The service, provided by Inovis, is used by several department store retailers and suppliers in the US already. House of Fraser will initially use it to capture data on all the products it sells directly, although it could be extended to concessions.
Product data, such as price, colour and size, will be captured and managed by Inovis and distributed to House of Fraser in a single format. The retailer expects to improve data quality and cut out manual processes using the service.
House of Fraser commercial director Colin Porter said that it chose to join this data pool because many of its branded suppliers use it in the US.
“Inovis has experience with department stores in the US, so it was a good fit in terms of our way of working,” he said.
“We are engaging with all our brands for this new service, even if they are already doing it in the US.”
During the first phase of the project, the data provided by suppliers to Inovis will be used by staff in House of Fraser’s support centre.
At a later date, the service will incorporate more complex data, such as the content of fabrics, and link House of Fraser’s systems directly to the data pool to create more automation.
Porter said that the retailer wants to get as many suppliers on board as possible in the next three to 12 months.
He added that the requirement should not be onerous for suppliers. He said: “We are asking them for data that they give us anyway. They won’t get loads of questions from our end any more, so they will benefit too.”