Babolat drives new D2C sales model with centralized product information management PIM

Founded in 1875, in Lyon, France, Babolat is the longest-running tennis specialist business, manged by the same family for five generations. Today, it is number 1 in tennis racquet sales in the US and its product portfolio includes: racquets, strings, shoes, balls, bags, apparel and accessories

Babolat distributes its products through a network of distributors via a B2B website, a brand showcase website, and a print catalogue. As the business continued to grow globally the company made the decision to set up a direct to consumer operation.

With this in mind, the work on product data enrichment had to be streamlined to satisfy both a B2B audience of distributors, retailers, coaches, and clubs, and as well as their new direct-to-customer audience of tennis players.

Anticipating a need for strong data governance, Babolat set about looking for a flexible Product Information Management (PIM) solution that would meet its needs for centralizing and distributing information to all channels and applications that consume product data for marketing. Specifically, Babolat wanted a multichannel-capable solution to feed their B2C website, B2B website, and print catalogue.

Akeneo PIM Serenity version was selected because the Software as a Service model could be integrated quickly into their technology and process landscape, starting with a “minimum viable product” (MVP) that can be rolled out over time.

Faster sales in new channels and markets

Centralizing product data has shortened the time it takes to get products ready for sale. Babolat no longer needs to recreate a product catalogue for each collection; data can be retrieved from one season to the next. This makes it possible to centrally manage translating product data at headquarters, while relying on the marketing expertise of local product teams. This has enabled Babolat to offer reliable, high-quality product information translated into 8 languages from the launch of its showcase site in Europe and Japan in September 2020. Opening new channels and markets is streamlined due to this centralized product database.

Fewer manual tasks means more time for valued-added work

Babolat’s teams have saved a considerable amount of time on their daily tasks thanks to the centralization of data and more streamlined consistency of the data enrichment workflow resulting from the work done upstream on data governance. Manual tasks have been optimized and automatic data controls have been implemented. The time spent collecting data for the print catalogue was cut by 50%, and made 5 times faster for the web catalogue. Saving time and clarifying the role of the different people involved in product data enrichment has empowered employees. They now have more time to work on value-added marketing projects, better prepare new products, and as a result, feel more involved.

High quality data and a scalable solution for a mixed D2C and B2B sales model

The use of Akeneo PIM has allowed Babolat to deliver complete product data 4 times faster, and reduce the error rate by 400%. This high data quality improves the customer experience as well as the employee experience, since internal teams perform fewer manual tasks. And, the sales teams now have easier access to product data.

The centralized data structure allowed Babolat to move forward on new projects such as opening new markets and the D2C eCommerce websites in target markets with more confidence.
The choice of a SaaS version of Akeneo PIM offers more flexibility and allows Babolat to easily and rapidly benefit from new features as they are released, without having to work on upgrades. Regular updates that include highly anticipated features offer real added value for users who don’t need to wait for scheduled upgrades.

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