MicroD has worked with manufacturers and retailers in the home furnishings industry for decades. One thing that has become a bigger pain point for our retailers and those entering the industry is product catalog data.
Why Manufacturer Catalog Data Matters
Catalog Data is the driving force of your home furnishings business. Retailers must keep fresh content online at all times.
In the March/April issue of Furniture World, Amitesh Sinha wrote an article on the Future of Retail Decision Making. Sinha goes into the weeds with Big Data and Business Intelligence. One note that stood out to us was this: Fast Data and Big Data work hand in hand to optimizes sales, merchandising, and marketing.
Connections between catalog data and merchandising come down one factor. The business intelligence of your website or eCommerce platform is the key. If you do have the ability to “suggest similar products” based on the currently viewed SKU, you can win a customer. How? By keeping the customer engaged online with your similar products when one won’t fit their needs. This is especially valuable if your suggested products are accessories to supplement the SKU at hand.
Marketing and your catalog data are a little more delicate connections. The goal for many home furnishings retailers in 2017 is to drive traffic to their site and encourage in-store pickup and buy. We talked about these retail trends in our blog. If you’ve had the social and marketing experience that many of our retailers had, you’re frustrated. Often, you lose creative ways to drive traffic to the same home page every post. With updated manufacturer catalog data, you can use those product pages within your marketing strategy. MicroD has implemented this best practice for our Strategic Services customers in 2017 with success. Driving traffic doesn’t mean sending every visitor to the home page. Create the digital customer journey you want the home furnishings customer to have.
The obvious connector between catalog data and sales is the customer journey.
Customer Journey and Data
The rise of omnichannel has turned the catalog data from nice-to-have into must-have.
Read more about what Omnichannel really is… Click Here
Customers are online researching the perfect sofa or home furnishings piece. In a recent study, more than 81% of customers search online before making the decision to buy. Your website is more than a brand calling card for this invaluable step of the customer journey. New and current customers need to find your website (more on than in a later blog) and identify what products are available in-store. This is the delicate balance of omnichannel. Fresh, updated catalog data will inform the customer and improve their confidence in your retail store. Imagine a home furnishings customer searches for a certain sofa online. They find your website. Will they find the inventory to match their search requirements? Out of date catalog data is one of the primary reasons a customer abandons the journey on your website.
How to Get Better Catalog Data
Reach out to your manufacturers. Seems easier said that done, right? Retailers in the home furnishings industry often have certain points of contact for certain manufacturer brands. Many of these retailers have little to no time set aside to talk with their rep or dealer contact. The end result? Abandoned catalog initiatives. There are ways to improve the status of your catalog inventory online. But everything takes time.
If you have no time and need big improvements to your catalog data, reach out to a catalog data partner.
About MicroD’s Manufacturer Catalog Data
MicroD partners with manufacturers and retailers to keep the highest quality catalog data in the home furnishings industry. MicroD has built relationships with home furnishings manufacturers over the last 20 years. Our retail clients get the benefits of these relationships with updated catalog data.