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Ace Hardware is known as the The Helpful Place ® by both customers and communities. For its first 50 years in business, Ace was privately held. In 1976, it became a retailer-owned cooperative. Each store is independently owned and operated by local entrepreneurs who often live in the communities they serve. With 4,600 stores in all 50 states and more than 60 countries, Ace is the largest retailer-owned cooperative and a clear leader in the convenience segment of the hardware industry.
With a strong focus on customer satisfaction, Ace needed to arm its retailers and associates with information at the click of a button to help customers find the right products to meet their needs. The company’s ACENET solution—a portal for Ace Retailers to look up and search for products—maintains information on 90,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) and receives approximately 129,000 hits each day. The company had an excellent search engine with Oracle Endeca Guided Search, but it needed to standardize and organize its product content to make product identification and location more effective. Ace worked with Oracle partner ByteManagers, Inc. to implement Oracle Enterprise Data Quality Product Data Parsing and Standardization to optimize product data and drive search effectiveness in its ACENET search.
Ace selected Oracle Enterprise Data Quality Product Data Parsing and Standardization due to its tight integration with Oracle Endeca Guided Search and ability to optimize product data for searchability within Oracle Endeca. The company was also impressed with the Oracle solution’s ability to examine every product category.
“With Oracle Enterprise Data Quality, we were able to identify holes in our data and be more proactive in meeting our customers’ needs,” said Scott Heyer, manager of store systems, Ace Hardware.
Ace Hardware implemented Oracle Enterprise Data Quality Product Data Parsing and Standardization in three phases. First, the company conducted an exercise where it evaluated attributes every item should have. It first identified brand and product type as two classifications that would provide quick wins and an immediate return on investment. Second, the team worked on navigation and product description standardization. Finally, in the third phase, Ace created user friendly expanded descriptions, introducing subcategory product-specific attributes, such as units of measure, material types, and finish/colors.
Ace Hardware worked with Oracle partner ByteManagers to specify required product attributes. ByteManagers then configured the system to identify, extract, and standardize these attributes for improved search and navigation. The partner had two team members onsite at Ace and a team of three analysts offsite.