“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Shakespeare’s famous quote may be true of flowers and lovers, but what about hardware and repair parts?

Name standardization and good data quality are important aspects of eCommerce,  but they are especially imperative in a Government eCommerce site, where the Federal Catalog System has required item identification and naming standards  since World War II.

Unfortunately, some manufacturers label items using cryptic part numbers that confuse customers.   Vendors frequently shrug this off, saying, “My customers know what my products are and how to find them.”  Vendors making this case, however, are simply cutting themselves off from a much larger customer base.

Naming conventions are one way to solve this, but even then, the conventions themselves must be standardized.  Lack of standardized naming conventions is a frequent problem within Government eCommerce sites.  A single item may have one name in the private sector, and an entirely different name in the government space.

Names may even change from region to region.  Take gypsum board, sheet rock, and wallboard, for instance.  Many customers might be surprised to find that these names all refer to the same item.  Allowing for the use of colloquial names makes it easier for the customer to find items in a Government eCommerce site.

Partnet continues to search for new ways to make products easier to find on the DOD EMALL.  Using standard naming conventions across suppliers and enabling colloquial search criteria are two ways we’re simplifying the process for EMALL customers.

In doing so, perhaps we afford them a chance to take time to  smell the roses.