Ben Rund

Ben Rund

Brandspiration – The Story of the Gap Stick and an Award Winner

This is the story about a great speaker, a simple but funny product and the idea of a Ventana Award winning company which does “Brandspiration”.

When I invited Dale Denham, CIO from Geiger to speak on his at Informatica World this year, I was not sure what I will get. I only knew that Dale is known as an entertaining speaker. What could we expect from a person who, calls himself “the selling CIO”?

And Dale delivered. He opened his session “How product information in ecommerce improved Geiger’s ability to promote and sell promotional products” with a video.

What I liked about it was: It is a simple product, addressing a everyday problem, everybody knows. And this is the business of Geiger & Crestline, two brands in one company which sell promotional products to help companies inspire with their brand. They call is “Brandspiration”.

What this has to do with PIM?

Well the business need for Geiger was to sell 100,000s of products more efficient. Which includes update products faster and more accurately and add more products. But also Geiger was planning to

  • Eliminate reliance on ERP
  • Launch new web properties
  • Improve SEO
  • Centralize product management & control
  • Standardize business processes & workflows
  • Produce print catalog more faster

Before working with Informatica PIM it took a week to launch a new product. And Geiger/ Crestline has a complex price management for bundles, brands, packages and more under their two own brands for two different target groups: low price products with aggressive pricing and more high quality promotional products.

Business Outcomes

With PIM the product entry time could be reduced by about an hour. Geiger achieved 25% time saving for catalog creation and implemented PIM in about six months. (btw with the integrator “Ideosity“.) Another fact which made me proud on our offering was, that Dale told me his company was able to upgrade on the latest PIM version within hours.

“PIM has allowed us to be more proactive Instead of being handcuffed to a system that made us reactive. A great invest for this company. I can’t believe we survived for as long as we did without this software.” 
Dale Denham, CIO

Whatch the video of Dale and how his company Geiger realizes Brandspiration with Informatica PIM. Did you know, Geiger is a proud winner of the Ventana Research Innovation Award for their PIM initiative?

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We Are Sports – SportScheck Omnichannel Retail

Are you a manager dedicated to fashion, B2C or retail? This blog provides an overview what companies can learn on omnichannel from SportScheck.

SportScheck is one of Germany’s most successful multichannel businesses. SportScheck (btw Ventana Research Innovation Award Winner) is an equipment and clothing specialist for almost every sport and its website gets over 52 million hits per year, making it one of the most successful online stores in Germany.

Each year, more than million customers sign up for the mail-order business while over 17 million customers visit its brick and mortar stores (Source). These figures undoubtedly describe the success of SportScheck’s multichannel strategy. SportScheck also strives to deliver innovative concepts in all of its sales channels, while always aiming to provide customers with the best shopping experience possible. This philosophy can be carried out only in conjunction with modern systems landscapes and optimized processes.

Complete, reliable, and attractive information – across every channel – is the key to a great customer experience and better sales. It’s hard to keep up with customer demands in a single channel, much less multiple channels. Download The Informed Purchase Journey. The Informed Purchase Journey requires the right product, to right customer at the right place. Enjoy the video!

What is the Business Initiative in SportScheck

  • Providing the customer the same deals across all sales channels with a centralized location for all product information
  • Improve customer service in all sales channels with perfect product data
  • Make sure customers have enough product information to make a purchase without the order being returned

Intelligent and Agile Processes are Key to Success

“Good customer service, whether online, in-store, or in print, needs perfect product data” said Alexander Pischetsrieder in an interview. At the Munich-based sporting goods retailer, there had been no centralized system for product data before now. After extensive research and evaluation, the company decided to implement the product information management (PIM) system from Informatica.

The main reason for the introduction of Informatica Product Information Management (PIM) solutions was its support for a true multichannel strategy. Customers should have access to the same deals across all sales channels. In addition to making a breadth of information available, customer service still remains key.

In times where information is THE killer app, key challenges are, keeping information up to date and ensuring efficient processes. In a retail scenario, product catalog onboarding starts with PIM to get the latest product information. A dataset in the relevant systems that is always up-to-date is a further basis, which allows companies to react immediately to market movements and implement marketing requirements as quickly as possible. Data must be exchanged between the systems practically in real time. If you want to learn more details, how SportScheck solved the technical integration between SAP ERP and Informatica PIM

Product Data Equals Demonstrated Expertise

“I am convinced that a well-presented product with lots of pictures and details sells better. For us, this signals knowing our product. That sets us apart from the large discount stores,” notes Alexander Pischetsrieder. “In the end, we have to ask: who is the customer going to trust? We gain trust here with our product knowledge and our love of sports in general.” Just like our motto says, “We get our fans excited.” By offering a professional search engine, product comparisons, and many other features, 
PIM adds value not only in ecommerce – and that gets us excited!”

Benefits for SportScheck

  • Centralized location for all product information across all sales channels
  • An agile system that is capable of interweaving the different retail processes across sales channels into a smooth, cross-channel function
  • Self-Service portal for agencies and suppliers with direct upload to the PIM system

For German readers I can highly recommend this video on the customer use case. If you are interested in more details, ask me on Twitter @benrund.

PS: This blog is based on the PIM case study on SportScheck.

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Posted in Master Data Management, PiM, Product Information Management, Real-Time, Retail, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Catalog is Dead – Long Live the Catalog?

The Catalog is Dead.

Print solution provider Werk II came up with a provocative marketing campaign in 2012. Their ads have been designed like the obituary notice for the “Main Catalog” which is “no longer with us”…

According to the Multi Channel Merchant Outlook 2014 survey, the eCommerce website (not a surprise ;-) ) is the top channel through which merchants market (90%). The social media (87.2%) and email (83%) channels follow close behind. Although catalogs may have dropped as a marketing tool, 51.7% of retailers said they still use the catalog to market their brands.

importance of channels chart

Source: MCM Outlook 2014

The Changing Role of the Catalog

Merchants are still using catalogs to sell products. However, their role has changed from transactional to sales tool. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most important, merchant respondents said that using catalogs as mobile traffic drivers and custom retention tools were the most important activities (both scored an 8.25). At 7.85, web traffic driver was a close third.

methods of prospecting chart

Source: MCM Outlook 2014

Long Live the Catalog: Prospecting 

More than three-quarters of merchant respondents said catalogs were the top choice for the method of prospecting they will use in the next 12 months (77.7%). Catalog was the most popular answer, followed by Facebook (68%), email (66%), Twitter (42.7%) and Pinterest (40.8%).

What is your point of view?

How have catalogs changed in your business? What are your plans and outlook for 2015? It would be very interesting to hear points of views from different industries and countries… I’d be happy to discuss here or on Twitter @benrund. My favorite fashion retailer keeps sending me a stylish catalog, which makes me order online. Brands, retailer, consumer – how do you act, what do you expect?

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Posted in B2B, Manufacturing, Master Data Management, PiM, Product Information Management, Retail, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Right Product, Right Customer, Right Place – The Informed Purchase Journey

The Informed Purchase Journey

The way we shop has changed. It’s hard to keep up with customer demands in a single channel, much less many. Selling products today has changed and always will. The video below shows how today’s customer takes The Informed Purchase Journey:

“Customers expect a seamless experience that makes it easy for them to engage at every touchpoint on their “decision journey. Informatica PIM is key component on  transformation from a product centric view to a consumer experience driven marketing with more efficiency.” – Heather Hanson – Global Head of Marketing Technology at Electrolux

Selling products today is:

  • Shopper-controlled. It’s never been easier for consumers to compare products and prices. This has eroded old customer loyalty and means you have to earn every sale.
  • Global. If you’re selling your products in different regions, you’re facing complex localization and supply chain coordination.
  • Fast. Product lifecycles are short. Time-to-market is critical (and gets tougher the more channels you’re selling through).
  • SKU-heavy. Endless-aisle assortments are great for margins. That’s a huge opportunity, but product data overload due to the large number of SKUs and their attributes adds up to a huge admin burden.
  • Data driven. Product data alone is more than a handful to deal with. But you also need to know as much about your customers as you know about your products. And the explosion of channels and touch points doesn’t make it any easier to connect the dots.

Conversion Power – From Deal Breaker To Deal Maker

For years, a customer’s purchase journey was something of “An Unexpected Journey.” Lack of insight into the journey was a struggle for retailers and brands. The journey is fraught with more questions about product than ever before, even for fast moving consumer goods.

Today, the 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.

  • Due to Google shoppers use 10.4 sources in average (zero moment of truth ZMOT google research)
  •  133% higher conversion rate shown by mobile shoppers who view customer content like reviews.
  • Digital devices’ influence 50% of in-store purchase behavior by end of 2014 (Deloitte’s Digital Divide)

How Informatica PIM 7.1 turns information from deal breaker to deal maker

PIM 7.1 comes with new data quality dashboards, helping users like category managers, marketing texters, managers or ecommerce specialists to do the right things. The quality dashboards point users to the things they have to do next in order to get the data right, out and ready for sales.

Eliminate Shelf Lag: The Early Product Closes the Sale

For vendors, this effectively means time-to-market: the availability of a product plus the time it takes to collect all relevant product information so you can display it to the customer (product introduction time).

The biggest threat is not the competition – it’s your own time-consuming, internal processes. We call this Shelf Lag, and it’s a big inhibitor of retailer profits. Here’s why:

  • You can’t sell what you can’t display.
  • Be ready to spin up new channels
  • Watch your margins.

How Informatica PIM 7.1 speeds up product introduction and customer experience

“By 2017… customer experience is what buyers are going to use to make purchase decisions.” (Source: Gartner’s Hype Cycle for E-Commerce, 2013) PIM 7.1 comes with new editable channel previews. This helps business users like marketing, translators, merchandisers or product managers to envistion how the product looks at the cutomer facing webshop, catalog or other touchpoint. Getting products live online within seconds, we is key because the customer always wants it now. For eCommerce product data Informatica PIM is certified for IBM WebSphere Commerce to get products ready for ecommerce within seconds.

The editable channel previews helps professionals in product management, merchandizing, marketing and ecommerce to envision their products as customers are facing it. The way of “what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG)” product data management improves customer shopping experience with best and authentic information. With the new eCommerce integration, Informatica speeds up the time to market in eBusiness. The new standard (certified by IBM WebSphere Commerce enables a live update of eShops with real time integration.

The growing need for fast and s ecure collaboration across globally acting enterprises is addressed by the Business Process Management tool of Informatica, which can now be used for PIM customers.

Intelligent insights: How relevant is our offering to your customers?

This is the age of annoyance and information overload. Each day, the average person has to handle more than 7,000 pieces of information. Only 25% of Americans say there are brand loyal. That means brands and retailers have to earn every new sale in a transparent world. In this context information needs to be relevant to the recipient.

  • Where do the data come from? How can product information auto-cleansed and characterizing into a taxonomy?
  • Is the supplier performance hitting our standards?
  • How can we mitigate risks like hidden costs and work with trusted suppliers only?
  • How can we and build customer segmentations for marketing?
  • How to build product personalization and predict the next logical buy of the customer?

It is all about The Right product. To the Right Person. In the Right Way. Learn more about the vision of the Intelligent Data Plaform.

Informatica PIM Builds the Basis of Real Time Commerce Information

All these innovations speed up the new product introduction and collaboration massively. As buyers today are always online and connected, PIM helps our customer to serve the informed purchase journey, with the right information in at the right touch point and in real time.

  1. Real-time commerce (certification with IBM WebSphere Commerce), which eliminates shelf lag
  2. Editable channel preview which help to envision how customers view the product
  3. Data quality dashboards for improved conversion power, which means selling more with better information
  4. Business Process Management for better collaboration throughout the enterprise
  5. Accelerator for global data synchronization (GDSN like GS1 for food and CPG) – which helps to improve quality of data and fulfill legal requirements

All this makes merchandizers more productive and increases average spend per customer.

Find out how the new release of Informatica PIM 7.1 helps you to unleash conversion power on the customer’s informed purchase journey.

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Posted in B2B, B2B Data Exchange, CMO, Manufacturing, Master Data Management, PiM, Product Information Management, Retail | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How GS1 and PIM Help to Fulfill Legal Regulations and Feed Distribution Channels

Manufacturers and retailers are constantly being challenged by the market. They continually seek ways to optimize their business processes and improve their margins. They face a number of challenges. These challenges include the following:

  • Delays in getting products ordered
  • Delays in getting products displayed on the shelf
  • Out of stock issues
  • Constant pressure to comply with how information is exchanged with local partners
  • Pressure to comply with how information is exchanged with international distribution partners

Recently, new regulations have been mandated by governing bodies. These bodies include the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as European Union (EU) entities. One example of these regulations is EU Regulation 1169/2011. This regulation focuses on nutrition and contents for food labels.

How much would it mean to a supplier if they could reduce their “time to shelf?” What would it mean if they could improve their order and item administration?

GS1 and PIM

If you’re a supplier, and if these improvements would benefit you, you’ll want to explore solutions. In particular, you’d benefit from a solution which could do the following:

  • Make your business available to the widest possible audience, both locally and internationally
  • Eliminate the need to build individual “point to point” interfaces
  • Provide the ability to communicate both “one on one” with a partner and broadly with othe
  • Eliminate product data inconsistencies
  • Improve data quality
  • Improve productivity

One such solution that can accomplish these things is Informatica’s combination of PIM and GDSN.

For Manufacturers

Manufacturers of CPG or food products have to adhere to strict compliance regulations. The new EU Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers changes existing legislation on food labeling. The new rules take effect on December 13, 2014. The obligation to provide nutrition information will apply from 13 December 2016. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) enforces record keeping and the Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP).

In addition to that information standards are key factor feedbug distributors and retailers as our customer Vitakraft says:

“For us as a manufacturer of pet food, the retailers and distributors are key distribution channels. With the GS1 Accelerator for Informatica PIM we connect with the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). Leveraging GDSN we serve our retail and distribution partners with product information for all sales channels. Informatica, helps us to meet the expectations of our business partners and customers in the e-business.”

Heiko Cichala, Product & Electronic Data Interchange Management

For Retailers

On one side retailers like supermarkets, expect from their vendors or manufacturers to get all  required information which is required legally – on the other side they are looking for strategies to leverage information for better customer service and experience (Check out “the supermarket of tomorrow”).

Companies, like German food retailer Edeka offer an app for push marketing, or help matching customer profiles of dietary or allergy profiles with QR-code scanned products on the shopping list within the supermarket app.

The Informatica GS1 Accelerator

GS1, GDSN for PIM

 

The GS1 Accelerator from Informatica offers suppliers and manufacturers the capability to ensure their data is not only of high quality but also confirms to GS1 standards. The Informatica GDSN accelerator offers the possibility to provide this high quality data directly to a certified data pool for synchronisation with their trading partners.

The quality of the data can be ensured by the Data Quality rules engine of the PIM system. It leverages the Global Product Classification hierarchy that conforms to GS1 standards for communication with the data pools.

All GDSN related activities is encapsulated within PIM can be initiated from there itself. The product data can easily be transferred to the data pool and released to a specific trading partner or made public for all recipients of a Target Market.

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One Search Procurement – For the Purchasing of Indirect Goods and Services

One Search Procurement – for purchasing of indirect goods and services 

Informatica Procurement is the internal Amazon for purchasing of MRO, C-goods, indirect materials and services. Informatica Procurement supports enterprise companies in catalog procurement with an industry-independent catalog procurement solution that enables fast and cost-efficient procurement of products and services and supplier integration in an easy to use self-service concept.

Information Procurement at a glance

informatica-procurement-at-a-glance

Informatica recently announced the availability of Informatica Procurement 7.3, the catalog procurement solution. I meet with Melanie Kunz our product manager to learn from here what’s new.

Melanie, for our readers and followers, who is using Informatica Procurement, for which purposes?

Melanie Kunz

Melanie Kunz: Informatica Procurement is industry-independent. Our customers are based in different industries – from engineering and the automotive to companies in the public sector (e.g. Cities). The responsibilities of people who work with Informatica Procurement differ depending on the company. For some customers, only employees from the purchasing department order items in Informatica Procurement. For other customers, all employees are allowed to order their needs themselves. Examples are employees who need screws for the completion of their product or office staff who ordered the business cards for the manager.

What is the most important thing to know about Informatica Procurement 7.3?

Melanie Kunz: In companies where a lot of IT equipment is ordered, it is important to always see the current prices. With each price changes, the catalog would have to be imported into Informatica Procurement. With a punch out to the online shop of IT equipment manufacturer, this is much easier and more efficient. The data from these catalogs are all available in Informatica Procurement, but the price can always be called on a daily basis from the online shop.

Users no longer need to leave Informatica Procurement to order items from external online shops. Informatica Procurement now enables the user to locate internal and indexed external items in just one search. That means you do not have to use different eShops for when you order new office stationary, IT equipment or services.

Great, what is the value for enterprise users and purchasing departments?

Melanie Kunz: All items in Informatica Procurement have the negotiated prices. Informatica Procurement is simple and intuitive that each employee can use the system without training. The view concept allows the restriction on products. For each employee (each department), the administrator can define a view. This view contains only the products that can be seen and ordered.

When you open the detail view for an indexed external item, the current price is determined from the external online shop. This price is saved in item detail view for a defined period. In this way, the user always gets the current price for the item.

The newly designed detail view has an elegant and clear layout. Thus, a high level of user experience is safe. This also applies to the possibility of image enlargement in the search result list.

What if I order same products frequently, like my business cards?

Melanie Kunz: The overview of recent shopping carts help users to reorder the same items on an easy and fast way. A shopping cart from a previous order can use as basis for this new order.

Large organizations with 1000s of employees are even more might have totally different needs what they need for the daily business and maybe dedicated to their career level. How do you address this?

Melanie Kunz: The standard assortment feature has been enhanced in Informatica Procurement 7.3. Administrators can define the assortment per user. Furthermore, it is possible to specify whether users have to search the standard assortment first and only search in the entire assortment if they do not find the relevant item in the standard assortment.

All of these features and many more minor features not only enhance the user experience, but also reduce the processing time of an order drastically.

Informatica Procurement 7.3 “One Search” at a glance

One Search Procurement

 

Learn more on Informatica Procurement 7.3 with the latest webinar.

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Posted in Data Integration, Enterprise Data Management, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Marketplace, Master Data Management, News & Announcements, Operational Efficiency, PiM, Public Sector | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The World Cup: Everyday PIM Malpractice

The World Cup: Everyday PIM Malpractice

The World Cup: Everyday PIM Malpractice

If you’re an electronics-loving football fan, you may have used the World Cup as an opportunity to finally buy that coveted new large-screen TV. If you did, you weren’t the only one: In fact, UK retailer John Lewis reported a 47% sales increase on televisions the week of May 31. And, almost without exception, electronics retailers designed special World Cup offers to attract customers.

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:

electronics_attributes

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:

electronics_compare_products

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?

PIM electronics personalized marketing

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.”)

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World Cup of Data: The Early Bird Closes the Sale

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:

football social top5

(Source: http://fanpagelist.com/category/athletes/soccer/view/list/sort/followers/page1)

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.

Longtail-image

(Source: http://www.conductor.com/resource-center/research/long-tail-search )

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.

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Will Social Search Replace Search Engines?

More 60% of shopping journeys start with Google. This is what I wrote in one of my white papers on product information and their impact on omni-channel purchasing decisions. But how long will that be true? We all learned that shopping which is influenced by digital can dramatically change, everyday.

Marketing Sherpa reports this week which channels e-commerce companies are investing in. E-mail marketing, social media, SEO and paid search are listed as top 4 invests.

Channels investments due to MarketingSherpa

Channels investments due to MarketingSherpa

Did you notice the phenomena of social product search? We had BBQ with friends last Saturday and my friend Marco told about his new digital radio he can use for playing music from his mobile devices. That made me think about looking for a Bluetooth or Wifi ready and stylish gadget for my living room. Should not be to big, but pound enough and cool. Wifi or Bluetooth is important because I don’t want any visible cable.

This is what I did next: I posted my question to Facebook, not to a search engine.
As you know, the always connected customer is always online, on his “informed purchase journey”. Within minuted I had a series of recommendations from friends and colleagues. Some posted links to products they recommend. As some friends are know for having much more knowledge than me on consumer electronics, and both confirm same brand names…

social search

My snapshot of a “Social Search”.

What does this mean for easy access to product information and omni-channel commerce?

Keep Us Posted

Internet Retailing Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) is around the corner. See something you absolutely love? Let us know! Keep us posted by using @InformaticaCorp #IRCE2014

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An Unexpected Journey – The Informed Purchase Journey

unexpected journeyFor 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:

Shopper-controlled
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.

Multichannel 
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.

Social-powered
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.

Search-guided 
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.

The-Informed-Purchase-Journey-Informatica

The Informed Purchase Journey – An example of an unexpected journey.

So how can I learn more?

Join us at Informatica World 2014 to learn rich information about retail technology and the “purchase journey.”

The Retail Path track will feature insights from companies including: NikeAvent, Discount Tire, Nordstrom, GeigerIntricity and Deloitte.

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.

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Posted in Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management, PiM, Product Information Management, Real-Time, Retail | Tagged , , | Leave a comment