A Digital Shelf Guide
Commerce continues to change and expand rapidly. Alongside these shifts, shoppers are also adjusting how they decide to show up across the digital landscape.
The growth of ecommerce and shifts in retail trends are significantly influenced by social, economic, and technological factors — especially over the past few years. This evolution has created a new normal.
According to Harvard Business Review, 43% of U.S. consumers now shop online for products they bought in stores pre-pandemic, and 80% are still changing the way they shop.
In addition to changing where they show up to shop, consumers’ expectations are also determining which brands and retailers can even capture their consideration in the first place. An impressive 42.6% of U.S. shoppers said they would choose to shop somewhere else if a retailer didn't offer them the ability to shop both online or in-store, according to an IDC consumer survey.
Shoppers now demand the ability to interact with your brand — even that crucial first interaction — in any given setting, as devices enable access to the digital shelf from anywhere and everywhere. Consumers now rely on digital information for both in-person and online shopping, making engagement imperative if brands want to drive conversion.
Comprehensive, contextualized access to products isn’t the only thing shoppers require to convert — they also must feel engaged and motivated by the experience your brand offers.
In an increasingly complex and competitive ecommerce environment, product experience management (ProductXM) ensures best-in-class brand experiences that win on the digital shelf.
Product experience management (ProductXM), also known as PXM, is the process of creating engaging product experiences for the digital shelf.
A ProductXM solution is software that supports brands in the management, syndication, and optimization of product data to provide enriched, shoppable experiences at every stage of the buying journey.
An effective ProductXM solution gives brands the tools required to take the five most critical actions for product data:
A ProductXM solution should empower teams to centralize product data so it can be managed and enriched from a single place. Product data can then be syndicated to provide shoppers content-rich experiences across priority sales channels and optimized to ensure continual performance.
These actions help keep shoppers engaged and provide the basis for future product discovery and conversion.
With shoppers becoming increasingly discerning about what content will make them convert, the quality of your product pages is more crucial than ever. Product pages must provide all the necessary information and then some — from compelling descriptions, images, and videos to customer reviews, availability, shipping information, and more.
It’s not only important to equip your brand with a ProductXM solution; it’s now necessary. To succeed in this new normal of commerce, you must win on the digital shelf.
But digital shelf success requires brands to manage three core functions:
A ProductXM solution must support brands to overcome these challenges. An effective solution must help brands manage product information and data and create best-in-class product experiences.
Modern commerce means more competition. Regardless of how large or small you are compared to your competitors, you have the opportunity to win or lose market share in your category. It’s not enough to rely on marketing alone to reach as many customers as possible. Your customers can be anywhere and everywhere on the digital shelf.
The digital shelf is also anywhere and everywhere — and can be accessed on devices anywhere and everywhere.
A rise in competition is directly connected to the growth of ecommerce, and it’s continuing to expand. By 2025, eMarketer predicts that every fourth dollar will come from ecommerce. Your brand can’t afford to ignore the impact of ecommerce.
Shoppers are also likely to encounter many brands digitally before they do so physically — on major and minor retailers, direct-to-consumer (DTC) sites, social media, and customer support platforms.
You have to tell a compelling brand story at all the various digital touch points in a shopper's journey. This will require a new level of insight and data segmentation on your consumers, as well as the means to reach them at the right time. Every successful experience you orchestrate helps maintain your advantage.
A ProductXM solution is how your brand can repeatedly win by delivering the right content when and where consumers need it to drive conversions and build trust.
There’s a simple, three-pronged methodology to establishing a winning mindset through the lens of implementing product experience management:
Addressing the first prong, your brand should be conveying compelling product content that you continually optimize for success using data-driven insights.
According to the Salsify “Consumer Research 2022” report, 46% of U.S. shoppers are willing to pay more for a product when it comes from a brand they trust. This preference also extends to other markets worldwide, with 47% of shoppers in Great Britain, 44% of shoppers in France, and 30% of shoppers in Germany indicating the same willingness.
Trust doesn’t happen overnight. But, by wrangling the product information and digital assets your brand currently owns and methodically optimizing this content, your brand experience will become repeatable and consistent through all of your digital touch points.
Addressing the second prong, consumers won’t convert with generic content anymore. And to keep this content contextualized, you have to rapidly deliver your content throughout your commerce ecosystem even as you scale.
An astounding 80% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences, according to Epsilon. In addition to wanting personalized experiences, shoppers increasingly expect things like user-generated content and customer reviews to corroborate their purchasing decisions.
According to insights from software and data company PowerReviews, review engagement has increased by upwards of 105% since March 2020.
But it’s also not enough to just provide answers to customer questions about your products.
Creating better brand experiences requires engaging, entertaining, and interactive content that allows customers to effectively visualize incorporating your product into their lifestyle over other options.
Finally, addressing the third prong, your content has to be continually updated to optimize your brand experience as it’s pressured by a changing digital landscape.
Ecommerce is in a constant state of change — not only in terms of what customers expect but also because retailer requirements can bar you from being put in front of customers in the first place.
To keep up with the competition (and edge them out), your brand needs actionable insights and a reliable way to track retailer changes and transform your content accordingly.
Brands looking for a better way to manage and optimize their commerce experiences should implement a ProductXM solution. When evaluating how your brand will benefit specifically, there are some important indicators to consider. Ask yourself the following questions:
The benefits of a ProductXM solution can help brands in a variety of ways. These include making every customer experience shoppable, ensuring higher search rank and customer acquisition, offering agility despite digital shelf volatility, and lending overall support in achieving desired business outcomes.
The core benefits of a ProductXM solution include:
Hear from Adam Ferrari, EVP of engineering at Salsify, on how the architecture of Salsify ProductXM helps brands tackle the challenges present on the digital shelf.
Source: Salsify YouTube
According to a 2021 consumer survey from IDC, 58.9% of U.S. shoppers would choose to shop elsewhere if a retailer didn’t offer buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS). Almost half (49.1%) said the same for curbside pickup, and 41% said the same for same-day delivery.
In all of these contexts, comprehensive product content is the key underlying factor for creating the right product experiences for every consumer before the purchase can even occur.
And, before this content even reaches your customers, it must be well-wrangled and well-understood by your internal organization. A ProductXM solution can help you improve cross-team collaboration — and help bridge the gap between your sales and marketing teams.
Even with more business users working in the system, the speed and accuracy of your organization are vastly improved (not slowed) thanks to user-friendly interfaces and features like bulk importing and editing.
Here’s how a ProductXM solution makes every customer experience shoppable, engaging, and consistent:
According to Label Insight, 81% of product searches on Amazon are unbranded. This search trend creates a sticky situation for brands with content that’s non-specific, unoptimized, or otherwise failing to meet requirements.
It creates a constantly changing playing field, allowing small brands with well-created content to sometimes out-rank should-be market leaders.
Unfortunately, many product content management systems merely manage data and don’t support the activation of your product content everywhere that consumers shop or experience your brand.
This lack of product content activation means you may miss search-rank opportunities (and therefore miss out on some conversions altogether). Another way you may be missing out on conversions is by not employing enhanced content.
One internal 2019 Salsify study found that users who used enhanced content increased their conversions by as much as 10% across nearly every product category.
An effective ProductXM solution allows you to syndicate anywhere and everywhere you need to, including:
An effective ProductXM solution can ensure your products are predominant and searchable with:
Search results on websites like Amazon and other major retailers frequently change, making it hard for brands to keep up with changes. That’s a lot of changes throughout an already tumultuous time period in terms of social, economic, and technological pressures.
But the decision on where to apply the next round of effort to improve product experiences is still complex. You need the guidance of data and analytics from across the consumer product experience journey to improve with agility and accuracy.
An effective ProductXM solution can help you keep up (and excel) with rapidly changing requirements in the retail and ecommerce environment with:
By choosing the right ProductXM solution, brands can reach a variety of desired business outcomes through the pillars of quality, scale, time, and resources.
At a high level, brands are enabled to begin:
Brands can achieve sales and market share growth by:
Brands can exceed market expectations by:
Brands can drive operational excellence and cost optimization by:
Not all product experience management solutions are created equal. Of course, not all businesses have the exact stipulations when exploring a ProductXM solution.
Below is a step-by-step process for how to choose the best ProductXM solution for your brand.
Your brand deserves the best solution to fit its needs. Consider the following questions to determine where your business currently stands:
One of the best ways to determine how ProductXM will fit in with your business is to develop some use-case examples. This approach will help you strategize how to implement this new technology best and get stakeholders on board.
Now that you’ve drafted your use cases, it should be apparent whether the features of the ProductXM solution you’re evaluating will work well for your business. However, it’s essential to scrutinize and compare the providers you’re deciding on.
How much has the prospective provider dedicated to innovation or research and development (R&D) to ensure your team is equipped to keep up with the changing world of commerce?
Once you understand the fundamentals of an impactful ProductXM solution, consider what areas (if any) seem to be lacking in support.
Bring these questions to your ProductXM provider. As you’re developing your list of questions and concerns too, it’s important to meet with relevant stakeholders in your organization for their unique perspective and foresight for issues that may arise in the future.
In the same vein, share with your ProductXM provider what implementations worked well. Why did they work well? If your provider knows what aspects of the solution are benefiting your business in the most tangible way, it’s likely they can show you additional features, shortcuts, or resources to sweeten the partnership further.
As a multi-faceted solution, implementing ProductXM requires a multi-step approach. However, these steps should be systematic and ensure that your brand is equipped for success — no matter your development stage.
With a ProductXM solution, taking your brand to the next level of digital shelf dominance will occur naturally.
A cross-collaborative solution requires initial buy-in from all of your stakeholders. At this point, it’s likely everyone in your organization is excited about:
However, not all of the above would be possible without an intentional approach to change management through the implementation of this solution — or any solution — to come in future digital transformations at your brand.
With PIM, you’ll be able to effectively:
Your brand will be empowered to respond to new opportunities in your market as soon as they arise, as users can integrate new data from any source, including new attributes, without delay.
Enhanced content enables you to address the quality and completeness of your catalogs without placing delays on users adding new data.
You’ll have the necessary support to optimize your content for every single publication channel for truly contextualized experiences — no more pushing generic content (because generic content can’t win).
With product content syndication, you’ll be empowered to:
With orders and inventory management capabilities embedded into your product data system of work, your ecommerce organization can gain oversight into orders and inventory to make informed decisions.
With an orders and inventory solution, you’ll be able to:
Knowing where to apply the next round of effort to improve product experiences is increasingly complex. But, automated digital shelf insights can help you leverage the guidance of data and analytics from across the consumer product experience journey.
An intuitive workflow system will capture and manage activities across your ecosystem. This system includes sensing analytic signals and determining responses to taking the appropriate action both internally and with appropriate interactions.
With workflows, you’ll be able to:
These solutions leave you and your team valuable time to reconvene on learnings regarding your product, organization, and logistics — and make decisions necessary for growth and success on the digital shelf.
Winning the digital shelf isn’t possible without the capabilities offered by an effective ProductXM solution. With ProductXM, your brand will make every experience shoppable, get found by your customers — and grow your following — while keeping up with ever-changing retailer requirements.