Harrods: Product Information at the Heart of Customer Experience

Did you know Harrods introduces more than 1.7 million new products every year? This includes their own labels, as well as other brands. Recently, Peter Rush, the Harrods Solution Architect responsible for product information, spoke at Informatica’s MDM Day EMEA in London. At the event, he said there are:

“so many things we want to do: Product Information is at the heart of most of them.”

As part of the customer experience program, Harrods identified product information quality as a key asset, next to customer information management.

The Product Information Challenge Harrods was facing included the following:

  • A Lack of a single Product data store
  • Inappropriate Product Data objectives
  • Massive scale and volume of products and brands (1.7 million new products per year)
  • Concessions and Own Bought
  • Localized enrichment
  • Media Assets all over the estate

While discussing his product information management project, Peter gave a great and simple example. He showed the product descriptions below and asked, “Who knows which two products these are?”:

  1. XX 6621/74 BLK VN SS TOP 969B S
  2. XX37066 L/BLU PRK FLAN SH 440B MED

Then, he solved the mystery. The answer was this:

  1. Black V-neck sleeveless top
  2. Light blue parker print flannel shirt

Turning vision into reality needs a joint business and IT project

Peter said, it is important to build a “flexible team to meet needs of each project stage, with representation from key business areas”. The team should include representatives from groups like: Merchandise Data, Buying Team, Web Team, IT, CRM and the Shopfloor Team. In addition to their Core Project Team, Harrods defined a Steering Committee and a group of selected Super Users.

Benefit summary: a combination of people, technology and process

At the end of the session, I was impressed by this graphic. This image sums up the essentials of product information management success. It is about the people, who are able to do the right things. It is about how technology enables automation. It is about the process which turns information into value.
Finally it is important to mention our partner Javelin Group is leading the PIM implementation at Harrods. Also Andy Hayler, analyst from The Information Difference, wrote an article for the CIO Magazine.

 

Harrods: Product Information at the Heart of Customer Experience
Harrods: Product Information at the Heart of Customer Experience

 

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