Product Information Management with DC-X

DC-X goes PIM: In September 2015, the internationally operating distributor and retailer Gebr. Heinemann started using Digital Collections’ Digital Asset Management System DC-X for image workflow and product information management.

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Heinemann Duty Free Shop at Hamburg Airport

If you ever stopped in a duty-free shop on your way to the gate, you have an idea of the number of products that are sold in those kinds of places. The Hamburg based company Gebr. Heinemann runs 230 duty-free and other shops at European airports with a product range containing more than 1500 brands from 1000 suppliers – from perfumes and cosmetics to tobacco, wines and spirits, confectionery, delicacies, fashion and accessories.

For each product, there are one or more pictures used for marketing purposes, for publication in the web shops or in the context of customer projects. All these product pictures are managed in a DC-X system – along with logos, advertising photos, shop pictures (see above), agency material and videos. DC-X is the central repository for all media used by Heinemann and contains more than 250.000 digital assets.

Thanks to filters and search agents, it is easy for the users to find their way around the virtual product jungle. Product pictures can be searched by article number or reference or sorted according to different criteria.


Product pictures in DC-X, filtered by main product group (Liquor, Tobacco, Confectionery), product group (Confectionery of all types and chewing gum), brand (Haribo) and picture type (main product picture).

DC-X communicates with the Product Information Management System SAP via an API. The product’s master data – product group, brand, product code, product description etc. – are transferred to DC-X and assigned to the corresponding product picture. This way, all information about the product is stored in the picture’s metadata in the DC-X system, providing users with varied and intuitive search possibilities. Alternately, the PIM system can display the product picture belonging to a particular set of master data. The “bridge” between both systems is the product code which serves as a unique identifier.

When there is a change in the product’s design (e.g. the shape of the bottle or the packaging) and someone replaces the product picture in DC-X, all connected systems benefit from that update. This applies to the SAP system as well as to the web shops which get their pictures from the DC-X system.


View of the product in the Web Shop

To identify the products that don’t have pictures yet or just in low resolution, DC-X can create detailed Excel reports.

To exchange data with suppliers, customers, photographers and other externals, Gebr. Heinemann uses Upload Requests and clearings. Let’s say Heinemann produces an onboard magazine for an airline showing products that aren’t part of the Heinemann product range. The airline can directly upload the pictures needed for production into the DC-X system via a link received by email and without needing a DC-X user account. Alternately, specific product pictures can be made accessible to externals. It is up to the DC-X user to decide if the other person should be able to only view the picture or also download it in low or high resolution and for how long the clearing is active.

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View of selected products for an external person

Product information can also be sent out using PDF picture catalogues. With this function, an overview of the selected pictures is created. The layout (number of rows and columns) and the information displayed under each image is determined via a dialogue. Afterwards, the PDF can be downloaded.

The rights management module ensures the proper use of pictures in a specific period of time. If for example the face of Penelope Cruz is shown on a banner ad at Frankfurt airport, there is a contract with the actress that defines exactly for how long this may be the case.

Facts & Figures

Gebr. Heinemann supplies an ever-expanding Duty Free range of global branded goods to international airports, airlines, cruise liners and border shops in 100-plus countries. The categories include perfumes and cosmetics, wines and spirits, confectionery, delicacies and much more. Their retail operation now serves more than 40 million customers annually. Despite the international profile, the company founded in 1879 continues to uphold their family values to this day.

Text: Digital Collections, Oktober 2015