Category Archives: Product Information Management
For years, a customer’s purchase process was something of “An Unexpected Journey.” Lack of insight into the journey was a struggle for retailers. The journey was fraught with questions about product research habits, purchases and crucial factors that spark purchase decisions.
Today, the customer purchase journey no longer has to be a “guessing game.” Data integration and analytics are able to assist retailers in understanding this journey. To begin, let’s examine how consumer behaviors and the role of product information have changed since the advent of substantial bandwidths and social buying. To do so, lets examine the way shoppers buy today.
The customer buying experience has changed in the following ways:
The days of the single visit to a trusted retailer are behind us. Today’s shoppers are in control. They are hugely aware of their power as consumers, and they’re exercising it freely.
Buyers aren’t using one specific channel anymore. They’re shopping in stores, online, through mobile apps, on social platforms, and from catalogs simultaneously. Lacking a central focal point, quality data integration and analytics have become imperative to understanding this behavior. Retailers must be able to track the purchase decisions of one consumer as he or she switches back and forth amongst these channels. If done correctly, a retailer would be able to recognize behavior specific to individuals and act on it, serving ads or timely discounts to them.
Purchasing decisions are “crowd-informed.” Recommendations and reviews from peers guide consumers and validate their choices every step of the way. As a result, it has become increasingly necessary for retailers to understand how they are being reviewed. But more specifically, it is important for the retailer to identify and target influential reviewers. If this is done effectively, the retailer may be able to personalize their experience and make that influential consumer feel special. This may seem like a complicated task with small returns, but imagine if they write a positive review that is ultimately read by thousands of people. This could lead to a fantastic return on investment for the retailer.
Shoppers used to be dependent on a few sources of information. Now with Internet search tools, consumers are able to hunt for answers themselves. As such, retailers must understand what type of information their consumers are searching for. With this information, retailers may be able to update the content on their websites, blogs, or social channels to provide information customers need. To visualize this purchase journey we’ve created the INFAgraphic below.
So how can I learn more?
Join us at Informatica World 2014 to learn rich information about retail technology and the “purchase journey.”
Experts will share ways of leveraging your data to boost sales and heighten customer experience. The conference also has a dedicated MDM Day on Monday May 12 with workshops and sessions showing how vendors, distributors, retailers and individuals interact in the “always-on,” connected world.
Reserve your spot by signing up here.
Over the past few years, we have assisted an increasing shift in customer behavior. Pervasive internet connectivity – along with the exponential adoption of mobile devices – has enabled shoppers to research and purchase products of all kinds, anytime and anywhere, using a combination of touch points they find most convenient. This is not a passing fad.
Consumers expect rich data and images to make purchase choices; business users require access to analytical data in order to make mission-critical decisions. These demands for information are driving a need for improved product data availability and accuracy. And this is changing the way businesses go to market.
A staggering number of stores and manufacturers are reforming their models to response to this challenge. The direct-to-consumer (DTC) model, while not new, is rapidly becoming the center stage to address these challenges. The optimal DTC model will vary depending on specific and contextual business objectives. However, there are many strategic benefits to going direct, but the main objectives include growing sales, gaining control over pricing, strengthening the brand, getting closer to consumers, and testing out new products and markets.
It is my contention that while the DTC model is gaining the deserved attention, much remains to be done. In fact, among many challenges that DTC poses, the processes and activities associated with sourcing product information, enriching product data to drive sales and lower returns, and managing product assortments across all channels loom large. More precisely, the challenges that need to be overcome are better exemplified by these points:
- Products have several variations to support different segments, markets, and campaigns.
- Product components, ingredients, care information, environmental impact data and other facets of importance to the customer.
- People are visual. As a result, easy website navigation is essential. Eye-catching images that highlight your products or services (perhaps as they’re being performed or displayed as intended) is an effective way to visually communicate information to your customers and make it easier for them to evaluate options. If information and pictures are readily accessible, customers are more likely to engage.
- Ratings, reviews and social data, stored within the product’s record rather than in separate systems.
- Purchasing and sales measurements, for example, sales in-store, return rates, sales velocity, product views online, as well as viewing and purchasing correlations are often held across several systems. However, this information is increasingly needed for search and recommendation.
The importance of product data and its use, combined with the increased demands on business as a result of inefficient, non-scaling approaches to data management, provide an imperative to considering a PIM to ‘power’ cross-channel retail. Once established, PIM users repeatedly report higher ROI. It is likely that we’ll see PIM systems rank alongside CRM, ERP, CMS, order management and merchandising systems as the pillars of cross-channel retailing at scale.
For all these reasons, choosing the right PIM strategy (and partner) is now a key decision. Get this decision wrong and it could become an expensive mistake.
We are happy to announce many opportunities to add to your MDM knowledge at this year’s Informatica World Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference will run between May 13-15 and will feature many MDM sessions within the conference agenda and a pre-conference MDM Day on May 12th focused solely on MDM and PIM sessions.
May 12: MDM Day, “Driving Value from Business-Critical Information”
After the overwhelming response to our New York MDM Day in February – we are hosting a pre-conference MDM Day with a laser focus on MDM and PIM. Attendance is free when you register for the full Informatica World Conference. This Day features more than 20 sessions to choose from and provides a chance to learn from experts such as St. Jude Medical, Citrix, and Quintiles, and network with various companies that apply MDM and PIM solutions. We’ll host an “Ask the Experts” table with systems integration partners and present Informatica best practices and product roadmaps.
What: MDM Day – Driving Value from Business-Critical Information
When: Pre-Conference, May 12th, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas
How: Sign Up Here for MDM Day (free with full conference registration)
May 13-15: 2014 Informatica World Conference – MDM Sessions
As the industry evolves, Informatica takes great effort to share our successes and bring our customers together to discuss their experiences in putting data strategies to work. This year, there will be more than a dozen sessions on MDM at the main conference, including:
- Scaling MDM to Enterprise Size: Lessons Learned from HP’s Ginormous Volume (HP)
- Operational Insight for MDM (Zurich American Insurance)
- Increasing Revenue and Retention in M&A (AutoTrader)
- Using MDM to Build a Complex Solution for Dynamic Business (Thomson Reuters)
- Two Distinct Best-in-Class MDM Implementations (McAfee-Intel Security and PwC)
Be sure to attend these and more to learn how industries from healthcare to retail are applying Informatica technologies to fit their objectives for data integration and management.
What: Informatica World Conference
When: May 13- 15th 2014
Where: Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas
How: Register Today!
Register today for the Informatica World Conference and make the most of your trip to Las Vegas with a free pre-conference MDM Day. Learn more about both events online, or contact me if you have any questions. See you in Vegas!
Recently, I ordered a pair of athletic pants from a high-fashion, online retailer. The pants were a well-known brand and cost $96.00. The package arrived within a few days. However, when I opened the box, I found it did not contain the product I expected. The brand and color were correct, but it was not the style I’d chosen. Disappointed, I wrote the retailer, explaining the issue and requesting the correct product. Then, I returned the incorrect product.
According to recent research, the average vendor’s “cost per return” is $20.00. That means that my return was a Margin Killer for the retailer.
Three days later, the replacement delivery arrived. Whoop there it is… Disappointment number two. It was the exact same incorrect product. Yet another Margin Killer, Return Number 2. Another $20.00 in costs for the retailer. What would it take for this retailer’s logistic team to avoid repeating their error? Could they scan the product? Could they use a QR code, a bar-code or some sort of picture?
I returned the incorrect product for the second time. Eventually, shipment number three reached my home. Can you guess what was in the box? Yes, the same incorrect product, again, for the third time. The Margin Killer: Return Number 3. For this retailer, the math is simple:
Return 1: $20.00
Return 2: $20.00
Return 3: $20.00
Total return cost: $60.00
Revenue = Possibly zero?
Funky side note: When browsing stores downtown on Saturday, I found the correct pants in a SportScheck store, and for ten dollars less! So remember, the modern customer is demanding, always-connected and shopping on an “Informed Purchase Journey”.
So how can I learn more?
If you work in retail technology, you will find rich information about this purchase journey at the Informatica World 2014 conference. The Retail Path track will feature insights from companies like Nike, Avent, Discount Tire, Nordstrom, Geiger, Intricity and Deloitte. Experts will share ways to leverage your data to boost your sales and heighten customer experience. The conference even has a dedicated MDM Day on Monday May 12 with workshops and sessions showing how vendors, distributors, retailers and individuals interact in the “always-on” connected world. Make sure you have a spot by signing up HERE.
Guest Post by Dale Denham, CIO at Geiger
The CFO and CEO want “Big Data”. However, everyone needs actionable data, including the CFO and CEO.
The problem lies in the little data. The little data is all the data that is floating all around your company unorganized including your duplicate customer records, your unmatched product numbers, and so on.
At Crestline, we have more data coming in today than ever before. We are utilizing this data in exciting ways to better serve our customers. Yet we still have room to improve in efficiency, data quality, and better understand the story behind the data.
Recently we implemented Informatica Product Information Management (PIM) which has been a huge success for our ability to deliver new products quickly to our customers through our web site and our print catalog. In the first 3 months of 2014 using our new PIM, we’ve exceeded the total products added and updated through all of 2013! We’ll be sharing our story at Informatica world May 12th in Las Vegas along with giving out some great giveaways from our fantastic selection of promotional products.
Beyond sharing our Informatica PIM success story, I’m most excited about the data governance track as we, like most people, can do a better job with our overall data governance. Having a chance to engage with and hear success stories on data governance from expert practitioners will help deliver more value to our organization.
It will also be fun to hear legendary Ray Kurzweil paint a mind-boggling portrait of the future of humanity, but the real value is in the breakout sessions and networking. Join me and hundreds of others as we descend on Las Vegas to get more from our data and use data to support our strategic initiatives. If you do come, be sure to join me at my session “Best Practices for Product Information Management in E-Commerce” to get some great tips as well as perhaps a very cool promotional product.
- To learn more about the conference and keynotes, click here.
- To register for Informatica World, click here.
Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Geiger.
Today, it is not uncommon for retailers to have multiple brands and several channels through which they sell their products. Due to changes in social behavior, consumers are demanding retailers provide relevant and interactive experiences at every touch point.
The Retail Path at Informatica World 14 is your chance to engage with the world’s leading retail brands and industry experts. The retail path covers topics such as expanding product assortment, introducing new products and reducing supply chain costs. It will focus on driving customer loyalty using social, local, mobile and customer feedback. You will learn about unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics and relationships between data and people.
These sessions are great for leaders in ecommerce, marketing, supply chain retail and product management. They’ll be held during the MDM pre-conference (May 12) and Informatica World Retail Path (May 13-15).
SNEAK PREVIEW OF RETAIL PATH SESSIONS, MAY 13th
NIKE: Creative Uses of Informatica Data Quality and Data Services Nike has pushed the limits of Informatica Data Quality and Data Services by re-imagining uses for reference tables, scorecards with associated metadata, web services, and more. Learn how Nike adds value to its business customers and increases ROI by adding virtualization through data services. Speakers: Teresa Mains, Corbett Oliver, Udaya Vepakomma
Point of Sale: Retrieving your POS data in Near Real TimRetailers know that capturing Point of Sale (POS) data in a timely manner can drive customer loyalty and merchandising efficiencies. In this session, Intricity shares how the powerful Informatica Platform has enabled it to capture POS data in near real time — enabling its retailers to share brick and mortar inventory with web stores, drive intraday targeted marketing, and provide customers with the convenience of in-store pickups. Speaker: Arkady Kleyner
Nordstrom: Customer Service at its best – How Information Powers Nordstrom’s Customer Centricity Strategy
Known for its quality products and customer service, Nordstrom never stops innovating. Learn how Nordstrom uses “personal book” to drive revenue through customer personalization. Speakers: Vaidyanathan Seshan; Gopinath Raghavan
Avnet: Using Informatica B2B Data Exchange and B2B Data Transformation to Expand Your Trading Partner Portfolio
Business to Business (B2B) transaction automation is pursued by companies of all sizes due to the efficiencies and message integrity inherent to transactional automation. This session will explain how Avnet’s use of Informatica B2B Data Exchange and Data Transformation empowered its business to establish B2B integrations with small and medium size trading partners. Speakers: David Crowell, Anthony Daniel
SNEAK PREVIEW OF PRE-CONFERENCE MDM DAY, MAY 12th
Keynote: Deloitte’s Digital Influence - The New Digital Divide
The growing gap between the needs and expectations of shoppers and the digital experience brands and retailers are offering them.
Speaker: Jeff Simpson, Director, Deloitte
Best Practice: Transforming your business for tomorrow’s commerce – best practice with product information management
Geiger is the largest privately held promotional products distributor in the world and is the only distributor ranked in the “Top 10” for the last 30 straight years. In this energetic information-packed session, “The Selling CIO”, Dale Denham will talk about the role of product information in ecommerce and how it improved Geiger’s ability to promote and sell promotional products. Attendees will learn how to achieve business goals by identifying the critical steps involved in implementing a Product Information Management (PIM) system. Additionally, this session will cover how to use data and technology to support agility in sales and marketing operations.
Speaker: Dale Denham, CIO, Geiger
Panel discussion with sponsoring partners and speaking customers:
The global digital revolution: How vendors, distributors, retailers and individuals interact in the always on and connected world.
Moderator: Ben Rund, Sr. Director Product Marketing PIM & Procurement, Informatica
Innovations Connecting Buyers and Suppliers – What’s new in PIM and Procurement, Roadmap
Speakers: Stefan Reinhardt, Product Manager PIM, Jakki Geiger, Sr. Director Product Marketing MDM
Holistic Data Governance: A Framework for Competitive Advantage
Speaker: Rob Karel, VP Marketing & Strategy MDM
Four high value workshops, presented by domain experts and industry specialists:
- Workshop “Future of commerce use cases”: How recommendation, targeting, ecommerce, social and mobile need to leverage product information. Moderators: Nagesh Kanumury, Principle Product Manager & Rich Dase, Ideosity
- Workshop “Business use cases of collaboration and Business Processes Management”: Product information and beyond. Moderators: Daniel Walter, Product Manager PIM & Nimish Mehta, LumenData
- Workshop “Why business users required quality data”: use cases, rules, roles, dashboards and important KPIs. Moderators: Stefan Reinhardt, Product Manager PIM & Matt Wienke, Infoverity
- Workshop “Connecting the dots”: Business use cases leveraging the relations of different master data. Commerce Relevancy: Customer segmentation and product personalization. Supplier spend management and supplier catalogs. Moderators: Markus Schuster, Sr. Director Product Management PIM & Procurement & Naveen Sharma, Cognizant
Save your chair at this high value pre-conference day by signing up HERE.
Please feel free to contact me (email@example.com, +1 650 385 5151) or Cathy Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 650 385 5151) if you have any questions, or if you would like us to consider additional topics for the agenda. We look forward to seeing you at the MDM Day meeting on 12th May in Las Vegas.
Every company wants to see a “time to market improvement.” The wisest companies know this is only possible once you’ve mastered your internal data. One such company is Saint-Gobain, a Netherlands-based distributor of building materials. Saint-Gobain has accelerated and enhanced their customer’s multichannel experience using Informatica Product Information Management (PIM). Using Informatica PIM, Saint-Gobain has unleashed the potential of their information in the following ways:
- Ecommerce product introduction: Before using Informatica PIM, it took about one week to update a product to the website – now it is done within a few minutes.
- Everywhere commerce: The mobile app helps construction workers, on-site, to learn the details and stock availability of nearly 100,000 products and parts.
- Cross-selling: In addition to selling roof tiles, Saint-Gobain is also offering additional materials and tools as an up-sell.
- Retail stores: In addition to direct distribution, St. Gobain also sells through retailers. These specialty retailers need to create individual customer quotes which contain potential cross-sell and up-sell items. With Informatica PIM the retailers can create these custom quotes more effectively.
In the video below, Ron Kessels, Saint-Gobain’s Deputy Director of E-Business, talks about how they bring products to market more quickly while creating more opportunities for up-selling building supplies.
If you’d like to learn how your retail business can bring products to market more quickly, consider attending the Informatica World 2014 RETAIL PATH. This collection of sessions will show how to create unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics, and relationships between data and people. In addition, the pre-conference MDM Day offers a track on “Omnichannel Commerce and Supplier Optimization”.
What is your retail marketing strategy? Does your company want to introduce products more quickly, sell more products and leverage cross-sell and up-sell opportunities? The key to accomplishing these goals is to meet each customer’s personalized information needs.
Today’s consumers swim in a sea of excessive information. Because of this information overload, modern customers demand a relevant, interactive experience at every touch point. To provide these experiences, your company must both know your customers and have total control over your product information. Although data consistency is crucial, it isn’t sufficient. To succeed, today’s retailer must provide Commerce Relevancy by presenting each customer with product information that is complete, accurate and easy to understand.
So how can you learn more about transforming from Retail to “Me-Tail?” How can you learn to personalize your retail marketing strategy? Here are three ways:
1) Attend the Informatica World Conference on the Retail Path
The Informatica World 2014 Retail Path provides an opportunity to engage with the world’s leading retail brands and industry experts. This year’s main theme for retailers is “From Retail to Me-Tail: How Relevant is Your Marketing and Omnichannel Data to Your Customers?” The retail path covers topics like:
- Expanding the product assortment
- New product introduction
- Reducing supply chain costs
You will learn to create thriving customer loyalty with social, local, mobile and customer feedback. You will also learn to create unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics, and relationships between data and people. Confirmed speakers already include representatives from Nike, Geiger/Crestline, Avnet, Autotader, Discount Tire, Intricity, Accenture and Deloitte, just to name a few. Don’t wait any longer: Register Today!
2) Attend Informatica World MDM Day
On May 12, 2014, Informatica will host a Pre-conference MDM Day. This session will focus on new product introduction and supplier costs and process optimization. Customers will talk about how they maximize customer loyalty by leveraging social, local, mobile and customer feedback. Informatica product and industry specialists will introduce innovations. They will demonstrate how to create unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics and relationships between data and people.
3) Watch the Video
Arkady, you recently came back from the National Retail Federation conference. What are some of the issues that retailers are struggling with these days?
Arkady Kleyner: There are some interesting trends happening right now in retail. Amazon’s presence is creating a lot of disruption which is pushing traditional retailers to modernize their customer experience strategies. For example, most Brick and Mortar retailers have a web presence, but they’re realizing that web presence can’t just be a second arm to their business. To succeed, they need to integrate their web presence with their stores in a very intimate way. To make that happen, they really have to peel back the onion down to the fundamentals of how product data is shared and managed.
In the good old days, Brick and Mortar retailers could live with a somewhat disconnected product catalog, because they were always ultimately picking from physical goods. However in an integrated Web and Brick & Mortar environment, retailers must be far more accurate in their product catalog. The customers entire product selection process may happen on-line but then picked up at the store. So you can see where retailers need to be far more disciplined with their product data. This is really where a Product Information Management tool is critical, with so many SKUs to manage, retailers really need a process that makes sense from end to end for onboarding and communicating a product to the customer. And that is at the foundation of building an integrated customer experience.
In times of the digital customer, being online and connected always, we announced “commerce relevancy” as the next era of omnichannel and tailoring sales and marketing better to customers. What information are you seeing to be important when creating better customer shopping experience?
Arkady Kleyner:This is another paradigm in the integrated customer experience that retailers are trying to get their heads around. To appreciate how involved this is, just consider what a company like Amazon is doing. They have millions of customers and millions of products and thousands of partners. It’s literally a many to many to many relationship. And this is why Amazon is eating everybody alive. They know what products their customers like, they know how to reach those customers with those products, and they make it easy to buy it when you do. This isn’t something that Amazon created over night, but the requirements are no different for the rest of retailers. They need to ramp up the same type of capacity and reach. For example if I sell jewelry I may be selling it on my own company store but I may also have 5 other partnering sites including Amazon. Additionally, I may be using a dozen different advertising methods to drive demand. Now multiply that times the number of jewelry products I sell and you have a massive hairball of complexity. This is what we mean when we say that retailers need to be far more disciplined with their product data. Having a Product Information Management process that spans the onboarding of products all the way through to the digital communication of those products is critical to a retailer staying relevant.
In which businesses do you see the need for more efficient product catalog management and channel convergence?
Arkady Kleyner: There is a huge opportunity out there for the existing Brick & Mortar retailers that embrace an integrated customer experience. Amazon is not the de facto winner. We see a future where the store near you actually IS the online store. But to make that happen, Brick and Mortar retailers need to take a serious step back and treat their product data with the same reverence as they treat the product itself. This means a well-managed process for onboarding, de-duping, and categorizing their product catalog, because all the customer marketing efforts are ultimately an extension of that catalog.
Which performance indicators are important? How can retailers profit from it?
Arkady Kleyner: There are two layers of performance indicators that are important. The first is Operational Intelligence. This is the intelligence that determines what product should be shown to who. This is all based on customer profiling of purchase history. The second is Strategic Intelligence. This type of intelligence is the kind the helps you make overarching decisions on things like
-Maximizing the product margin by analyzing shipping and warehousing options
-Understanding product performance by demographics and regions
-Providing Flash Reports for Sales and Marketing
Which tools are needed to streamline product introduction but also achieve sales numbers?
Arkady Kleyner: Informatica is one of the few vendors that cares about data the same way retailers care about their products. So if you’re a retailer, you really need to treat your product data with the same reverence as your physical products then you need to consider leveraging Informatica as a partner. Their platform for managing product data is designed to encapsulate the entire process of onboarding, de-duping, categorizing, and syndicating product data. Additionally Informatica PIM provides a platform for managing all the digital media assets so Marketing teams are able to focus on the strategy rather than tactics. We’ve also worked with Informatica’s data integration products to bring the performance data from the Point of Sale systems for both Strategic and Tactical uses. On the tactical side we’ve used this to integrate inventories between Web and Brick & Mortar so customers can have an integrated experience. On the strategic side we’ve integrated Warehouse Management Systems with Labor Cost tracking systems to provide a 360 degree view of the product costing including shipping and storage to drive a higher per unit margins.
You can hear more from Arkady in our webinar “The Streamlined SKU: Using Analytics for Quick Product Introductions” on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Inspired by the fact I was coming home from a business trip on Valentine’s Day.
Money makes the world go round
In the UK Valentine’s Day ranks behind Halloween, Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas. British men spend 622m GBP, while women spend 354m. But the average purchase is 119 GBP. Germans for example only spend 59 GBP per person. According to a survey 53 per cent of US women will dump their boyfriends who do not give them anything on this day. China invented the singles day, where 3.5b GBP have been spend in 2013. A lot Americans spend money for pet gifts generating 227m of sales on Valentine’s Day.
All you need is love?
No, all you need is the right product to sell. Retailers use a wide range of an eclectic product to sell around this day, ranging from flowers to insurance and ecigaretts. IKEA Australia made furniture relevant for love with offering a free purchase for every child born nine months from Valentine’s Day.
What GfK and Google research say
In February Google searches showed a peak for recipes and poems. According to GfK, 81 per cent are using coupons when doing the purchase for Valentine.
Where and what to shop
Supermarkets have wrapped up to be the one-stop shop for lovers in a rush. Sainsbury reports a 12 per cent growth in sales of condoms. But did you know the top 8 gift ranking?
1. Cards and eCards
3. Romantic dinners at restaurants
4. Romantic dinners at home (a condom and candles could be the perfect cross-sell to the wine and the recipe – or you plan to get pay-back from IKEA as mentioned above )
6. Jewel leery
8. Weekends away
Sorry, but I will note tell you what I bring home for my wife. But did you know Informatica World offers a retail path this year? Long tail, ecommerce, from retail to me-tail, supply chain optimization and customer centricity and interesting company speakers are on the agenda.