Product Data Management is important for e-Commerce

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Product Data Management is considered as the most challenging field within Data Quality Management. There are more variables and attributes in Product Data Management, than there is in Customer Data Management.

An example:

Who would think this the same product?  They use different descriptions, measurement and standards.  The examples from e-Commerce are thankfully a little simpler, and would be easier to solve.

If you want to save money in Data Quality Management, Product Data is the area with most potential.  Just by standardize, not cleansing, you have a cost saving potential of 2,5%.

Product Data Management impacts e-Commerce.

Impact on Search Engine Optimazition (SEO)
SEO experts I have talked to tell me that duplicate products and duplicate URL’s are quite common in Webshops.  Duplicate records and URL’s are bad for different reasons:

–          It has negative impact on search rankings

–          It waters out the results in the index

–          If others link to your products, it will be split between the products and the
effect will not be as strong.

Cleansing you Data and URL, will be an effective way to improve your SEO.

Recommendation Engine.
2010 could be the year for the recommendation engine. Amazon has used this for years, and there is a lot of buzz in the market for this feature now.  The increase in Conversion Rate and Page Per Visit is quite amazing.

You will get the best result of you only list the product once; otherwise the recommendations will be spread across several identical products and not be as strong.

Which is most likely to get highest conversion rate?  3 identical products/URL’s with a few recommendations or 1 product with several?

Usability and Image.
How will customers react if they find several entries of the same product?  Maybe the go to the next store, where they only find one entry, to be sure they purchase the right product.

It gives a better impression of your shop if your data is in order. It is a sign that the rest of your business is in order also.

These are just a few examples of impact bad Product Data can have on your web shop, some of the challenges described above can be solved without too much effort, whereas others will be more demanding.  Why don’t you run a test of your data?


Will Retailers succeed with e-Commerce because of Data Quality?

Trends from the Nordics are confirmed in England. Retailers with physical stores are the fastest growing in the online shopping sector.

They have been a little slow to roll out, because of challenges like cannibalization, logistics and branding. I know that several chains are on the move to launch large worldwide shopping sites. In my opinion they will be highly successful and pass the early movers on the net. My basis for this is that they take the challenge of Data Quality seriously – maybe not by choice but out of pure necessity.

The retailers have multiple points of sales, and multiple point of customer data storage.  Point of sales can be Telephone/Customer Service, Customer Clubs, Physical Stores and customer data storage can be in CRM, ERP and logistics system.  In addition they will have several brands where also the customer data is stored in.  When they then try to do multichannel marketing, it is impossible with the structure they have today.

Data Quality For E-Commerce cluttered

Multichannel seems a little challenging in this picture……

The solution the chains choose is to make a Master Database, with one customer ID – with link to each brand. When you have the Master Data, you can start analyzing for cross selling opportunities. If you are a customer of Brand one, you are also a likely customer of brand 5.  In addition you have tools to filter the information from the multiple points of sales and data. When customer data is entered in one of the point it is checked for duplicates, matched to the right record, checked for fraud. In addition you can set up error tolerant CRM search for the point of sales and enrich the data with Reference data.

Data Quality For E-Commerce clean
Now you are ready for Multichannel Marketing!

The first movers, who often were pure online players, have not had the need for such a rigid Data Quality setup. Where retailers now use professional tools, the pure players still trust their homemade. They will wake up one day and wonder what happened?