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The speed, scale, and complexity needed to meet shoppers’ demands today has put new pressures on brands.
According to eMarketer, worldwide ecommerce sales rose 25.7% in 2020 to reach $4.213 trillion. And despite shifts back toward in-person shopping experiences, the ecommerce market continued to trend upward in 2021 with growth of just under 17%.
These figures highlight the movement toward an increasingly omnichannel commerce marketplace — one in which data can be the dividing line between a brand’s success and failure. Organizations that can analyze and apply insights from product and customer data sources will be better positioned to capture customer interest across an increasingly competitive market.
Achieving this goal, however, requires more than the recognition that data is a driving force: It requires substantial investment in the ecommerce tech stack to deliver a product data architecture that streamlines information management, improves accuracy, and drives return on investment (ROI).
In this piece, we’ll examine the impact of product data on the customer experience, explore some of the top challenges brands face when it comes to the efficient and effective flow of product information, and offer a four-step approach for making the case for tech stack investment.
When it comes to information about your products, more is better — as long as you can guarantee the quality, accuracy, and availability of this data.
Consider product detail pages (PDPs). Customers don’t just want a single picture of your product along with a brief description.
They want the ability to:
If tracking down key data on product pages requires excessive time and effort, prospective buyers may take their business elsewhere. Data from Google and Ipsos found that 85% of customers consider both product information and pictures to be important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.
Regional differences are also relevant. In the U.K., for example, delivery experiences are key to consistent purchasing. According to Metapack research, over 60% of U.K. shoppers share details about negative delivery experiences with friends and family, and 70% of consumers who hear about a poor delivery experience are less likely to shop with that company.
According to FashionUnited, meanwhile, German shoppers take a more methodical approach to online shopping. Consider that 71% say they always look for information about products online, and 57% find customer reviews to be “very helpful.”
For brands, the message is clear: More high-quality, consistent product information means a better chance of capturing consumer interest.
Of course, more data isn’t enough to deliver the engaging omnichannel experiences today’s shoppers seek.
When it comes to providing consistent, high-quality product information, brands face several challenges, including those outlined below.
Today’s consumers want to know more about what they’re buying. This includes information about:
As a result, brands need solutions capable of capturing deep, rich data to create SKUs and product pages that meet customer expectations.
Informed by regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CPA), effective data governance is now critical for ecommerce success.
Seventy-seven percent of consumers say they “always” or “regularly” read reviews, according to survey data from BrightLocal. But brands need to ensure that this user data is only posted with permission — and can’t be compromised.
This ties into the larger landscape of trust. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), while business leaders believe that 87% of customers trust their company, just 30% of shoppers actually do.
As highlighted by data from Bazaarvoice, 66% of shoppers prefer a hybrid approach to shopping. In practice, this means many customers now interact with a brand across multiple touch points before buying a product.
Today’s shoppers expect high-quality, up-to-date, and consistent product information across these channels.
To remain competitive, brands need an optimized omnichannel approach that empowers them to broaden their reach and capture customer interest.
In practice, this requires in-depth data collection and analysis to pinpoint where customers prefer to interact.
While the data speaks for itself, it can’t speak for you when it comes to building the case for investment. As a result, ecommerce teams must take a methodical approach to convincing C-suites that spending on improved product data management is the pathway to success.
Here are four steps to help streamline the process.
To make the case for a bigger budget, your team needs to start the conversation with a look at where data management efforts could improve.
Here, statistics such as cart abandonment rates and issues with connecting the dots on current consumer trends can help make the case.
Clearly communicating the benefits is essential. For example, payments processing provider Square notes that companies with a strong omnichannel strategy see a 9.5% annual revenue increase on average.
The caveat? This kind of boost is only possible with accurate and complete product data across every touch point through which a customer interacts with your brand.
After the above is communicated, your team needs to identify what’s needed to close the data management gap.
This could take the form of scalable cloud computing resources, dedicated analytics tools, or customer survey initiatives to gather feedback and determine the ideal course of action.
Finally, it’s worth coming to the table with a plan. This means laying out how new tech budgets will be spent, the estimated time to see results, and what those results could look like.
Be prepared to answer questions regarding which key performance indicators (KPIs) will be tracked. For example, your team might aim for a 10% increase in sales conversions over six months across a specific product line.
To succeed in today’s evolving ecommerce market, your brand must deliver high-quality product data across every touch point.
But good data alone isn’t enough: The efficient and effective flow of information requires an optimal product data architecture that empowers your organization to connect the dots between customer interest and reliable sales conversion.
Want more tips on how to deliver engaging, consistent product content that can help your brand stand out on the digital shelf? Download Salsify’s guide, “Why Bad Product Content is Killing Your Brand.”
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