The new shop system has been set up, contains the logic of product information management (PIM) and is due to be launched shortly. But it is not uncommon for restrictions to become apparent: The system does not correctly display the product data for different article versions Google-friendly structuring missing or the assignment of certain articles for individual customer segments must be programmed manually. In short: the basic functions are not sufficient for more complex data architecture requirements. Most shop systems offer extended services, but also entail high costs.
Data architecture: retrieve information from a backend
In contrast, there are highly flexible data centers that consolidate data from the online shop, Google Analytics, newsletters, ERP, CRM or additional Excel spreadsheets. At the same time, they feed in information from logs, project management or even notes and thus take care of you smooth workflow. The result: With little effort, all information from the various systems is linked in just one backend – there is no need to switch back and forth between multiple systems, apps and tools. Even more: the information and data are related to each other and analyzed. Why is that important?
1. The system interlinks the data in the customer journey
In a heavily digitized world, consumers don’t just want personalized offers – the data natives, those people who grew up with smartphones, tablets and an abundance of digital data, expect the right approach at any time and on any channel along the customer journey. And they are rigorous: (Potential) customers punish mistakes in the bud. So give in one Price Waterhouse Coopers’ customer experience study 32 percent of respondents say they turn away from their preferred brand after just one bad experience. Therefore: With increasing amounts of data and (sales) channels, it is worthwhile to switch to comprehensive data management in the long term.
And this is how the software works: The head office evaluates data in a targeted manner and uses it in order to continuously draw benefits for the user – whether in the personalized newsletter, on the discount coupon for customer card holders or in the product recommendation in the shop. The regular shop system only serves the pure sales process – data handling is completely separate from it. An API interface enables simple data exchange with external systems inside and outside the respective company. Another advantage: The data consolidation takes place independently of the shop front end and the shop software used.
2. Data architecture: One data center, various channel requirements
While shop systems used to aim to present products in the front end, i.e. the shop surface, in an attractive way, today the focus is exclusively on the back end. That means: The display of the products on the various channels requires a data architecture and storage that maps the requirements of different front ends. The problem: The standard software of common shop systems does have a Product data management or PIM logic – but this is only geared towards the use of the associated shop.
However, as soon as the amount of data increases, additional output channels or additional information for special cases are required, the software often reaches its limit. In this case, the data center counteracts this: it can be quickly and flexibly expanded or customized in order to deliver granular data for any frontends, but also backends (back office / service) and to avoid data chaos. In this way, the consumer’s trust and thus the willingness to buy is maintained and he does not jump off in exasperation.
3. Dealers get to know products and customers very well
A data center provides additional support with increasing sales channels, devices and the associated changed requirements for customer communication. It manages core information on products, prices, customers and orders, analyzes it and evaluates it. There is no need for time-consuming, additional reports such as market research tools. This is how a data center keeps it Keeping an eye on customer behavior and ensures that dealers can set the course at an early stage. At the same time, it registers the demand for products – and that completely automatically without any additional effort.
In order not only to structure the current and future amounts of data in a meaningful way, but also to derive real benefits from them, retailers should rely on an “ultimate” data center. It can be flexibly and easily adapted to any business model and integrated into any system architecture. At the same time, it brings ready-made components such as warehouse and order management, analytics or automation functions. It is therefore particularly suitable as a solution for medium-sized companies, which often lack the appropriate team of developers.
The product information management ensures that all information on products, product groups, product attributes as well as associated media and their target groups are uniformly managed and displayed on a channel-specific basis, for example in the online shop or catalog.
Also read: Text robots in e-commerce: from structured data to sophisticated sales text
About the author: Markus Wierl is the digital agency manager at the full-service agency mgo360 and has been in the agency business for over 20 years. His core topics include the construction and integration of shop systems and websites, UX / UI, the implementation of CMS systems and business applications as well as the development of e-learning platforms with gamification modules. (sg)