Digital Omni-Channel Product Content Management Holds Key For Running Lean Retail Business Operations
With retailers selling across multiple brands, channels, and business models, the industry requires ‘one version of the truth’ to manage, optimize, and syndicate their product content to increase lean business agility and discoverability; which in turn will help deliver contextual experiences fast, boost customer satisfaction, and generate more sales.
Delivering In-time Contextual Customer Experience requires fast and efficient handling of product data. As the product content and business information is harvested in humongous numbers from suppliers, channels, and different ‘things’, the retail industry is experiencing a sudden upsurge in the cost to assimilate, consolidate, enrich and distribute the same set of product data across channels.
Traditional Product Content Management (PCM) systems are not apt to handle the Omni-Channel transition because they lack self-service tools to manage the business processes required to deliver contextual experience. A traditional PCM system often focuses on first defining a product schema, then managing data against that schema. The system is not flexible with integration of heterogeneous product data sources having different schemas.
Moreover, businesses use multiple tools for managing the product lifecycle today which further increases complexity and operational expenses (integration and report assimilation costs).
A centralized Digital Enterprise PCM system is the need of the hour to consolidate the management of product content and business data onto a single platform. The system can consolidate all structured and unstructured customer-facing content into a common repository – ensuring business users can easily edit and maintain product content from a single repository.
Figure 1 – Centralized Digital PCM helps businesses deliver Omni-Channel Customer Experience and run Lean Business Operations
With user-centric and intuitive business tooling, product marketers can synchronize multiple catalogs in multiple languages and locales. They can manage and monitor multiple currencies, brands, regional specific payment services, address forms, tax calculations, and fulfilment systems for all customer touch points from one single self-service system.
Further, it’s easy to customize product search and configure business processes according to customers’ buying sentiments.
Today, digital media assets like videos, images, user-generated content and rich product descriptions tied with marketing campaigns and promotions hold the key in customer engagement. A Digital PCM helps retailers easily consolidate these assets by enriching it with the product data and then provides syndication to send personalized offerings across channels.
PCM enables faster product introductions, achieves quick data consistency across channels, reduces operational cost, and provides a clear picture of revenue. It addresses scalability and ‘simplify the complex’ to boost lean business operations.
Last year, Gladson assisted the retail giant Walmart to ensure the product content captured from multiple manufacturers is consolidated and delivered based on Walmart’s requirements for data formats and attributes. This helped the company offer stress-free content delivery and optimize their product line.
Key Features in Product Content Management Software
To achieve lean business operations, delivering a consistent omni-channel, on-demand product content experience is critical. A Digital PCM offers key features to make this happen:
- Single UI For Product Managers And Marketers
A Digital PCM absorbs the data from disparate sources (internal and external data sources, offline/online channels, users) and presents a single unified view for efficient and user-friendly product management. Managing base products and their variants is easy through guided procedures. Product Managers and Marketers can orchestrate new workflows, enjoy mass data management capabilities, and synchronization from a single UI.
With additional preconfigured capabilities like browsing catalogs, navigating product content, and editing product attributes seamlessly weaved in a Digital PCM system, retailers can drive usability, quickly send personalized offers, and cut costs.
Figure 2 – Managing Product Variants in PCM
Figure 3 – Multi Feature Product Cockpit (Catalog || Content || Attributes)
- Create Dynamic And Complex Product Bundles On-The-Fly
Digital Product Content Management systems enables marketers and support staff create dynamic product bundles on-the-fly.
For example, staff can create personalized product bundles of digital goods like sports media package or a magazine package for a publisher without any technical assistance.
Businesses can also manage the combined sale of physical and digital goods with dynamic pricing categorized by season, data plan, validity (For example, phone and postpaid billing plan offered as a bundle)
Today, many businesses run their complete digital product ecosystem through in-app purchases, guided selling, and up-selling. A Digital PCM bundling tool enables businesses sell digital goods for such ecosystem via APIs.
The bundling feature also helps define different pricing for a product depending upon whether it is sold individually or in a bundle of multiple quantities.
Figure 4 – Creating Phone and Plan Product Bundles From A Single View
- Multiple Catalog Management
Deploying updated catalogs across multiple locations and channels is a mission-critical process. A Digital PCM enables the retailers manage product information in a hierarchically structured catalog format.
Staff can define a catalog’s structure, create a master taxonomy, classify and categorize products, manage multiple catalog versions, and import multiple supplier catalogs seamlessly from a single UI. Navigating multiple catalog versions from a single drop-down box enables faster catalog updation and efficient management.
- Product Data Syndication And Internalization
The product data syndication feature is an important aspect of a PCM tool. It provides self-service business tools for external suppliers by standardizing the product upload process. They can easily upload, map, and import their product data. Apart from heterogeneous data sources, PCM holds capabilities to aggregate the data from enterprise sources such as Digital Asset Management, ERP, and other subsystems to present a homogeneous view of the product content repository.
The retailers can use the syndication capabilities to map, sync, optimize, and distribute product data to third-party channels such as marketplaces or partners. Product Managers can maintain the product catalogs in multiple languages.
The Final Takeaway
SAP Hybris Commerce is a single self-service commerce system having a core Digital PCM. It empowers retailers to manage product workflow, syndication, classification, bundling, and internalization from a single harmonized view. Managers can define automated workflows and tasks by group of products to boost operational efficiency and manage budgets. With automation of basic routine tasks, staff can concentrate their efforts in planning and executing customer experience strategies.
SAP MDG and SAP Hybris Commerce complement each other to support end-to-end product data management, enrichment, governance, revision control, data quality, workflow rule creation, and channel syndication. SAP Hybris Product Content Management tool also provides a verifiable audit trail of when, why, and by whom the master data was changed.
With this integrated solution suite, retailers can deliver consistent product experiences throughout the customer lifecycle on any device and any channel.
Forrester recommends SAP Hybris as a leader in the commerce space. It is an ideal recommended solution due to the integrated commerce service offerings bundled together in one solution set.
Businesses not implementing a harmonized centralized solution like Hybris PCM are going to face stiff competition and disruption from the market irrespective of the previous industry reputation and size.
However, before you decide to opt for SAP Hybris Commerce solution (On-premises/Cloud) to utilize its Digital PCM offering, it’s important to get a Lean Business Assessment of all your current product management processes and customer journeys.
Organizations must start small, act quick, and put lean strategies in action before utilizing a self-service commerce system like SAP Hybris to maximize the business agility and growth. Why so? Because as a lean retail business, you must create more value for the customers with fewer resources and minimizing waste. Achieving this require modernized product management processes and flexible digital systems running in parallel.
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