The customer’s path-to-purchase has altered irrevocably in the past decade causing purchasing decisions to originate and end at various disparate points of sale and points of service. The retail disruption which gave birth to e-commerce and mobile shopping caused the great divide between physical and virtual transactions.
Retailers and CPG suppliers are relentlessly working towards a common goal of improving the on-shelf availability of their products at the right price point for maximizing sales and enhancing customer experience. They have strived to collaborate seamlessly to enhance the efficiency in the flow of physical product, financial data and transactional data, across the retail supply chain. This value chain collaboration spans key processes such as demand forecasting, replenishment planning, order fulfilment and customer service.
However, there still exists a gap in the flow of product data that travels from the suppliers through the distributor and retailer to the end customer and vice versa. It is a critical factor influencing the product purchase and merits attention. Real-time availability of up-to-date, accurate and consistent product details across touch points enables the customer to buy the right product, at the right time, in the right place at the right price. The proliferation of suppliers, brands, SKUs, and retail channels, changing consumer preferences, and statutory requirements for traceability of products, leads to an information deluge and increase in the number of recipients of this information. High-quality product data distribution is therefore important for retailers to grow product sales per square foot or per square pixel.
The Product Data life cycle begins and ends with the customer. A good fit of the product with customers’ needs in mind and the ease with which product information can be found during online search determines inventory readiness-for-purchase. The ability to store, share, and manage product content while maintaining its quality creates the difference between inventory available-to-purchase and inventory readiness-for-purchase. CPG companies and brand manufacturers have the most current and accurate data about their products. However, the need of the hour is for retailers, suppliers and sell-side third parties including contractors and distributors collaborate to gather and share product data around their customers’ purchase patterns and preferences.
A few months ago Capgemini obtained perspectives from industry executives on the importance and future of product data. Further, we created a framework to transform product data, which encompasses data maturity assessment, product classification, product data acquisition, dissemination, and governance. Don’t forget to read our POV: The Devil is in the (Product Data) Details if you want to know how to delight customers with engaging product experiences.