Data Harmonisation in Travel Retail

In this post, I want to talk about our specialist subject. Data harmonisation in Travel Retail.

Data is the lifeblood of modern travel retail businesses. Retailers gather a wealth of data on their customers, sales, inventory, and operations. However, much of this data exists in different formats and systems, making it difficult to combine and analyse.

For brands working in the Travel Retail space, retailers send sell out files and other data across in different formats and file types. Because each retailer uses different product codes and descriptions for products, this adds complexity for brands trying to evaluate their regional or global performance quickly and effectively.

Within Travel Retail, you have the added complexity of different languages, different product hierarchies and currencies to contend with.

This is where data harmonisation comes in.

What is Data Harmonisation?

Data harmonisation is the process of transforming and combining data from different sources into a standardised format. In the context of retail sales data, this means bringing together sales data from different stores, channels, and systems into a common format that can be easily analysed and compared. This process involves several steps, including data mapping, data transformation, and data normalisation.

  • Data mapping is the process of identifying the different data sources and mapping the data elements to a common set of definitions. This ensures that data from different sources can be combined and analysed in a consistent way.
  • Data transformation involves converting data from its original format to the common format. This may involve converting data types, standardising units of measurement, and cleaning up data errors.
  • Finally, data normalisation involves ensuring that data is consistent across all sources, such as ensuring that product names and SKUs are standardized.

What Are The Benefits?

The benefits of data harmonisation are numerous. First and foremost, it allows retailers and brands to gain a more complete view of their business by combining data from different sources. This can help retailers and brands identify trends and patterns that would be difficult to detect otherwise. For example, by combining sales data from different channels, retailers and brands can identify which channels are driving the most sales and where there may be opportunities for growth.

Second, data harmonisation can help retailers make better decisions by providing them with accurate and timely information. By having a unified view of their business, retailers and brands can make data-driven decisions about inventory management, pricing, and marketing. This can help retailers optimise their operations and improve their bottom line.

Third, data harmonisation can improve data quality by ensuring that data is consistent and accurate across all sources. This can help retailers avoid costly mistakes, such as overstocking or understocking products. By having accurate and consistent data, retailers can also reduce the time and effort required for data entry and management.

In order to achieve the benefits of data harmonisation, retailers need to invest in the right people, technology and processes. This may involve implementing data integration software, data mapping tools, and data quality management processes.

Brands may also need to invest in training and resources to ensure that their staff are able to effectively analyse the data.

In Summary

In conclusion, data harmonisation is a critical process for retailers and brands looking to gain a more complete view of their business and make better decisions. By combining data from different sources into a standardised format, retailers and brands can identify trends and patterns, make data-driven decisions, and improve data quality.

While achieving data harmonisation can be challenging, the benefits are well worth the effort. At One Red Kite, we have over 10 years of experience of harmonising data for brands to give them clean, accurate data when they need it. We make the process easy for our clients.

As ever, thank you for reading & following.

Have a great week.


Founder & Managing Director
One Red Kite Limited

Author of “Travel Retail : The Insider’s Guide”
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