The U.S. online shopping world's biggest day is here, but will strong web sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving cut into Cyber Monday's take?
A data management tool helps Gorjana Griffin keep B2B and B2C sales moving.
Jeweler and accessories merchant Gorjana Griffin Inc. has two distinct businesses—a wholesale division that sells to retailers and a division that sells directly to consumers at Gorjana-Griffin.com. It has upward of 10,000 SKUs to manage, of which about 4,000 are available for sale on the site at any one time, and new designs coming online about every two weeks.
With fewer than 50 employees, keeping everything organized and correct across channels is important—and until recently, it was also tedious and time-consuming, says Ryan Lee, Gorjana Griffin tech manager. His team improved the process by purchasing a product information management, or PIM, system from vendor ClaraStream LLC. That helped cut the time it took to get each product’s information entered on the web site and to update existing SKUs.
“We manually had to do the input for the SKUs, prices and descriptions and, in instances where it was a configurable product, each had its own image and descriptions,” Lee says. “There were a lot of redundancies.”
Gorjana Griffin began looking for a PIM shortly after the company launched a new web site in 2012 to serve both B2B buyers and consumers. The site was built using eBay Inc.’s Magento Enterprise e-commerce software. Lee says Gorjana Griffin evaluated offerings from several vendors but selected a PIM from ClaraStream in part because it was already designed to work on the Magento platform.
ClaraStream is a relatively new entrant to the e-commerce vendor space, having launched in mid-2012, says CEO Matt Tortora. He says the PIM evolved from a program he used in-house when he was a web-only e-retailer himself running on Magento. His former company, Tortora Retail Holdings, was No. 997 in Internet Retailer’s 2012 Second 500 Guide, and operated several e-commerce sites including DomesticModern.com and AreaRugsInternational.com. Today the sites are under new management, though Tortora retains a stake in the business.
“We ran on the Magento platform, and that experience was the genesis behind [ClaraStream],” Tortora says. “We have a first-hand understanding of how labor-intensive it can be to manage product information.”
One of the ClaraStream tools Gorjana Griffin uses to manage its product data is a set of customizable templates. Lee says having those has helped the e-retailer establish protocols and stick to them. This way, a new product doesn’t get loaded to the site if it is missing a key bit of data, like a SKU number or price. The templates also require that everyone who contributes data sticks to the same naming conventions, such as for image names, which reduces errors, Lee says. The biggest time-saver, though, is that the e-retailer can now upload new or updated product data in bulk, as opposed to one by one as before.
For example, Gorjana Griffin recently added a new drop-down menu that lets consumers filter jewelry by style. That meant adding tags, such as stud, hoop, charm and pendant, as applicable, to existing product files. About 2,500 products needed updates, says Brent Jochim, a tech associate at Gorjana Griffin. The team added the filter to the existing template and updated the affected products in the site’s staging environment. “We were able to update the product information in a couple of hours and then we synched it up [with the live site],” Jochim says. “Before, it would have taken us weeks to make such an update.”
The product information on the B2B portion of the site, which resellers have to log in to access and has information exclusive to wholesalers, also stays up to date with changes because all parts of the site point to the same database, Lee says. Previously, if Gorjana Griffin decided to end production of a product, for example, the tech team had to manually delete that product information twice, once from the consumer site and once from the wholesale site. The PIM helps solve that.
Pricing for ClaraStream is based on the number of SKUs managed and which edition of Magento e-retailers use. The monthly fee for an e-retailer managing up to 25,000 SKUs on the free Magento Community edition is $495. E-retailers with up to 50,000 SKUs and which operate on either the Community or Enterprise edition of Magento pay $749 a month. E-retailers with more than 50,000 SKUs get custom pricing.