The Way You Manage Product Information Is Affecting Your Sales
Over the recent years, there has been a number of researches conducted that proved what the ecommerce professionals had already noticed – the quality and completeness of product information has a direct impact on company’s sales.
As online marketplace evolves, so do the ideas and knowledge about what kind of content has the most impact on customers’ purchasing decisions. There are many discussions among professionals in the field about the optimal length of product descriptions and which information they should or should not include, the number of product images or videos to be displayed, what kind of suggestions and recommendations generate the best response and so on.
The one thing that’s certain, however, is that more accurate and complete the product information equals better sales.
The opposite stands true as well, however. Inaccurate or incomplete product content can damage customers’ trust in the brand or the retailer.
How does poor-quality product content affect your brand?
The research presented by Shotfarm in 2016 has shown that roughly 95% of shoppers consider product information an important factor when making a purchase decision and expect retailers to provide comprehensive and quality product content to accompany the sales item they are looking at.
“Products are purchased from retailers and brands whose product information makes shoppers feel confident in doing so.” – concludes Shotfarm.
By the beginning of 2018, we can assume the importance of this is even higher and there is no doubt that failing to meet customers’ expectations would impact retailers in the most negative way.
The most common effects of product content quality in digital sales are apparent in the field of brand reputation and trustworthiness for the shoppers. Incomplete or poorly presented product information may lead to:
• Cart abandonment. While the most common reason for shoppers to abandon their carts is the cost, product info plays a large role as well. Consumers are more likely to abandon a shopping cart if product descriptions are not comprehensive or complete or if the images provided are too few or they are of poor quality.
• More returns. If you look at customer reviews under almost any online store product, especially it applies to clothing and apparel brands (they are affected the most) the majority of negative reviews will state, “The actual product did not match the description,” as the reason for customer’s dissatisfaction. Not only consumers are likely to return an online purchase if the product information did not match the product they received, this will also generate a strong negative emotional response that may hurt your brand’s or store’s reputation.
• Ruined brand/store reputation. This one is probably the most significant effect of customers having negative experiences that can affect a retailer long-term. Most customers would not want to deal with a retailer again after having a negative shopping experience because of inaccurate product information. A single inaccuracy in your PIM can lead to losing customers forever, which is why presenting the shoppers with accurate product descriptions and images is critical.
How to avoid the negative impact and have your PIM help increase your sales instead
Although the majority of vendors in established ecommerce markets are very much aware of the negative impact that poorly managed product information can have on sales, it is still often hard and very time/labor consuming for them to monitor and track their product content accuracy.
It is obvious that high-quality product information is key for companies looking to increase sale performance. But what can they actually do to improve their content creation, management and sharing processes?
Luckily, modern PIM technology has created opportunities for retailers to automate and streamline their product information processes. Here are some important steps you can take to set your PIM on the right track:
1. Leave the spreadsheets in the past where they belong
Many companies up to this day are still holding on to the practice of using excel sheets for their product content tracking. While spreadsheets are undoubtfully a great general-purpose solution for many tasks, managing your product information in excel is pretty much the opposite of efficient.
There is literally no good way to automate and streamline the task of keeping your product content up-to-date when spreadsheets are your primary PIM tool. This means endless cutting and pasting and a huge space for errors.
Use a Product Information Manager instead. There is a variety of them on the market and they are a tool that has been purposefully built for simplifying this otherwise annoying and time-consuming task.
A good PIM system will allow you to automatically update your catalog items when needed and easily share the current info with all stakeholders. One of the most awesome features any decent PIM will offer is letting you connect to your partners’ and suppliers’ data sources, ERP, media and internal data servers, and even to import the spreadsheets you might receive from the less progressive partners.
2. Enhance your product content
Once you have a PIM solution that can automate your product content management processes and keep all the product details up-to-date, your team would have more time and resources to focus on what matter most:
• Enrich your product descriptions with more accurate and detailed information.
• Customize the content per channel or geographic region (currencies, languages, measurements, etc.).
• Display all sizes, colors, and other specs.
• Add more high-quality photos, videos, and other media.
Your PIM system will make sure that all these new updates are properly implemented and distributed without you having to copy-and-paste.
3. Improve quality assurance
No more human error factor! A good PIM software can be set up to automatically detect any missing information in the required fields for every product record. You can configure it to serve your specific needs and mark certain fields as “required” or set a minimum percentage of information that needs to be filled in. This helps to avoid incomplete product content items from being published.
Product information management can be a complex and resource consuming process, but the new generation PIM systems make it a whole lot easier for brands to adhere to retailer requirements and for vendors to provide the most comprehensive data to the consumers. With the right technology at hand, retailers are getting more and more opportunities to offer high-quality product information and increase customer satisfaction, which leads to better digital sales.