Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK – 5 October 2006 - Leading retail systems consultancy PMC, believes that despite the obvious value of a Product Information Management (PIM) strategy, few UK retailers are implementing one. This causes fundamental problems for multiple channel retailers – such as customer confusion and higher cost of sale.

Mike Peirce, head of multichannel retailing at PMC states: “As retailers strive to ensure their brand supports the customer experience, they need to create an information channel to support consumers multichannel needs. An integrated product information channel is as important as their sales channels – it underpins and decides their success.

“As well as a poor customer experience, the true cost of a non-integrated product information channel is similar to an iceberg - you don’t see the 90% hidden in back office duplication, lost sales and weakened brand. The way to success is to create a single integrated information channel - a ‘productpedia’ that holds the definitive vision of product information.”

Most retailers store product information in various systems and sub-systems across different geographies, operations, departments, divisions and brands. Data accuracy and content varies from entity to entity - this creates inconsistencies that hinder an effective multichannel approach and strategy.

The PIM philosophy solves this by managing information from a common interface across all locations - regardless of how or where that information is used or stored, it is collaboratively managed and consumed. The contributors and consumers of content are empowered to create, manage and review product information, keep that information current and significantly enhance the customer experience.

Peirce continues: “It allows retailers to manage product across all channels – in-store, catalogue, e-commerce, mobile, or any other channel. It allows them to scale their retail capacity with one version of the truth by applying context to content.”

When the customer experience across one part of the channel is inconsistent the impact can be far-reaching. A recent survey showed that 85% of customers who had a poor electronic commerce experience stated they would not go back to the web site. More fundamentally, over 29% stated they would not go back to the store.

Peirce closes: “An information strategy is policy, process and systems. It is critical in managing any retail operation because it provides consistency and discipline to drive competitive advantage, improve customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.”

About PMC
Retail systems experts, PMC (Paul Mason Consulting) offers its clients combined retail and IT experience, gained through working at the sharp end of the retail environment. PMC provides business consultancy services covering retail systems strategy, multichannel retailing, system selection, project implementation, support, permanent and contract recruitment and training. The company’s IT implementation services are designed to eliminate implementation concerns and ensure problem free performance. They include project management, configuration, testing, software building, integration and custom enhancements. PMC offers an extensive range of complementary services in conjunction with its business partner network. This encompasses rollout management, network design, training and help desk, recruitment, contract negotiation, procurement and hardware maintenance.

PR contact for PMC
Timothy Diplock
Maxim Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 463 464
Mob: +44 (0) 7767 755 494
Email: timothyd@maxim-marketing.co.uk

Published on: 12:00AM on 5th October 2006