Master Data in eCommerce - Part 3: Bringing it all together

This is the final post of a three part blog series on the importance of master data in eCommerce.

Part 1:  The customer – We looked at some typical enterprise data points around the customer and identify where that data typically resides.  We talked about how to collect and reconcile that data into a single view of the customer – the elusive golden record.

Part 2: The product – We looked at some typical enterprise data points around product (or productized services) and the multiple systems that typically house that data.  We also looked at PIM/DAM/MDM options.

Part 3: Bringing it all together – We’ll illustrate, though use case, how a documented inventory of managed data can be used to enhance the customer experience.  We’ll look at the notion of a digital content model that includes integrated customer and product master data.

Part 3:  Bringing it all together

What's the desired eCommerce master data influenced outcome that we're shooting for? What does success look like?

An optimized managed data model (content model) is a key foundational element of a customer experience strategy that empowers content editors, marketers and merchandisers to consistently connect with their customers on more meaningful level then ever before.

Use Case

What does this look like in practice?  I'm a merchandiser for large camping company.  We're featuring a new line of high performance tents, sleeping bags & accessories that are designed for extremely cold environments.  The line has premium pricing and and is targeted for the performance camper; someone who's camping objectives include ascending a summit or completing a technical trail for time.  It's not for the SUV family camping experience or the backyard outdoor customer segment. 

  • As a Product Manager / Merchandiser, I have a guided process that assists me in categorizing and classifying the new product in alignment with catalog categories, customer segments (personas), location fits, technical attributes, etc.  The process is consistent and repeatable.  I'm assisted by workflows and exception reports to ensure that all products have the necessary personalized marketing copy, imagery and are appropriately tagged.  
  • As a Merchandiser / Marketer, I'm able to pull customer counts for performance hiker profiles that reside in the central & northern states, and have a history of purchasing large ticket items.  Within the next newsletter, I'm able to create a fall camping feature for that 3 dimensional customer segment.  I feature targeted messaging, 'buy x, get y' companion offer and customer specific location personalization.  This profile is a dynamic customer segement, so new customers that fit this profile are automatically added.    

The benefits of a managed data model are wide ranging and will surface at every area of the organization. With the right architecture and systems...

  • Merchandisers will enjoy a consistent, workflow assisted process to onboard new product into the catalog.
  • Content authors will enjoy a personalized AX (author experience) that lets them efficiently produce content in context of the audience that they want to reach.  
  • Marketers can centralize their content into a central system, and use that system to publish content across devices & channels (COPE:  Create once, publish everywhere)
  • Reporting can be centralized and cross all devices & channels.  User journey reports and attribution reporting can cross devices & channels.  

Master data management (MDM) is critical to a well architected eCommerce implementation.  It helps foster an understanding of the customer's relationship and actions with the company at every point during the customer journey.  It solves the barrier of the data silo, which is a key blocker to an optimized experience.  As static eCommerce systems are abandoned in favor of eCommerce enabled customer experience management solutions, an MDM strategy becomes table stakes.