As paths to purchase have become non-linear, retailers and manufacturers find it difficult to provide shoppers with the exact information and experiences around the products, as they need it, at the moment they need it and at the place they need it. This is not an issue that affects only retailers or only manufacturers. It is an issue that pervades the value chain and calls for collaboration among the business partners to share consistent, clear and accurate product information across channels. Such a collaborative approach is needed to create trusted and delightful product experiences for consumers and will drive growth and improve efficiency for both retailers and consumer good companies.
Senior business executives at both retailers and manufacturers have revealed during interviews that at present product information is neither of satisfactory quality nor ‘fit for purpose’. This inferior quality of product data is resulting in lost sales, low conversion rates, suboptimal on-shelf availability and decreased speed to market.
Many companies have become experts in improvising and are exploring avenues to overcome constraints in the existing islands of information systems and storage. Such companies struggle to facilitate seamless, fluid exchange of product data within the organization and across the value chain, including trading partners and consumers.
Currently we see a mix of data sharing mechanisms and a variety of data-service providers, which leads to multiple version of the truth and a lack of transparency. It is obvious that manufacturers are the authoritive source of product data, and that further contextually relevant enrichment together with the retailer will provide the exact right product information and product experience to consumers.
There is a common understanding that collaboration and standardization are needed to gain consumers’s trust. Next to standardization of the data itself (incl product-identification and attributes) also API standardization is important to establish interoperable systems which can easily share data.
The effort to succeed in this product data transformation journey should not be underestimated, as the devil is in the (product-data) details. If you want to know more about the essentials steps for a successful product data transformation, do read our POV: "The Devil is in the (Product Data) Details".
The paper provides the key findings of research on the status of product data maturity of the top 30 retailers in the world and shares the views from top retail and Consumer Product Executives on omnichannel product information.