Solve the item data dilemma

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Data Management, Retailer Requirements, Retailers

Businesses need accurate, comprehensive item data to thrive in today’s omnichannel environment. If you’re a buying organization (such as a retailer, grocer or distributor), you need item data to determine which products to carry, issue precise orders, streamline fulfillment processes and comply with complex regulatory requirements. On top of this, consumers are driving the need for more item data to enhance their shopping experiences and make well-informed choices.

While buying organizations understand the importance of item data, they often don’t have a consistent, standardized approach for getting the data they need from suppliers.

Common item data challenges

There’s currently no industry standard for item data. As buying organizations expand into multiple sales channels, the lack of standardization makes it more difficult to define the essential information needed for each item across departments and suppliers.

Without a universally accepted standard, the data you receive could have different naming conventions and attribute categories across your suppliers, hindering your efficiency and decision making.

Further, item data is often not captured systematically, which means it lives in multiple systems within your organization. If those systems don’t communicate well with each other, updating and sharing data between departments can be a nightmare.

The challenges don’t end there. Because item data is so hard to capture and maintain, most buying organizations don’t trust the validity of their current data.

Why should you improve your item data?

Since item data is such an overwhelming challenge for everyone, you might wonder why you should devote resources into fixing it.

The answer is simple—to increase profits and improve customer experiences.

You can profitably meet customer expectations when you solve item challenges, with up to a 9% sales lift. With consistent data, your buyers can submit more accurate orders which reduces back and forth communication, lowering your labor costs by up to 25%.

It also means that your storage and shipping costs can be reduced by up to 11% due to improved space planning in your distribution centers and stores.

And, as an added bonus, your customer experience will improve, increasing loyalty and satisfaction and minimizing returns due to incorrect or incomplete item data.

The benefits are real and significant, but the goal to achieve a higher level of item data management may still seem out of reach.

That’s where SPS Commerce comes in.

Go for progress, not perfection

Based on our experience working with buying organizations, we’ve found that a measured approach to solving item data issues is more effective in the long term than huge, sweeping changes. SPS can help you progress on your item initiatives and gradually roll out requirements with your suppliers.

We’ll consult with you to determine your needs and where the greatest opportunity for improvement lies based on how you gather, store and exchange information. Then we’ll prescribe a path for growth to optimize your item data processes. How you access and leverage the data is up to you, but SPS will help gather and translate it for you into the attribute standards you use.

We do this through our new system of item data packages. These packages enable a phased approach to obtaining item data from your suppliers, tackling the many different areas where item data is used in your business.

Our six standardized packages address the industry’s most prevalent challenges, streamlining processes for both buying organizations and their suppliers:

  • Item discovery and selection: identify and order the correct products from suppliers
  • Orders and invoices: plan and orchestrate efficient product movement and storage
  • Supply chain planning: enhance marketing efforts and execute effective replenishment
  • Product planning: enhance marketing efforts and execute effective replenishment
  • Regulatory and compliance: meet regulatory and compliance requirements
  • Online ready: deliver exceptional digital customer experiences

Our solution powers the entire item lifecycle at your buying organization through our proven processes, technology and 20+ years of expertise. With SPS Commerce, you can more effectively leverage your item data to maximize value.

If you’re looking for a better way to get your data, we can help. Click here to learn more and speak to a solution specialist today.

Scott Williams
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