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Google <3 Product Information

Search engines – and especially the most glorious of them all, Google – are gatekeepers to all online content. Your website is virtually nonexistent if search engines cannot find it. Also, the competition for a spot on the first page of search results is fierce – very few have the patience to browse through all the pages, and a ranking on the second page reaps few rewards.

It is thus advisable to take some time to consider Google when setting up a website, online store or a product catalogue. The inner workings of the search algorithm are a well-guarded secret, but certain fundamentals are pretty easy to take care of on product information pages.

Product descriptions

  • Google penalizes you right away if product description is missing. Compose descriptive content that describes the product to the customer – and the search engine – as comprehensively as possible. However, avoid excess wordiness.
  • Always strive for unique content. Google lowers your ranking instantly if the same text is being recycled on several websites. It is worth your while to fine-tune e.g. the manufacturer’s descriptions a little, even though it might be easier to publish it as is. Here too setting yourself apart from the others is commendable.

Extensive, diverse content

  • Diverse content is rewarded: in addition to comprehensive written content, use images, videos, links, attachments…
  • If the page has no images ranking goes down. Pay extra attention to image alt texts, so that your page will appear in the image search results as well.
  • Offer plain language web addresses (URL addresses). In addition to Google, users too like links that convey directly what the page is about – it’s best to forget automatically created nonsense string addresses.

Offer many routes to your content

  • The ranking goes up if the website is referenced from several other websites, because this makes Google perceive your site as more trustworthy.
  • Importers, for instance, may boost the online store of the local wholesaler or retailer by linking to these sites directly from their own site. Take into account, though, that the websites need to be trustworthy (see Section ‘Don’t cheat’).

Invest in usability

  • Google – like the rest of us – loves pages that load quickly. Fast websites get a considerably higher ranking in the search results.
  • There will be a penalty if the mobile users have been neglected and the page does not scale to smaller screens.
  • Search engines also try to rate the quality of your site by monitoring how often users return straight back to the search result page after visiting your website. If Google notices that your website responds poorly to the needs of customers, your ranking will decline.

Don’t cheat

If you get caught cheating, the consequences might be severe: in the worst case you will end up on Google’s black list and your website will not be dropped from the search results entirely. You can earn Google’s disregard by, for instance, doing some of the following:

  • Buying external links referring to your website that typically come from notorious spam sites or social media accounts. If you get busted doing this, your site may be completely removed from the search results. Not a recommendable maneuver.
  • Flooding your website keywords with countless keywords and excessive repetition. Your ranking will likely end up at the bottom end of the results, even though everything else were AOK.
  • Dispersing broken web links that tell Google that your site is not up to date. This most likely will not drop you completely off the search results, but weakens your ranking in comparison to a web page that has working links.

You’ll receive more information about Product Information Management and its possibilities by leaving your contact information and we will get in touch.

Virtual Shopping Is (Almost) Here!

In collaboration with the Myer’s store chain, eBay has published the world’s first 3D virtual online store. This pretty simple concept consists of a cardboard “Shopticals” box, into which a smartphone is attached. An app is loaded into the smartphone which is then viewed through the cardboard box mount.

In a virtual store there is no need to click the mouse. All the choices and navigation are accomplished by aligning the gaze. If you look at a certain item or a product for a while, more detailed information will be listed. The store has 3D images of the most popular products in each product category. Right now the virtual store is available only in Australia, but surely we will soon have something similar.

Virtual shopping and the 3D world present new challenges for listing product information and sharing this information via different channels. 3D product images are clearly the first milestone, and maybe in a few years there will be product content for the other senses as well – like scents, virtual touch and feel and sound.

When product information and its foundation management are done right, it is easier to share information and refine this information toward new technologies and distribution channels. If you feel like your company’s Product Information Management needs to be improved, do contact us!

More information:
Manager, Customer Relations
Katri Koskentalo
040 167 8971
katri.koskentalo@canter.fi

Read also “Product information and buying”!

Helvar polishes product information management processes with Adeona PIM

Specialised in energy-efficient solutions for the global market, Helvar will centralise its product information management with the Adeona PIM solution.

The lighting technology company publishes product information on its website, in printed product catalogues and in brochures, price lists and Excel spreadsheets targeting various resellers and market segments.

In the past, the company’s product information was scattered across different systems: on the website, in printed catalogues and in local area network shares. The major challenge has been managing the different language versions, which, with the eight languages to maintain, is not a surprise. Although the majority of the content is the same regardless of the language, it still needs to be updated separately for online publishing and for the printed catalogue. In addition, images and other documents had to be copied to the website and also to a separate media bank service.

The new media bank was published in April. Now the images and documents are automatically updated by Adeona PIM and the changes are reflected both on the website and in the media bank. In addition, automation can make industrious steps easier, such as updating product information in price lists and product catalogues with finished layout.

Are you interested? For more information about our PIM solutions, please contact:

Manager, Customer relations
Katri Koskentalo
katri.koskentalo@canter.fi
+358 40 167 8971

 

Helvar is an international lighting technology company specialising in energy efficient components and solutions for lighting and lighting control systems. We aim to bring continuously more intelligent, easy-to-use, reliable lighting solutions for the different needs in the marketplace. Strong growth in LED and lighting controls will continue with a growing emphasis on the opportunities digitalisation will provide, the internet of things (IoT), human centric lighting and energy efficiency being key elements in the future of lighting.www.helvar.fi 

Canter provides their clients with Adeona product data management solutions. With Adeona, it is possible to save all the information centrally in order to update and share them faster. Getting your product to the market becomes faster, and the results can be seen in the increase of customer satisfaction. You can read more about the company at:https://www.canter.fi/en/company/

 

Product Information Management in Excel

I regularly visit clients to advise them on product information management and publishing automation. It may be a client who is just planning to obtain a PIM system, and it may be an experienced one with fine-tuned processes. Quite often when I am doing a consulting or training call, they ask me,

What is the usual way for solving product information management?

My usual response is showing them a picture:

tuotetiedonhallinta_excel_english

But there is a truth to the joke. Too often product information management issues have been solved with several parallel and overlapping Excel files. Sometimes the process has not been thought out or no one knows of anything better.

Excel is excellent in many places. Even our PIM product allows for mass updating product data or retrieving product information for refining or running reports on it using Excel files. Excel can be used as a CRM system, a BI tool etc. Excel is also certain to be the most used PIM system. It is easy to understand why Excel would be chosen as the tool: it is inexpensive, and the data model is flexible and familiar to many. It is also relatively easy to use it to transfer information to other systems.

However, Excel is not for everything. As a centralised product database is rarely works even to an adequate degree. Here are some reasons why:

Information security How is it ensured that the product data master has been backed up? Are backups made of the Excel files? Does the entire company’s product information travel around the world in a single user’s laptop? If a user makes local changes, is the workstation backed up? If the user accidentally deletes an entire worksheet, what happens? Are modifications logged? Can it be traced who modified what and when?

Data model
Although it is possible to model a variety of information types in an Excel file, how easily will it support:

  • modelling the different data models of different products (and guiding data entry accordingly)
  • defining inter-product relations and links
  • adding and managing product images and attachments
  • managing categories, groups and classifications

It is also industrious to build different rules and logic sets in Excel. How is it specified that some element is required?

Multi-user support
How does an Excel file support multiple people using it concurrently? Is the information required by different roles in different files? How is the information kept up-to-date? Is the latest information always available in the shared workbook or do users have a local copy of the files?

Images
How are product-related images managed in an Excel PIM solution? Probably in a separate shared folder? How are suitable versions made of the images for different channels? Automation, even in the simplest of tasks, will become difficult or impossible.

Searchability
How easy is it to find the products in Excel? If the data model is the slightest bit complex, information has probably been distributed across several files. If there are dozens or hundreds of thousands of products and each has a couple hundred attributes, you will end up with dozens of millions of cells in Excel. Not very excellent.

Integrations
How easy is it to create genuine system integration between Excel and an online store? A modern PIM system provides interfaces that Excel users can only dream of. For example, a JSON-based REST interface provides marvellous opportunities for easy system integration.

Usability
Is the Excel user interface developed for efficient product information maintenance? Hardly.

Channels
In the world of PIM, we talk of channels. This means how product information is used in different sales and marketing channels. How easy is it, for example, to get information from Excel to electronic channels or automated material printing processes?

Contact us, and we’ll tell you more about a real solution for product information management.

Distributed or centralised product information management?

Often when a client is about to commence product information management rollout, we discuss the model of management and the processes used for it. There is no universal, correct answer to this question. Naturally, there is a vast range of options for the process, but here we will make the division into centralised and distributed management.

In the centralised model, product information is entered into the system by a few employees who specialise in this task. They receive product information from other actors in the organisation, such as product managers, buyers or the marketing department, and then refine that information as needed before it is entered into the system.

In the distributed model, the maintenance tasks have been distributed among several people across the organisation. In this way, a single person will not spend that long carrying out the task but, on the other hand, consistency may be compromised. Should the product descriptions sound like your company? The product information refining process is closely related to the ERP product process, and thus it is worth thinking of these two as a whole.

In addition, note the following:

  • are there country-specific variations in the assortment or products?
  • how has the translation process been managed?
  • quantity and quality of product information to be saved:how much and what type of data is collected for the products?
  • where, in what format and in how “finished” a state is product information obtained:how much is there a need to modify the data before entry into the system?
  • what differences are there between product groups in the data to be refined?
  • what are the desired and possible organisation methods of information management?
  • information supply chain management (ISCM) and authority relationships
  • how often is the product assortment updated, new products introduced, old ones updated or deleted?

Which model would work better for you? The choice is partly influence by the competence and existing roles of the personnel. Will product information be available from vendors or manufacturers or will it be mostly produced by you? In many cases, there are different responsibilities for different product data. For example, a product manager is responsible for the technical data of a product while the marketing people are responsible for the images. The marketing texts may be a shared responsibility. Making process choice can be a strategic or tactical decision. What is the goal? Are you seeking long-term benefits and differentiation or efficiency in the beginning?

Whichever your company chooses, we are the supplier that will walk with you all the way, from the beginning. We will support you, help you and together with you find the model that best suits your needs.

Are you interested? Ask for more:
Janne Costiander
janne.costiander@canter.fi
+358 50 552 1054

 

 

Orient Occident has chosen Canter for their product information management partner

Orient Occident and Canter have started a collaboration.

 

”Creating price catalogs has been challenging for us. With the Adeona Sales Tool we are able to crate the catalogs automatically, with an uniform look. By doing this, we are able to dedicate more time for our clients and into closing sales.”

Managing Director Mikko Puputti

Other advantages of using the centralized Adeona-PIM solution in the first place were e.g., being able to swiftly create stunning offers with photos. In addition, photos and other enriching product information can also be added to the ERP system. There are also plans to expand the usage of Adeona in the future.

Are you interested? For more information about our PIM solutions, please contact:
Janne Costiander
050 552 1054
janne.costiander@canter.fi

 

Orient Occident is a local family business.  The company imports interior textiles, floor coverings and carpets. The high quality interior design products and services are marketed for producers, retailers and other influential bodies and decision-makers in industry. www.orientoccident.fi.

Canter provides their clients with Adeona product data management solutions. With Adeona, it is possible to save all the information centrally in order to update and share them faster. Getting your product to the market becomes faster, and the results can be seen in the increase of customer satisfaction. You can read more about the company at:https://www.canter.fi/en/company/

How can I implement a PIM system successfully?

When kicking off a new project customers often ask for help with what to do to make their project implementation a big success. We tell everyone that in order to succeed the following three items need to be handled properly:   1. Set Clear Objectives  Not a single PIM project has started without a compelling […]

Product information is our most important capital

A few weeks ago, I was with a client who stated that in future, product information will be their most important capital. Products are sold through high-quality product information and it allows them to reach big targets, such as doubling sales revenue over the next couple of yers. For example, maintaining an online shop without the proper processes and tools is impossible for them, never mind further developing their business.

We have been working with product information for several years now and completed dozens of projects. Often, product information and PIM as a term have been completely new to our clients and we have worked hard to raise the awareness in Finland. Indeed, often we have started from the processes involved in automated publishing in relation to product information. These are based on company’s needs and their benefits are easier to grasp. Of course nobody wants to do product information just for the sake of it, that’s why it’s better to see its benefits as soon as possible.

It has been a great pleasure to note that a growing number of organisations has studied product information management, knows the terminology and it has been noted even on the upper levels of the strategy. In many businesses, product information management is part of the daily life. Of course there are more businesses that are only coming around it now. At its best, product information management is seen as one of the core processes that is meant for feeding information into channels that require it. Often, the client realises the importance of product information management as they set up their online shop. The online shop obviously requires quick reactions and real-time updates. This raises some eyebrows as old sales channels may have been functioning through manual processes for years. For example, it may take months to manually produce a printed catalogue whereas it could be produced in a fraction of the time if the process was automated.

Of course, the client’s statement raises their requirements onto a new level. How does one manage product information and more importantly, how do you use it efficiently to reach big targets? What should the processes be and how do the tools support them? These are some of the questions we gladly help our clients with. Take a look at the reference page and see how we have helped some of our current clients with their solutions.

 

Sales, more sales, video  

kissavideo_canter_blogi

Would you rather watch this blog post on video? Image borrowed from this site

 

I admit it, I am pretty lazy. When I’m shopping online, I tend to spend only about 15 seconds on a single page – especially if there is nothing to grab my attention right from the start, or if I’m not finding what I’m looking for. My worst turn-off is badly presented content. Pretty pictures will make it easier to stay on the site, but if for example the photo gallery doesn’t work with the arrow keys, I tend to just give up before long as using the mouse from the bed is too much of an effort. I also read very selectively: large feature posts, sub-headers and maybe the reviews. If I am extremely interested in the content, I just might read the small print and the actual body text.

But how about a video? Those I’ll watch pretty much every single time – especially if they’re short ones. I’ve bought more than enough dresses online because of a compelling product video. Nowadays I know that photos often lie, but I feel that a video is more concrete, more informative and more truthful.

Me and I’m guessing everybody else never reads a manual, but when I’m having problems I always have some time for few minutes long how-to video. With the advent of multiple new channels and everything becoming social, the end users are creating these videos themselves as well. You can find out how the product actually performs by watching a short YouTube or Snapchat video someone posted.

I believe that most people are like me – lazy, who believe when they see. Moving images work better and demand less from us. According to recent case studies, product videos can increase the conversion rate of a web-store by up to 85%. Google is also giving higher search result ranks to sites with videos. Maybe my next blog post too should be a video…

Videos are an important part of enriched product information – in addition to being informative and sometimes even entertaining, at best they can be the factor that makes the customer decide to buy the product, and increase your sales. Does your company already have a solution to tackle this new frontier? Look into Adeona PIM solutions for product information management and publishing.

Canter is participating in Digia Enterprise Day 2015

Canter is again visible part of  Digia Enterprise day in Restaurant Maxine on Thursday 12th of November 2015.  There is interesting customer presentations and the opportunity to explore the variety of business-building solutions in program.

More information 

Welcome to visit and discuss about product information management solutions to our stand!