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Add value to your ecommerce business with data enrichment – three steps to improve your data

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Brand and manufacturers meeting the demands of today's ecommerce consumers

Collect valuable product content, improve its quality and grow your business with enriched product content

Content can make or break your ecommerce site. Every year, poor data quality costs organizations an average of $12.9 million. This revenue loss often comes from wasted time and resources. Besides having an impact on revenue, it can negatively affect how your clients perceive your brand. One ecommerce study found that 20% of purchase failures are potentially a result of unclear or missing product information. Customer loyalty depends on ongoing confidence in your brand. To foster this, you need to provide consistent data quality. Even if your data mismanagement is unintentional, damage can grow out of control very quickly. 

In today’s digital economy, knowing how to provide a positive customer experience is a crucial competitive advantage - it determines aspects such as whether a client will choose you again in the future or if they will choose one of your competitors instead. But to win buyers’ hearts, minds and wallets, you’ll need your product pages to offer more than basic facts. Consumers are not impressed with sites and apps that simply allow them to shop - they want seamless omnichannel experiences that offer rich and engaging product content including detailed descriptions, stories, images, videos, articles and more. Simple content is no longer enough.  

If buyers abandon a shopping cart, return a product, or lose trust due to insufficient and incorrect product information, what does that say? Other than the obvious, it means that businesses must focus on optimizing their product data and making all necessary information about the desired product easily accessible. 

Product data enrichment is key to your ecommerce success

A Forrester study found that 45% of US customers abandon a purchase if they are not able to find an answer to their questions immediately. Buyers will turn away from ecommerce platforms that lack details and don’t offer the product data they expect to see. Competition is increasingly fierce these days, but one of the best ways to attract consumers is by providing engaging content. In fact, 95% of B2B buyers view content as a trustworthy marker when evaluating a business. Yet, as a Harvard Business Review study showed, only 3% of companies’ data meets basic quality standards.

Providing rich product information to users, with enough data that covers every product detail and complementary materials that compensate for what is missing in a non-physical shopping experience (tutorials, videos and user reviews) is crucial to convince them to buy and give them a better customer experience. Businesses also generate a greater understanding of their customers when they enrich data, allowing them to personalize products and services according to their customers’ needs. 

This is where product content enrichment comes in. It’s the process of filling in the blanks for your potential customers. Instead of sharing a product with only a text description or photo, you can include details such as measurements, color variations, related products and accessories. The goal is to show your customers how buying your product will fit into their lives. 

Enriching product data with correct, consistent and complete information may sound daunting. That’s why we came up with this easy three-step guide to optimizing your product data quality and building a great product experience. 

Step 1: Transform your data 

Product data enrichment starts with easy access to quality data. After all, you can’t share more details about your products unless you have quick and streamlined access to that information. This is where you use data quality workflows to de-duplicate, cleanse, validate and normalize your product data to get it ready for enrichment. 

If you’re still storing complex product data in spreadsheets, relying on your B2B product data to sell directly to consumers or using internal data on your ecommerce site that’s just not fit for purpose, it’s time to consider making some changes. Your approach may have worked for some time, but as your product marketing requirements scale along with your customers' needs, the data errors, inaccuracies and inconsistencies can fracture even the strongest and smartest teams. 

Product data can come from multiple suppliers, raw material vendors, data pools, agencies, third-party content aggregators, ERP systems, CRMs, decentralized business units and more. When this data is stored in multiple formats across various departments in your organization, the process of onboarding and consolidating product data can be frustrating to manage and standardize, often causing missed revenue opportunities, product launch delays and an inconsistent customer experience.  

Simply put, this step includes eliminating siloed data and redundancy to create a logical and rich repository of relevant information. When data normalization is performed correctly, you will end up with standardized information. Overall, incorrect or redundant data is either removed, corrected or imputed. 

Step 2: Govern your data

Now that your data is clean, accurate and normalized, you need to keep it that way. How? You can do this by automating tasks with workflow-based approval processes, version control, flexible business rules and audit trails. Without these processes in place, you might not only miss out on data-driven opportunities but also waste resources.  

To gain a holistic view of your data’s quality at all stages of the product content management process, you can implement a data governance strategy. A well-planned data governance framework covers strategic, tactical and operational roles, clearly defining responsibilities relating to particular assets and ensuring that responsibility and accountability are agreed upon across the organization. Moreover, it allows businesses to configure their desired product hierarchies. In other words, it encourages compliance with data quality requirements. 

Below are some key practices that must be considered at this stage to make sure you’re providing your customers with the best product information possible: 

  • Establish a data governance strategy: After you’ve uncovered your data issues, you must determine the correct processes, roles, standards and metrics that ensure the efficient use of information and establish policies to guarantee consistency. 
  • Start small: Start with just one data issue and expand from there. You can start with one where significant problems or imminent risks make it a good testing ground for data governance. 
  • Select the right framework: Choose a data governance framework that best aligns with your data strategy and organization. 
  • Get key stakeholder buy-in and senior leadership sponsorship: Gaining executive buy-in and data governance sponsorship is key to ensuring the program is kept on track and still meeting the needs of the business. 
  • Communicate: Determine a communications strategy to inform people across the organization about data governance. 
  • Update your data governance: Effective data governance is a continuing process. Policy definition, review, audit and quality control are all regularly affected or repeated as a data governance life cycle.

Step 3. Enrich your data

You’ve successfully normalized your data governance rules, now it’s time to enrich your data. In ecommerce, your product data must fulfill and surpass the benchmarks for enhanced, robust and descriptive data. In the context of ecommerce, data enrichment ensures that the product data includes all the attributes a buyer will need to make an informed decision based on accurate information.  

Product content enrichment has many benefits for an organization, from delivering a more relevant customer experience to potentially increasing conversion rates by 78%. By providing the necessary details, you can go further with the product features, build an emotional connection and achieve a 360-degree view that includes product descriptions, digital assets, rich media, product bundles, kits, upsells, reviews and more. With improved product content, you can build a trusting relationship with your buyers, leading to not only more sales but customer loyalty.  

With enriched data, your organization can:   
  • Outshine the competition: Use high-quality, enhanced content such as comparison charts, graphics and videos, combined with associated product information management across channels, and your competitors won’t stand a chance.  
  • Captivate more customers: By creating and managing references to other products like spare parts, bundles, upsells, cross-sells, reviews e.g. “shop the look” or “you may also like,” you can increase relevancy and ultimately attract more customers.  
  • Drive traffic to your product pages: When you smoothly maintain and optimize product data attributes, you can boost your SEO and achieve high rankings for product detail pages and category landing pages.  
  • Comply with global standards: Varied global standards need to be followed and maintained for a multitude of product types. Effective integration with global data pools such as GDSN enables retailers and distributors to comply with regulations while providing accurate, rich and compliant product information to empower engaging customer experiences.  

Enriching product data with PIM

Declining sales, returns and bad reviews are symptoms of the much more pervasive problem of poor data quality. Selling online requires a strong grasp of your product data, especially with the endless volumes of data that businesses need to manage. Although no one is safe from data quality issues, tools like a Product Information Management (PIM) system make a dramatic difference between barely meeting quality standards and exceeding expectations. 

With Contentserv’s PIM, businesses can leverage configurable dashboards to monitor data quality, visualize the overall status of their data quality and quickly carry out corrective actions through workflows and notifications. Companies can ultimately avoid challenges such as siloed data, duplicated and outdated product information, costly translation/localization processes, time-consuming manual processes and organizational inefficiencies. Normalizing data and being able to immediately identify and fix problems saves time and energy while preventing costly mistakes. This is what allows businesses to take advantage of new opportunities and achieve greater efficiency and ROI. 

Enriched product data is crucial across all sales channels, but ecommerce tops the list of platforms that need special attention to product content. That’s why our PIM solution will fit seamlessly into your existing technological ecosystem and help you unlock future growth. Contentserv’s PIM provides the ability to integrate your product information management system with other business systems and publish to the likes of  OroCommerce, BigCommerce or Shopify.

By setting up your PIM correctly, you can streamline enrichment processes, get your products to market faster and grow your ecommerce presence sustainably. For instance, by using Contentserv PIM, Intersport - the world-leading sporting goods retailer - is now able to capitalize on its competitive advantages. Leveraging the deep product assortments of its 1,500 affiliates, the PIM system provides the company central support in collating the content provided by more than 600 brands. From this “single-source-of-truth,” the company can address the ecommerce and distribution needs of its affiliates, while maintaining consistency across channels.  

Contentserv also helped Belimo - a leading manufacturer of actuator solutions for controlling heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems - to deliver up-to-date and consistent product information across all touchpoints, quickly and cost-effectively. The centralized solution has enabled Belimo to manage product information and distribute it across all channels, making necessary changes without worrying about duplicates and inaccurate information.

Customer loyalty is the end goal

80% of customers now consider the experience a company provides to be as important as its products and services. Yet, the customer experience you provide can only be as good as the quality of the information and assets you have. That’s why it’s critical to maintain excellent product data quality. To deliver compelling omnichannel experiences, all product information must first be top-notch – or else, your product pages will reveal the cracks in the structure. 

While it might take some time and resources to enrich your product data, those investments will likely return significant dividends down the road. Product data quality transfers into informative, detailed and accurate product content and experiences. Customers see that you go above and beyond to provide the information they need to make a buying decision – and they will turn into your biggest advocates.  

According to Forrester, more business professionals now view product content as a way to differentiate product experiences across both digital and physical properties. And with a PIM system, it’s easier than ever to deliver customers rich, consistent and relevant product experiences.

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