Once customers of a large Russian retailer took part in an unusual promotion: buying one pack of sticks for the IQOS heating system they were delivered a whole block instead of one pack. The problem was that the retailer even didn’t announce a sale — employees simply mixed up the position code during publication of information on the retailer’s website. ”The logistics Department didn’t go into the nuances, delivered what was said. So they delivered a block at the price of one pack”, — recalls Eugene Karya, Digital Solutions Manager, IQOS Russia. Such emergency situations aren’t uncommon: for example, when placing products in another store, the employee called the sticks “stickers” and IQOS products got into the Chancellery.
What was at the start?
The commercialization of IQOS in Russia began in 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2017, sales of IQOS sticks in Russia accounted for about 1% (200 million units) of the company’s total shipments. A year later (in the fourth quarter of 2018) this figure rose to 9.3% (1.8 billion units). A number of partner sites where IQOS is being sold also increases with sales growth. The company decided to use Brandquad services to streamline data exchange about its products with third-party sites and to automate this process within the company.
Now the range of IQOS products in shops has about 200 units (SKU) — the devices themselves, sticks, accessories, etc. Changes are ongoing — devices update technical specifications (for example, charging time is reduced), producing country of devices and the sticks. Additionally, several new accessories appear every month. All changes must be reflected on the website.
Prior to working with Brandquad, the process of updating and creating new items descriptions could take IQOS employees from one day to one week. What the process looked like: texts for the products were created by the marketing Department, specifications came from the production and another Department was responsible for the images. It was necessary to collect information from each Department, combine it into one document and send it to stores and each store had its own master file formats.
What has changed?
What has changed after the introduction of the PIM system for managing product data and the automatic creation of Brandquad specifications? Now all the information about each item is kept in one place. “We can add or change information any moment and simultaneously”, — says Eugene Karya, IQOS. At the same time, each unit can enter information independently. IQOS employees provide a link to the file to retailers. “And you can be sure that this file contains the most up-to-date information”, — says Eugene Karya.
Using the Brandquad PIM system, you can accumulate product data in one place, quickly make changes to product cards, comply with items visual presentation standards not only in your channels but also on the partner sites, check the correctness of product information on the pages of online retailers.
Brandquad’s PIM data management system provides online cards for all the characteristics of each product and specification templates for each retailer’s standards that is sent automatically to all relevant information. If something is missing to fill the complete product data template, Brandquad specialists will help you create it: the company has a certified laboratory for producing content where you can find out exact product size and weight, make necessary images, videos and 3D models, prepare a textual description of the product and its characteristics.
How PIM system helps to work with retailers
To work with retailers faster, Brandquad set up a system for automatically uploading and transmitting product data to retailers: specifications in the required format will be automatically downloaded from the PIM system to mail or via API to a retailer. This will increase product listing speed 10 times compared to “manual” mode. Partially this process will be based on machine learning technology which will help to fill out various specification forms with verified company data correctly and quickly.
“The more complete your content is, the more consumer trusts retailer, so the likelihood of choosing this particular seller is growing. Unfortunately, due to the difficulty in obtaining some data, retailers often receive incomplete information — for example, only the data for required fields in product cards on the website. This significantly affects sales”, — says Brandquad COO Daniil Matveev.
Brandquad’s Automated Monitoring System will also monitor data accuracy on retailer websites. This module will automatically and periodically check which data sellers use about products, their availability in stock, prices, promotions, as well as accumulate feedback about products from different areas in Brandquad system.
How long does implementation of Brandquad take? According to Eugene Karya, Digital Solutions Manager of IQOS in Russia, the first negotiations were held at the end of May this year. In mid-June, the company confirmed that it was ready for implementation, made a budget and uploaded content. By July 1, IQOS employees had already begun creating content for new titles in the Brandquad system. “So, it’s been two weeks since we uploaded the content,” — says Eugene Karya. According to him, the company has to finalize the system configuration yet. “The main difficulties are to train retailer partners to work with the system and change the mindset within our company because we haven’t worked with such systems before”, — noted Eugene. In the near future, the system will begin to operate at full capacity, which will allow the company to automate and speed up the creation of content and mitigate errors on the part of retailers and in interaction with them.
Photo in the article: Philip Morris International