Digital Transformation in the Furniture Industry – From Requirements to Reality
If you sleep on digital transformation, you’ll miss out on the future!
New competitors from other industries challenge well-established companies. Usually, they are more flexible, faster, and closer to the customer.
Omni-Channel Business for Better Clearance Sales
True, it may be the case that some of the big furniture stores are currently gaining ground on the internet and challenging the so-called pure players. For the latter, however, the opposite is the case as they are tapping into new offline sales channels. Big online retailers which have previously limited themselves to the online world are now expanding towards channels such as print catalogs and stationary sales via outlet centers. As it turns out, both worlds converge.
Product Data – The Be-All and End-All of Successful Business
To be successful, retailers and manufacturers need product data. On a daily basis, high-quality product data and product images are required for various areas, e.g. for marketplaces, software houses, agencies, and customers. In the times of multi-channel and omni-channel, the demand for product data continuous to grow exponentially. Product descriptions, technical data, media assets, prices, options and variants, as well as availability and delivery time of products in various languages – data is indispensable for future success. In this context, the topic of Product Information Management occupies a central role.
From Onboarding to Sales Channels
The path to become a digital company leads through the smart use of data, including consistent data organization and management without redundancy. Handling this is barely possible with manual labor. After all, data is usually scattered over various departments and data sources. In short: you’re searching for the needle in the haystack. The solution is a central system, a flexible data hub, a PIM tool. It’s the only solution for bolstering your market strength against the new competitors. For example, it allows retailers and manufacturers to open up new markets and online channels, parallel to print media like flyers or outlets – all with the help of automation. Regardless of whether the product data is to be provided online or offline or both. Of course, it’s not the cure-all for all problems, but it’s still the enabling condition for an efficient and flexible Product Communication.
The deciding factor is what your customer wants. Up until now, stationary stores profited from a unique selling point: customers can get direct advice from product experts eye-to-eye. However, the corona pandemic and the related shutdown of independent shops have shown that companies must be flexible when it comes to reacting to current challenges and securing their competitive edge. Your goal should be to provide furniture on all relevant channels, designing product experiences (e.g. by providing features such as product configurators or augmented reality), and making sure that the transition from one channel to another is as smooth as possible. Digitalization comes with new ways of supporting consumers in all steps throughout their customer journey. Once you’ve realized this goal, you’ve made a substantial contribution to establishing your competitive market position.
Flyers, brochures, and catalogs are all integral parts of the product experience of today’s customer. They’re still as essential as they used to be. The magic word is “personalized” and “individualized” content advertising. Once again, we’ve come full circle: everything is grounded upon data.
Digital – but the Good Kind!
The topic of transformation encompasses more than simply connecting a few IT systems for data exchange. Many companies struggle hard when it comes to re-configuring their existing IT systems so that they can at least establish the bare minimum of what is required for a fast and up-to-date information chain for product data. Yet, they’re still unable to meet all of today’s requirements, not to speak of the requirements of tomorrow. E-mailing an excel list here and copy-pasting a PDF file there – staying true to the motto, “that’s how we always used to run things.” More often than not, such provisional re-configurations are but ‘disimprovements.’ Some retailers have to process one and the same set of product data records up to 3 or 4 times to provide it to customers via all profitable channels. Not a lot of companies have managed to fully optimize all of their processes. Data is transferred from one system to the next, it’s collected and refined – yet, there still remain many gaps and holes in the overall workflow. The true endgame is one unified strategy, everything else is sub-optimal.
Let’s summarize our scope of tasks and objectives:
- Building a central system for managing all product information and documents (channel-neutral)
- Onboarding of supplier data (manufacturers, subcontractors)
- Securing a continuous and sustainable quality data flow (text and media)
- Communicating with international customers (multi-lingual)
- Customer relations management (using customer and purchase data, individualization and personalization)
- Multi-/omni-channel, efficient data provision for various sales channels (stationary shops, print, online, mobile, product configurators, planning systems, etc.)
- Data provision for electronic catalog generation (classifications and standards, e.g. eCl@ss, ETIM, IDM, GS1, etc.)
eggheads Suite – Your Standard for Qualitative Product Content
For all these points, eggheads has developed a sector-independent standard solution, eggheads Suite. Our software allows you to supply all sorts of channels used for omni-channel commerce with a consistent brand presence. And that in multiple languages. We’re more than happy to demonstrate the highlights of our software to you in a 30-minute demo tour live and in color. In a personal discussion, we can determine together how we can be of help and improve your data processes – completely for free and without any commitments on your end. Secure your demo appointment.