Structured Product Information Management (PIM) with GraphQL is great for Alexa

Products are core for any company. If you manage the product information like the gold it is it can truly set you apart from the rest. The power of structured product information lays in future proofing the product information. It allows for new delivery channels for product information including the Alexa voice services from AWS.

Semantically structured vs markup

This is the information architecture nerdy bit; there is a difference between semantically structured information and marked up blobs. With semantic structures you are storing the meaning behind the words and not how they should be displayed in e.g. a website.

Take the example of the marked up text: “This product is <i>fast</i>”. Here we have a word, fast, which the markup (HTML in this case) says should be displayed in italic fonts. This is fine, but what if this were to be represented in voice?

Now consider the text: “APIs need to be fast, <strong>milliseconds matter</strong>”. Here we have a semantical description of the phrase “milliseconds matter”. Alexa or other voice services could easily interpret this with a stronger voice. Semantic meaning vs formatting and markup.

Of course the real value comes when you describe a rich product like a bicycle with attributes and values. E:g. color = light blue and weight = 8,9kgs. This could be used to find bicycles that are light blue and weigh less than 9kgs.

Multi channel product information

You can easily imagine a multi channel scenario for re-using product information across different channels like:

  • Alexa voice services
  • Printed product brochure
  • Webshop
  • Native commerce App

If you have structured you product information and make this available via an easily accessible API you have the foundation for future innovation. You are in control over the product information and can easily reuse across channels.

Milliseconds Matter: FAST GraphQL API delivers

What we have found is that in the API economy milliseconds to matter. We like to go millisecond hunting to shave off as much as we can from our APIs. When building services you need to access the product data as easily and quickly as possible. We landed on GraphQL for our product information API. GraphQL allows us to transfer just the product data we are interested in and doing so with one call to the back-end.

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