Q&A with Kendra Scott’s Jill Kerr on Managing Product Data

Industry Insight

SalesWarp recently sat down with Jill Kerr, the Director of Merchandising and Production at Kendra Scott Jewelry, to talk about the importance of accurate data and managing product information across multiple channels and systems. Here is what she had to say:

SalesWarp: What is your process for sourcing and “cleaning” product data?
Jill Kerr: This process requires manual auditing and editing. Our Merchandise Process Manager is responsible for the creation and maintenance of product data in all systems.

SW: What is the most time-consuming process involved with managing your product data?
JK: The manual SKU creation process, which includes product build details. All details must be entered in QAD according to our specific product and vendor details, so that the SKU accurately populates on sales and purchase orders.

SW: What manual product management tasks would be most valuable if they were automated? 
JK: SKU/product build creation, out of stock alerts/management, pricing table creation, exclusion reporting, real-time inventory/sales data exchange, forecasting/allocation.

SW: How easy is it for you to set pricing/discounts for groups of products and/or groups of customers?
JK: This occurs very differently in all systems. QAD allows you to create pricing rules by customer. KWI allows you to offer retail promotions and bundle pricing. Magento allows you to create coupon codes/check out rules. We have difficulty fully using any of the functions, since our pricing/discounts vary by customer/channel and our systems don’t seamlessly exchange data.

SW: What systems are you using today to manage your product information?
JK: We operate with three systems:

  • QAD (manufacturing system – houses total wholesale inventory and initial receipts, before retail allocation. Used for purchase order and wholesale sales order creation and fulfillment)
  • KWI (retail POS system – houses only retail store and Web inventory. Front office is the POS system, and back office is used to complete store transfers/replenishment, cycle counting and sales/inventory reporting)
  • Magento (Web platform system – used to manage details of Web content, product images and product availability)

SW: Do you sell on multiple stores? If so, is it important to be able to have consistent data across every store or do you optimize your product data for each store/channel?
JK: It is imperative to have consistent data across every store/channel. In order to do so, we would need to include additional fields that may not be applicable to all channels (for example, wholesale price.)

SW: How do you control inventory across multiple stores?
JK: Inventory management is very difficult across multiple channels and between numerous systems. The majority of inventory management is manual. We access selling and inventory levels from the systems and analyze/react outside of the system.

SW: Is your product management system stand-alone or part of a bigger solution? If stand-alone, how many different systems are integrated with your product management solution?
JK: We operate three individual system solutions, with fairly basic inventory, sales transactions and data exchange between systems.

SW: Do you use an ERP system? If so, do you find that traditional ERP systems are able to provide you features you need for selling online? Do they provide more than you need? How easy is it to use?
JK: QAD is marketed as an ERP system, though we are not currently using it in the traditional ERP manner.

SW: How long does it take you to get your products to market on average, from the time you receive inventory at your warehouse to the time you can publish the product information to your website?
JK: If product images and content are complete prior to the date of the receipt, we typically can have product available to sell on the website in one to two days. If additional product information or images are needed, it typically takes one to two weeks.

SW: How do you manage upsell and cross-sell products? Is it done automatically?
JK: All upselling and cross-selling is handled manually. We review inventory positions and sales opportunities, by channel, and initiate stock rebalances and/or transfers as needed. We utilize reports and browses within the system to obtain the data needed.

SW: How many different departments need access to the product data? Do you find it difficult to keep one source of data?
JK: All departments in our company need access to product data in some way. Finance, Merchandising, Wholesale Sales, Retail/Store Ops, Web and Customer Service actively use our systems to access the data. Other departments, including Product Development/Design, Marketing and Event Planning, are provided product data by Merchandising.

SW: Do you often encounter product information being over-written when it is imported or having to manually duplicate information across systems?
JK: Yes, we consistently encounter issues with our nightly batch run between systems. Our product information is manually entered in QAD and KWI separately. Ideally KWI then feeds that data to Magento, but we consistently have to monitor and make edits. Product data creation and editing is a very time-consuming, duplicative process.

We want to thank Jill for her time and for giving us insights into how Kendra Scott approaches product and merchandising management. Learn how SalesWarp improves product data management, streamlines inventory management by centralizing data across multiple channels and systems.