Why quality data is the foundation for all eCommerce strategies
As companies transform their digital strategy to improve the customer experience, maintaining a high quality product data standard is crucial for all eCommerce strategies.
It is safe to describe product information management (PIM) as the essential foundation layer in making sure your product assortment and data is reliable, available and accessible to customers on digital channels. But where do you start? When selling on online marketplaces like Amazon, each product detail page has up to 700 data attributes that can be assessed by a consumer online. This vast amount of required data is there for the sole purpose of offering a great experience to shoppers searching for products.
The consumer no longer shops through one and the same channel; the customer journey goes much further than that. That’s why it is important to be visible where your customers are and to sell through multiple channels. For example, you could use Amazon for its market reach, retailers for their deep route into customer behaviour, and D2C to inspire and evoke brand ambassadorship.
Not selling on multiple channels will have a negative impact on your business in the long term. The key to sustainable online growth lies in balancing the channels within your digital strategy by levering each one, whether it is D2C, retail or marketplaces, to deliver the optimal value for consumers. There is one thing all of these strategies have in common: they all rely on a high quality standard of your product content.
The first step you have to take when selling through multiple channels is to gather all the different content requirements these platforms have.
The second step is to make a gap analysis of what content you already have, and what needs to be created. Step three is to gather all the information you need and to bring all the content you have from various departments, systems, files and folders throughout your organisation to one place: the PIM system.
Mapping out the (product) content for the channels without tools will result in long spreadsheets and image resizing exercises, so organise all the needed and existing content into a clear content overview. Experts call this a data model. This model can be built up in Excel and processes all content affiliated to a product, including its categories, attributes and sources of all this information. A well constructed data model is the foundation layer on how your organisation, people and process will successfully use a PIM system. Based on this model, filling in the blanks for content will become a seamless process that saves your teams an enormous amount of time. It offers the possibility to create and manage high-quality content that is needed to inspire consumers to make a purchase.
A successful PIM organisation consists of three pillars:
People are working with product content. However, quite often no one in the organisation is responsible for product data, which many people contribute to. Where people work, mistakes can be made. If you want to maintain a high level of data quality, start with organising your product data team and make this team responsible for future success. Also, help your team with KPI’s, ownership and responsibility for certain product data fields.
Map out the end-to-end product life cycle. This is a schematic overview of when a new product is born, purchased, or onboarded to your organisation. What steps are taken to come to a sellable product, and what people and systems play a role? Define the processes for new, changed and end-of life statuses for products. It enables you to create automation so that people can add value over performing repetitive tasks.
- 3.Tools / technology
PIM systems play an integral part in enabling people to work on seamless processes. Choose a PIM system that allows you to onboard content from all your company’s internal sources, offers a user-friendly work environment, and processes the capabilities for collaboration (workflows, insights). Finally, the system needs to help you achieve high-quality data, or you will lose the possibility to provide your consumers with great inspiring content.
Wunderman Thompson Commerce helps brands, wholesalers and retailers create the best possible customer experience shopping for products. We work with a variety of valued PIM/PXM and MDM partners to achieve this, including Riversand, Salsify, Akeneo, InRiver and Informatica.