When it comes time to make a purchase, your customers have more choices than ever before — thanks in large part to the proliferation of new commerce channels in recent years.
Rather than being limited to only brick-and-mortar or print catalogs, those in need of a new product or service now have a wealth of different methods to make a purchase, from eCommerce stores to mobile apps, and even social media platforms like 21 Buttons and Instagram. This has made shopping more convenient than ever before, both for consumers and B2B buyers.
Brands and retailers have also benefited from this increase in shopping outlets. These companies now have more ways to communicate with customers and sell products, along with additional channels for advertising and marketing their offerings, which helps to increase sales and boost revenue along the way.
But while this proliferation of new channels has opened up a world of possibilities for buyers, brands, and retailers alike, selling products on these new channels isn’t as simple as creating an account and watching revenue pour in. Instead, going omnichannel can cause headaches for brands and retailers as they struggle to meet, much less exceed, consumer expectations for omnichannel commerce.
So where do they commonly fall short? According to the very customers they’re looking to please, problems with product information, from inaccuracies to inconsistencies to bland or ineffective product experiences, often doom omnichannel offerings before they start. The issue is that brands and retailers may not be providing their customers with the information and data they need to make a purchase in the proper context for each channel.
Read on to discover 3 reasons your product information needs to be put in the proper context.
1. Customers crave information
Now that shoppers have grown accustomed to this brave new omnichannel world, their expectations have changed. Most modern customers crave information about products and services they’re considering purchasing, lest they commit to a purchase that they later regret.
According to researchers, a whopping 85% of consumers visit eCommerce sites to research potential purchases to help them make a decision before they buy a product. What’s more, if they can’t find the information they’re looking for, are given inaccurate information, or find inconsistent information listed across different websites or channels, they’ll almost certainly abandon the purchase to find another company who will provide accurate, consistent product information to buy from.
This means that it’s crucial that your product information not only be accurate and consistent, but also presented in the proper context. If it isn’t consumers won’t be able to easily find information about your products, and they won’t be clicking the “buy” button on your eCommerce store or mobile app.
2. A picture is worth a thousand words
If written product information is good, multimedia assets are even better. Research from Forrester shows that emotion has a bigger impact on brand loyalty than the effectiveness and ease of getting value from the experience in every industry — and digital assets like images and video are key drivers of that emotional response you’re looking for from customers.
What’s more, consumers tell researchers that they want to see more images and videos from brands and retailers they do business with. Nearly three-quarters of customers in one recent survey said they would rather use images or video to learn about a new product or service, more than any other medium, while HubSpot found that more than half of consumers want to see more videos from brands and businesses they support.
But if you don’t tailor your multimedia assets to the specific traits of each channel you sell on, your customer experience will suffer. And a bad customer experience may just be a fate worse than death in the omnichannel age.
3. Experience is king
When it comes to omnichannel commerce, price isn’t the biggest indicator of where most consumers will choose to make a purchase from. And surprisingly enough, it isn’t ease-of-use or convenience, either it’s the total shopping experience.
We’re now firmly in the heydey of what Joe Pine refers to as the “Experience Economy” — products and services have become commoditized, and compelling customer experiences have become the main differentiator between competing companies. The statistics back this up — 86% of consumers said they would pay more for better customer experiences, while 67% cited poor customer experiences as the main reason for churn.
But as Akeneo CEO Fred de Gombert says, “there’s no one experience to rule them all.” A truly compelling customer experience changes and adapts to fit the context a consumer is shopping in, and the channel they’re using — and as we saw above, without a compelling experience, customers will go elsewhere to buy products.
How PIM Helps Put Your Products In The Proper Context
Companies looking to succeed in this new omnichannel commerce-centered market must meet their customers across a wide range of outlets and channels in order to keep up with the competition, which means efficiently and effectively managing product information and data to create compelling customer experiences.
But with more than 75% of companies still relying on spreadsheets to manage product information, this can become a real challenge. Using spreadsheets or other outdated or ineffective product information tools prevents efficient team collaboration and often leads to slow time-to-market__ and high numbers of product information inaccuracies or inconsistencies, which can cause customers to lose faith in your company and your products.
Fortunately, there is an answer — Product Information Management (PIM) solutions can work with product syndication platforms like Productsup and make sure your product information is ready for omnichannel commerce. What makes PIM a key driver for a successful omnichannel endeavor?
Akeneo PIM is a foundational technology that can help your business cost-effectively expand to new channels by providing the infrastructure your company needs. It does so by centralizing and harmonizing all the technical, usage, and emotional information for your product listings and catalogs, ensuring that you provide shoppers with data that is accurate, consistent and contextual.
Because there’s no one experience to rule them all.
Want to learn how to help your team conquer these new sales channels with relative ease by reading Akeneo's post on Turning A New Commerce Channel Into A Success.
John Evans leads product marketing at Akeneo, a provider of open source PIM software. He has over 20 years of B2B marketing experience in master data management, business intelligence, and supply chain software.