster and more accurate than using spreadsheets and manual data entry, with customers reporting that they’ve reduced the time spent filling their online shelves from 52 weeks to just a few hours a week over six weeks,” the company says.
Businesses in New Zealand using Vesta Central’s platform include Winstone Wallboards, Paslode and Accent Tools and, in Australia, ITI and KC Tools.
Albany based Vesta-Central was founded in 2014 to support the online sales of timber and building material and has since expanded into fast moving consumer goods, recreational sports, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. It claims to have already managed over one million SKUs worth of data from 1000 suppliers and to be growing rapidly.
Vesta-Central says it is now working with emerging technologies like blockchain and AI to prevent data duplication and errors in data between trading partners. “This will benefit suppliers with a wide product range and also those who have to comply with several different customer data standards, while offering retailers a single source of truth for their product information,” it says.
According to CEO Charles Nicolson high quality, error free product data is a source of competitive advantage in the digital economy, and Vesta-Central enables even the smaller suppliers and retailers to effectively collect, manage and share their data.
“Our investment in R&D is unlocking new verticals in New Zealand and Australia as bricks and mortar stores rush to move their inventory online and suppliers meet new global standards for data quality,” he said.
Partnering with global standards body GS1
Vesta-Central has formed a partnership with GS1 New Zealand, the local arm of the global not-for-profit standards body for product master data. The two organisations will collaborate around the use of GS1’s National Product Catalogue (NPC) to streamline the sharing of accurate product data between suppliers and their trading partners.
Vest says GS1 and many international marketplaces are advocating for the adoption of a single, consistent data standard to reduce the costs and delays that arise from poor quality data.
“Inconsistent descriptions of a physical product and its ‘digital twin’ in an eCommerce store leads to poor customer experience, extra costs to reconcile and poses risks to product safety.
“Having the supplier and retailer community align on industry agreed, structured product master data based on global standards reduces unnecessary complexity, cost, time to market and duplication of effort throughout the entire supply chain. Both sides of the trading relationship benefit because of it.”