Stuttgart, January 18, 2011 – The search for the right strategy for multi-channel commerce is the strongest driver of data quality in commerce. Heiler Software, leading supplier of master data management (MDM) and multi-channel solutions, has therefore put together seven important trends that will characterize product data management for the multi-channel environment for 2011.
1. Greater collaboration in the information supply chain: Precise descriptions help sell products. In commerce, the collecting and organizing of product details is therefore of great importance. Manufacturers are in possession of the best data. The challenge is to retrieve their data in the best possible, and most importantly, simple manner. To ensure the most efficient operation possible, the motto has to be “100 % supplier self-service”. Using a supplier portal, suppliers can perform this step simply and directly, and in addition they will also gain a better insight into the sales channels of their products through commerce.
2. Conversion rate and return rate as key factors: Merchants who wish to avoid high return rates because of product descriptions in their catalog and/or their eCommerce site that are not matching the supplied items, must improve data quality first and foremost. Conversion rates also determines success in eCommerce. On the Internet, the displayed data represents the product. Customers have to rely on the provided text, images and videos when making their purchasing decision. The importance of product data in eCommerce is illustrated by the Heiler study of the topic available at heiler.com/research.
3. PIM enables Faceted Search: Browsing by property, characteristic or value – these are the filter criteria, which influence todays eCommerce sites’ navigation. The theme of the faceted search is not new, but has recently established itself as an important factor for fast and successful search. But only perfect product data with all attributes make the “faceted search” function properly and the eCommerce world go round.
4. Quality needs rules: Ensuring data quality is easier said than done. Besides care and intensive maintenance, there is a need for rules. It is in its Data Governance that an organization defines guidelines as to how and by whom product master data is to be handled. Lawgivers are also making increasing demands regarding compliance in several industries.
5. New jobs and processes in commerce: In their search for the right multi-channel strategy, companies are increasingly considering the creation of a new job, that of the “Multi-Channel Manager”. Universities, such as the University of Applied Science, Wedel in Hamburg, are even creating dedicated courses. On the one hand, the Multi-Channel Manager has to stand back from the channels in order to organize the data in a neutral manner, but on the other hand he or she must think along channel-specific lines, because data preparation and maintenance take place increasingly within the context of the marketing and distribution channel, as well as of the medium. It is precisely from these channels that the Multi-Channel Manager will create a central set and view of all data.
6. Multi-shop management: Internationalization and a stronger focus on individual target groups, this is the dichotomy that major distributors want to bridge. The right eCommerce strategy will therefore involve the creation of individual brands and eCommerce sites to suit the different countries and target groups combined with maintenance of a central platform that can supply all the international shop systems.
7. Customer feedback acting as a correcting variable for product range management: Bringing customer opinions and supplier knowledge together and combining customer evaluation from the Internet with the manufacturers’ knowledge will enable merchants to control their product ranges to the best effect. The idea of user generated content turns to user generated products and assortments.
To summarize, the following will apply for 2011 and beyond: Manufacturers, merchants and customers will come even closer together in eCommerce. The concept of “efficient customer response” is becoming a reality, driven by the search for perfect product data as the basis of multi-channel commerce.