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  • Omkar Chughtai  Omkar Chughtai
  •   Master Data Management
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  • An Overview of the Retail Industry

    Consumers have a plethora of choices on what they wish to buy, where and how they buy, and the control they have over their shopping decisions in today’s ever-changing retail market. Retailers understand that to meet the expectations of the empowered consumer and stay competitive, retailers must proceed towards an omni-channel approach. In this competitive retail environment, informative and complete product information must be provided. Hence, ensuring consistency across all customer touch points and multiple channels becomes increasingly challenging.

    Inconsistent or erroneous information not only affects sales but also erodes trust. The creation and management of these product assets is a huge undertaking and an omni-channel environment requires that content is shared across channels to ensure accuracy and consistency.

    Prime Business Objectives for Retailers

    The overall objective of retail marketing is to create and develop services and products that meet the specific needs of customers, and offer these products at competitive, reasonable prices that will still yield profits.

    The following are the strategic business objectives in retail marketing:

    image1Rolling out new products or making updates to existing products can be a lengthy, painstaking process. By implementing processes and/or utilizing technology to expedite those tasks, you can significantly decrease the amount of time spent managing product information – in many instances, by more than 50%.

    It’s important to note that because every retailer’s product management challenges are unique, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to building these processes. Furthermore, the processes themselves are the most important consideration, whereas any technologies to support those processes are secondary.

    Conceptual Data Model for the Retail Industry

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    Key Business Challenges

    The following are the typical business challenges faced by retail organizations that build a business case for a dedicated PIM system:

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    Product Management

    • Inconsistent Product Information

    The big challenge for retailers is to keep their product information consistent across their enterprise and their various sales and marketing channels. Ensuring that new/updated products and promotions are reflected simultaneously across their channels is a big challenge.

    • Time-to-Market

    Inefficient processes followed to proliferate information across the organization leads to delays while introducing a product in store. This jeopardizes strategic competitive advantage.

    • Better Handle on the Supply Chain

    4% to 5% loss in sales occurs each year due to supply chain information inefficiencies. For new products, it takes an average of four weeks to launch the offering. Big retail stores want to capture the supplier ship point, lane, and ship point-to-item relationship information to help them establish better understanding and control over their overall supply chain, and to drive accurate replenishment calculations, as well as to form a basis for future network optimization and backhaul.

    • Siloed Information

    Retailers rely on a plethora of technologies and processes to enable omni-channel approaches. However, often, these systems and processes – including those used to power inventory, call centers, payment processing, ecommerce, POS, ERP, and email – are siloed. As a result, it is impossible to deliver a truly satisfying customer experience.

    • Integration

    Integrate people, processes, and technology (Global Data Sync Networks) to present a single storefront to customers and address the customer journey, taking customer convenience into consideration. Achieving this is possible only with complete visibility into inventory, supply chain management, and a solid grasp of customer data.

    Supply Chain Management

    The following are the factors leading to SCM challenges:

    • Consolidating data from suppliers and data pools
    • Managing workflows and data quality, and synchronizing product master data
    • Viewing all product information in one location to improve quality and easily spot inaccuracies
    • Manual data processes
    • Inability to locate products across the supply chain
    • Managing locations, location hierarchies, and location-specific attributes
    • Complex operational supply chain to meet customers’ ever-changing needs

    Product Governance

    Some of the reasons for regulatory compliance failures are:

    • Geographical compliance
    • Adherence to regulatory timelines
    • Compliance with industry regulations
    • Secure sharing of product information with partners and customers
    • Ever-changing regulatory requirements

    The Need for Product Information Management (PIM)

    Product proliferation and product complexity are the major challenges faced by retail and consumer companies. Today’s world is the age of the customer. This calls for retail organizations’ attention to the following four pillars to augment customer engagement and maximize revenue.

    • B2B and B2C Management
    • Product Information Management
    • E-commerce Management
    • Order Management

    The rapidly growing e-commerce industry and its stupendous growth rate has led to an increase in demand for quality product data. International retailers having realized this have started optimizing their business model revenue figures and costs with PIM solutions.

    It is important for retail stores to have entire control over workflow processes quickly and lucratively, for which they need to integrate all the data and product-related information more often. There is nothing other than PIM which could significantly help them in doing this and in increasing profit margin

    What PIM Does

    PIM is a central repository system that collects, authors, rationalizes, and syndicates product information across multiple systems and channels, and gives a single view of the product data to the entire enterprise.  A good PIM framework enables retailers and brands to cooperatively deal with their product inventory, and optimize product postings for each sales channel from one focal interface.

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    PIM Suite Benefits

    The importance of effective product information management is monumental for retailers. As retailers across the globe expand their physical offerings to e-commerce, and bring their large number of SKUs to the digital world, PIM is the key to driving quality activity, increasing conversion, and building client loyalty.

    The following table illustrates what are the challenges PIM can address and how PIM can translate product data into a competitive advantage.

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    MDM PIM Solution

    MDM PIM offers a robust solution providing retailers with real-time data required to make strategic decisions. It offers data aggregation and syndication, collaborative workflows, auditing, reporting, flexible data modeling and other features. Data is consolidated across all channels including ecommerce, in-store, kiosk, mobile, and print catalogs.

    MDM PIM offers intuitive tools to segment, personalize, and derive more from sales. PIM tools transform legacy operations and deliver quality content consistently. MDM PIM ensures the quality and integrity of product data, allowing business users to manage and orchestrate product data with associated content. It also acts as a hub of content management, e-commerce, digital asset management, and other systems.

    PIM Solution Highlights

    • Manage and publish up-to-date product data with less effort
    • Speed up time-to-market without compromising data quality
    • Create marketing efficiencies through cross-channel consistency

    Conclusion

    PIM manages product data across all media, automates data maintenance workflows, repurposes your product information across all challenges, and ensures adherence to industry standards. Retailers are benefited by way of improved sales, increased productivity, improved customer and channel partner service, improved processes, and better SKU on-boarding time.

    Omar
    Omar Chughtai
    Senior Principal



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