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Retailers adopt multiple channels, lack insight

Retailers adopt multiple channels, lack insight
Thursday November 7 2013

Another survey reveals growing number of channels is leading to increasing challenges and opportunities, but retailers aren’t capitalising on available information

Retailers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of consistent product information in delivering a satisfying cross-channel customer experience to meet the demands of ever more sophisticated consumers. 

But, while they acknowledge an increase in data attributes available to them, the majority of retailers are yet to take full advantage of them. That is according to the findings of newly released research commissioned by the multi-domain master data management technology provider, Stibo Systems.

Preparing for ‘Multi-Everything’
In order to gauge how retailers’ cross-channel businesses had matured since the publication of its whitepaper, Multi-Everything – PIM in the Age of Cross-Channel Retail last year, Stibo questioned its customers on the challenges they faced in creating a consistent and accurate experience for their customers, as well as the level of collection and analysis of product information required to support it.
The retail respondents identified a need for high quality product information in not only improving the customer experience across all their channels, but also in improving sales performance, by enabling them to offer more cross and upsell opportunities.
Three quarters (72%) of respondents considered there to be more product data attributes now than a year ago. But Stibo added that the implementation of STEP, its proprietary product information management (PIM) software, meant that they could cope effectively with this increase. For example, 74% of retailers manage multiple language versions of their product information, and a quarter of early adopters currently update their product data to channels in real-time, with almost two-third (62%) planning to do so.
Additional opportunities were also identified. For example, three quarters of retailers agreed that behavioural data, such as instore sales or return rates, could be used to augment existing product data. Two in five (41%) currently claimed to have a big data project that captures this type of information, and 33% were planning to launch one.
However, the survey reflected a familiar consensus that there’s still some way to go. Despite recognising its importance, the majority of retailers don’t appear to be making use of the wealth of additional information that flows through their businesses. The majority (90%) of respondents did not store purchasing and sales measurements in line with their basic product information, for example, with 64% saying they had no intention of doing so.

Wealth of information opportunities
Simon Walker, director of innovation at Stibo Systems, commented: “Having identified the importance of product information in its many forms, retailers are now in a strong position to capitalise on this and realise the full benefits it can bring to their retail operation.
He added: “Focusing on the wealth of additional information available to them and using it to augment their existing product information opens up a range of additional opportunities. The importance of analysing and leveraging this abundance of information cannot be ignored if a retailer is to remain competitive in a multichannel market.”
The survey also found 81% of retailers managed several variations of some or all product copy to target different segments, markets and campaigns, while almost a half (47%) of retailers maintained different variations of product copy to support A/B or multivariant testing. But only 13% of retailers store social data, such as product ratings or reviews, and 57% had no intention of doing so.

Tagged as: Study | product | information | PIM | multichannel | language | returns | multi variant | testing | social | ratings | reviews | Stibo

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