Transforming How An E-Commerce Professional Works: Why Accurate Product Information Matters
Elbert Hubbart once said, “The line between failure and success is so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it.” Today’s E-commerce Professional constantly walks that line, finding that poorly managed product information sends them to the wrong side.
An e-commerce manager for a European wholesaler put it this way: “In the past, we put too much emphasis on assortments, products and price and not enough emphasis on data … We had a great E-commerce site; there just wasn’t any data to feed it! It was like having a car with no engine.”
Here are some informative examples of product information management gone wrong:
A Product Attribute Faux Pas
One major retailer recently found itself with a lot of explaining to do, when its e-commerce web shop listed a Plus-Size version of a dress in “manatee Gray” while the regular size dress was listed as “dark Heather Gray”.
The retailer blamed the error on each product having it’s own separate team to handle product information.
Trouble with a Website Relaunch
Another retailer saw a website relaunch lead to an 8.1% drop in sales and a resulting share price dip. A key cause of this poor performance was poor (or absent) product information, which left consumers hanging and not committing to purchase and inconsistent or missing category filters.
The Data Driven E-commerce Professional
In this blog series we explore how the business environment of certain roles and personas is changing in a data driven world. In our last blog, we covered the role of Merchandiser. Today we will be looking at the role of the Ecommerce professional.
E-commerce executive and professionals all agree that the customer behavior is on a trajectory of constant change and adaptation. So how can they provide value in an omnichannel world, by advertising their products and services, attract new and existing customers and retain them? Consumers now, more than at any period in time before are basing purchasing decisions on the product information that is made available to them. Furthermore, having embraced omnichannel, consumers expect to great experiences with your brands, no matter where that journey takes them.
As one American based retailer e-commerce executive puts it: “In order to engage with the consumer and inspire them, traditional brick and mortar retailers need to embrace this change and become modern retailer”. Achieving this is often, if not always dependant of how well you understand the culture, traditions and history of your company. Whether you have local or global operations, you need to act global. Getting there is a series of trial and errors, so what keeps e-commerce managers and professional up at night?
A single Brand & Customer experience across all channels
As consumer behaviour change and as fulfilling their expectations becomes more intricate, e-commerce managers have to look beyond omnichannel and aim for commerce relevancy. Furthermore, the next big challenge rests on replicating the “in-store experience” and “brand experience” and delivering them in the context of an omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel has blurred the line between online and offline, it’s all about providing a seamless experience. For some retailer, there are elements found in the unique customer experience they provide that are attached to specific channel. This is the case of POS channel. Delivering the same level of expertise online is had to achieve to the levels of what can be don’t in store. “You don’t have the same ability to deliver to online shoppers the same expertise those that come into the store have”. However, there are ways to educate the customer to find the right product that meets their needs.
Staying Relevant in an Connected, Global & Rapidly Changing World
Brands that do not have their products represented online today risk becoming irrelevant. In fact, according to one of the largest CPG manufacturer, “not having your product come up on the first search page results on amazon, is the equivalent of being Out-of-stock in a physical store”. Winning in search and nurturing relevant product information is essential in generating sales. Customers are all unique and as discussed earlier their expectations are mode demanding day after day. We all search differently, even when searching for the same product and most of us (80%+) turn to online research before buying. Product 360 makes it possible “for the right product data to present products accordingly at each of the steps” of the customer journey. How does it manage that?:
- By turning product information into searchable content
- By connecting Media Assets, SEO and Product Information Management(PIM)
- By making you rank higher with Rich text
- By Automating Search Engine Feeds
- By enabling you to manage your SUPER Long-Tail Strategy!
Read more about Product 360 (PIM) for Seach Engine Optimization (SEO)
Anticipating the next best offer, up selling or cross selling is made possible because consumers are shown exactly the right product and the right information they want.
You Have Great Products & Services, So why not Also Matching Epic Content?
Has a Product description ever told you a story? Did it ever generate instant interest in a product or simply made you buy it right of the bat? Content is king and the greatest content conquers all.
Earlier we looked at SEO and the importance of staying relevant. Congratulate yourself if you show up on search results, more so if your target users can find you. But once you have reached this points, how to how do you capture customer’s attention, especially considering that their attention span is only 8 seconds? Epic content is content that is engaging. Whether it be a great story, images, video or new and upcoming immersive content like Virtual reality or Augmented Reality. (Read more about how Virtual Reality can help you provide immersive customer experience)
Furthermore, with 80% of us are turning to online research before buying, companies need to bet on the right solutions to manage their product content. This off course, if their goal is to always walk on the success side of the line. Informatica MDM – Product 360 is the application that will enable you to manage your “epic content” strategy. If you refer back to the opening quote, you might have a presence in many channels and maybe you appear on most searches. But if consumers don’t know who you are, if they aren’t certain what it is you are offering, if you don’t stand out from competitors than they will not buy from you.
The new Paradigm in the Digital Workplace is Changing the Game
Data is your company’s most critical asset. It’s everywhere, and nowhere. Intrigued? Critical business data comes in many shape and form and while you might possess a certain level of it, how certain are you that you possess the necessary data to make the best business decisions? What about that big “chunk” of media assets and product descriptions that lays on your colleagues computers? Are they even aware you might need that information? Imagine now that your product data is handled globally? Information overload is one of the key challenges, responsible for frustration, slow business processes and deficient decision making. If you cannot access and distribute product information properly on one channel, how will your customers find you, your products and ultimately buy? Simple: your competitors, that’s where your customers are buying from.
The new generation of product information management apps for merchandizers offers all processes and information in one interface. Dashboards and task-inbox show the right employee what he or she has been tasked to do when they start work on a Monday morning. For example:
- Are my products and services showing up in online searches?
- How can I make sure to provide consumers with a seamless brand experience/Omnichannel?
- How profitable are my upsell and cross efforts?
- How do I launch products faster in more markets and languages?
- What product information closes deals on specific channel?
- Can I launch new products faster?
- Where are my competitors and how do I compare?
- Do they care about bundles too?
One example for an individual screen of merchandiser which is transforming how she/he works:
Global internet users, popularity of online shopping, smartphone penetration rate, ease of paying online, reduction in delivery time are only a few factors behind what drives e-commerce the pressure of managing an increasing number of products SKUs that need to be available across all channels and with the right product data falls on the e-commerce professionals.
As an executive, I spend most of my time trying to get people, teams and departments to play together, in hope that I can get them all on the same page.” (Retail Goods E-commerce VP)
E-commerce margins often run tighter than those found in more traditional brick and mortar businesses. Therefore, achieving growth requires an efficient use and close monitor of existing resources and processes. But more importantly it’s about finding the right tool that will deliver collaboration and the right business critical to the right business user, for the best business action possible.
As highlighted by this e-commerce executive that works for a historically brick and mortar only business: “with Product 360 we can reduce the barriers and friction points and deliver as close a customer experience as in store as possible”.