Category Archives: Product Information Management

Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData.

Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData

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

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

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

Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData.

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

Virtual Reality – Bringing the Customer Experience to new Levels

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality and Customer Experience

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

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

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

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

Some thoughts on use cases for Virtual Reality 

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

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

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

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Informatica Ranked #1 in PIM Market Performance Wheel

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

Informatica Ranked First in Latest LNC PIM Market Performance Wheel

PIM Market Performance Wheel

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

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

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

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

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

LNC PIM Market Performance Wheel

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

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

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

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PIM is not Product MDM, Part 2

Part 1 of this blog touched on the differences between PIM and Product MDM.  Since both play a role in ensuring the availability of high quality product data, it is easy to see the temptation to extend the scope of either product to play a more complete part.  However, there are risks involved in customising software.  PIM and MDM are not exceptions, and any customisations will carry some risk.

In the specific case of looking to extend the role of PIM, the problems start if you just look at the data and think:  “oh, this is just a few more product attributes to add”.  This will not give you a clear picture of the effort or risk associated with customisations.  A complete picture requires looking beyond the attributes as data fields, and considering them in context:  which processes and people (roles) are supported by these attributes?

Recently we were asked to assess the risk of PIM customisation for a customer.  The situation was that data to be included in PIM was currently housed in separate, home grown and aging legacy systems.  One school of thought was to move all the data, and their management tasks, into PIM and retire the three systems.  That is, extending the role of PIM beyond a marketing application and into a Product MDM role.  In this case, we found three main risks of customising PIM for this purpose.  Here they are in more detail:

1. Decrease speed of PIM deployment

  • Inclusion of the functionality (not just the data) will require customisations in PIM, not just additional attributes in the data model.
    • Logic customisations are required for data validity checks, and some value calculations.
    • Additional screens, workflows, integrations and UI customisations will be required for non-marketing roles
    • PIM will become the source for some data, which is used in critical operational systems (e.g. SAP).  Reference checks & data validation cannot be taken lightly due to risks of poor data elsewhere.
  • Bottom line:  A non-standard deployment with drive up implementation cost, time and risk.

2.  Reduce marketing agility

  • In the case concerned, whilst the additional data was important to marketing, it is primarily supporting by non-marketing users and processes including Product Development, Sales and Manufacturing
  • These systems are key systems in their workflow in terms of creating and distributing technical details of new products to other systems, e.g. SAP for production
  • If the systems are retired and replaced with PIM, these non-marketing users will need to be equal partners in PIM:
    • Require access and customised roles
    • Influence over configuration
    • Equal vote in feature/function prioritisation
  • Bottom Line:  Marketing will no longer completely own the PIM system, and may have to sacrifice new functionality to prioritise supporting other roles.

3.  Risk of marketing abandoning the hybrid tool in the mid-term

  • An investment in PIM is usually an investment by Marketing to help them rapidly adapt to a dynamic external market.
    • System agility (point 2) is key to rapid adaption, as is the ability to take advantage of new features within any packaged application.

PiM

  • As more customisations are made, the cost of upgrades can become prohibitive, driven by the cost to upgrade customisations.
    • Cost often driven by consulting fees to change what could be poorly documented code.
    • Risk of falling behind on upgrades, and hence sacrificing access to the newest PIM functionality
  • If upgrades are more expensive than new tools, PIM will be abandoned by Marketing, and they will invest in a new tool.
  • Bottom line:  In a worst case scenario, a customised PIM solution could be left supporting non-marketing functionality with Marketing investing in a new tool.

The first response to the last bullet point is normally “no they wouldn’t”.  Unfortunately this is a pattern both I and some of my colleagues have seen in the area of marketing & eCommerce applications.  The problem is that these areas are so fast moving, that nobody can afford to fall behind in terms of new functionality.  If upgrades are large projects which need lengthy approval and implementation cycles, marketing is unlikely to wait.  It is far easier to start again with a smaller budget under their direct control.  (Which is where PIM should be in the first place.)

In summary:

  • Making PIM look and behave like Product MDM could have some undesirable consequences – both in the short term (current deployment) and in the longer term (application abandonment).
  • A choice for customising PIM vs. enhancing your landscape with Product MDM should be made not on data attributes alone.
  • Your business and data processes should guide you in terms of risk assessment for customisation of your PIM solution.

Bottom Line:  If the risks seem too large, then consider enhancing your IT landscape with Product MDM.  Trading PIM cost & risk for measurable business value delivered by MDM will make a very attractive business case.

 

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Consumer Packaged Goods for the “Silver Economy”

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

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

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

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

Baby-Boomers Power new age of Spending

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

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

Two Main Challenges

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

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

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

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

Same Same but Different

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

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

New Challenges for Information Management

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

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

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Eastern Europe E-Commerce Growth To Drop in 2014

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

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

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

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

E-commerce

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6 Building Blocks of Commerce Relevancy

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

Commerce Relevancy in Fashion

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

Why am I telling you all this?

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

Commerce Relevancy in Automotive

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

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

Can Relevant Information Make the Difference?

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

Capture_InformationSources10.4

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

The Meaning of Commerce Relevancy

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

CommerceRelevancy_Graphic_Informatica

6 Building Blocks of Commerce Relevancy

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

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

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If Data Projects Weather, Why Not Corporate Revenue?

Every fall Informatica sales leadership puts together its strategy for the following year.  The revenue target is typically a function of the number of sellers, the addressable market size and key accounts in a given territory, average spend and conversion rate given prior years’ experience, etc.  This straight forward math has not changed in probably decades, but it assumes that the underlying data are 100% correct. This data includes:

  • Number of accounts with a decision-making location in a territory
  • Related IT spend and prioritization
  • Organizational characteristics like legal ownership, industry code, credit score, annual report figures, etc.
  • Key contacts, roles and sentiment
  • Prior interaction (campaign response, etc.) and transaction (quotes, orders, payments, products, etc.) history with the firm

Every organization, no matter if it is a life insurer, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, a fashion retailer or a construction company knows this math and plans on getting somewhere above 85% achievement of the resulting target.  Office locations, support infrastructure spend, compensation and hiring plans are based on this and communicated.

data revenue

We Are Not Modeling the Global Climate Here

So why is it that when it is an open secret that the underlying data is far from perfect (accurate, current and useful) and corrupts outcomes, too few believe that fixing it has any revenue impact?  After all, we are not projecting the climate for the next hundred years here with a thousand plus variables.

If corporate hierarchies are incorrect, your spend projections based on incorrect territory targets, credit terms and discount strategy will be off.  If every client touch point does not have a complete picture of cross-departmental purchases and campaign responses, your customer acquisition cost will be too high as you will contact the wrong prospects with irrelevant offers.  If billing, tax or product codes are incorrect, your billing will be off.  This is a classic telecommunication example worth millions every month.  If your equipment location and configuration is wrong, maintenance schedules will be incorrect and every hour of production interruption will cost an industrial manufacturer of wood pellets or oil millions.

Also, if industry leaders enjoy an upsell ratio of 17%, and you experience 3%, data (assuming you have no formal upsell policy as it violates your independent middleman relationship) data will have a lot to do with it.

The challenge is not the fact that data can create revenue improvements but how much given the other factors: people and process.

Every industry laggard can identify a few FTEs who spend 25% of their time putting one-off data repositories together for some compliance, M&A customer or marketing analytics.  Organic revenue growth from net-new or previously unrealized revenue is what the focus of any data management initiative should be.  Don’t get me wrong; purposeful recruitment (people), comp plans and training (processes) are important as well.  Few people doubt that people and process drives revenue growth.  However, few believe data being fed into these processes has an impact.

This is a head scratcher for me. An IT manager at a US upstream oil firm once told me that it would be ludicrous to think data has a revenue impact.  They just fixed data because it is important so his consumers would know where all the wells are and which ones made a good profit.  Isn’t that assuming data drives production revenue? (Rhetorical question)

A CFO at a smaller retail bank said during a call that his account managers know their clients’ needs and history. There is nothing more good data can add in terms of value.  And this happened after twenty other folks at his bank including his own team delivered more than ten use cases, of which three were based on revenue.

Hard cost (materials and FTE) reduction is easy, cost avoidance a leap of faith to a degree but revenue is not any less concrete; otherwise, why not just throw the dice and see how the revenue will look like next year without a central customer database?  Let every department have each account executive get their own data, structure it the way they want and put it on paper and make hard copies for distribution to HQ.  This is not about paper versus electronic but the inability to reconcile data from many sources on paper, which is a step above electronic.

Have you ever heard of any organization move back to the Fifties and compete today?  That would be a fun exercise.  Thoughts, suggestions – I would be glad to hear them?

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Posted in Banking & Capital Markets, Big Data, Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Quality, Data Warehousing, Enterprise Data Management, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Master Data Management, Product Information Management | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Gimme Hope eCommerce for Southern Europe

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

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

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

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

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

infographic southern europe ecommerce 2014

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Ecommerce Sales in Western Europe to Grow by 15% in 2014

The Western European B2C ecommerce market is developing extremely well. In fact, the Western European ecommerce market is expected to reach € 204.7 billion in 2014.

Online Sales to Reach €204.7 Billion in 2014

Just like the year before, the Western European region, comprising Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, was in first position with regard to e-commerce size in 2013, with a European market share of 49%.

The total B2C e-commerce economy of Western Europe amounted €177.7 billion, a 12% growth compared to 2012. Online sales of goods and services are forecast to reach €204.7 billion in 2014, a growth of more than 15% in comparison with 2013. Ecommerce Europe’s research also reveals that 95 million consumers in Western Europe bought goods and services online in 2013.

Average Western European E-shopper Spent €1,867 Online in 2013

On average, Western European e-shoppers spent €1,867 per person online in 2013. This is far above the European average of €1,376 and EU28 average of €1,500. The United Kingdom leads the way with €2,614, making their e-shoppers the biggest online spenders in Europe. Within Western Europe, Ireland, Luxembourg and France follow with €1,643, €1,533 and €1,503, respectively, per online shopper.

western europe ecommerce 2014

For additional information, you can download the full report here.

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