Author: Jennifer Krizanek

Great Product Experiences Need Rich Product Information

Rich Product information

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Reduce shopping cart abandonment. According to Statista, 56% of shoppers leave shopping carts when presented with “unexpected costs” or not enough information.
  3. 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.

companies that offer best-in-class customer experience tend to grow faster

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 ✅

copy and visual

Information and education ✅

Information and education

Added value ✅

the handsome discount

Fulfillment and other considerations ✅

free shipping

Transparency ✅

there is no catch

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.

Sephora virtua artist 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.

 

 

Contentserv Receives an Outstanding Customer Satisfaction Rating in Gartner’s 2018 MQ for MDM Solutions Report

celebrating recognition

We are delighted to share with you that Contentserv, the Product Experience Platform leader, is recognized as a Niche Player in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions report.  Furthermore, they reported that we received an extremely high customer satisfaction rating, with respondents being completely satisfied with the product’s ability to meet the needs of their organization.

In a digital landscape dominated by all things “customer experience,” a recognition by Gartner is equivalent to receiving an Olympic gold medal.

So what sets us apart from the competition? While everyone else offers a standard end-to-end solution for master data and information management, we go above and beyond by zeroing in on what businesses need in order to provide their customers with an unparalleled product experience.

We’re also happy to have received high marks for initial technical implementation and deployment, and that we topped all vendors in the user onboarding and training category. Moreover, we’re elated that our customers repeatedly expressed appreciation for the platform’s user-friendly interface and configuration, and speed of implementation.

“As evidenced by Gartner’s MDM MQ report, we are laser-focused on serving our customers. They are our number one priority. Our goal is to help them be successful and we do this by developing a Product Experience Platform that it is quick to implement, easy to use, and offers the capabilities that exceed our customers’ demands.”
Christophe Marcant, Chief Product Officer

 

Read the Press Release Here

Why MDM is the Cornerstone of a Powerful Enterprise Data Strategy

Two Women looking at a laptop

Why MDM is the Cornerstone of a Powerful Enterprise Data Strategy

In the digital age, data ceased to be just a byproduct of business activities to be discarded after it served its purpose. Today, data is the new gold, so valuable it requires not just management, but a serious strategy for businesses to harness its benefits.

What’s the difference between data management and strategy? Think of data as your money that as you’re running a business, you wouldn’t just manage but actually grow. And growing money is an activity that needs a strategy.

As the Internet, social media, mobile and the digital revolution continuously pump data – containing valuable business information – into organizations, it’s almost a crime not to have a strategy to effectively mine it.

What does an effective data strategy entail?

It starts with what your business wants out of data. Generally, a data strategy is created to support the organization’s overall business strategy, which aims to increase profit and market share, decrease cost, differentiate products through innovation and deliver an excellent customer experience.

These can only be achieved through quality information distributed to relevant personnel and applied to the right systems and processes. That’s why data quality management (DQM) is the most important business intelligence (BI) trend for 2019.

So, what are the basics of an effective data strategy?

  1. Identified and defined data. Much like how books are cataloged and organized in libraries, data must also be named, formatted and assigned values.
  2. Storage. Since data is an enterprise asset, the organization’s storage capability must accommodate not just data housing, but also convenient data transferring and sharing between systems.
  3. Rules and access guidelines. To ensure consistent data management, an enterprise-wide data governance rules and policies must be established.
  4. Data processing system. Most if not all data comes into the system raw. Meaning, since they’re from different sources, it’s anticipated that they’ll be in different formats and levels of quality, and must therefore be cleansed and enriched before being sent out.

Quality information or valuable insight, such as granular customer and competitor details should come out of these activities. And once acquired, these insights should be correctly and swiftly acted upon, for example, if certain products are doing well on certain channels and at certain times – then not only should heavier advertisement and promotion be sent that way, but a more focused data mining activity to find out why it’s working and how it can be improved to not only drive sales, but inspire brand loyalty.

How is MDM central to a solid enterprise data strategy?

No matter how good the drawn up strategy is, it won’t work without proper execution. And to execute well, you need a modern master data management (MDM) solution.

Gartner defines MDM as a “technology-enabled discipline in which business and IT work together to ensure the uniformity, accuracy, stewardship, semantic consistency and accountability of the enterprise’s official shared master data assets.”

It ultimately gives you a single, trusted version of the truth or golden record, which enables you to have a complete picture and a deep understanding of the relationships between the data entities relevant to your business, such as your consumers, products, suppliers, stores, etc.

With MDM, you can:

  • Ensure data quality.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities
  • Establish processes according to your business requirements
  • Acquire, process and model data from multiple coexisting domains
  • Share information within your business
  • Integrate assets/content from different sources

Your enterprise data strategy is your roadmap to fulfilling a long-term goal. An MDM is essential for your journey as it allows you to regularly review and measure your activities, so you can continuously grow and evolve into an organization or brand that constantly transforms to the needs of your consumers.

The Pivotal Role of Product Experience in Customer Experience Delivery

The Pivotal Role of Product Experience in Customer Experience Delivery

What is product experience? And how can it help businesses succeed in their efforts to provide their customers with a remarkable customer experience?

In 2016, the buzzword in retail circles, “omnichannel”, reached its peak. It dominated conversations at every turn as decision-makers scrambled to find solutions that would enable them to blend all their online and offline touch points, creating a unified and seamless customer experience.

Fast-forward to the present, as more and more companies reach their digital transformation maturity, the conversations are now circling around “on-demand” in which experiences, not channels, reign supreme.

There are, understandably, a lot of theories and strategies out there on how to best provide customers with the best experiences, as there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but there’s one often neglected customer experience component that businesses should start taking advantage of should they want to standout and eventually gain customer loyalty: product experience.

What is Product Experience?

“Product experience”, from the customers’ point-of-view, according to IGI Global, is “the entire set of effects that is elicited by the interaction between a user and a product, including: (1) The degree to which all our senses are gratified (aesthetic experience); (2) The meanings we attach to the product (experience of meaning); (3) The feelings and emotions that are elicited (emotional experience).”

One global brand that deeply understands the importance of product experience in the grand scheme of customer experience delivery is Coca-Cola.

See, the entry of generations Y and Z in the market posted an existential threat to a brand that’s selling an unhealthy product. If they’re not able to effectively market to these huge demographics, a.k.a. their future customers, their product is going to go down. But it looks like Coke isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, because as of 2018, it’s still one of the world’s most loved and valued brands at $79.96 billion USD.

Their secret? Smart positioning. Coca-Cola simply stopped selling Coke as a product, but instead repositioned it as a creator of positive experiences in their advertising campaigns.

This viral video from their “Happiness Machine” campaign is just an example of how Coke is using product experience to support their overall customer experience activities:

But what does product experience mean in digitally-enabled touchpoints?

Let’s take an example from e-commerce. When it comes to browsing or shopping online, a positive product experience (from the customer’s point-of-view) may begin with seeing accurate, consistent and complete product information on their screens.

Say, there’s a customer that wanted to purchase the latest TV model and thought of browsing online for options.

Note that customers, on average, visit three to five websites before contacting a sales representative to get more information or make a purchase.

Their journey went something like this:

  • They visited five sites on their laptop and discovered that only three of these sites have complete, accurate, and consistent product information on their product. They eliminated two and are now down to three prospects.
  • They forwarded the information from these three sites to their partner’s mobile for them to check out in store. Upon arrival to the store, the partner was greeted with conflicting information. One of the brand’s online information is inconsistent with the one in store. It could be the price, feature, promo, etc., but the point is the customer was presented with inaccurate information. The customer eliminated two more prospects and is now left with one brand; the one that took the time out to get all its facts right and available in a consistent manner, online and offline.
  • The customer makes the purchase.

Because the brand took the time out to give their prospective customers a nice product experience, not only were they able to close the sale, but they’ve also most likely won an advocate. That diligent brand would definitely be top of mind when someone else asks for their recommended TV brand.

But that’s an ideal scenario.

In the real world, what commonly happens is a customer makes a purchase online to take advantage of a sale or a discount, for example, only to find out that they were debited the regular amount.

Here, regardless of the price, the customer would immediately feel that they were wronged and instantly tag the e-commerce site as unreliable and untrustworthy.

What could’ve likely caused the discrepancy?

It could be that the information displayed on the e-commerce site was out-dated. That the sale or promo was only good for a limited time, and customers would be charged the regular price when the period lapsed. Now, whether or not the customer was given a refund, after, isn’t the main issue. The issue is they’ve just been treated to a regrettably negative experience, which not only means no repeat business, but a tarnished reputation. What’s more is this irate customer would definitely tell their community about their bad experience.

Can disastrous outcomes like this be prevented?

4 Product Experience Must-Haves

The product experience arena is winnable. In today’s business landscape, companies who are serious in their customer experience efforts can no longer afford to overlook excellence in product experience, because failure at it could end the customer journey.

So, what are the essentials of a great product experience delivery?

  1. Accuracy – The provision of correct product information is the cornerstone of digital retail, because, simply put, inaccuracy turns customers off, drives businesses away and wastes a lot of money. The true cost of incorrect product information may be unknown, but Americans in 2016 returned $260 billion worth of goods bought online. Although the returns were due to various reasons, one of those reasons could be incorrect or lack of product information.
  2. Consistency – A standard is essential in creating awareness as well as building trust and loyalty. That’s why brands need consistency in messaging, imaging and so on. The same is true with product experience delivery in e-commerce. If a company, for example, has multiple suppliers for a single item and receives information and images in different formats, then a single format must be set and implemented across the board, so what the customer sees is uniformity, not chaos.
  3. Completeness – There is no doubt that customers today are savvy shoppers. They research and line up choices before zeroing in on a product or service. A smart business would provide them with all the information they need in one place and not shy away from letting them know of their offering’s limitations. Businesses need to even go as far as give recommendations or provide education, in the name of great customer service.
  4. Relevance – If customers don’t see exactly what they’re looking for upon landing on a page, they will quickly switch to another. Relevance, here, is a matter of getting straight to the point and not wasting people’s time. Another function of relevance is upselling. By providing customers with suggestions relevant to their search, businesses have a golden opportunity to create awareness and perhaps even close out a (larger) sale.