In a crowded e-Commerce market, your business needs to do everything to ensure your products stand out — and that starts with good product data. Small mistakes or discrepancies in listed product attributes such as price, size or availability can mean a lost sale, a return or a negative review.
But maintaining accurate product data is no easy feat, especially as customer touch points multiply. Companies must constantly optimize their product listings to avoid frustrating customers or breaking regulations. Unfortunately, many retailers aren’t prepared for this reality.
Here’s what companies are struggling with when it comes to product information management, and what you can implement to help:
Emerging E-Commerce Channels Create Challenges
Successful retailers aren’t just selling on one or two channels anymore. Customers shop in-store and online, but they also expect to see your products on third-party sites like Amazon and even within shoppable social ads on platforms like Instagram. That’s good news for you, since customers have more opportunities than ever to engage with your brand, wherever they are. But it means you must be prepared to support these channels, which is no easy task if you don’t have the right processes and technology in place.
Your product information, advertisement specifications and more need to be consistent and accurate across every channel, while also adhering to platforms’ differing standards. While that sometimes entails more superficial changes (like adjusting product specifications to meet different guidelines for Instagram and Facebook), it could also mean more sweeping ones that affect how you handle product content in general. For example, a customer expects more concise and thorough product information when ordering via a voice device like a smart home hub, since they can’t actually see the product.
Global Commerce Adds To The Complexities
Emerging channels make product information management difficult enough, but crossing borders complicates the picture even further. Not only do you need to maintain product information across multiple platforms, but you need to ensure you’re following national protocols that might differ significantly for regulatory, technical or cultural reasons.
Easy examples come to mind — for one, when a U.S. company sells products in Europe, they must list prices in euros, not dollars. But beyond the most obvious examples, cultural and regulatory differences could make or break your business in other countries.
For instance, you can’t make the same claims about skincare and cosmetic products in the UK as you could in the U.S. American companies selling moisturizers across the pond must wave goodbye to “anti-aging” branding, since that claim isn’t legally allowed.
Other cultural considerations are important but easily overlooked. For example, what Americans call a "soccer ball" would be called a "football" in countries that use British English. Or a cookbook publisher looking to expand sales to Israel might omit pork-based recipes in order to appeal to the new audience. These are small details, but incredibly important to remember.
Product Experience Management (PXM) Tools Prepare You For Future Growth
To maximize your reach to customers across borders and channels, you’ve got to perfect product experience management. And if you’re truly invested in expanding your audiences, manual processes simply won’t scale up fast enough, leading to inefficiencies and costly mistakes. You need the right technology to ensure your data is accurate, consistent and updated constantly to meet changing requirements.
PXM tools help you overcome the challenges of manual processes and accommodate today’s retail realities. Using a PXM solution, you can make changes to product information all at once, while ensuring that it’s up to code across channels and markets. That means product descriptions, technical specifications, categorizations and more. If you’re using an effective solution, PXMs will save time, effort and money.
Marcel Hollerbach is CMO and board member of Productsup, a Berlin-based tech company providing an award-winning solution for product content integration, transformation and syndication. A serial entrepreneur, Hollerbach also is a founding partner of Venture Capital Fund Cavalry Ventures, which specializes in early-stage investments in European tech startups. He also founded video streaming platform hiClip, which was acquired by Adconion Media Group and NativeAds, which merged with Seeding Alliance and was later acquired by Ströer.