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Inside Retail & Informatica

Using product information to power your digital transformation

If there was ever a time to take the digital presence of your business to the next level, it’s now. E-commerce sales in 2020 and, so far in 2021, have surged off the back of the continuing Covid-19 restrictions.

But simply having a digital presence is no longer enough: customers are expecting higher standards of service online, and if a brand’s offer is not up to scratch there are myriad places they can shop elsewhere, all at the touch of a button. 

Customers expect an engaging, convenient and personalised experience wherever they shop, and for information across each of a brand’s channels to be uniform and consistent: If a price is different online compared to instore, a business’ credibility is gone.

Likewise, if a product’s information online is lacking a business runs the risk of a customer buying the item and then having to return it.

And this happens a lot. According to research from Informatica, 64 per cent of online returns are due to items not matching the description on the website.

“It’s costing [brands] millions,” said Costa Mikhael, ANZ sales leader of master data management at Informatica.

“The reason these returns happen is because there isn’t enough information describing the product. The customer assumed it was one thing, and they received something else.

“If you have more information, more imagery, you’re less likely to keep having these kinds of returns.”

It isn’t just an issue of having missing information on a page. If a food item doesn’t have potential allergens listed, that could be a problem for customers and breach compliance issues for the retailer. If a large item like a fridge doesn’t have its dimensions or weight listed, that could be a problem for delivery staff.

If the price is wrong, that can be a problem for a business’ bottom line: an item worth $1000 that is listed online as $100 by accident can be a major issue.

What Mikhael believes retailers need, and what Informatica has developed, is a product information management (PIM) solution, MDM – Product 360, which allows retailers and suppliers to input detailed information about each product into a database that is then shared across a business’ online and offline stores, and ensures all information is consistent. 

“It’s about managing product information, collaborating with suppliers, providing the right information to the digital platform, your catalogues, your mobile app, and to your store,” Mikhael said. 

“It becomes a single point of truth that you trust, because it has been built up by the right people [in your business].

“You can quickly build a sophisticated e-commerce site, but if you really want to treat your e-commerce site as another channel, like a store, you need to make sure that products are arranged and are presented with the same care you would in a bricks-and-mortar location.”

For more information on how your business can power its digital transformation through Informatica’s Product 360 PIM solution, feel free to contact Costa Mikhael directly at cmikhael@informatica.com, or read Informatica’s POV paper ‘Retail digital transformation in Australia and New Zealand’

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