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7 Critical Reasons Why Retailers Must Manage Multichannel Information as it Happens

January 14, 2013 By Mikael Lyngsø
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Businesses have worked feverishly to optimize their physical supply chains. However, a growing number of retailers are taking a similar interest in optimizing the flow and management of the related product information. Merchants must look beyond a Band-Aid approach to their strategic multichannel information challenges and find a holistic, full-cycle approach that enables management teams to continually receive and use accurate strategic information about their products, customers and suppliers to develop a sustainable competitive advantage. Done correctly, this approach can result in seven critical benefits:

Reason No. 1: Drive revenue. When all operational product information is integrated across channels, marketing and customer support teams can have the accurate information they need to make the sale and retain the customer. Timely and more relevant information at the point of sale can also help improve cross-sell and upsell conversions while enabling fast, accurate and relevant responses to product information queries.

Reason No. 2: Reduce operating costs. Studies have found that merchants generally have accurate inventory information on only 35 percent of their items. This results in lost sales, unacceptable levels of obsolete inventory and high carrying costs. Product returns are another challenge, as the value of product returns now exceeds $100 billion annually according to one report. A full-cycle information management strategy and process can help reduce product returns while improving inventory accuracy, optimizing inventory levels and reducing carrying costs. It can also reduce product onboarding costs by helping companies avoid errors and inconsistencies in product and vendor data.

Reason No. 3: Improve cash levels. Improving and maintaining healthy cash flow levels continues to be a top concern for senior management. By holistically integrating all operating information together into one management platform, chief experience officers are reducing IT infrastructure, inventory and related costs. In fact, a major global retailer used this full-cycle approach to bring down its average onboarding costs from more than $200 per item to less than $3 per item.

Reason No. 4: Mitigate risk. The need to keep a tight rein on global risk exposure has never been greater. Businesses must be ready to handle product recalls if and when they occur. In the event of a recall, having the right strategy in place can help better track affected products by all necessary attributes, drastically improving reaction time, increasing customer loyalty and lowering risk exposure.

Reason No. 5: Accelerate time to market. Studies have shown that high-performing companies generate, on average, 61 percent of their sales from successful introductions of new products and services. However, the process of developing and introducing a new product is complex. Even the simplest products today can have hundreds of attributes, derived from multiple systems that reside both within and outside the organization. Multidomain information management platforms can help businesses overcome this challenge by integrating all operational information across all business units, divisions and systems into one central repository.



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