Category Archives: PiM
The latest North American B2C e-commerce market report is out now. For my followers I took the freedom to summarize some “Magnificent Seven Facts on B2C eCommerce in North America” in a short blog. The report covers United States, Canada and Mexico, but as well comparisons to Europe and Asia. According to this report, North American B2C e-commerce market is expected to reach $494.0 billion in 2014.
The Magnificent Seven Facts
- 122.5 million households in North America
- 336 million internet users in North America
- North America makes up 29.2% of the total global online sales ($1,552.0bn) in 2013.
- In terms of global B2C e-commerce, North America ranked third in 2013, behind Asia-Pacific and Europe
- North American consumers spent on average$2,116 online in2013. This is significantly above the global average of €1,280.
- With an average spending per e-shopper of $2,216, American consumers spent most online in2013. Canadians ranked second with an average spending of $1,577, while Mexican e-shoppers on average spent $1,133 online in2013.
- Canadians are more likely to shop mobile
Mobile Commerce: Canada Leads the Pack
Within North America, mobile commerce is most popular in Canada, with more than half of the online purchases per week being made through a mobile device. At 38.2%, Northern Americans still make their mobile purchases in the safe surroundings of their homes.
What are the barriers preventing mobile purchasing?
Free downloads available now
Would you like to find out more about global e-commerce? The free light versions of our Regional/Continental Reports can be downloaded here.
Working with executives in retail, distribution and CPG has always been a passion for me and our team. Our MDM in NYC (February 24) is dedicated the theme of “Driving Value from Business Critical Information” and comes with special break out room from 10.30 am – 5.00 pm focussing on “Omnichannel & Product Information Management”.
Customer speakers include:
- How product information in ecommerce improved Geiger’s ability to promote and sell promotional products (Triple Award Winner) – Speaker: Mike Plourde, IT Director of Data and Analytics
- Harrods: Improving Customer Experience with Product Information – Speaker: Peter Rush, Head of Governance Planning
Informatica & Management Forum present:
Executive Tour – Retail Innovation in NYC
This time, I am proud to have a special partnership in place which allows you to visit an attractive list of retail stores in Manhattan: The list includes Bloomingdale’s, Target, Glossybox, This is Store, Indochino and much more. Did you know, re-inventing the store, was one of the hot topics at NRF, retailers big show early January.
Business partners of Informatica will get a discount for this Executive Tour and will also get free access to Informatica’s MDM Day. If you are interested in the store-tour using the discount for Informatica, please drop me an email.
Throughout the lifecycle of a consumable product, many parties are constantly challenged with updating and managing product information, like ingredients and allergens. Since December 13th, 2014, this task has become even more complex than before for companies producing or selling food and beverage products in the European Union due to the new EU 1169/2011 rules. As a result, changing the basic formula of a chocolate bar by adding one allergen, like nuts for example should be carefully considered as it can have a tremendous impact on its complete supply chain if manufacturer and retailer(s) want to remain compliant with EU regulation 1169/2011 and to inform the consumer about the changes to the product.
Let’s say, the chocolate bar is available in three (3) varieties: dark-, whole milk and white chocolate. Each of the varieties is available in two (2) sizes: normal and mini size. The chocolate bar is distributed in twelve (12) countries within the European Union using different packaging. This would require the manufacturer to introduce 72 (3 varieties * 2 sizes * 12 countries) new GTINs at an item level. If the chocolate producer decides to do any package or seasonal promotions, multipacks or introduce a new variety, this number would even be higher. The new attributes, including updated information on allergens, have to be modified for each product and 72 new GTINs have to be generated for the chocolates bars by the chocolate manufacturer’s data maintenance department. Trading partners have to be updated about the modifications, too. Assuming the manufacturer uses the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), the new GTINs will have to be registered along with their new attributes eight weeks before the modified product will be available. In addition to that, packaging hierarchies have to be taken into consideration as well. Let’s say, each item has an associated case and pallet, the number of updates would sum up at 216 (72 updates * 3 product hierarchies).
Managing the updates related to the product modifications, results in high administrative and other costs. Trading partners across the supply chain report significant impact to their annual sales and costs. According to GS1 Europe, one retailer reported 6,000-8,000 GTIN changes per year, leading to 2-3% of additional administrative and support costs. If the GTIN had to change for every new minor variant of a product, they forecast the number of changes per year could rise to 20,000-25,000, leading to a significant increase in further additional administrative and support costs.
The change of the chocolate bar’s recipe also means that a corresponding change to the mandatory product data displayed on the label is required. This means for the online retailer(s) selling the chocolate bar that they have to update information displayed in the online shops. Considering that a retailer has to deliver exactly the product that is displayed in his online shop, there will be a period of time when the old version of the product and the new version coexist in the supply chain. During this period it is not possible for the retailer to know if the version of the product ordered on a website will be available at the time and place the order is picked.
GS1 Europe suggests handling this issue as follows: Retailers working to GS1 standards use GTINs to pick on-line orders. If the modified chocolate bar with nuts is given a new GTIN it increases the possibility that the correct variant can be made available for picking and, even if it is not available at the pick point, the retailer can recognize automatically if the version being picked is different from the version that was ordered. In this latter case the product can be offered as a substitute when the goods are delivered and the consumer can choose whether to accept it or not. On their websites, GS1 provides comprehensive information on how to comply with the new European Food Information Regulation.
Using the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), suppliers and retailers are able to share standardized product data, cut down the cost of building point to point integrations and speed-up new product introductions by getting access to the most accurate and most current product information. The Informatica GDSN Accelerator is an add-on to the Informatica Product Information Management (PIM) system that provides an interface to access a GDSN certified data pool. It is designed to help organizations securely and continuously exchange, update and synchronize product data with trading partners according to the standards defined by Global Standards One (GS1). GDSN ensures that data exchanged between trading partners is accurate and compliant with globally supported standards in maintaining uniqueness, classification and identification of source and recipients. Integrated in your PIM System, the GDSN Accelerator allows for leveraging product data of highest standards to be exchanged with your trading partners via the GDSN.
Thanks to the automated product data exchange, efforts and costs related to the modification of a product, as demonstrated in the chocolate bar example can be significantly reduced for both, manufacturers and retailers. The product data can be easily transferred to the data pool and you can fully control the information sharing with a specific trading partner or with all recipients of a target market.
This blog post initially appeared on CMSwire.com and is reblogged here with their consent.
Friends of mine were remodeling their master bath. After searching for a claw foot tub in stores and online, they found the perfect one that fit their space. It was only available for purchase on the retailer’s e-commerce site, they bought it online.
When it arrived, the tub was too big. The dimensions online were incorrect. They went to return it to the closest store, but were told they couldn’t — because it was purchased online, they had to ship it back.
The retailer didn’t have a total customer relationship view or a single view of product information or inventory across channels and touch points. This left the customer representative working with a system that was a silo of limited information. She didn’t have access to a rich customer profile. She didn’t know that Joe and his wife spent almost $10,000 with the brand in the last year. She couldn’t see the products they bought online and in stores. Without this information, she couldn’t deliver a great customer experience.
It was a terrible customer experience. My friends share it with everyone who asks about their remodel. They name the retailer when they tell the story. And, they don’t shop there anymore. This terrible customer experience is negatively impacting the retailer’s revenue and brand reputation.
Bad customer experiences happen a lot. Companies in the US lose an estimated $83 billion each year due to defections and abandoned purchases as a direct result of a poor experience, according to a Datamonitor/Ovum report.
Customer Experience is the New Marketing
Gartner believes that by 2016, companies will compete primarily on the customer experiences they deliver. So who should own customer experience?
Twenty-five percent of CMOs say that their CEOs expect them to lead customer experience. What’s their definition of customer experience? “The practice of centralizing customer data in an effort to provide customers with the best possible interactions with every part of the company, from marketing to sales and even finance.”
Mercedes Benz USA President and CEO, Steve Cannon said, “Customer experience is the new marketing.”
The Gap Between Customer Expectations + Your Ability to Deliver
My previous post, 3 Barriers to Delivering Omnichannel Experiences, explained how omnichannel is all about seeing your business through the eyes of your customer. Customers don’t think in terms of channels and touch points, they just expect a seamless, integrated and consistent customer experience. It’s one brand to the customer. But there’s a gap between customer expectations and what most businesses can deliver today.
Most companies who sell through multiple channels operate in silos. They are channel-centric rather than customer-centric. This business model doesn’t empower employees to deliver seamless, integrated and consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points. Different leaders manage each channel and are held accountable to their own P&L. In most cases, there’s no incentive for leaders to collaborate.
Old Navy’s CMO, Ivan Wicksteed got it right when he said,
“Seventy percent of searches for Old Navy are on a mobile device. Consumers look at the product online and often want to touch it in the store. The end goal is not to get them to buy in the store. The end goal is to get them to buy.”
The end goal is what incentives should be based on.
Executives at most organizations I’ve spoken with admit they are at the very beginning stages of their journey to becoming omnichannel retailers. They recognize that empowering employees with a total customer relationship view and a single view of product information and inventory across channels are critical success factors.
Becoming an omnichannel business is not an easy transition. It forces executives to rethink their definition of customer-centricity and whether their business model supports it. “Now that we need to deliver seamless, integrated and consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points, we realized we’re not as customer-centric as we thought we were,” admitted an SVP of marketing at a financial services company.
You Have to Transform Your Business
“We’re going through a transformation to empower our employees to deliver great customer experiences at every stage of the customer journey,” said Chris Brogan, SVP of Strategy and Analytics at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “Our competitive differentiation comes from knowing our customers better than our competitors. We manage our customer data like a strategic asset so we can use that information to serve customers better and build loyalty for our brand.”
Hyatt uses data integration, data quality and master data management (MDM) technology to connect the numerous applications that contain fragmented customer data including sales, marketing, e-commerce, customer service and finance. It brings the core customer profiles together into a single, trusted location, where they are continually managed. Now its customer profiles are clean, de-duplicated, enriched and validated. Members of a household as well as the connections between corporate hierarchies are now visible. Business and analytics applications are fueled with this clean, consistent and connected information so customer-facing teams can do their jobs more effectively.
When he first joined Hyatt, Brogan did a search for his name in the central customer database and found 13 different versions of himself. This included the single Chris Brogan who lived across the street from Wrigley Field with his buddies in his 20s and the Chris Brogan who lives in the suburbs with his wife and two children. “I can guarantee those two guys want something very different from a hotel stay,” he joked. Those guest profiles have now been successfully consolidated.
According to Brogan,
“Successful marketing, sales and customer experience initiatives need to be built on a solid customer data foundation. It’s much harder to execute effectively and continually improve if your customer data is a mess.”
Improving How You Manage, Use and Analyze Data is More Important Than Ever
Some companies lack a single view of product information across channels and touch points. About 60 percent of retail managers believe that shoppers are better connected to product information than in-store associates. That’s a problem. The same challenges exist for product information as customer information. How many different systems contain valuable product information?
Harrods overcame this challenge. The retailer has a strategic initiative to transform from a single iconic store to an omnichannel business. In the past, Harrods’ merchants managed information for about 500,000 products for the store point of sale system and a few catalogs. Now they are using product information management technology (PIM) to effectively manage and merchandise 1.7 million products in the store and online.
Because they are managing product information centrally, they can fuel the ERP system and e-commerce platform with full, searchable multimedia product information. Harrods has also reduced the time it takes to introduce new products and generate revenue from them. In less than one hour, buyers complete the process from sourcing to market readiness.
It Ends with Satisfied Customers
By 2016, you will need to be ready to compete primarily on the customer experiences you deliver across channels and touch points. This means really knowing who your customers are so you can serve them better. Many businesses will transform from a channel-centric business model to a truly customer-centric business model. They will no longer tolerate messy data. They will recognize the importance of arming marketing, sales, e-commerce and customer service teams with the clean, consistent and connected customer, product and inventory information they need to deliver seamless, integrated and consistent experiences across touch points. And all of us will be more satisfied customers.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
- 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?
- 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.
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.
Thanks a lot to all my great teammates, who made this series happen.
Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData.
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.
Allergy statistics from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) indicate that 17 million Europeans are allergic to some type of food. In addition, documented allergies in children have doubled over the past 10 years. To decrease food-related health risks, this EU legislation lists 14 allergens that must be declared, in the event any are (or could be) part of the ingredients. Failure to comply with the regulations is serious and could result in criminal prosecution.
This new regulation is applicable regardless of where the product is offered: in-store, online, in a bakery, restaurant, bar or café. The consumer must have access to consistent, complete and correct food information. Whether you are a manufacture or retailer, you are responsible to ensure that all product data across the entire supply chain is synchronized and compliant.
Here are the top 5 things manufacturers and retailers of pre-packaged food and beverage products have to consider complying with the new EU food information regulations:
- As a manufacturer of pre-packaged food and beverage products, you have to ensure that your product packaging displays EU compliant information and share all relevant information on ingredients and nutrition facts, including the 14 allergens with your trading partners.
- As a retailer, you will have to display correct and up-to-date product information across all channels including online shops. You rely on trusted data sources with accurate and complete product information you are receiving from your suppliers for any food product. Product information must be updated and synchronized with any product attributes change, including ingredients or packaging. Especially when changing attributes of a product in your online shop, you need to ensure that a customer receives exactly the product he/she has purchased online by managing your stock and supply chain accordingly.
- If product attributes are shared electronically to other trading partners, this information also has to comply with the EU 1169/2011 regulation.
- Use Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) as a way to provide a powerful environment for secure and continuous synchronization of accurate data between you and your trading partners.
- Use PIM system to streamline business processes, create and manage finished products that are consistent, high on data quality, and can ensure compliance to the new EU 1169/2011 standards for syndication to different supply channels including the GDSN network.