Harrods has improved customer experience for shoppers at its famous London department store after deploying Informatica's product information management (PIM) software.
The retail firm - which is nearly 200 years old - introduces more than a million products to its high-end Knightsbridge store each year, across a wide range of categories from food to technology and jewellery.
While managing data for all of its goods is significant challenge for Harrods, it has become increasingly central to improving experience for customers.
"We recognised that revolutionising the way we manage product data is going to be key in delivering a revolutionary customer experience programme," said Peter Rush, Harrods' lead PIM consultant, speaking at Informatica's EMEA summit last week.
The company chose to deploy PIM software in 2013, going live at the end of last year. This allowed Harrods to connect a variety of data across its operations more easily, as well as enhancing the quality of data, and improving the availability of information to all staff members.
This had a direct impact on customer experience in a variety of ways. One example is that, with access to more detailed product information on the shop floor staff are now able to quickly direct customers to relevant brands throughout Harrods - a frequent challenge given the 12 acres of shop floor space.
"We were able to use the PIM to record information about a brands location within the store, and serve that up via the standard PIM APIs with a simple web or mobile front-end," said Rush.
"We have given the tool to every user on the shop floor and made it easier for customers to find brands wherever they might be. We are now helping a thousands customers find the brand they are looking for, where previously they were not able to."
He added that the next phase of this initiative will be to add a greater depth of data, with information on individual products. "So if I am looking for a particular product or product category within a brand I can get down to that level as well and that will be embedded."
Struggling with in-store data
Managing product information data has not always been so seamless for the retailer. Even after enhancing data for its online sales platform - a process which was previously been very manual and spreadsheet-intensive - successfully connecting information across its organisation had remained a challenge.
"Time had been put in to getting [online sales] data ready so that it is good enough to go onto the Harrrods.com website, and the only people who got access to that information are the ecommerce channel themselves," said Rush.
"No-one in the enterprise would be able to see that information, and no-one would be able to make use of it."
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