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With excellent buying journeys becoming synonymous with captivating product experiences, there is no room left for broken product data in successful selling. For this reason, taking a cookie-cutter approach to managing product data will not work anymore. Instead, companies must provide buyers with rich information and exclusive experiences to positively influence their buying decisions. 

Low-quality product information sometimes manifests as conflicting and obsolete data across multiple channels. It can discourage customers from completing their purchases, as they might not find necessary information in some (or any) of the channels.

Not surprisingly, at least 40% of consumers return a product due to low-quality product content, and 30% abandon shopping carts because the product’s description is not up to their standards. With multiple options available, it is easy to lose customers to rival brands that provide compelling, updated and accurate product data and assure delightful purchases.

Poor product data is a widespread problem that businesses must identify before it spirals out of hand. Insufficient or inadequate data fed into systems can directly cost a company its revenue, reputation and customer loyalty. 

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Consequently, businesses are constantly looking for alternative methods to handle ever-increasing product data. Depending on an organization’s type and size, it often has multiple systems for managing product data, digital assets, inventory, accounting, order information and shipping details. And that’s where the real challenge lies. Too many systems can create multiple contradictory versions, adding to the chaos.

Therefore, well-managed product information not only forms the basis for excellent shopping experiences, but is essential for departments such as sales, marketing and customer service. Put succinctly, it is in everyone’s interest that product information stays correct, complete and consistent.     

Here’s how fixing product data and transforming it into flawless product information fosters persuasive selling:

Building a single reliable source of product data is essential

Multiple teams work together to enable smooth product experiences to come to life for successful conversions and shaping gratifying purchases. However, even when different teams use best-of-breed applications to accomplish their tasks perfectly, data silos result, inducing inconsistent and duplicate data that confuses customers and makes them draw flawed conclusions.

A single and reliable source of product information can help minimize these errors. Aggregate and store data from multiple sources in a central location accessible to all teams, such that any changes made to it get disseminated automatically to various departments, get translated into multiple languages, and can be syndicated to several channels. This can streamline brand communication, and curated messages can be sent across multiple digital touchpoints.  

Every product needs clean, complete and updated data

As businesses grow, product data becomes unmanageable, outdated and unsuitable for new systems. It also often lacks consistency due to the introduction of newer versions of products — which, if not updated in the final product offering, may impact buyers’ decisions adversely. Updating relevant information in a central location puts to rest any confusion over different versions. This contributes to a smooth, compelling and error-free product experience that boosts sales and differentiates your product from that of competitors. 

With affordable smartphones and readily available product data, consumers can educate themselves about various products and their specifications and conduct a thorough comparison with other options before buying the product. So, it is essential to provide accurate and updated information — because nothing influences customers’ purchasing decisions more than clean, comprehensive and captivating product data. 

Simplifying omnichannel merchandising 

Marketing and product merchandising are arduous tasks requiring the latest product data (product descriptions, pricing details and digital assets) to be disseminated across multiple channels to positively impact customers’ buying decisions. Therefore, brands must address buyers’ needs in real time by offering accurate product data across multiple channels and by streamlining it across various touchpoints, making marketing and merchandising simple and effective.

Today’s advanced data management systems let users schedule content that needs to be published by smoothing out the process, from product creation to organization and publication. In addition, the publishing of data takes into account the newly created categories having the right SEO metadata, descriptions and banners. 

CX that’s steered by seamless data strategies

With different channels sourcing product data from a central database to update customers about the latest modifications, high-quality information becomes the basis for customer experience, which eventually turns into customer loyalty. By ensuring that data is exported harmoniously to different marketplaces and social media platforms where customers exist, companies can quickly change marketing and customer experience strategies in real time, escalate or de-escalate focus on particular items, and introduce new products or product lines whenever they need to. Therefore, with reliable product master data in place, businesses can access and utilize data as per the market’s demand. 

Decreasing time-to-market for new product launches

In a fast-paced environment, speed-to-market is vital for nearly every business across every industry, especially retail, manufacturing and ecommerce. Decreasing the time-to-market is a critical factor that keeps brands ahead of their competitors and helps increase customer retention. Furthermore, launching a product earlier can give brands the first-mover advantage, helping them position themselves as market leaders.

With multiple teams making as many changes as required and quickly notifying other teams about them, product information is enriched via automation and streamlining of processes, reducing manual tasks and boosting productivity. All of it comes together to help speed up the product launch process. 

Conclusion

Product data has acquired a new significance among businesses across several industries. It has grown exponentially over the last few years (a lot of this can be attributed to the pandemic). The projected growth of the global retail e-commerce sales market — $7.4 trillion by 2025, or more than 50% — bears testimony to the importance of data. Therefore, as online shopping continues to expand, efforts required to keep up with this demand will only increase.

In the past, businesses did not have the right tools to ensure uniformity of their data, but companies are now finding ways to solve data discrepancies by streamlining processes and eliminating silos.

Businesses must also work towards developing data literacy within the enterprise. A wide range of product data, such as technical data (color, size, dimensions and weight), usage data (description of how to use the product) and marketing and sales data (use of emotive language to create a connection between the product and potential buyers) must be constantly administered. Comprehensive and detailed efforts in the management of different types of data reduce the chances of product returns.

In the coming years, for successful selling, brands will have to step up their focus on personalizing products and assisting customers to buy effortlessly. They will also need to prioritize partner collaborations, as adding complementary products or services to purchase is one of the successful ways to boost a company’s growth. All of this furthers data complexities.

Brands must also see data as an enabler that gets their products to the marketplace faster. It should assist them in keeping products competitive and making collaborations easier by refining content, maintaining security and fixing disparate systems. In sum, companies must attain complete control over their data to pave the way for future scalability across multiple systems.

Dietmar Rietsch is CEO of Pimcore.

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