Category Archives: Retail

An Unexpected Journey – The Informed Purchase Journey

unexpected journeyFor years, a customer’s purchase process was something of “An Unexpected Journey.” Lack of insight into the journey was a struggle for retailers. The journey was fraught with questions about product research habits, purchases and crucial factors that spark purchase decisions.

Today, the customer purchase journey no longer has to be a “guessing game.” Data integration and analytics are able to assist retailers in understanding this journey. To begin, let’s examine how consumer behaviors and the role of product information have changed since the advent of substantial bandwidths and social buying. To do so, lets examine the way shoppers buy today.

The customer buying experience has changed in the following ways:

Shopper-controlled
The days of the single visit to a trusted retailer are behind us. Today’s shoppers are in control. They are hugely aware of their power as consumers, and they’re exercising it freely.

Multichannel 
Buyers aren’t using one specific channel anymore. They’re shopping in stores, online, through mobile apps, on social platforms, and from catalogs simultaneously. Lacking a central focal point, quality data integration and analytics have become imperative to understanding this behavior. Retailers must be able to track the purchase decisions of one consumer as he or she switches back and forth amongst these channels. If done correctly, a retailer would be able to recognize behavior specific to individuals and act on it, serving ads or timely discounts to them.

Social-powered
Purchasing decisions are “crowd-informed.” Recommendations and reviews from peers guide consumers and validate their choices every step of the way. As a result, it has become increasingly necessary for retailers to understand how they are being reviewed. But more specifically, it is important for the retailer to identify and target influential reviewers. If this is done effectively, the retailer may be able to personalize their experience and make that influential consumer feel special. This may seem like a complicated task with small returns, but imagine if they write a positive review that is ultimately read by thousands of people. This could lead to a fantastic return on investment for the retailer.

Search-guided 
Shoppers used to be dependent on a few sources of information. Now with Internet search tools, consumers are able to hunt for answers themselves. As such, retailers must understand what type of information their consumers are searching for. With this information, retailers may be able to update the content on their websites, blogs, or social channels to provide information customers need. To visualize this purchase journey we’ve created the INFAgraphic below.

The-Informed-Purchase-Journey-Informatica

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

So how can I learn more?

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

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

Experts will share ways of leveraging your data to boost sales and heighten customer experience. The conference also has a dedicated MDM Day on Monday May 12 with workshops and sessions showing how vendors, distributors, retailers and individuals interact in the “always-on,” connected world.

Reserve your spot by signing up here.

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

Consider PIM When (Re)Defining Your Direct-To-Consumer Model

directmodel

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.

Supermarket Tube Informatica

Supermarket Tube Informatica

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.

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Operational Efficiency, PiM, Product Information Management, Retail | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Margin Killer: How a pair of pants plummeted profits

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.

product-return

Product returns kill margins.

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.

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Posted in Manufacturing, Master Data Management, PiM, Product Information Management, Retail | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

What Happens in Vegas … Is the Future of Customer Experience

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

Omnichannel Commerce

Omnichannel commerce for the always connected customer.

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 SeshanGopinath 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

And more…

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:

  1. 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
  2. Workshop “Business use cases of collaboration and Business Processes Management”: Product information and beyond. Moderators: Daniel Walter, Product Manager PIM & Nimish Mehta, LumenData
  3. Workshop “Why business users required quality data”: use cases, rules, roles, dashboards and important KPIs. Moderators: Stefan Reinhardt, Product Manager PIM & Matt Wienke, Infoverity
  4. 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  (brund@informatica.com, +1 650 385 5151) or Cathy Wright (cawright@informatica.com, +1 650 385 5151) if you have any questions, or if you would like us to consider additional topics for the agenda. We look forward to seeing you at the MDM Day meeting on 12th May in Las Vegas.

 

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

Saint-Gobain sees “time to market improvement” using Informatica PIM

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Everywhere commerce: The mobile app helps construction workers, on-site, to learn the details and stock availability of nearly 100,000 products and parts.
  3. Cross-selling: In addition to selling roof tiles, Saint-Gobain is also offering additional materials and tools as an up-sell.
  4. 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”.

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Posted in Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management, Product Information Management, Retail, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

From Retail to Me-Tail: Make Retail Marketing Strategy Relevant

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:

  1. Expanding the product assortment
  2. New product introduction
  3. 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

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

The Surprising Link Between Hurricanes and Strawberry Pop-Tarts: Brought to you by Clean, Consistent and Connected Data

What do you think Wal-Mart’s best-seller is right before a hurricane? If you guessed water like I did, you’d be wrong. According to this New York Times article, “What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers’ Habits” the retailer sells 7X more strawberry Pop-Tarts in Florida right before a hurricane than any other time. Armed with predictive analytics and a solid information management foundation, the team stocks up on strawberry Pop-Tarts to make sure they have enough supply to meet demand.

Andrew Donaher advises IT leaders to ask business  leaders how much bad data is costing them.

Andrew Donaher
advises IT leaders to ask business
leaders how much bad data is costing them.

I learned this fun fact from Andrew Donaher, Director of Information Management Strategy at Groundswell Group, a consulting firm based in western Canada that specializes in information management services. In this interview, Andy and I discuss how IT leaders can increase the value of data to drive business value, explain how some IT leaders are collaborating with business leaders to improve predictive analytics, and share advice about how to talk to business leaders, such as the CFO about investing in an information management strategy.

Q. Andy, what can IT leaders do to increase the value of data to drive business value?

A. Simply put, each business leader in a company needs to focus on achieving their goals. The first step IT leaders should take is to engage with each business leader to understand their long and short-term goals and ask some key questions, such as:

  • What type of information is critical to achieving their goals?
  • Do they have the information they need to make the next decision or take the next best action?
  • Is all the data they need in house? If not, where is it?
  • What challenges are they facing when it comes to their data?
  • How much time are people spending trying to pull together the information they need?
  • How much time are people spending fixing bad data?
  • How much is this costing them?
  • What opportunities exist if they had all the information they need and could trust it?
You need a solid information management strategy to make the shift from looking into the rear-view mirror realizing the potential business value of predictive analytics.

If you want to get the business value you’re expecting by shifting from rear-view mirror style reporting to predictive analytics, you need to use clean, consistent and connected data

Q. How are IT leaders collaborating with business partners to improve predictive analytics?

A. Wal-Mart’s IT team collaborated with the business to improve the forecasting and demand planning process. Once they found out what was important, IT figured out how to gather, store and seamlessly integrate external data like historical weather and future weather forecasts into the process. This enabled the business to get more valuable insights, tailor product selections at particular stores, and generate more revenue.

Q. Why is it difficult for IT leaders to convince business leaders to invest in an information management strategy?

A. In most cases, business leaders don’t see the value in an information management strategy or they haven’t seen value before. Unfortunately this often happens because IT isn’t able to connect the dots between the information management strategy and the outcomes that matter to the business.

Business leaders see value in having control over their business-critical information, being able to access it quickly and to allocate their resources to get any additional information they need. Relinquishing control takes a lot of trust. When IT leaders want to get buy-in from business leaders to invest in an information management strategy they need to be clear about how it will impact business priorities. Data integration, data quality and master data management (MDM) should be built into the budget for predictive or advanced analytics initiatives to ensure the data the business is relying on is clean, consistent and connected.

Q: You liked this quotation from an IT leader at a beer manufacturing company, “We don’t just make beer. We make beer and data. We need to manage our product supply chain and information supply chain equally efficiently.”

A.What I like about that quote is the IT leader was able to connect the dots between the primary revenue generator for the company and the role data plays in improving organizational performance. That’s something that a lot of IT leaders struggle with. IT leaders should always be thinking about what’s the next thing they can do to increase business value with the data they have in house and other data that the company may not yet be tapping into.

Q. According to a recent survey by Gartner and the Financial Executives Research Foundation, 60% of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are investing in analytics and improved decision-making as their #1 IT priority. What’s your advice for IT Leaders who need to get buy-in from the CFO to invest in information management?

A. Read your company’s financial statements, especially the Management Discussion and Analysis section. You’ll learn about the company’s direction, what the stakeholders are looking for, and what the CFO needs to deliver. Offer to get your CFO the information s/he needs to make decisions and to deliver. When you talk to a CFO about investing in information management, focus on the two things that matter most:

  1. Risk mitigation: CFOs know that bad decisions based on bad information can negatively impact revenue, expenses and market value. If you have to caveat all your decisions because you can’t trust the information, or it isn’t current, then you have problems. CFOs need to trust their information. They need to feel confident they can use it to make important financial decisions and deliver accurate reports for compliance.
  2. Opportunity: Once you have mitigated the risk and can trust the data, you can take advantage of predictive analytics. Wal-Mart doesn’t just do forecasting and demand planning. They do “demand shaping.” They use accurate, consistent and connected data to plan events and promotions not just to drive inventory turns, but to optimize inventory and the supply chain process. Some companies in the energy market are using accurate, consistent and connected data for predictive asset maintenance. By preventing unplanned maintenance they are saving millions of dollars, protecting revenue streams, and gaining health and safety benefits.

To do either of these things you need a solid information management plan to manage clean, consistent and connected information.  It takes a commitment but the pays offs can be very significant.

Q. What are the top three business requirements when building an information management and integration strategy?
A: In my experience, IT leaders should focus on:

  1. Business value: A solid information management and integration strategy that has a chance of getting funded must be focused on delivering business value. Otherwise, your strategy will lack clarity and won’t drive priorities. If you focus on business value, it will be much easier to gain organizational buy-in. Get that dollar figure before you start anything. Whether it is risk mitigation, time savings, revenue generation or cost savings, you need to calculate that value to the business and get their buy-in.
  2. Trust: When people know they can trust the information they are getting it liberates them to explore new ideas and not have to worry about issues in the data itself.
  3. Flexibility: Flexibility should be banked right into the strategy. Business drivers will evolve and change. You must be able to adapt to change. One of the most neglected, and I would argue most important, parts of a solid strategy is the ability to make continuous small improvements that may require more effort than a typical maintenance event, but don’t create long delays. This will be very much appreciated by the business. We work with our clients to ensure that this is addressed.
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Posted in Business/IT Collaboration, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Master Data Management, Partners, Retail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Retail Interview: From Product Information to Product Performance

Five questions to Arkady Kleyner, Executive VP & Co-Founder of Intricity LLC on how retailers can manage the transition from Product Information to Product Performance.

Arkady-Kleyner

Arkady-Kleyner

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 webinarThe Streamlined SKU: Using Analytics for Quick Product Introductions” on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Customer Acquisition & Retention, PiM, Product Information Management, Real-Time, Retail, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LovEconomics: Did You Know These Facts on Valentine’s Day Retailing?

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
2. Flowers
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 :-) )
5. Chocolate
6. Jewel leery
7. Lingerie
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.

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Best Practices: Distributor Kramp Serving All Customer Requests With Long Tail Strategy

Our blog frequently provides best practice stories of our customers using product information management (PIM) for their business model. This case is about the “long tail strategy” at Kramp.

Tines, hand tools, spare parts for agricultural machines and hydraulic motors are the order of the day at Kramp.  Kramp, based in the Netherlands, is Europe’s largest wholesaler of accessories and spare parts for motorized equipment, agricultural and construction machines. The company’s business model and e-commerce strategy is exemplary. Kramp is using product information management (PIM) for their long tail strategy in e-commerce.

Kramp’s Value Proposition: “It’s that easy”

“We want to make it easier for our customers, partners and suppliers. We believe in the future and the power of e-commerce”, said CEO Eddie Perdok. Kramp grew the product assortment from about 200,000 to 1,000,000+ items from about 2,000 suppliers.

Previous stock policies in mail order retail always meant having limited space. In the catalog there were only a certain number of pages available. Even the logistics were limited – warehouse storage limited the possibilities so much that the majority of companies tried to find the “perfect catalog range” with the largest number of bestsellers.

The Digital Assortment Has No Limits

“Compared to other sales channels, the internet gives us significant cost advantages”, says Eddie Perdok. The digital department store consists of servers that can be easily extended at any time.

Adding a new product requires no more than a few additional entries in a database. The challenge is that the product data must be obtained from the suppliers and then distributed before products can be presented in a shop. The range is therefore often limited because the product data cannot be efficiently updated and sale is lost to other vendors are retailers.

Europe’s largest wholesaler of spare parts for agricultural machines and accessories focuses on managing all product data from a central data source for all sales channels and languages.

Longtail_PIM

 

Customer and supplier feedback is an important factor

“We want to bring customer opinion and supplier knowledge together”, explains Eddie Perdock. “Online customer evaluation combined with the knowledge of the manufacturer puts us in the position of being able to optimally control our stock”. In e-commerce, vendors, retailers and customers are coming closer and closer together.

 Benefits Kramp realized with PIM on their long tail strategy

  • Quick ROI due to short implementation phases
  • Better customer satisfaction due to optimal data quality
  • Higher margins and turnover in e-commerce due to niche items in long tail
  • Easy, professional handling of mass data lowers process costs
  • Short product introduction times to new markets

You can learn more on using PIM for long tail business on the entire case study or hear Ronald Renskers, Manager Product Content at Kramp, and others talking on the latest video.

Massively increasing the assortment is one of the top trends retailers and distributors focus on, according to Forrester Principal Analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru. Forrester’s research shows that retailers’ biggest competition are brands that sell directly to consumers. Marketplaces like Amazon result in higher margins, according to Forrester and www.pim-roi.com.

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