Great Product Experiences Need Rich Product Information
Consumers today are omnichannel and multi-device shoppers and they’re wired for information.
They may research a product and engage with a brand on multiple channels using different devices - at any given time and not necessarily just once - but they see those events as a single experience.
In those encounters, one can imagine a counter running inside the consumer’s head, giving a point for each good or bad experience, and deciding on a brand’s fate based on which scored higher.
What is rich product information?
Rich product information is everything from short to long descriptions, ingredients, how to use, technical specs, videos, digital assets, FAQs, consumer reviews and more, that is accurate, complete, consistent and up-to-date. Engaging product information helps to:
- Increase conversions. The study conducted by Bazaarvoice reveals that 82% of consumers research using their smartphone before making a purchases in-store, and 56% of online shoppers factor in reviews before buying, as with 45% of brick-and-mortar shoppers.
- Reduce shopping cart abandonment. According to Statista, 56% of shoppers leave shopping carts when presented with "unexpected costs" or not enough information.
- Curtail returns. Invespcro compiled data on e-commerce product returns, the top reasons why consumers return products include wrong product received (23%) and received product looked different (22%).
What is product experience and why is it important?
Product experience is the sum of the consumer’s encounters and engagements with a product across the commerce ecosystem. Its ultimate goal is to build a lasting relationship with consumers a.k.a. be perpetually relevant to consumers even generations down the road. The relationship-building starts with the provision of accurate, complete, consistent and timely product information across channels.
Why are those important? Foundational to relationship-building and conversions is trust. In brick-and-mortar setups, consumers can see and talk to customer service associates or sales representatives, but online or in e-commerce, consumers interact with content rather than people.
To illustrate, no other industry is more rooted in trust-building than insurance that’s why, according to McKinsey, companies that treat consumers to a consistent best-in-class customer experience enjoy more growth in new business and higher profitability than ones that are inconsistent.
Consistent best-in-class customer experience could mean great content offering across channels combined with high-quality customer support all throughout the customer life cycle.
Rich content + experiences create emotional responses
Information found on websites and product pages, such as title, description, price, and images are just basic static content. They’re intended to inform, but not elicit any emotional response from consumers, which does nothing for engagement, conversions or loyalty.
One brand that nails product content is Dollar Shave Club. A quick visit to their website tells you everything you need to know about their offerings... which are basically just razors. Not exciting. And the act of shaving, which isn’t brain surgery, doesn’t really need a lot of content. It’s easy.
But their web content made such a big deal about the shaving experience in a fun and engaging way, that the presentation is so entertaining, even females (not their main target) could be enticed to purchase. So, on top of the whole topic of razors and shaving being boring, the product itself is unashamedly inferior to big names like Gillette and Schick (Dollar Shave Club imports its blades wholesale from China!). Clearly, the brand isn’t competing on product, but on experience, but boy did their strategy send shockwaves across the industry. Not only did Dollar Shave Club steal 15% of the US razor market, it was also bought by Unilever (the archrival of P&G makers of Gillette) for $1 billion.
It’s a perfect example of what businesses now know about the digital business world: it’s experiences, not products that sell.
A quick look at the Dollar Shave Club website
From the banner image, down to product information and messaging, this brand has got consumers in the palm of their hand.
Copy and visual ✅
Information and education ✅
Added value ✅
Fulfillment and other considerations ✅
So, what’s their not-so-secret-secret? Humor. According to a new survey from Clutch, 53% of consumers enjoy and would likely remember a funny advertisement.
Dollar Shave Club has successfully identified its target audience’s emotional button, tickled it pink and laughed their way to success. More about the brand’s amazing story here.
How to create remarkable experiences?
Just like Dollar Shave Club, content creation begins with consumer insight. Aside from demographics and emotional buttons, the data must yield answers to questions such as -
“What are the target segment’s habits and preferences?”
“What do they need before buying or what’s stopping them from buying?”
In the fashion and beauty industry, where products tend to be pricey and the experience of buying can be intimidating, free samples and trials are proven ways to raise awareness and encourage engagement. And in the digital age, where everything is virtually possible, samples and trials need not cost consumers anything - not a cent, not even a trip to the store.
Take cosmetics brand Sephora’s example. Through the Sephora Virtual Artist app, users can immediately see and approximate how certain makeup colors would look on them just by downloading and using the app.
While users won’t know how the makeup feels on their skin, they’re at least treated to a fun and commitment-free experience. From a business standpoint, this app is a smart investment, as according to the 2018 Global Commerce Review, US Q1, shopping apps convert three times more than mobile web.
So, who needs rich product information?
Well, everyone! Since everyone is a consumer, everyone researches to get more bang for their buck and to get the most accurate and complete information to make a purchasing decision. But this question is more for providers of product information such as:
- Brands that need to take control of their messaging and identity across channels and not leave them to the mercy of distributors and retailers.
- CPG Brands that want to assure consumers who look beyond the menu and demand nutrition and ingredient transparency for health, ethical, political, religious and other reasons.
- Retailers whose ears are perpetually ringing due to ever increasing consumer demands for more rich, relevant and emotionally engaging product content.
In order to ensure accurate, complete, relevant, consistent and compliant product information, it’s a must for organizations to manage their data in a PIM (Product Information Management) system. By definition, a PIM is a solution designed to solve the issues that businesses repeatedly encounter when it comes to product information management, such as:
- Siloed data or product information residing in multiple locations and systems
- Poor-quality data or data that is inaccurate, incomplete and inconsistent
- Duplicate and outdated product information
- Costly translation/localization processes
- Time-consuming manual processes
- Organizational inefficiencies
- Incapable of increasing assortments
The list goes on and on and they differ per industry and company, but a PIM can address them all. Beyond those, it’s foundational for groundbreaking product experience provision. The faster you get your data and product information in order, the faster you can start creating emotional experiences.