Simplifying the Complex Process of Data Integration, Part 2
Continuing our coverage of the recent webinar from All About ROI, Good Data is Good Business!, sponsored by Stibo Systems, this week we recap the presentation of Simon Rodrigue, associate vice president of e-commerce for Sears Canada. In particular, we begin to break down Rodrigue's five critical steps to product data integration.
(For part 1 of this multipart series, and a recap of the presentation by Timothy Holody, COO of Seta Corp., parent company of multichannel jewelry marketer PalmBeach Jewelry, click here. To access the webinar on-demand, click here.)
1. Product information is a competitive advantage. Sears Canada tracks the following six product information areas within e-commerce:
- Product information. All of the copy, creative and multiple language that allow shoppers to make that what and why to buy decision, Rodrigue said. The test for Sears Canada's e-commerce website: Could it answer every question that a customer would get talking to one of its store associates?
- Search. It's no longer just about indexing and providing the data, Rodrigue said; it's how you are making it relevant and understanding what customers are looking for and then repeating that back to them.
- Conversion from visitor to customer. Sears Canada measures product information pages’ conversion stats and dollars per page view, among other things. “A lot of this is driven by product data,” Rodrigue said. “Understanding and testing what are you providing to customers, how are they utilizing it and moving forward.”
- Attachment. How do you leverage your data, not only product information but other types of data you have available — gross margin, inventory availability, what other customers are purchasing — to optimize upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
- Returns. Especially critical for direct retailers, Rodrigue said, is avoiding product returns. Ensure that all product categories don't lack product information that may spur returns.
- After-sales service. What can your product information do to make it easier for customers after purchase to get information on their products, and how is that reducing the cost to your organization for after-sales service?
2. Product information is a business challenge, not just an IT challenge. This is really a customer service challenge, said Rodrigue. All of it relates to how you deliver on the customer's needs. With all of its product information maintained in a central location, Sears Canada must determine how it all ties together not only for its website, but also its print advertising (e.g., catalogs, fliers, etc.), stores (e.g., store signage, information available to store associates) and customer service (e.g., call center).