Register Now
Request Demo
    Hero Shape

    What Is Data Governance? (And Why It Matters for Brands and Retailers)

    August 23, 2022
    7 minute read
    What Is Data Governance? (And Why It Matters for Brands and Retailers)

    Accurate product and service data can make the difference between repeat sales and dissatisfied customers.

    In other words, your data can make or break you.

    The cost of poor-quality data is staggering. According to Gartner research, organizations believe poor data quality is responsible for an average of $15 million per year in losses.

    What’s even more jarring: Gartner found that almost 60% of businesses surveyed report they don’t measure the annual financial cost of poor-quality data.

    For brands and retailers looking to streamline online sales and win the digital shelf, accurate and complete product data has never been more important.

    But achieving this goal takes more than acknowledgment — it requires robust data governance processes that provide actionable frameworks for success.

    This post will dive into data governance: what it is, how it works, and why it matters for brands and retailers.

    What Is Data Governance?

    As defined by TechTarget, data governance is “the process of managing the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data in enterprise systems, based on internal data standards and policies that also control data usage.”

    While the concept sounds complicated, in practice, it’s quite simple. With this process, you should know:

    • What data you have;
    • How accurate your data is; and
    • Where your data overlaps with other data sources.

    From there, you should create policies to handle and use your data to ensure your information used internally and externally (or posted online) is accurate, complete, and timely.

    What Are the Key Components of End-to-End Data Governance?

    While specific strategies differ based on an organization’s offerings and geographic location, there are three common components of effective, end-to-end governance:


    People use data. As a result, people play a critical role in its governance. From front-line staff and IT managers to chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs), it’s critical to have employees fully on board before deploying a governance initiative.


    Implementing effective governance of your data requires clear-cut policies around data collection, use, access, and sharing. In addition, these policies must apply across the entire organization — and consistency is key to success.


    Finally, companies need technology capable of underpinning governance frameworks. Common solutions include customer relationship management (CRM) tools, data analytics solutions, and customer experience management platforms.

    What Does Data Governance Look Like in Different Departments?

    Data governance varies across departments. For example, sales and marketing departments might prioritize the accuracy and reliability of customer data to inform new campaigns. If this data is outdated — or incorrect — efforts to generate brand interest will fall flat.

    When it comes to managing online storefronts and digital shelves, governance is all about making sure that complete and accurate information is available to customers at all times. This requires ensuring that all product data is comprehensive and up-to-date — and regularly assessing product information to check for duplicate and conflicting content.

    In addition, having the right permissions in place to manage users and access is critical here. Make sure that only the team members responsible for the data in question are allowed to change it.

    How Can Effective Data Governance Improve Collaboration?

    Effective governance can improve both internal and external collaboration. Internally, the consistent use of data across departments means that everyone is speaking the same language. As a result, sales, marketing, and customer service teams can work in tandem to deliver a consistent brand experience.

    With effective workflow capabilities in place, your organization can optimize the processes of tracking, reviewing, and approving any necessary edits — ensuring that your product information is always accurate and complete.

    Externally, effective governance improves connections between brands and retailers. This is critical given the increasingly digital nature of post-pandemic shopping.

    Buyers expect to get what they want when they want it. Being out of stock online isn’t an option if companies want to keep their customer base.

    End-to-end governance makes it easier for brands and retailers to share information about stock levels, purchasing trends, and buying habits to ensure consumers can access their preferred products on demand.

    What Are the Benefits of Proper Data Governance?

    Proper governance offers multiple benefits for brands and retailers, including:

    Reduced Churn Rates

    Poor data leads to dissatisfied customers. According to research commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), deceptive advertising processes are on the rise, with seven out of 10 shoppers encountering potential rip-offs online.

    Not surprisingly, this makes buyers hyper-aware of any missing or inaccurate product information. While sparse or incorrect details may be nothing more than accidental oversight, it can reduce customer trust.

    Furthermore, robust governance around the handling of personal data is essential to gaining consumers’ confidence and improving overall satisfaction.

    The “Cisco 2021 Consumer Privacy Survey” found that:

    • 23% of French consumers inquired about their data and
      17% requested changes or deletion to their data;
    • 18% of U.S. consumers inquired and 12% requested changes or deletion;
    • 18% of U.K. consumers inquired and 10% requested changes or deletion; and
    • 15% of German consumers inquired and 11% requested changes or deletion.

    Improved Reputation

    Effective governance leads to improved reputation.

    Suppose customers are confident that your product, price, service, and shipping data are always up-to-date and accurate. This makes them more likely to return after their first purchase and share their experience with other potential customers.

    Customer feedback is a critical avenue to cultivating new conversions. As noted by Real Time Reviews, 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked to do so — yet another reason to ensure their experience is positive.

    Simplified Sales Paths

    Complete and accurate product data simplifies online sales paths. By making it easier for customers to find the data they’re looking for when they’re looking for it, brands and retailers can eliminate potential roadblocks in the online purchasing process.

    Improve Collaboration and Customer Satisfaction

    For brands and retailers, governance can make the difference between steady sales and constant customer churn. Best bet? Create an in-depth governance policy that improves collaboration and enhances customer satisfaction to stay ahead of the digital curve.

    Ready to dominate digital storefronts? Check out Salsify’s on-demand webinar, “How Product Data Helps You Win the Digital Shelf.”


    Written by: Doug Bonderud

    Doug Bonderud (he/him) is an award-winning writer with expertise in ecommerce, customer experience, and the human condition. His ability to create readable, relatable articles is second to none.

    Recent Posts

    Subscribe to the Below the Fold Newsletter

    Standing out on the digital shelf starts with access to the latest industry content. Subscribe to Below the Fold, our monthly content newsletter, and join other commerce leaders.