In this section, we will talk about master data challenges. Let us consider the following topics:
- How to organize a catalog to provide fast and relevant access to the list of goods and services
- How to manage prices and price lists
- How to control warehouse stock
- How to accept orders and payments
- Issues related to order processing and notifications to customers.
The analysis is based on basic issues: e.g. determining where the master data is located in which including solution catalog, customer list, orders or payment list? How is the business logic and assigned IT functionality distributed between the different IT systems? Where is the catalog organized as master data, where is it enriched so that it turns from a simple list of goods and/or services into a set of e-commerce solutions on the website?
This process of catalog enrichment requires many aspects such as adding digital content of additional text descriptions, specifications, pictures and videos, brand and model lists, search tags, and so on. This means that additional data processing is required. At the same time, master data must provide fast and relevant access to the digital catalog, allowing the customer to find the website quickly, find the necessary goods (products and services), and then to select the product and proceed to checkout in a real-time.
Another data-related task is where and how to manage prices. This is a very complicated issue, which is of great importance for B2B, where personalization, contracts, certain agreements between the retailer and their client including personal decisions on price management, prevail. Therefore, price regulation can be a tricky process requiring an understanding of how the warehouses monitor the current assortment, the interaction with production side and see on-shelf goods at the moment with the sales forecast based on the production plans.
Other things to explore are how to accept and process orders and payments and how to provide the customers with the opportunity to place their order easy and quickly. What are the ways to successfully accept the payment, process it, run an interaction with the payment system, offering various payment methods like online payment with a bank card, or payment in cash upon delivery (which is relevant for the B2C) or by invoice (B2B)?
The next step is about processing the orders within the retailer and delivery companies — where the orders go after being paid, which app processes them, how the logistics personnel find these goods in the warehouse. Even basic tasks on how status notifications or changes are sent to the customer and how the customer’s system responds to them, need to be algorithmized.