And with good reason. Customers today expect comprehensive, accurate and up to date information about the brands and goods they purchase.
If you’re a retailer – you know that this is easier said than done.
Streamlining information involves managing various sets of data – data received from suppliers, manufacturers, and brands. Adding to the fray is the growing volume of products being carried by all the players in the retail mix.
As per Forrester Research, customers not only expect to view in-store inventory online, but a whopping 39% of them wouldn’t even visit a store without online in-store inventory information –
If high-quality, relevant and consistent data is so important to your customers; wouldn’t it also matter to you? Higher quality product information would allow you to:
So, how do you achieve great product data quality?
These are the 5 things your software must absolutely do, to achieve this kind of success with the product data:
The software should help your data comply with industry standards. It should help you maintain compliance with internal and global standards such as GS1, EAN, UPC, SKU, etc.
Last year, for instance, Walmart rolled out a new ‘Product Content Collection System’ to enable its suppliers to provide data in a particular framework, so as to collect all product attributes, protocols, etc.
Benefit – When all your stakeholders in the supply chain have data in the same format, it helps the retailer (you) manage your sellers and vendors better – getting rid of bottlenecks in the chain of business.
Cleanse your data:
Your customers want to have valid, correct data.
Walmart has solutions in place that remove their erroneous and obsolete data should be removed from systems. Post this, the information is merged to create single records, and present a simple, clean, single view to the end user.
Benefit – Your business will benefit from reduced data storage costs since you will not be storing redundant data. This will help you optimize your business operations.
Validate your data:
Before publishing the information at various sales channels, a retailer needs to ensure that his software validates or governs the quality of data.
This can be done by defining validation rules and appointing stewards who are responsible for approval of all data. For instance, whenever a new user enters a new data record, a consolidated check is performed to validate the record.
All of this can be enabled via software – Product Information Management Software.
Benefit – A lost sale isn’t the only negative outcome of bad product data. As many aggrieved retailers know, there’s also the risk of losing a loyal customer, or worse, reputation damage.
Integrate your data:
The system should have integration capabilities to bring together data – structured, semi-structured or unstructured, from different data sources like the ERP systems, data pools, etc.
It creates a single view of data, which can be accessed through all the links in the supply chain – making it easier for you to coordinate between sales channels. With integrated data – as is the case with Walmart – managing inventory and returns becomes much easier, as all sales channels – online, offline, mobile, etc. become unified.
Benefit – You can now see clearly, what your inventory levels are, what returns are due, which medium they belong to, etc. This will help you bring down the cost of returns, and optimize inventory levels.