Managing fashion brands across channels
BY SIMON EDEL
Centralised and media-neutral data management is essential for modern and efficient omnichannel marketing. To supply numerous catalogue productions, online shops, and marketplaces efficiently with the product information of its four brands, the Popken Fashion Group uses Online Media Net (OMN) by apollon.
Data export, product categorisation, asset links, voice adaptations: simultaneous brand and product presentations on multiple channels can quickly become expensive in terms of both money and time for international companies. High quality, systemic and centralised data management, from Product Information Management (PIM) to Media Asset Management (MAM), not only reduces costs but ideally reduces the time-to-market period as well. Modern IT and intelligent, automated workflows process the huge data volumes of all goods and services of an enterprise and ensure that they are provided at the earliest opportunity, in the best quality and at the right place. Recently, the Popken Fashion Group decided to use the holistic, integrated system Online Media Net (OMN), by the Pforzheim based company, Apollon GmbH + Co. KG, as an enterprise solution for their entire fashion business. Over 40 years’ experience in the fashion industry mean the Popken Fashion Group is one of the industry’s major players. The company operates more than 600 stores and has more than 4,000 employees worldwide. In addition to various online stores for its four private labels, Ulla Popken, JP 1880, GINA Laura and STUDIO UNTOLD, the fashion pieces are also sold through numerous franchise and shop-in-shop partnerships. “Our fundamental requirement for a new data management system was to optimise the overall chain of business processes for the integration of all clients, languages and sales channels sustainably, and to manage them via a unified and centralised system,” explains Dr Hans-Joachim Schöffel, CEO of brand GINA LAURA. This includes a steady supply of all stores as well as the print productions in the network with up-to-date data, such as product, product category and presentation media at all time, and the greatest possible flexibility in terms of new markets, marketplaces (including Amazon), language versions and brands. “We also wanted a system that is not only compliant with today‘s functionality, but that viable for the future, too,” Dr Schöffel added. The technological basis of OMN and its options for individual configuration provide optimal conditions for these requirements and purposes. In only eleven months, the system was introduced iteratively to the Popken Fashion Group. The system was fully operational in time for production of the spring catalogues 2015. As central control unit for all markets, marketplaces and online stores, Online Media Net offers significant advantages. Here, OMN essentially serves as a linchpin for any data and assets required to be available in all distribution channels. XML-based interfaces, which connect to all of the fashion company’s pre-processing systems (e.g. ERP, PDM), serve as the basis for importing data. All updated data is exported by Online Media Net once a day via a secure and reliable process to all shops and marketplaces. The system detects any changes, such as part numbers, product descriptions, image data or category assignments automatically. To save resources, the process is performed incrementally, that means only data differences are delivered and updated. It is also possible to export data on demand at any time per mouse click, meaning that products can be updated immediately and positioned in a very short time to market. The intuitive language management function simplifies both editing as well as adapting language versions, avoiding costly repeated translations, i.e. for old stock. Thus, the Popken Fashion Group not only gains more flexibility in the development of new markets and marketplaces, but also reduces translation costs significantly. Also, local circumstances and target group-specific sales patterns can be addressed individually. While in many systems, the order in which the goods are presented in online stores is inevitably linked to part numbers, data labelling or naming, OMN lets you choose the order for each store respectively, regardless of article descriptions. This way, the product presentation can be adapted precisely to suit target customers. A novelty for the Popken Fashion Group is the possibility of multiple product categories ‒ the previous system allowed for only one category to be selected at a time. The new function eliminates many time-consuming processes to manually map data and goods to all required categories of individual shops. With the ‘Weberator’, Online Media Net provides Popken Fashion Group with a tool that features numerous functions to control the existing image data. This allows not only for a completeness check of the required images but also cutouts for detailed views and close-ups can be set manually and directly. In addition, with the Weberator an image correction process can be initiated if a correction or modification of images is desired. The integrated search capabilities also simplify data management, especially for old stock: product and image assets can be searched by keywords at any time and can thus be quickly adapted to changing circumstances. The ‘Online Briefing’ is another time saver: graphic design departments and photo studios can be briefed on upcoming product catalogues and other promotional material immediately, thus making cumbersome coordination processes through third programs a thing of the past. The export of print data happens directly in Adobe InDesign. Dr Hans-Joachim Schöffel says: “With Online Media Net, our omni-channel marketing has reached a new level. The system increases the flexibility of our marketing campaigns across all channels significantly and also supports us in the expansion of our business activities in new markets through secure processes.”
Apollon GmbH + Co. KG offers integrated and comprehensive solutions for multiple requirements in the areas of product data management, cross media publishing, omnichannel commerce and online marketing.
apollon GmbH+Co. KG
Popken Fashion Services GmbH
This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue Q2 2015. Picture credit: © John Pratt/Getty Images