The World Cup drives a profound number of purchases. These purchases expose a stunning amount of what I call “PIM malpractice.” When there is a sudden surge in online product comparisons, the companies with effective Product Information Management benefit the most. The companies that lack effective PIM lose revenue.
It should be a no-brainer for electronics retailers to make sure their TV category product information is complete and up-to-date. After all, attributes sell. Unfortunately, many retailers still don’t understand the importance of consistent, accurate product information. Product information does sell – especially online, where shoppers go for product research. This is especially true for a spec-heavy tech purchase like a big-screen TV.
Product information has enormous power. When it is accurate and consistent, it has the power to excite and guide shoppers. When it is incomplete or incorrect, product information can create deal-breaking insecurity.
A case in point:
Let’s for a minute replicate the customer journey to that new TV set. Say you want a new HD TV with a 50-inch screen. Your budget is around $1,200, and your spouse said “yes” under the condition that it’s wall-mountable. You visit an online shop and filter your search by price and screen size. The result: no fewer than 25 models to compare. This is what a detailed view of one of them looks like:
Apart from the prioritization of essential information (shouldn’t the screen size be displayed above the model number?), it seems pretty impressive. There are lot of information and explanations (hidden behind the information icons) that make the product take shape in your mind and help you learn what to look for. The only thing that seems to be missing is information about the wall mount…
What we can learn from the comparison function
Once you look at a few products in comparison, however, the situation changes quite a bit. Say you choose four TVs from your filtered search results and hit “compare products.” This is what your screen looks like now:
The comparison view reveals the kind of product information deficiencies that inhibit purchase. Here’s what we can learn from it:
- Data on all four products was incomplete. One of the first things the customer sees is a whole lot of grey: product information that’s missing. The single product view only gave the available attributes but the comparison function highlights the gaps. And gaps are bad, because…
- The product with the most attributes sets the standard. Customers look to product information to tell them what they should know. Missing information or an attribute that isn’t defined always look careless – and what’s worse, it makes the product look inferior: If they haven’t bothered, they can’t think too much of the product, right?
- Product information doesn’t simply exist, waiting to be written down. You have to create it. When it’s designed well, it sets standards and helps your products rise above the competition.
- The unanswered question is always the most prominent. You still don’t know about the wall mount… And as a matter of fact, whatever far-fetched detail customers may want to know – it will always be the first thing on their mind. It may be their dream TV, but unless they know that one thing, they just can’t buy it.
So when I said in the beginning that brands and retailers don’t understand that product information sells, this is what I meant:
Modern shoppers always research product information, especially when making a major purchase such as TV set. That product information isn’t neutral, or nice-to-have. It is the product. And it needs to be treated with the same care as the product itself.
Retailers need to create their own standards: It’s not enough to just display supplier information. Rigorous quality control and information completion processes need to be in place if retailers want their product information to be better than the competition’s.
Great PIM comes from the customer’s point of view. When designing product information, the customer is the ultimate guide. Immersing oneself in their situation, and investing time and the combined brain power of category experts to think about anything they may want to know – it may the make or break of a sale.
That’s one recent example in one product category. But the PIM problem can be seen across every retail category and on virtually every retail website or mobile app.
To brands and retailers that get it right, multichannel product information management is a secret advantage. It’s also the best way to leap out of the product comparison tables and into the shopping carts.
Imagine the wall mount is there and helps to convince the mainly male target group. Which information is needed to tailor digital marketing to different personas and target groups, depending on teams, nations, locations or what information can help to personalize marketing to people which are maybe not keen on football. What would attract them?
What do you think? Did you find the right large-screen TV for World Cup watching? The World Cup shows everyday PIM malpractice. We’d love to hear about your most sought-after but least-found television attribute! (And for more on the importance of product information, check out our ebook “The Informed Purchase Journey.”)
Did you know the 2014 Brasil World Cup is actually the World Cup of Data? In addition to the visible matches played on the pitch, eShops will be in a simultaneous struggle to win real-time online merchandise customers.
Let me explain. Jogi Löw, the manager of the German team, is known for his stylish attire. At every major event, each European Cup and World Cup, he wears newly designed shirts and suits. As a result, when television audiences see each new article of clothing, there is a corresponding increase in related online retail activity. When Löw began this tradition, people didn’t know that his outfits were made by Strenesse. As a result, people searched using the keywords “Jogi Löw Shirt.” This drove traffic to the eShop with the best search engine optimization, giving them more conversions and more revenue.
If a manager’s attire drives online retail sales, imagine how much demand there is for the jerseys worn by the most visible World Cup athletes? Many of the these players have huge social media followings. Consider the size of the social media followings of Ronaldo, Kakà, Neymar, Ronaldinho and Wayne Rooney:
There is huge demand for these player’s jerseys. This demand will only increase as the games progress. Once the winner is decided, Google searches will rise for phrases like “World Cup Winner Jersey 2014 of xxx”. Some refer to this as the super long tail. And research does show that search queries with 3 or more words have better conversion rates than queries with only 1 or 2 words.
Who can predict the winners?
What happens if a fairly unknown player scores the last goal in over time? How will that event impact social media activity and search engine volumes? Who will be able to leverage this activity to sell the relevant merchandising products fast enough? The eShop with the best data will have the quickest response. And the eShop with the quickest response will get the traffic and the revenue.
The world cup is a battle. The early bird closes the sale. It’s time to play the World Cup of Data.
For years, a customer’s purchase process was something of “An Unexpected Journey.” Lack of insight into the journey was a struggle for retailers. The journey was fraught with questions about product research habits, purchases and crucial factors that spark purchase decisions.
Today, the customer purchase journey no longer has to be a “guessing game.” Data integration and analytics are able to assist retailers in understanding this journey. To begin, let’s examine how consumer behaviors and the role of product information have changed since the advent of substantial bandwidths and social buying. To do so, lets examine the way shoppers buy today.
The customer buying experience has changed in the following ways:
The days of the single visit to a trusted retailer are behind us. Today’s shoppers are in control. They are hugely aware of their power as consumers, and they’re exercising it freely.
Buyers aren’t using one specific channel anymore. They’re shopping in stores, online, through mobile apps, on social platforms, and from catalogs simultaneously. Lacking a central focal point, quality data integration and analytics have become imperative to understanding this behavior. Retailers must be able to track the purchase decisions of one consumer as he or she switches back and forth amongst these channels. If done correctly, a retailer would be able to recognize behavior specific to individuals and act on it, serving ads or timely discounts to them.
Purchasing decisions are “crowd-informed.” Recommendations and reviews from peers guide consumers and validate their choices every step of the way. As a result, it has become increasingly necessary for retailers to understand how they are being reviewed. But more specifically, it is important for the retailer to identify and target influential reviewers. If this is done effectively, the retailer may be able to personalize their experience and make that influential consumer feel special. This may seem like a complicated task with small returns, but imagine if they write a positive review that is ultimately read by thousands of people. This could lead to a fantastic return on investment for the retailer.
Shoppers used to be dependent on a few sources of information. Now with Internet search tools, consumers are able to hunt for answers themselves. As such, retailers must understand what type of information their consumers are searching for. With this information, retailers may be able to update the content on their websites, blogs, or social channels to provide information customers need. To visualize this purchase journey we’ve created the INFAgraphic below.
So how can I learn more?
Join us at Informatica World 2014 to learn rich information about retail technology and the “purchase journey.”
Experts will share ways of leveraging your data to boost sales and heighten customer experience. The conference also has a dedicated MDM Day on Monday May 12 with workshops and sessions showing how vendors, distributors, retailers and individuals interact in the “always-on,” connected world.
Reserve your spot by signing up here.
Recently, I ordered a pair of athletic pants from a high-fashion, online retailer. The pants were a well-known brand and cost $96.00. The package arrived within a few days. However, when I opened the box, I found it did not contain the product I expected. The brand and color were correct, but it was not the style I’d chosen. Disappointed, I wrote the retailer, explaining the issue and requesting the correct product. Then, I returned the incorrect product.
According to recent research, the average vendor’s “cost per return” is $20.00. That means that my return was a Margin Killer for the retailer.
Three days later, the replacement delivery arrived. Whoop there it is… Disappointment number two. It was the exact same incorrect product. Yet another Margin Killer, Return Number 2. Another $20.00 in costs for the retailer. What would it take for this retailer’s logistic team to avoid repeating their error? Could they scan the product? Could they use a QR code, a bar-code or some sort of picture?
I returned the incorrect product for the second time. Eventually, shipment number three reached my home. Can you guess what was in the box? Yes, the same incorrect product, again, for the third time. The Margin Killer: Return Number 3. For this retailer, the math is simple:
Return 1: $20.00
Return 2: $20.00
Return 3: $20.00
Total return cost: $60.00
Revenue = Possibly zero?
Funky side note: When browsing stores downtown on Saturday, I found the correct pants in a SportScheck store, and for ten dollars less! So remember, the modern customer is demanding, always-connected and shopping on an “Informed Purchase Journey”.
So how can I learn more?
If you work in retail technology, you will find rich information about this purchase journey at the Informatica World 2014 conference. The Retail Path track will feature insights from companies like Nike, Avent, Discount Tire, Nordstrom, Geiger, Intricity and Deloitte. Experts will share ways to leverage your data to boost your sales and heighten customer experience. The conference even has a dedicated MDM Day on Monday May 12 with workshops and sessions showing how vendors, distributors, retailers and individuals interact in the “always-on” connected world. Make sure you have a spot by signing up HERE.
Today, it is not uncommon for retailers to have multiple brands and several channels through which they sell their products. Due to changes in social behavior, consumers are demanding retailers provide relevant and interactive experiences at every touch point.
The Retail Path at Informatica World 14 is your chance to engage with the world’s leading retail brands and industry experts. The retail path covers topics such as expanding product assortment, introducing new products and reducing supply chain costs. It will focus on driving customer loyalty using social, local, mobile and customer feedback. You will learn about unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics and relationships between data and people.
These sessions are great for leaders in ecommerce, marketing, supply chain retail and product management. They’ll be held during the MDM pre-conference (May 12) and Informatica World Retail Path (May 13-15).
SNEAK PREVIEW OF RETAIL PATH SESSIONS, MAY 13th
NIKE: Creative Uses of Informatica Data Quality and Data Services Nike has pushed the limits of Informatica Data Quality and Data Services by re-imagining uses for reference tables, scorecards with associated metadata, web services, and more. Learn how Nike adds value to its business customers and increases ROI by adding virtualization through data services. Speakers: Teresa Mains, Corbett Oliver, Udaya Vepakomma
Point of Sale: Retrieving your POS data in Near Real TimRetailers know that capturing Point of Sale (POS) data in a timely manner can drive customer loyalty and merchandising efficiencies. In this session, Intricity shares how the powerful Informatica Platform has enabled it to capture POS data in near real time — enabling its retailers to share brick and mortar inventory with web stores, drive intraday targeted marketing, and provide customers with the convenience of in-store pickups. Speaker: Arkady Kleyner
Nordstrom: Customer Service at its best – How Information Powers Nordstrom’s Customer Centricity Strategy
Known for its quality products and customer service, Nordstrom never stops innovating. Learn how Nordstrom uses “personal book” to drive revenue through customer personalization. Speakers: Vaidyanathan Seshan; Gopinath Raghavan
Avnet: Using Informatica B2B Data Exchange and B2B Data Transformation to Expand Your Trading Partner Portfolio
Business to Business (B2B) transaction automation is pursued by companies of all sizes due to the efficiencies and message integrity inherent to transactional automation. This session will explain how Avnet’s use of Informatica B2B Data Exchange and Data Transformation empowered its business to establish B2B integrations with small and medium size trading partners. Speakers: David Crowell, Anthony Daniel
SNEAK PREVIEW OF PRE-CONFERENCE MDM DAY, MAY 12th
Keynote: Deloitte’s Digital Influence - The New Digital Divide
The growing gap between the needs and expectations of shoppers and the digital experience brands and retailers are offering them.
Speaker: Jeff Simpson, Director, Deloitte
Best Practice: Transforming your business for tomorrow’s commerce – best practice with product information management
Geiger is the largest privately held promotional products distributor in the world and is the only distributor ranked in the “Top 10” for the last 30 straight years. In this energetic information-packed session, “The Selling CIO”, Dale Denham will talk about the role of product information in ecommerce and how it improved Geiger’s ability to promote and sell promotional products. Attendees will learn how to achieve business goals by identifying the critical steps involved in implementing a Product Information Management (PIM) system. Additionally, this session will cover how to use data and technology to support agility in sales and marketing operations.
Speaker: Dale Denham, CIO, Geiger
Panel discussion with sponsoring partners and speaking customers:
The global digital revolution: How vendors, distributors, retailers and individuals interact in the always on and connected world.
Moderator: Ben Rund, Sr. Director Product Marketing PIM & Procurement, Informatica
Innovations Connecting Buyers and Suppliers – What’s new in PIM and Procurement, Roadmap
Speakers: Stefan Reinhardt, Product Manager PIM, Jakki Geiger, Sr. Director Product Marketing MDM
Holistic Data Governance: A Framework for Competitive Advantage
Speaker: Rob Karel, VP Marketing & Strategy MDM
Four high value workshops, presented by domain experts and industry specialists:
- Workshop “Future of commerce use cases”: How recommendation, targeting, ecommerce, social and mobile need to leverage product information. Moderators: Nagesh Kanumury, Principle Product Manager & Rich Dase, Ideosity
- Workshop “Business use cases of collaboration and Business Processes Management”: Product information and beyond. Moderators: Daniel Walter, Product Manager PIM & Nimish Mehta, LumenData
- Workshop “Why business users required quality data”: use cases, rules, roles, dashboards and important KPIs. Moderators: Stefan Reinhardt, Product Manager PIM & Matt Wienke, Infoverity
- Workshop “Connecting the dots”: Business use cases leveraging the relations of different master data. Commerce Relevancy: Customer segmentation and product personalization. Supplier spend management and supplier catalogs. Moderators: Markus Schuster, Sr. Director Product Management PIM & Procurement & Naveen Sharma, Cognizant
Save your chair at this high value pre-conference day by signing up HERE.
Please feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 650 385 5151) or Cathy Wright (email@example.com, +1 650 385 5151) if you have any questions, or if you would like us to consider additional topics for the agenda. We look forward to seeing you at the MDM Day meeting on 12th May in Las Vegas.
Every company wants to see a “time to market improvement.” The wisest companies know this is only possible once you’ve mastered your internal data. One such company is Saint-Gobain, a Netherlands-based distributor of building materials. Saint-Gobain has accelerated and enhanced their customer’s multichannel experience using Informatica Product Information Management (PIM). Using Informatica PIM, Saint-Gobain has unleashed the potential of their information in the following ways:
- Ecommerce product introduction: Before using Informatica PIM, it took about one week to update a product to the website – now it is done within a few minutes.
- Everywhere commerce: The mobile app helps construction workers, on-site, to learn the details and stock availability of nearly 100,000 products and parts.
- Cross-selling: In addition to selling roof tiles, Saint-Gobain is also offering additional materials and tools as an up-sell.
- Retail stores: In addition to direct distribution, St. Gobain also sells through retailers. These specialty retailers need to create individual customer quotes which contain potential cross-sell and up-sell items. With Informatica PIM the retailers can create these custom quotes more effectively.
In the video below, Ron Kessels, Saint-Gobain’s Deputy Director of E-Business, talks about how they bring products to market more quickly while creating more opportunities for up-selling building supplies.
If you’d like to learn how your retail business can bring products to market more quickly, consider attending the Informatica World 2014 RETAIL PATH. This collection of sessions will show how to create unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics, and relationships between data and people. In addition, the pre-conference MDM Day offers a track on “Omnichannel Commerce and Supplier Optimization”.
What is your retail marketing strategy? Does your company want to introduce products more quickly, sell more products and leverage cross-sell and up-sell opportunities? The key to accomplishing these goals is to meet each customer’s personalized information needs.
Today’s consumers swim in a sea of excessive information. Because of this information overload, modern customers demand a relevant, interactive experience at every touch point. To provide these experiences, your company must both know your customers and have total control over your product information. Although data consistency is crucial, it isn’t sufficient. To succeed, today’s retailer must provide Commerce Relevancy by presenting each customer with product information that is complete, accurate and easy to understand.
So how can you learn more about transforming from Retail to “Me-Tail?” How can you learn to personalize your retail marketing strategy? Here are three ways:
1) Attend the Informatica World Conference on the Retail Path
The Informatica World 2014 Retail Path provides an opportunity to engage with the world’s leading retail brands and industry experts. This year’s main theme for retailers is “From Retail to Me-Tail: How Relevant is Your Marketing and Omnichannel Data to Your Customers?” The retail path covers topics like:
- Expanding the product assortment
- New product introduction
- Reducing supply chain costs
You will learn to create thriving customer loyalty with social, local, mobile and customer feedback. You will also learn to create unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics, and relationships between data and people. Confirmed speakers already include representatives from Nike, Geiger/Crestline, Avnet, Autotader, Discount Tire, Intricity, Accenture and Deloitte, just to name a few. Don’t wait any longer: Register Today!
2) Attend Informatica World MDM Day
On May 12, 2014, Informatica will host a Pre-conference MDM Day. This session will focus on new product introduction and supplier costs and process optimization. Customers will talk about how they maximize customer loyalty by leveraging social, local, mobile and customer feedback. Informatica product and industry specialists will introduce innovations. They will demonstrate how to create unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics and relationships between data and people.
3) Watch the Video
Arkady, you recently came back from the National Retail Federation conference. What are some of the issues that retailers are struggling with these days?
Arkady Kleyner: There are some interesting trends happening right now in retail. Amazon’s presence is creating a lot of disruption which is pushing traditional retailers to modernize their customer experience strategies. For example, most Brick and Mortar retailers have a web presence, but they’re realizing that web presence can’t just be a second arm to their business. To succeed, they need to integrate their web presence with their stores in a very intimate way. To make that happen, they really have to peel back the onion down to the fundamentals of how product data is shared and managed.
In the good old days, Brick and Mortar retailers could live with a somewhat disconnected product catalog, because they were always ultimately picking from physical goods. However in an integrated Web and Brick & Mortar environment, retailers must be far more accurate in their product catalog. The customers entire product selection process may happen on-line but then picked up at the store. So you can see where retailers need to be far more disciplined with their product data. This is really where a Product Information Management tool is critical, with so many SKUs to manage, retailers really need a process that makes sense from end to end for onboarding and communicating a product to the customer. And that is at the foundation of building an integrated customer experience.
In times of the digital customer, being online and connected always, we announced “commerce relevancy” as the next era of omnichannel and tailoring sales and marketing better to customers. What information are you seeing to be important when creating better customer shopping experience?
Arkady Kleyner:This is another paradigm in the integrated customer experience that retailers are trying to get their heads around. To appreciate how involved this is, just consider what a company like Amazon is doing. They have millions of customers and millions of products and thousands of partners. It’s literally a many to many to many relationship. And this is why Amazon is eating everybody alive. They know what products their customers like, they know how to reach those customers with those products, and they make it easy to buy it when you do. This isn’t something that Amazon created over night, but the requirements are no different for the rest of retailers. They need to ramp up the same type of capacity and reach. For example if I sell jewelry I may be selling it on my own company store but I may also have 5 other partnering sites including Amazon. Additionally, I may be using a dozen different advertising methods to drive demand. Now multiply that times the number of jewelry products I sell and you have a massive hairball of complexity. This is what we mean when we say that retailers need to be far more disciplined with their product data. Having a Product Information Management process that spans the onboarding of products all the way through to the digital communication of those products is critical to a retailer staying relevant.
In which businesses do you see the need for more efficient product catalog management and channel convergence?
Arkady Kleyner: There is a huge opportunity out there for the existing Brick & Mortar retailers that embrace an integrated customer experience. Amazon is not the de facto winner. We see a future where the store near you actually IS the online store. But to make that happen, Brick and Mortar retailers need to take a serious step back and treat their product data with the same reverence as they treat the product itself. This means a well-managed process for onboarding, de-duping, and categorizing their product catalog, because all the customer marketing efforts are ultimately an extension of that catalog.
Which performance indicators are important? How can retailers profit from it?
Arkady Kleyner: There are two layers of performance indicators that are important. The first is Operational Intelligence. This is the intelligence that determines what product should be shown to who. This is all based on customer profiling of purchase history. The second is Strategic Intelligence. This type of intelligence is the kind the helps you make overarching decisions on things like
-Maximizing the product margin by analyzing shipping and warehousing options
-Understanding product performance by demographics and regions
-Providing Flash Reports for Sales and Marketing
Which tools are needed to streamline product introduction but also achieve sales numbers?
Arkady Kleyner: Informatica is one of the few vendors that cares about data the same way retailers care about their products. So if you’re a retailer, you really need to treat your product data with the same reverence as your physical products then you need to consider leveraging Informatica as a partner. Their platform for managing product data is designed to encapsulate the entire process of onboarding, de-duping, categorizing, and syndicating product data. Additionally Informatica PIM provides a platform for managing all the digital media assets so Marketing teams are able to focus on the strategy rather than tactics. We’ve also worked with Informatica’s data integration products to bring the performance data from the Point of Sale systems for both Strategic and Tactical uses. On the tactical side we’ve used this to integrate inventories between Web and Brick & Mortar so customers can have an integrated experience. On the strategic side we’ve integrated Warehouse Management Systems with Labor Cost tracking systems to provide a 360 degree view of the product costing including shipping and storage to drive a higher per unit margins.
You can hear more from Arkady in our webinar “The Streamlined SKU: Using Analytics for Quick Product Introductions” on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Inspired by the fact I was coming home from a business trip on Valentine’s Day.
Money makes the world go round
In the UK Valentine’s Day ranks behind Halloween, Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas. British men spend 622m GBP, while women spend 354m. But the average purchase is 119 GBP. Germans for example only spend 59 GBP per person. According to a survey 53 per cent of US women will dump their boyfriends who do not give them anything on this day. China invented the singles day, where 3.5b GBP have been spend in 2013. A lot Americans spend money for pet gifts generating 227m of sales on Valentine’s Day.
All you need is love?
No, all you need is the right product to sell. Retailers use a wide range of an eclectic product to sell around this day, ranging from flowers to insurance and ecigaretts. IKEA Australia made furniture relevant for love with offering a free purchase for every child born nine months from Valentine’s Day.
What GfK and Google research say
In February Google searches showed a peak for recipes and poems. According to GfK, 81 per cent are using coupons when doing the purchase for Valentine.
Where and what to shop
Supermarkets have wrapped up to be the one-stop shop for lovers in a rush. Sainsbury reports a 12 per cent growth in sales of condoms. But did you know the top 8 gift ranking?
1. Cards and eCards
3. Romantic dinners at restaurants
4. Romantic dinners at home (a condom and candles could be the perfect cross-sell to the wine and the recipe – or you plan to get pay-back from IKEA as mentioned above )
6. Jewel leery
8. Weekends away
Sorry, but I will note tell you what I bring home for my wife. But did you know Informatica World offers a retail path this year? Long tail, ecommerce, from retail to me-tail, supply chain optimization and customer centricity and interesting company speakers are on the agenda.