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Turning Product Information into a Strategic Asset

Penelope Stockinger

By Penelope Stockinger

On August 28, 2018

How can superior product information, delivered with context and relevance, create a winning customer experience?

Expressive, relevant and creative product information, rich with attributes, can be an invaluable tool for retailers to enhance product narratives and evoke emotional connections with consumers. People often seek a connection with products and brands that seem meaningful to them; product data that provides vivid lifestyle and contextual content can go far toward cultivating those product associations and brand affinities. A shopper imagining herself hanging out with Hilaree Nelson, ski mountaineering, will pay attention to the fact that the North Face Women’s Summit L3 down hoodie description provides not only vivid depictions of this “ultimate alpine mid layer, lightweight, 800 fill down jacket”, which “delivers exceptional warmth with unrestricted freedom of movement” but that it also offers a lifetime warranty. In addition to multiple product shots in all available colors, she’s also inspired by images of the approachable and fit Nelson hanging effortlessly from a rock, hundreds of feet above the ground.

To speak to the environmentally conscious consumer, product descriptions can feature details like the fact that the jacket is made of down that, “does not come from animals that have been subject to any unnecessary harm … and [the RDS] helps keep track of the down used in products from farm to finished garment”.

For more on Product Information, in the Age of Digital Transformation, watch our recent Webinar, with Guest Speakers from Forrester and Beam Suntory.            Replay here!

Efficient and effective product information management can also help merchants onboard new products swiftly, meeting customers’ insatiable demand for new styles and new product variations, while maintaining customer service standards. A leading jewelry and gemstone omni-digital retailer, for example, sells products 24/7 in real-time with offers that change rapidly and “multifaceted” products that have multiple attributes: size, weight, color, clarity, history, quality, facets, design – to name only a few. The company needs to manage, on average, hundreds of thousands of new SKUs annually. Such complexity requires a robust product information solution that is able to speed product introductions across online, live TV, marketplace, Google, social media and other channels, all in real time. Reliable, comprehensive product information management has become, for them, a core competitive advantage.

In another example, the food and beverage industry is particularly sensitive to product information and product labeling.  A rise in food allergies, ingredient-specific diets and preferences, and general awareness of foodborne illnesses has led to increased concern from consumers about the food choices they are making for themselves and their families. For brands that want to remain competitive in the ever-changing food and beverage market, end-to-end product transparency – from the first source of ingredients to the end consumer –  in the supply chain, is paramount. For forward-thinking brands, allowing consumers this level of product transparency can give brands a unique competitive advantage.  Supply chain traceability helps ensure food safety and tracking that can help them avoid costly mistakes.

Failing to maintain product data integrity can undermine any customer-relationship building effort and result in long-term brand deterioration. Product information management needs to be viewed as a key driver for building customer relationships — a key long-term brand and company asset.