Homeware and gift retailer, Sass & Belle, wraps-up product experiences with Akeneo

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This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Homeware and gift retailer, Sass & Belle, wraps-up product experiences with Akeneo.

British home and giftware retailer, Sass & Belle, is to partner with Akeneo, the Product Information Management (PIM) and Product Experience Management (PXM) solutions provider, to drive operational efficiencies and scale international growth.

The design-led home and giftware brand is the brainchild of founder Richard Stone, who launched the business in 1998.  Sass & Belle designs whimsical products across its homeware, gifting, living and kids collections to bring the joy of home sprucing and the love of gift-giving to its customers.

Fast becoming an internationally recognised brand, it operates a wholesale-first strategy across Europe, selling through a network of retail stockists as well as a Direct To Consumer (DTC) offer through its ecommerce website in the UK.

As part of its ambitions to spearhead growth and future-proof its international operations across both wholesale and DTC channels, Sass & Belle is undergoing a re-platforming implementation.  Migrating to BigCommerce via its systems integration partner Space 48, the move to a SaaS-led, microservice and app-based ecosphere will allow the Sass & Belle ecommerce team more freedom to build in custom-functionality, as well as setting the platform up for scale as the giftware brand eyes international growth.  

A key part of the migration will be to update the existing Product Information Management (PIM) capabilities, which currently run from the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution and don’t offer the robustness, scale or flexibility needed to meet Sass & Belle’s growth ambitions.  Having conducted a full review of the PIM solutions space, Sass & Belle selected Akeneo, based on its established reputation as a market leader in Product Experience Management (PXM), as well as being able to support both the wholesale and DTC operations.  

Central to Akeneo’s selection was the capability to offer translations through its PIM solution, which will streamline the wholesale business unit’s growth in new European markets.  Akeneo Content Translator will be used to translate localised product attributes from one locale to multiple markets to ensure product data accuracy and consistency across international trading. 

And, because all product data will be held centrally on one platform, each team feeding into the product journey – from product development to ecommerce and marketing – will contribute towards product data enrichment, ensuring better quality and product information accuracy and consistency.  

This is especially important for giftware where the range of SKUs from collection to collection or season to season is so vast.  It will also help streamline compliance for certain product types, such as hazard warning and caution labels on children’s products and toys, depending on the regulations in each locale.

Clare Kelly, Head of Ecommerce at Sass & Belle, commented: “Because we lovingly design our range of giftware products as well as retailing them, it means we’re launching product types and new collections all the time.  With everyone working off disparate systems - or even Excel sheets - this was just adding levels of complexity to the business process of getting products to market and available to buy.  

Being able to manage everything through the PIM, from product attributes to product ownership at each stage of the product lifecycle, means we’ll be set up to be much more efficient and future-proofed to scale at speed.”

James Barlow, Director UK&I at Akeneo, commented: “Sass & Belle’s offer celebrates the joy of uniqueness, but while its creative collections embrace quirkiness, its product data needed to have structure and process put in place to help it deliver consistent but still brand-rich product experiences across its sales channels.  

“By unifying product data on one platform, there is now a central, single source of truth for product information, which can be leveraged across its international growth markets.”

Akeneo will go live across all of Sass & Belle’s sales channels in Summer 2023 once the re-platforming project is complete.

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