Product information plays a paramount role when looking at sales on digital channels. They can either provide comprehensive answers to a potential buyer’s questions and thus facilitate sales , or reciprocally throw a sale at a competitor’s lair. It’s time to ensure your company’s sales growth in light of product information.
Product information management plays a significant role in a company’s business. A potential customer knows how to demand information about the product they want and will change boutiques quickly if they find accessing information difficult or the amount of information unserviceable to them. This will by no means alleviate in the near future, as digitalisation is still in its acceleration phase.
“Companies estimate that sales from digital channels will almost double over the next couple of years. The most important channels are e-commerce, digital services and applications, and websites”, says Katariina Tenhunen, CEO of Vastakaiku.
When you think about what things to keep in mind at the digital age from the perspective of product information management, the answer is clear.
“Sales with all their steps have already moved strongly online. It is relevant to think about the basis on which the buyer chooses the online store they want, as competition is present all the time. According to a study conducted by Posti, the fourth most important factor in choosing an online store is product information, its quality and discoverability. The mere platform does not bring happiness to customers” says Minna Andersson, Canter’s former head of sales and marketing.
It is important to understand how the e-commerce platform works, but still remember that content itself is a strong foundation on which to build each store.
“Diverse product information that takes into account different customers, must be available in all digital channels.” Andersson continues.
Seamlessness is a development trend that creates a smooth customer and shopping experience across borders.
“The customer shouldn’t even notice that the channel of the selling party is changing, so the customer experience and paths should be kept as intact as possible. The entire organization needs to move towards digitalization. An online store is not just a store that lives its own life” says Patrik Palatz, CEO of Canter.
Adding wind to sales through third-party marketplaces
In third-party marketplaces you can test the market, increase visibility, and track competitors. Especially when entering a new market, it’s a good route to experiment.
Of course, a third-party sales channel is not for everyone. If, in addition to sales activities, there is a need for professional consultation with the seller, it is not desired to hand over the sale to others.
“There are, of course, industry-specific differences. For some this creates opportunities, for others that channeling does not sit at all. Electronic sales through a third-party sales channel are technical and require technical expertise. At the heart is the sales catalog management, accordingly to the other ecosystem model” Palatz opens.
It is also continuous optimization. Just as your own business requires development, you also have to be ready elsewhere.
“The competition is even tougher on the third-party platform. Of course, there are added value factors, so companies want to try it” Palatz adds.
Direct sales to consumers have raised their heads and gained media visibility. There is also a critique of third-party outlets if someone owns a giant relationship from the platform.
“Testing is an opportunity for many. It can provide wider market coverage. Distinctiveness is really important; keep analyzing competing products and highlight the strengths of your own products. It all starts with the content” says Andersson.
Rich content to meet customer needs
Many companies still view product information strongly from their own point of view, not so much from the customer’s perspective. Operating systems often revolve around hard factual information about products, but the enriched text that requires separation remains missing.
“Pioneers are those who have built their business model around customer understanding. They wonder who the end user is, what they need” Palatz explains.
There is a huge amount of information and understanding of the customer’s needs in sales and the customer interface. All that information is valuable to the entire organization.
“With good content, it is possible to help the whole company succeed and serve better. It has tremendous potential to stand out from the competition” Palatz continues.
In the consumer business, the emphasis is on experientialism and storytelling, but equally in the b-to-b business, information management should be based on the fact that the basics and information are in order; what the product is suitable for, what it is capable of, whether it complies with the requirements.
Uncertainties due to product information weaknesses easily sway sales to a competitor. All the friction should get out of the buying process and make buying as effortless as possible.
It is worth considering, why product information is still made more for your own organization than for the customer.
“It’s pretty natural. If content is utilized directly from the ERP system, then it is internal material” Andersson explains.
It is important to stop to think about the customer’s buying paths and buying personas, what kind of person is buying the product, what their needs are.
“Someone is looking for a product by purpose, another by size. For some, ecology is important, while another buyer may be strongly appearance-oriented. So when we think of multi-channel sales, all those customers should effortlessly find the right product for them. That is, when starting to enrich and modify product information from ERP, all of these different uses should be considered. Groundwork is where you have to start, only then can different purchasing needs be served” Andersson lists.
Getting started is worth it
Existing information is second to none. It is about enriching it.
“All members of the company, regardless of role, should have access to all the information created for each product. Knowledge capital is an important tool” Palatz lists.
Customer complaints and return reasons are important additional information that can be used to develop both the product itself and product information. This is often due to missing or incomplete product information.
“I would call for courage. It doesn’t always have to be a complete and ready-made game plan, the experimental culture also fits pretty well into product sales. That’s where the best innovations come from testing and experimenting” Palatz encourages.
According to the study, the most important development areas in product information management in the next few years are the quality and enrichment of product information, meeting customer needs and diversifying product information management. These steps can only go in a more positive direction.
6 tips to stand out with product information and increase sales
- Customized service on all channels. Digital sales help automate information.
- Get foundations in order. When the product data structure is in order, the data can be easily divided into different channels.
- The right tools for collaboration. Data management requires collaboration and the necessary tools.
- To success with speed, distinctiveness and the ability to change. If your company decided to export its products to Amazon tomorrow, would you be ready?
- Content strategy and enriched product information create pioneering spirit. Create a lead with the same plan.
- Always do product information management for the customer.