However, no matter how soon a marketing technology should be embraced, it’s clear that nearly all of it depends on one factor: the retailer’s vast store of data. Whether a product appears in a personalized app, in a digital “smart sign” or in an ordinary catalog or mailer, it is always represented by data – lots of it. Every SKU has multiple data points that must move smoothly, and without error, to the marketing “interface” of the retailer. Every good shopping experience must have a connection to data about relevant products.
Think about it for a moment. A retailer stores product data in a Product Information Management or PIM database. Maybe more than one; pricing could be separate. Add to that all the photos and descriptions for each product, all coming from different manufacturers and landing, somehow, in the retailer’s Digital Asset Management or DAM system. On top of that, there may be separate inventory and sales databases, not to mention marketing planning, customer feedback, and who-knows-what else.
Most of these data sources are proprietary, developed over time on a more or less ad hoc basis. Even if they are robust and versatile, they usually cannot be replaced. They must be made to work well with other databases, no matter what new marketing channel emerges.