Customer focused product data

Customers want product information that’s timely, accessible and relevant. Customer centric product information management makes sure they get it

05 June 2012 - Paul Bolton

There has been a marked shift in consumer behaviour in recent years. Customers now want to interact with retailers on their own terms, meaning that information must be targeted and focused on the needs of each customer, and available for consumption at a time and place convenient to them. This push towards customer-centric retailing and the noticeable  blending’ of channels places increased demands on the retailer.

In this dynamic market, retailers can increase their customer base by providing the right information on the right products to the right customers at the right time. Yet rarely is product

information managed on anything approaching an integrated basis. Product information is typically found in departmentally managed silos that are often incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or out of date.

The solution is ‘customer centric product information management’: focusing product information on the customer, their preferences and lifestyle, and the channel from which they view the information. Product information is merged with rich media such as video or photos and dynamically formatted to meet the preferences of each customer.

Solving the customer problem is only part of the solution. The internal challenges of multiple

suppliers and data sources and departmental and channel divides all need to be overcome. Any solution, therefore, needs to unite an organisation through a collaborative process and not create another silo.

The next level of product information management will be ‘community-based content

creation’, where customers go beyond simple reviews and enrich the product information in a truly collaborative way. This approach is already being embraced by retailers, so in some respects the future is already here.