Ben Rund

Ben Rund

Digital Signage helps Reinventing the Store

Reinventing the store was one of the key topics at NRF. Over the last three to four years we have been seeing a lot push and invest for ecommerce innovation and replatforming ecommerce strategies. Now the retail, CPG and brand manufacturers are working on a renaissance of the store and show room, driven by digital. And there is still way to go.

Incremental part of the omnichannel strategy of our PIM customer Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply is digital signage for in-store product promotions. This selfie was shot with my dear colleague Thomas Kasemir (VP RnD PIM & Procurement) at the NRF booth of Four Winds Interactive.

IMG_5517

Four Winds serves about 5,000 companies worldwide and I would consider them as one of the market leaders. Alison Rank and her team did show case how static product promotions work and how dynamic personalized product promotions can look like, when John Doe enters the store.

John Doe’s Personalized Purchase Journey

John Doe and his wife are out and about in the city; with the advice from his son, John has created a pro-file on Facebook and Foursquare with his new generation smartphone enabling him to receive any special offers in his vicinity. Mr. Doe has voluntarily agreed to share his data for the specific purpose of allowing retailers to call to his attention any special offers in the area. As both of them have interest in visiting the store they respond to the offer.

At the entrance to the store he is advised to start up the special store app and is promised a “personalized shopping” experience. As John Doe enters the store, a friendly greeting appears on his digital signage screen: “Welcome Mr. Doe, the men’s suits are on the 3rd floor and we have the following offers for you.” Upon reaching the 3rd floor, the salesperson is already standing there with the right suit. The suit is one size smaller than usual, but it fits John Doe. After the fitting, the salesperson even points out the new women’s hat collection in the women’s department. Satisfied with their purchases, Mr. and Mrs. Doe leave the store.

For me it is clear assuming that the future of shopping will look something like this, due to the fact that all of these technologies are already available. But what has taken place? The reason why John Doe receives location-based offers has already been explained above; the point that needs to be made is that there is now the ability to link personal and statistical data to customers. By means of the app, the store already knows whom they are dealing with as soon as they enter the store. Or can messaging services be used to send an alert to a shop assistant that a A-Customer with high value shopping carts has just entered the store.

To this point, stores can leverage both personal information as well as location-based information to generate a personal greeting for the customer.

  • What did he buy? In which department was he and for how long?
  • When did he purchase his last suit(s)?
  • What sizes were these?
  • Does he have an online profile?
  • What does he order online and does he finish the transaction?

All of this analytical data can be stored and retrieved behind the scenes. 

Catch Me if I Want

The targeted sales approach at the point of interest (POI) and point of sale (POS) is considered to be increasingly important.  This type of communication is becoming dynamic and is taking precedent over traditional forms of advertising.

When entering the store today, customers are for the most part undecided. Based on this assumption, they can be influenced by ads and targeted product placement.  Customers are now willing to disclose their location data and personal information provided there is added value for them to do so.

Example from Vapiano Restaurant

A good example is the Vapiano restaurant chain. Vapiano restaurants take an extra step further than the tradi-tional loyalty card by utilizing a special smartphone app where the customer can not only choose the nearest restau-rant along with special offers and menu, but also receive a kind of credit after payment via barcode. After collecting 10 credits, the restaurant guest receives a main course for free on the 11th visit. Sound good? It sure does, and from the company’s perspective this is a win-win situation. These obvious benefits move the customer to disclose his or her eating habits and personal data. The restaurant chain now has access to their birth dates, which is rewarded as well. This data aggregation is definitely recommendable, since it requires the guest’s explicit consent and assumes a certain degree of active participation from the guest to be eligible for the rewards offered by the restaurant.

Summary

If John Doe allowed my as brand manufacturer in my showroom or as a retailer to catch him, companies will need to ensure that they are really able to identity John Doe wit this all channel customer profile to come up with a personalized offer on digital signage. But this needs to be covered in an additional blogs…

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Product Intelligence: How To Make Your Product Information Smarter

As we discussed at length in our #HappyHoliData series, no matter what the customer industry or use case, information quality is a key value component to deliver the right services or products to the right customer.

In my blog on 2015 omnichannel trends impacting customer experience I commented on product trust as a key expectation in the eyes of customers.

For product managers, merchandizers or category managers this means: which products shall we offer for which price? How is the competition pricing this item? With which content is the competition promoting this SKU? Are my retailers and distributors sticking to my price policy. Companies need quicker insights for taking decisions on their assortment, prices and compelling content and for better customer facing service.

Recently, we’ve been spending time discussing this challenge with the folks at Indix, an innovator in the product intelligence space, to find ways to help businesses improve their product information quality.  For background, Indix is building the world’s largest database of product information and currently tracks over 600 million products, over 600,000 seller, over 40,000 brands, over 10,000 attributes across over 6,000 categories. (source: Indix.com)

Indix takes all of that data, then cleanses and normalizes it and breaks it down into two types of product information — offers data and catalog data.  The offers data includes all the dynamic information related to the sale of a product such as the number of stores at which it is sold, price history, promotions, channels, availability, and shipping. The catalog data comprises relatively unchanging product information, such as brand, images, descriptions, specifications, attributes, tags, and facets.

product intelligence indix informatica

We’ve been talking with the Indix team about how powerful it could be to integrate product intelligence directly into the Informatica PIM.  Just imagine if Informatica customers could seamlessly bring in relevant offers and catalog content into the PIM through a direct connection to the Indix Product Intelligence Platform and begin using market and competitive data immediately.

What do you think?  

We’re going to be at NRF and meet selected people to discuss more.  If you like the idea, or have some feedback on the concept, let us know.  We’d love to see you while we’re there and talk further about this idea with you.

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2015 Omnichannel Trends for Customer Experience

In my point of view, heavily influenced by the customers and analyst I am meeting, these 5 trends are impacting omnichannel commerce for better personalization and customer experience in 2015 and beyond.

Omnichannel Trends 2015

  1. Issue of the informed purchase journey:  A Google study (*Google ZMOT Handbook) shows that, on average, across all categories, shoppers use 10.4 sources of information to make a decision. This includes, among other things, watching TV ads, looking up manufacturer websites, talking to family and friends, reading reviews, and checking Amazon. Customers are increasingly visiting websites across multiple devices, and the final location where they make a purchase can be very different from the initial point of interaction. When do they have enough information to buy?
  2. Three levels of Trust : Customer expect three levels of trust – SOCIAL TRUST, PRODUCT TRUST and BRAND TRUST. Social trust: means what do my friends recommend? Conversions go up by 133%* when trusted people recommend products. Brands  and retailers can sell more with relevant information, including social data (aggregating and reusing). Sorry but this is again one more votum for tanking BIG DATA seriously.  I believe customer-centric organizations are going to use a combination of data management and big data analytics to improve the quality and accelerate the business value of their big data projects. In particular, companies will apply these capabilities to greatly improve their ability to acquire, retain and grow their customer share of wallet with more personalized marketing.  For example, one insurance company we work wants to better understand their customers, household and prospects through real-time customer and prospect profiling on Hadoop. This data management and big data analytics initiative will improve their marketing campaign effectiveness by targeting specific people with relevant offers. They will be able to answer questions such as:
  • How many of these people are customers vs. prospects?
  • Who else lives in this household?
  • Which products do they already have?
  • What relationships do they have with other customers, beneficiaries, prospects, agents?
  • Which offers have they responded to that we sent them in the past?
  • What life events, changes to address, income or employment have they experienced?
  • Which customers are likely to churn?

Product trust: which products shall we offer for which price? Or the customer wants to know if he buys the latest version of the digital radio or the cable. Companies need quicker insights for taking decisions on their assortment, prices and compelling contentr and for better customer facing service.

Brand trust: the brand experience is so important. Brands and retailers need to be more efficient when creating market ready products, with videos, content and all what creates emotions.

3. Store fulfillment & in-store experience will become a big investment area, and retailers will look to omni-channel solutions that can provide provide transparency into inventory to help manage customer expectations. Use the store as warehouse and ship from the nearest store. The use if digital devices and information panels will gain much more attention. Gartner predicts that by year-end 2016 more than $2 billion in online shopping will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants.

4. The mobile conversion: revenue spend on mobile is growing. Forrester Research projects sales from consumers shopping on mobile phones will increase to $38 billion this year and sales from tablets will hit $76 billion, or about $114 billion in total in the US. Most Online Shopping Still Happens on PCs.  95% of smartphone users say they’ve searched for local information. 90% of those users take action within 24 hours. 61% of smartphone users called a business after searching. 59% visited a local business after searching. But conversions on mobile devices need to be improved. With better and more relevant information – I call it commerce relevancy.

5. Virtual Reality is taking customer experience to the next level. Augmented reality was a first step, but I believe virtual reality (VR) will take it even further. I learned from my colleague Nicholas Goupil, that Samsung Gear by Oculus VR and similar products will change the game of gaming. What are the potentials for brands and retailers to enhance customer experience?

What are your expectations on 2015 omnichannel trends?

Let’s chat @benrund or face-to-face during NRF in NYC.

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Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData.

Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData

In case you have missed our #HappyHoliData series on Twitter and LinkedIn, I decided to provide a short summary of best practices which are unleashing information potential. Simply scroll and click on the case study which is relevant for you and your business. The series touches on different industries and use cases. But all have one thing in common: All consider information quality as key value to their business to deliver the right services or products to the right customer.

HappyHoliData_01 HappyHoliData_02 HappyHoliData_03 HappyHoliData_04 HappyHoliData_05 HappyHoliData_06 HappyHoliData_07 HappyHoliData_08 HappyHoliData_09 HappyHoliData_10 HappyHoliData_11 HappyHoliData_12 HappyHoliData_13 HappyHoliData_14 HappyHoliData_15 HappyHoliData_16 HappyHoliData_17 HappyHoliData_18 HappyHoliData_19 HappyHoliData_20 HappyHoliData_21 HappyHoliData_22 HappyHoliData_23 HappyHoliData_24

Thanks a lot to all my great teammates, who made this series happen.

Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData.

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Posted in B2B, B2B Data Exchange, Banking & Capital Markets, Big Data, CIO, CMO, Customers, Data Governance, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Financial Services, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Manufacturing, Master Data Management, PaaS, PiM, Product Information Management, Retail, SaaS | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Virtual Reality – Bringing the Customer Experience to new Levels

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality and Customer Experience

Did you know that a large quantity of Ikea’s catalog images do not showcase actual products? In fact, a large portion of the catalog’s images are computer generated. Technological advancements have come a long way in a very short time. It’s important to note that catalogs aren’t alone in benefiting from a computer-generated face-lift. Product commercials, such as this one, can be 100% computer made. While computers have come a long way in what they can let us do, there are devices which leverage this content and provide us with a level of immersion rarely seen before. I’m taking about Virtual reality.

While virtual reality isn’t new, the technology has recently been picking up speed in the tech world. With Facebook’s purchase virtual reality company Oculus earlier this year, the momentum behind the technology hasn’t ceased to increase. With the commercialization of a consumer ready virtual reality product next year, what does it mean beyond the realm of gaming? Is it significant for brand manufacturers and retailers? Will VR be a trend, or reserved solely to gaming or will it reshape how consumers all over the world interact with brands and products?

I was only recently made aware of those new technologies, by my colleague Nicholas Goupil. He introduced me to products such as the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR, which are products poised to participate in revolutionizing the gaming industry. While not a “gamer” myself, it was nearly impossible not to think about the commercial possibilities.

Gaming aside, what does it mean for brands and retailers? Could this new wave of VR products provide customers with experiences that will redefine product merchandising?

Some thoughts on use cases for Virtual Reality 

  • Travel and Hospitality – Become a globetrotter from the comfort of your home. (Japan example)
  • Real Estate – Walk thought a house as if you were there.
  • Test drive a new car’s interior from the comfort of your home
  • Movies: forget 4K resolution, how about full 360 degrees 4K real time recording and playback?
  • Sport events: experience replays or the game in full 360 degrees motion
  • Concerts: Have the best seat in the house (no pun intended)

Clearly, VR products like the Oculus Rift are still in development, with consumer products promised for 2015. With the company’s recent acquisition of Nimbus AR, a company focused on making the VR experience a more natural and interactive one, the future of such a product seem endless.

What are your thoughts and expectations with VR? Do you think it will be life changing for consumers and businesses? Rendering large volume digital assets is no longer a issue today. For me Virtual Reality will open total new ways to envision customer experience in 2015 and beyond.

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Informatica Ranked #1 in PIM Market Performance Wheel

LNC Group analysts recently released their second PIM market and vendor report. And, for the second time, Informatica has been positioned as the leader in the 2014 PIM Market Performance Wheel, issued by LNC in Germany.

Informatica Ranked First in Latest LNC PIM Market Performance Wheel

PIM Market Performance Wheel

Informatica’s continued leadership position in the LNC PIM Market Performance Wheel reaffirms the strong execution and vision of our PIM product. Our ranking also reaffirms the acceptance of our product among our customers. Our PIM focus is to provide a data-fueled application that empowers business users to sell their products more quickly. When integrated with Informatica’s leading multidomain Master Data Management (MDM) product (based on our Intelligent Data Platform) our customers have a complete solution. This integrated solution is both flexible and business-user focused. This allows our customers to offer the right product to the right customer at the right time.

It has been a year of strong recognition for the Informatica PIM product line. After being positioned as a leader in the Forrester PIM Wave, being named a HOT Vendor in the Ventana Research PIM Index, the leading position in the Information difference MDM landscape, hitting the bulls eye as champion in Bloor’s MDM report and the highest revenue growth with 57% due to Gartner’s MQ for product data (average market growth was 8.7%), the LNC Market Performance Wheel completes the picture of our PIM vision.

LNC’s PIM Market Performance Wheel covers the top eight ranked vendors analyzing four categories as technology, ability to execute, market strength, and future readiness. These are the key findings:

  • Informatica PIM achieved the highest ranking of all vendors with 85 points and leads three of four categories evaluated
  • Informatica PIM realized the best in market strength
  • Informatica leads the pack in ability to execute
  • Informatica has the highest future readiness rank

Read this report to understand the major PIM vendors, including Informatica, and their strengths and weaknesses. Our Informatica PIM delivers real value to customers across multiple industries, business cases, and geographical regions. Informatica PIM helps companies to sell more products, faster.

LNC PIM Market Performance Wheel

Informatica PIM provides a centralized platform for omnichannel commerce.  We empower companies like yours to:

  • Improve customer experience
  • Optimize supply chain
  • Speed up time to market

The PIM Market Performance Wheel is the perfect resource if you’re exploring a PIM project. Learn more … download the German version now

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Consumer Packaged Goods for the “Silver Economy”

If you frequently read my blog, you know that traveling, reading and observing people often leads to new articles and views. This blog entry was influenced by a recent article, from FTWeekend, that I had the pleasure to read on my way to the San Francisco Bay Area.

When I subscribed to a VIP shopping club, in order to get special sales offers, the outlet store asked me for my household income. They also asked which age group I belong to. At that point, I realized that I had, again, entered into a new buyer age group. This fact inspired me to write this blog.

According to the Financial Times, aging populations in many countries are driving economic growth by creating markets for new products and services. This phenomenon is often referred to as the “Silver Economy.”

To achieve Commerce Relevancy, you must make your products relevant to the “Silver Economy” group.

Baby-Boomers Power new age of Spending

Baby boomers are people born during Post–World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers

By 2020, the silver economy’s spending power will reach 15tn USD, writes FT. In the USA, AT Kearney says that in 2013, consumers aged 55+ contributed to 30% of US clothing sales. In 2013 as well, In the UK, those figures for consumers 65+, accounted for 15% of the fashion and footwear market. Boston Consulting Group says: “We are still waiting for fundamentally new products to meet the desire of this older group”.

Two Main Challenges

CPG companies and analysts see two main challenges when addressing the golden generation.

  1. Packaging: Will packaging need to change? If so, how? What risks are related to changing the packaging? Everyone agrees, testing will be essential in order to make the right decisions.
  2. Marketing: Baby-Boomers and members of the “Silver Economy” group do not consider themselves as being old. Then, how can be find the right tone of voice when running successful marketing campaigns while also aiming not to upset clients?

Brands and retailers are already adopting marketing strategy changes by having celebrities participate in the brand experience of personal goods. In addition, they also started working with new faces of fashion like Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Lange, Twiggy and Lauren Hutton.

“60-year-olds and 40-year-olds are dressing very similar”, said Simon Wolfson, CEO of retailer Next, to FT. I can confirm this, as I’ve experienced myself with my father in law. Very often I see him wear shoes or a jacket, that I could see myself wearing and that makes me jealous. Can it be true? Has my father in law adopted a fashion style similar to mine? With that in mind, were his purchase decision influenced by the same marketing campaign that would have attracted me?

Same Same but Different

The same products can be marketed differently. In order to better target those finding themselves in the Silver Economy group it might be necessary to build “references” to icons or music that relate to their past. Personally, I believe this is what commerce relevancy is all about, it’s about increase marketing relevancy in regards to customers. An example, triggering an emotional response from my father in law with a song that relates to his youth, whereas this song leaves me indifferent, is a clever way to highlight to him being older.

For example, in Asia where the demographic shifts is the biggest, the region’s biggest retailer, Aeon, built malls with wider aisles and plenty of seating area, to accommodate this change.

New Challenges for Information Management

Marketing the same products to different target groups will lead to increased complexity in from the perspective of product information. The same item can be available in two or three different kind of packaging. Other colors, just different haptic and more.

However, the key will be building intelligent connections between products and target personas. Baby-Boomers are using different touch points and information sources, then younger people. For retailers and CPG companies this means that it is becoming progressively challenging to serve all channels with the consistent and the relevant information across all their target groups. Just one use case for Commerce Relevancy.

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Eastern Europe E-Commerce Growth To Drop in 2014

Did you know 2013 E-commerce sales numbers did grow by staggering 47%, but 2014 are supposed to only grow by 17%…

The Eastern Europe B2C E-commerce Report 2014 was launched by E-commerce Europe recently. It comes with the 2013 facts and figures of E-commerce in Eastern Europe, all figures are based on the Global Online Measurement Standard for B2C E-commerce (GOMSEC).

The Eastern European region, including Russia, Ukraine, Romania and others, ranked fifth in terms of E-commerce size in 2013, with a European market share of 5.3%. The total 2013 B2C E-commerce economy of Eastern Europe amounted to €19.3 billion, a 47,4% growth compared to 2012. Online sales of goods and services are forecast to reach €22.6 billion in 2014, which would mean that the growth rate is going to drop significantly to 17.1% in comparison with 2013. E-commerce Europe’s research also reveals that approximately 34 million consumers in Eastern Europe bought goods and services online in 2013.

You can download the full Eastern Europe E-Commerce report here.

E-commerce

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6 Building Blocks of Commerce Relevancy

The digital industry is increasingly discussing the topic of Commerce Relevancy. Commerce Relevancy makes information relevant to consumers at the right time and place. Specifically, it ensures sales and marketing offers and materials are personalized at the highest level and consistent across all customer touch points. This post will talk about how much Commerce Relevancy matters and will explain the six building blocks that comprise it.

Commerce Relevancy in Fashion

I am a runner. For motivation, I track the majority of my runs on my iPhone. I use an arm band from a leading sports apparel company to carry my iPhone. I’m a great supporter of this apparel brand in general. I love their style so I shop from them frequently. Sometimes, when I travel the US, I shop in their outlet stores. Primarily, however, I shop on their official web-store using my iPad or mobile phone. Since I am a “fashion victim”, it is not easy for me to remember all the channels, shops and websites I have used to buy this brand’s products.

Why am I telling you all this?

For the past few weeks, I’ve repeatedly received email newsletters from this brand, promoting sporting outfits that don’t match my style or size. (Most of the promotion has been products for women, rather than for men, etc.) As a repeat customer, this lack of promotional accuracy has frustrated me. I have purchased many items from this brand. I’ve even shared their logo on twitter and Facebook. Despite my commitment to the brand, the brand still does not know which products I need or which styles I prefer.

Commerce Relevancy in Automotive

I have had a similar experience with my favorite car manufacturer. My wife and I have purchased three of this brand’s cars in the past. We currently lease one of their cars. When I need maintenance, I only visit this brand’s authorized repair garages. I only use official spare parts. Despite my loyalty to the brand, every time I call their stores, I am asked for my phone number. No one from the brand has ever approached me to test a new car, even though my current lease will soon end.

Once, when my current car was being repaired for several days, I requested permission to test drive a particular model, until my current car was ready. I was interested in this new model as a potential next purchase. I was told “it is not possible to test drive the car you’re interested in during the repair process. You may only use the official car rental service.”

Can Relevant Information Make the Difference?

The chapter of “Commerce Relevancy” started in 2013. The eBook on the “Informed Purchase Journey” mentions that consumers use average of 10.4 sources of information before taking a purchasing decision.

Capture_InformationSources10.4

What this means for all companies and business people who sell products and services:
They have to earn every new sale to customer who is demanding more information than ever before.

The Meaning of Commerce Relevancy

In order to enable Commerce Relevancy, companies are now asking themselves how to connect the dots between supplier, location, customer and product information. In this business use cases customer profiles or target group personas get match with product information in sales and marketing. The key challenge his to connect the data but also to provide them to customer facing apps and touch points.

CommerceRelevancy_Graphic_Informatica

6 Building Blocks of Commerce Relevancy

  1. Product powered:  Inside and outside your organization customer and employees have a consistent view of the products you sell, regardless of the touch point.
  2. Customer centric: No matter, where or how a client interacts with your company, you are able to generate a single view of the customer with address, interaction, and relation data.
  3. Relationship driven: The biggest value today and tomorrow lays in “connecting the dots” between different information like the availability of a product, from a supplier or warehouse, to the client who demands it.
  4. Bi-directional: Serving clients with really tailored marketing is only one way –  the other way is the feedback on products and services and how this can be re-used.
  5. Predictive power: With Commerce Relevancy, companies take simple eCommerce recommendations to the next level. This means predicting the next logical action, based in information.  This can empower business users to do the right things, data-driven. This makes the customer spend more, data-driven. Happy to give you examples if you reach out to me @benrund
  6. Real-time data: Customer always want it now. Changes on product offerings, transactions customer make, service centers they call – a service agent always needs to have the complete view with real time data.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of this blog series: “How companies can achieve commerce relevancy step by step.” It impacts, people, processes and technology.

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Gimme Hope eCommerce for Southern Europe

With projected online sales of €47.8 billion for 2014 and an average annual growth rate of 22% since 2010, the e-commerce market is a beam of hope for the crisis-struck Southern European region on its path out of the recession. Goods and services sold online in Southern Europe in 2013 amounted to a total value of €40.8 billion, making up more than 11% of the total online sales in Europe. The region, consists of Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Cyprus and Malta.

This is all revealed by the latest Southern Europe B2C E-Commerce Report by Ecommerce Europe, the European umbrella organization for 25,000+ companies that sell products and/or services online to consumers. Figures in the Ecommerce Europe reports are based on the Global Online Measurement Standard for E-commerce (GOMSEC).

Here are some facts on ecommerce in Southern Europe, I find worth mention

  • 48 million online shoppers: Southern Europe is fertile ground for online retail activities; of 125 million active Internet users, 48 million are buying goods or products online.
  • Spain leads the region: With total e-commerce sales of €14.4 billion, Spain is leading the Southern European region, ahead of Italy (€11.2 billion) and Turkey (€8.9 billion).
  • Greek e-shoppers spent most in 2013: On average, Southern European online shoppers spent €842 per person in 2013. This amount is significantly less than the EU28 average of €1,500 and the European average of €1,376.

You can download the full Southern Europe B2C E-Commerce Report by Ecommerce Europe here.

infographic southern europe ecommerce 2014

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