Talend, a global leader in big data integration software, has announced that Travis Perkins, one of the UK’s leading building materials suppliers to construction and home improvement supply stores such as Wickes and Benchmarx, is utilising Talend Data Integration to streamline product data repositories, warehouse and e-commerce functions. Using Talend, Travis Perkins employees can now easily identify duplicates in the inventory system and immediately normalise them so that everyone has a correct view of what’s being sold and the company can accurately showcase its breadth of offerings online.
“Travis Perkins is an excellent example of how developing and implementing more mature data management practices is essential to remaining competitive in today’s fast-paced, multi-channel retail world,” said Ashley Stirrup, CMO, Talend. “Creating a truly enjoyable customer experience in today’s demanding retail environment starts with having one master customer record that every person within your organisation can access. Travis Perkins understands that by unifying their data – from customer information to products to suppliers and beyond – into a single, actionable “version of the truth” enables them to create a “George Clooney experience,” wherein they can treat each customer like a celebrity.”
Thanks to a series of acquisitions, Travis Perkins amassed an inventory of more than half a million items, but information on those products was scattered amongst disparate databases and antiquated enterprise resource planning systems. In order to better serve customer needs, the company moved to a multi-channel selling model, requiring that it migrate its vast product collection online. They had to find an efficient way of pulling together the varied information sources into a unified online catalogue. This meant going through the entire inventory, categorising products, manually filling in missing information and standardising formats.
As with any large catalogue, some information had simply been left out or erroneously populated. The result was lost sales opportunities. Talend software was deployed to help the organisation comb through records and identify gaps. Within the first six months of implementation, more than 30,000 product data updates were made. Talend Data Integration and improved product information helped Travis Perkins Group significantly increase online sales.
“Data quality was becoming a costly issue that was having far-reaching impact on warehouse, shipping and e-commerce functions,” said David Todd, group data director, Travis Perkins. “Incorrect product descriptions and inventory counts were causing delays in order fulfilment, preventing us from being efficient when load planning and capacity managing our warehouses and transportation. For example, a kitchen faucet without the words ‘kitchen tap’ in the description were impeding customers from finding the products for which they were searching. We needed to clean the data in order provide a better customer experience.”
With Talend Data Integration, Travis Perkins is able to validate product descriptions to ensure each one lists the features, benefits, uses and price. For example, it will flag a description containing less than 10 characters because that’s insufficient detail needed for customers to make an informed purchases. As a result of having more detailed product descriptions with brand and category names – which drive meta-data descriptions – Travis Perkins has significantly boosted its organic SEO rankings. Todd said the Wickes chain is now showing up in the top five results in Google search for many common industry terms such as doors.
“Talend is a key component as we move forward with de-duplicating other data types, such as our branch, supplier, employee and customer information,” said Todd. “Ultimately we’d like to push the data entry as far upstream as possible, with self-service entry options for suppliers. Once we get our data quality where we want it, we’ll move on to data analytics and we’re also initiating a new business intelligence strategy in the cloud. Thanks to Talend, Travis Perkins is becoming a truly data-driven company.”