Product Experience is the overall value the consumer received when they encountered a product. It is the sum of their rational and emotional response to the product content in the different stages of the customer journey. Product content is the bearer of product experiences. It functions as a brand’s most persuasive salesperson online and the most important element in the consumer’s path-to-purchase. Therefore, brand manufacturers that want to get ahead must elevate content creation and distribution to a top priority, especially if they are a Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brand.
Why is product experience so important and what are the reasons why brands should take it seriously? It's all about giving the consumers what they want and exceeding their expectations.
Here are four factual reasons why product experience is the norm, not the exception, in today’s business landscape.
It’s a world full of omnichannel shoppers
Omnni means “all” and when it comes to shoppers, it translates to the device and channels they use to make a purchase, which today is increasingly on mobile or on the go, and then websites, marketplaces and a variety of social media apps. These omnichannel customers are highly desirable. They purchase products online and in-store and have a 30% higher lifetime value than shoppers who only use one channel.1 For brands to be successful in attracting, engaging, and converting them, they must meet consumers where they are and then provide a seamless and consistent experience through channel-ready and customer journey-relevant content.
Customers research before they buy, everywhere and all the time
While the digital world changed how people shop, it further shifted due to the pandemic. More customers turned to online shopping as physical stores closed, with 58%2 having chosen to purchase online more than they did before COVID-19.
Given the abundance of information and time at their disposal, it’s no longer a question of whether they research products before deciding on a purchase – it’s now where they conduct their research. And research concluded in February 2021 found that 51% used search engines and 48% preferred social networks3. Other leading channels used by customers to research products/services were:
- Consumer reviews – 38%
- Product/brand sites – 36%
- Mobile apps – 31%
Whether consumers performed a Google search or Amazon search, a consumer who’s seriously considering buying almost always lands on the brand’s website, particularly the product page. Therefore, it’s imperative for brands to ensure that visitors see only accurate, complete, enriched, and up-to-date product information on their product page. They must ensure that all the information that the visitors may need is found on that page, including reviews, ratings, pricing, and delivery information.
The rise and rise of e-commerce
Global e-commerce sales were projected to reach $5.42 trillion by the end of 2022,4 but due to the pandemic that number is expected to rise as shoppers continue to pivot online:
- 77% year-on-year (YoY) or an $82.5 billion increase in total global online spending was seen in May 2020 at the height of the pandemic5
- 58% of consumers expect to increase online shopping even after the pandemic6
The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards e-commerce by five years.7 That means it’s a must for brands to optimize their digital shelf to replicate the in-store shopping experience. It highlights the critical role of enriched product content in influencing the consumer’s path-to-purchase as they cannot see the product up close, touch, or try it on.
Experience matters more than product and price
By now it’s common knowledge that customer experience (CX) is THE key brand differentiator above price and product,8 that’s why 81% of marketers said in 2018 that their companies will be competing on the basis of CX alone.9 What does CX mean to consumers? According to Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report:10
- 79% of customers agree that the experience a company provides is as important as its products/services
- 75% expect consistent interactions across departments
- 54% of customers expect companies to expect their needs
- 62% prefer personalized products/services
Consequently, 92% of customers say they abandon a company after two or three negative experiences.11 When it comes to product, experiences are conveyed through content and foundational to providing great product experiences are accurate, complete, enriched, and up-to-date product information. From there, brands can build experiences based on their audience and data.
Why a PIM is a must in creating remarkable product experiences
Creating and managing product data is a complex, time-consuming and labor-intensive endeavor, which requires the right people, processes, and technology. A Product Information Management (PIM) system helps brands and retailers consolidate, enrich, and distribute product information internally and across multiple sales channels. It is a powerful central repository for volumes of complex product data with integrated systems to help enrich content and ensure data quality.
Product content plays a significant role in the consumer path-to-purchase and what consumers want are seamless, connected, and personalized experiences. To meet these challenges, brands must invest in a PIM solution to cover the basic requirements of accurate, complete, rich, and up-to-date product information and then scale from there.