Focus on: E-commerce
The e-commerce experience has expanded beyond desktop environments and moved in-store via Web-based kiosks and consumers’ personal mobile devices. One of the biggest hurdles for retailers is delivering a consistent, rich, user experience across all digital channels. Eager to overcome this challenge, Best Buy Canada sought a solution to streamline digital information delivery.
“Our consumers expect to have a rich experience, one that provides robust details helping them make a purchase,” said Robert Pearson, VP e-commerce, Best Buy Canada, Burnaby, B.C., which operates approximately 225 stores under the Best Buy, Future Shop and Best Buy Mobile banners.
Pearson explained that Best Buy was managing product information, photos and supplier information with a homegrown API (application program interface) system that was installed in 1998. It served as an interface that allowed the retailer’s digital channels to communicate and synchronize data in real time.
“This interface synchronized price, product information and imagery across all of our channels,” he said.
As data volume increased, this solution struggled to manage workflow and delivery of information, especially more robust files such as pictures and videos. It also took a toll on the overall shopper experience as the retailer used its digital channels to expand its assortments by adding more SKUs.
Best Buy Canada canvassed the marketplace for a workflow solution that could bundle delivery of collateral appearing on digital channels, and eliminate the complexity of managing individual data files. The chain wanted an open solution that could be integrated onto its existing operating platform. The solution also had to be able to manage multi-lingual data files since the company operates in English and French.
The retailer selected a master data management (MDM) solution from Stibo Systems, Atlanta, to optimize its customers’ online and mobile e-commerce experience. Providing a common point of reference, Stibo’s STEP platform is helping Best Buy Canada link all of its critical digital files into one master file. This move will streamline data-sharing and workflow among the retailer’s channels. Once the data migration is complete, the retailer plans to connect all its suppliers to the platform.
“Currently, our vendors’ data points are outside of our firewalls, so they use a manual Excel spreadsheet to share data, and we input it on our end,” Pearson said. “The new platform will allow them to enter a portal to update content.”
Once the files are received, Best Buy Canada can edit, analyze and bundle creative and pricing files for all content pages. (The retailer has more than 500 suppliers in its network.) The company is currently migrating its existing data to Stibo’s MDM platform, and plans to begin using the solution in the first quarter of 2013.