Tag: product experience

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

How to Meet Consumer Expectations

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

What consumers want [and don’t want] and how prepared are you to meet their demands?

Contrary to reports of retail’s eventual death, the National Retail Federation’s “The State of Retailing Online 2018” study reveals that:

  • More and more stores open than close
  • Investments in omnichannel optimization remains high
  • Mobile retail success continues to climb

In terms of value chain innovation, Deloitte’s “2018 Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Industry Trends Outlook” gives retailers ideas on which technology trends to invest on:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) to provide consumers with online access to their store inventories and reserve orders for purchase or pickup.
  • Digital supply and demand networks for time frame reduction and cost-efficient deliveries.
  • Augmented, virtual, and mixed realities (AR, VR, and MR) for the creation and provision of highly immersive and engaging experiences.

A lot of doors are opening in the retail industry and it could only mean more new products in the market and a much tougher competition ahead for businesses. But no one is complaining; not even the consumers. In fact, with eCommerce sales projected to reach $4 trillion USD by 2020, it’s as if consumers are telling businesses that they’re willing to spend… on one condition: give them what they want.

But before giving them what they want, it’s best to first identify their pain points.

What Consumers Don’t Want

Branding expert, Helen Edwards, shares that there are seven distinct emotions visible in the human face and five of those are negative: anger, fear, sadness, disgust and contempt. And you definitely don’t want any of those to be associated with your brand when they visit your site.

According to Corra, consumers’ biggest pet peeves on ecommerce sites are:

  • 41.2% Poorly designed menu; lack of subcategories for key merchandise
  • 29.8% Too-basic search; no filters for advanced searches
  • 26.4% Products are buried behind too much branding

So, if you can eliminate these pain points, you’re on track to excellent customer experience provision.

What Consumers Want

According to MineWhat, consumers today perform the following online before making a purchase:

  • 81% research
  • 61% read product reviews
  • Check at least three ecommerce sites

What are they looking for? Information, information, information!

But of what sort? A National Retail Federation (NRF) study reveals that consumers don’t just aimlessly browse online; they actually look for something specific to buy and they want to find it quickly. That means before they type anything on the search bar, they already have an item in mind.

The same study also found out that 79% of consumers also factor in overall experience in determining whether or not they’ll buy from a brand or retailer – and how often. Central to that desired or expected experience are painless return policy, free shipping and credit card security.

So, how to cater to today’s consumers? The Nielsen Norman Group recommends to design for 5 types of e-commerce shoppers:

  • Product-focused.This group know what they want and are ready to buy once they locate the product. Speed is this group’s primary focus.
  • Browsers.They have time to kill and they’re spending it on your site. The key to this group is to be presented with what’s hot and what’s new.
  • Researchers. These guys have been to at least two sites before yours or even if you’re their first visit, they will definitely go elsewhere to gather more information. The key to this group is trust.
  • Bargain hunters. Definitely price conscious, this group are on the lookout for sale, promos and best buys. So, if you have such offerings, display them prominently on your site.
  • One-time shoppers. More often holding gift cards, these guys have no intention of coming back to your site after the purchase. Ensure a good experience by not requiring account creation before purchase.

Quiz: How ready are you to give your consumers what they want?

Giving consumers what they want starts from within. The following are some questions you can ask yourself to determine your readiness in providing your consumers with information they need:

  1. Do you struggle with maintaining your products when your product data requirements increase (e.g. rapid and constant product description updates, price and document version edits, etc.)?
  2. Is it difficult to localize your product information for different markets?
  3. Do people in and out of your organization have a tough time sharing or accessing up-to-date product information?
  4. Are you using multiple spreadsheets to manage your product information?

Do you nod at many questions? Then it’s high time for your to consider using a product information management solution (PIM). A PIM is foundational to building great product experiences.

Fashion on the Move – Disruption as an Opportunity

Fashion Influencer

Fashion on the Move – Disruption as an Opportunity

Why the fashion industry should be optimistic about the future and embrace upcoming challenges.

The heyday of fashion is over. This is how a lot of fashion companies in Europe and the US feel, following global issues such as Brexit, current US-China trade disputes and the rise of protectionism on both sides of the Atlantic.

On top of those, a lot of powerful players in the Asian region have left behind their cheap supplier role to directly and confidently challenge their European and American counterparts. And not only are they winning, they’re dominating their domestic markets.

Meanwhile, according to McKinsey´s State of Fashion 2019, emerging new markets such as India and China are developing at a rapid pace and overtaking the established ones.

While India currently has the highest growth rate, China, on the other hand, is now the world’s largest fashion market – ahead of the US.

Source: McKinsey, State of Fashion 2019, p. 26

In today, out tomorrow

Once upon a time, fashion manufacturers dictated how often collections come out and limited them to two a year. Nowadays, consumers not only expect something new all the time, but they drive current trends primarily via social media.

The power of the consumer influencer

Gone are the days when brands rule fashion from up their ivory tower, as today’s consumers have taken over. Self-confident and knowledgeable, millennials and generation Z tell brands what, where, how and when they want something.

Thanks to Amazon, they’re also used to not having to wait long. They use digital channels as a matter of course and have access to a multitude of product information, offerings and inspirations.

Thus, they have usually already made a purchasing decision long before they appear on the radar of companies.

They often don’t even get their inspiration from fashion labels and retailers, but from prominent social media influencers and opinionated peers, with emotional experience as the trigger.

The importance of brand presentation

If today’s consumers are both online and offline and on different channels, it’s essential for fashion brands to ensure a consistent brand image and product presentation on all touch points.

Although the work can be challenging, technologies such as Product Information Management (PIM) can help to centrally manage product data and deliver it to the right touch point – without spending too much time on manual work.

A PIM also has analytics tools that can provide insight into consumer behavior. With this, fashion companies are empowered to deliver a consistent product and brand experience to potential customers and influencers.

Digital channels as game changers

 

Source: McKinsey & Company analysis based on Instagram data, State of Fashion 2019, p 73

Social Media, whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube or WeChat, is the new showroom. Therefore, “digital first” should be a top priority for all businesses that want to be successful — big fashion brands, start-ups and niche providers, alike.

But unlike established brands, the newcomers are not slowed down by rigid business processes. The small challengers, in particular, are posting through the roof fan base growth rates of up to 300%.

With the help of new technologies, concepts and business models, they react quickly to market conditions and focus on customer interaction.

For them, e-commerce is the way to go, but in addition to their own shops, they also rely on the diverse possibilities of social and mobile commerce to reach consumers on the spot.

Among others, Patagonia uses Pinterest to increase sales opportunities and awareness

Sustainability and trust

In recent years, ethical resource management and humanitarian and social values have increasingly become decision-making criteria for consumers on whether to trust a brand or not.

Whether it’s the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh or the burning of unsold collections somewhere else – various scandals involving global brands have left their mark on consumers.

Sustainability, fairness and transparency also play an important role in gaining trust, especially for the millennials and Generation Z.

According to McKinsey´s “State of Fashion 2019 Consumer Shifts”, more than a third of consumers include these points in their purchasing decisions: choice of materials, traceability of the value chain, uniform information and the sustainable use of products.

This can be an opportunity to realign the brand, examine new business areas and show a clear attitude with a consistent appearance. In addition, new technologies such as blockchain can help to document the supply chain seamlessly in the future.

Everlane pursues a sustainable approach and relies heavily on social media.

Using digital technologies

The path of the customer from first contact to purchase or the customer journey consists of a number of contact points. It’s almost impossible to maintain each point manually and, at the same time, provide consistent information.

But systems for the central maintenance, administration and output of product information, copy and media data, such as images and videos, can help to simplify this task enormously.

Analytics and product experience management tools also make it possible to get to know consumers better and provide them with relevant information at the right time.

E-commerce systems, mobile shopping apps, sophisticated search functions and recommendation tools make it as easy as possible for customers to find the product they want and make the purchase.

Partner platforms such as Amazon, Zalando and Otto increase the reach, and social media increases awareness, customer loyalty and the desire to buy.

There’s a lot of opportunities and chances, as well as challenges to tackle in the “Year of Awakening”, as McKinsey´s newest “State of Fashion 2019” calls it. So, it’s time to get down to business with agility, speed and new business ideas.

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

Getting consumers to your product page and getting them to purchase your products are two different things. The average ecommerce conversion rate hovers just below the three percent mark. That’s not quite three people out of every 100 visitors to your product pages are purchasing. So, you can’t afford to turn off any would-be buyers and they would be if your pages aren’t relevant enough.

Relevancy is more than a product match with a consumer. Unless you sell a very niche item, your product would also be available from a number of retailers. Anything from a shirt to a car can be bought across hundreds of sites across the web. One of the key pillars to relevancy on the web is trust, which makes a lot of sense since buying something online is somewhat final. (Even the easiest return policies are somewhat tedious, which is a reason why retailers with a strong brick-and-mortar presence tend to have better online performance.)

How do you convince consumers that you are trustworthy when they land on your product page? Below are three time-tested and proven techniques to make trust the key pillar on your product page.

STEP 1: Product Reviews

It should be no surprise that people trust other consumers more than they trust a brand. One survey states that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews prominently displayed on your product pages will give people the peace of mind to make purchases.

What about negative reviews, you might ask? Most consumers are smart enough to realize that not every product is a great fit for everyone. Some people are more vocal than others and sometimes they’ll leave unflattering reviews of your products. Read them and take action, but don’t delete them. A bunch of five-star reviews is just as damaging as having no reviews at all. In fact, 82% of consumers seek out negative feedback only, so if they can’t find it there will be an even greater chance of mistrust.

Your product will speak for itself over time if it’s sold enough, but until then, be thankful for reviews left on your site. Think of them as a little bit of free content marketing from the people that matter most, your customers.

STEP 2: Authentic Photography

The first thing that should come to most product marketers is quality photography. But, quality photography and authentic photography are two different things. How many fast food restaurant commercials have you seen with amazing looking food only to be dismayed when you order the same thing at the restaurant? Those commercials don’t exactly exude trust, do they?

What exudes trust are user-generated content (UGC) like Instagram posts. Because consumers crave authentic photos so much, they take photos themselves to share with their peers via the platform. It became a phenomenon, so a social media agency based in New York gathered and analyzed data, and found out that “Instagram-style”photos increase conversion rate by 25% more than professional product shots.

A professional photographer can make anything look great, and they should, but, consumers expect to get the same thing they see online. If they don’t, and instead got a slightly worse variation, then your product pages will have the same amount of trust as a fast food commercial.

STEP 3: Knowing Your Customer

Perhaps the quickest way to earn trust is to know someone and help them solve a problem. While most products can be found across the web, they’re mostly flashed in front of you as if the product itself is enough reason to buy it. Typically, a person is swayed to spend money on something that solves a problem for them.

How do you know the problem that your customer is trying to solve? That takes persona research and the ability to display variants and suggestions based on who is searching for what. Once you figure out your persona pain points, then you can solve for those and offer your solution on the right touchpoints at the right time. By solving their problem, you’ve gained their trust. Personalization is so effective that according to Accenture, 58% of consumers are more likely to buy from a shop that offers items based on their history.

There are many other ways to prove your trustworthiness, but your product page is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Most people aren’t concerned with your corporate messaging and the educational sales funnel that might be set up. When they land on a product page you have a small window to prove that you are worthy of them going through the sales process. That’s done with relevancy, authenticity, and with proof from the people that came before.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a PIM

Reasons why you need pim

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a PIM

The vastness of the martech landscape makes the process of software procurement rather unintuitive. It might be obvious that your company needs to refine its digital strategy, but since all the software vendors you speak with have a logical reason to invest in their product or platform, a sound strategy and direction are needed before you listen to your first pitch.

So how do you begin to build your strategy?

The architect of the building you’re sitting in didn’t begin with the top floor and work his or her way down. Buildings begin with infrastructure. Any digital architect will also tell you to begin with infrastructure and work your way up.

That being said, even digital infrastructure comes in different flavors depending on your business or industry.

If your business is reliant on catalog production, for example, a DAM might be a good foundational building block. If your business is centered around selling inventory online or even offline, then a PIM is a likely candidate to build upon.

Whichever direction you choose to go, it’s vital that you invest wisely, because starting from scratch is rarely an option, as platforms are time-consuming to research and not inexpensive to implement.

By understanding the functionality and limitations of different platforms you can rest easy knowing that you made the correct decision. Below are five reasons why your business needs a PIM.

1. You’re Still Using a Web Content Management (WCM) Solution to Manage Your Products

This is perhaps the most common reason that businesses end up with a PIM. Running your online shop with an e-commerce platform or WCM before you have a PIM is a little like building your first floor before you dig your basement.

E-commerce can technically be used without a Product Information Management, but it’s very hard to scale upward without the strict taxonomy and structure that a PIM inherently solves for.

Because of a PIM’s rule-based classification, matching and linking capabilities, for example, you can ensure high-quality data no matter the volume of data you onboard.

2. You Need a Shorter Time to Market

Having your house in order, so to speak, allows you to go to market quicker with any new products and variations of previous products. About now a light might be going off in your head.

The more SKUs you have, the more important it is to have them organized in a way that can quickly be added, maintained, searched and disseminated. Improving time to market speed requires collaboration from at least three entities: manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

With a PIM’s integrated workflow management capability, processes are automated and smooth collaboration and orchestration are enabled, effectively eliminating elements that slow down time to market.

3. You Want Your Business to be Data-Driven

With 47% of customers saying they would immediately take their business to a competitor the moment they experience poor customer service and 68% more vowing to never do a repeat business once they’ve switched, no wonder customer expectation delivery is critical to 81% of decision-makers.

Hence, the importance of customer insights. But if your product information and digital assets are stored across multiple ecommerce platforms or even local drives, your ability to discern any relevant data from your products is next to impossible.

A PIM allows you to have a 360-degree view from where your products are stored, physically, all the way through the sale and shipment of an item.

Of course, the all-important sales process, which channel is most successful, who is purchasing your products, and even help to refine your target messaging based on user habits and history, is front and center when it comes to PIM development.

4. You Take Personalization Seriously

A mere online presence isn’t good enough anymore. Now consumers expect a tailored experience no matter where they visit on the Internet. In fact, 74% of online consumers don’t appreciate content that has nothing to do with them.

If you can’t place relevant products in front of your target audience then they will simply purchase elsewhere, or not at all, as proper product placement can entice even a passive looker to make an impulsive buying decision.

With a PIM’s analytics and digital asset management capability, you can create remarkable content based on personas, campaigns and insights from product information and digital asset association.

5. You Value Happy Customers

It’s common knowledge that it costs much more to attain a customer than to retain a customer.

By having control of your SKUs from the warehouse through the buying cycle and to the front door, you can ensure that your customers aren’t getting the wrong size or color and that they’ll be as satisfied with the buying experience as they are with the end product.

Why the emphasis on experience? Because more than price and product, customer experience will be the key brand differentiator come 2020.

You know your business better than any software vendor ever could. To build your digital presence properly, having an idea of where to begin is the first step to a successful procurement process.

Once your foundation is in place, you can scale with the knowledge that the assets that your business needs to succeed are fully functional and carrying out a strategy designed for your business.

How to Leverage Personalization to Boost Sales

Personalization: Man holding a sneaker

How to Leverage Personalization to Boost Sales

Slowly but surely, digital-savvy companies have been pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It’s because of these companies that today’s customers have higher expectations.

So, personalization today goes much further than just slapping the customer’s name on the email subject line and calling it quits. If this is still the extent of your personalization efforts, then it’s time to look into new ways to personalize your customer’s experiences, since personalization has been proven to increase your sales.

But where should you start? In this blog, we’ll give you an overview of systems that can contribute to a personalized customer experience.

The Importance of Personalization

As we can see in this infographic by marketingprofs, personalization helps in upselling, cross-selling and overall customer retention.

68% of companies have made it their top marketing priority, yet 53% of them lack the basic tools needed to make it a success across the board.

Furthermore, businesses that participated in the Boston Consulting Group’s survey indicated that they are expecting an annual revenue growth between 6% and 10% due to their personalization efforts.

The Seed of Personalization: Data

Even as companies like Starbucks are presenting their customers with tailored games through their loyalty programs, many are still stuck with email marketing.

And that’s perfectly understandable. Personalization requires an incredible amount of data. Not only do you need a lot of data, that data needs to be error-free.

For starters, have a look at the data you have. What’s in your analytics software, CRM, or marketing automation tools? Bring them all together and try to identify certain trends.

It always helps to have a clear view of your customers. A buyer persona can help you achieve this. If you’re still in the process of drafting your personas, you can find our Osudio Persona Template here.

Once you have defined your personas, you’re ready to start using them to define general rules.

However, more and more companies are going beyond general rules. They are looking at more specific things to personalize, like the websites that someone has recently visited or certain life events.

If you’re a retailer and know that a certain customer has recently had a baby, it might be a good idea to congratulate them with, say, a coupon for baby clothing or diapers.

While these are all great for driving revenue, you might want to hold off on applying them until you’ve become more familiar with personalization.

Starting at the Core: Your Products

Depending on the CMS your business uses, you might also be able to leverage its power in your personalization efforts.

For example, Sitecore allows you to change a page’s content depending on a user’s profile.

If you sell pet food and know a visitor has a dog, you can choose to only show dog food on your homepage.

However, getting your product data all sorted out is the first step in using them to create a fitting product experience for your customer.

You can try to personalize as much as you want, but if your products aren’t labeled properly, then it’ll be hard to show the right products to the viewer.

When your organization has access to a PIM system, that should not be an issue. A product experience management system goes even further.

It goes to great lengths to help its users personalize, allowing you to define personas and assign certain products or even different product pictures to specific personas. When such a system identifies a visitor as someone who is part of one of your personas, they will be shown the correct products at the right time.

Keeping Things Simple

Personalization can also be found in smaller things on e-commerce websites. If you notice that a certain person tends to buy the same product every month, why not give him a coupon to encourage him to keep doing so?

Another scenario: Profile A always buys product X and Y. So, if a customer that fits profile A’s description buys product X, you might want to show him a recommendation for product Y. Cross-selling or even upselling shouldn’t be too much of an issue anymore.

You can also play with the customer’s cart. Often, it’ll be loaded with products that they just won’t buy. They’re effectively window shopping online.

Most websites already save the carts when people leave, but they often forget to capitalize on it. Send them a clear notice of their cart when they return as a reminder.

While we’re on the topic of carts, why not personalize a banner ad based on what’s in it. An easy example would be your free shipping requirements.

Do you notice that the basket isn’t quite full enough to warrant free shipping? Display a banner with the message that they still haven’t met the requirements for free shipping. Add a few targeted product suggestions and you’re good to go.

You can also use the information you have on users to make their life a lot easier. If you’re using forms, let them autofill as much as possible.

This will make it easier for the customer to buy, which in turn will increase the chances of conversion. Or try simply offering different imagery and copy based on the location of the user.

The possibilities are endless. That’s why you should have a clear vision of which experience you want to offer your customers.

Contentserv and Osudio are more than happy to explain our vision on a product-driven customer experience in our joint webinar.

 

This blog was written by Brecht Beertens from our partner Osudio and is part of a four-part series of blogs focusing on the FMCG market in 2019.

 

How to Easily Avoid Bad Product Images

how to get the most of your product images

How to Easily Avoid Bad Product Images

Imagine this: You’re in a crowded shopping center. There are numerous clothing stores that line the hallways. But how do you decide which store you’ll enter? There are two options. Either you go to the stores you know, out of habit, or you start checking out the clothes on the mannequins in their shop display. The way those mannequins are dressed and posed will make you decide whether or not you want to have a look. Now what’s so different about an ecommerce platform? There are thousands upon thousands of options, and places to buy but how do you decide which products you’ll click on? The exact same way. You look at pictures, see which ones you like, click and read more. If your product isn’t represented by the correct image, you won’t get any clicks. But it’s more than just matching the right image to the right product. It’s giving people a certain feeling.

How do I make my product images shine?

Like most things in modern marketing, you start from your brand and your persona. First of all, what does your brand stand for? What does it embody? Let’s stick with the example from the intro. If you’d own a clothing store that’s targeting an older, more mature public, you’re not going to use screaming colors and intricate compositions. Often, they’ll go for soft colors, accompanied by a minimalist layout. It creates a sense of relaxation. A hint of what is to come when you shop at one of their stores. A picture that’s used to sell a simple black dress to a 45-year-old won’t have the same look and feel as a picture that you use to sell that same dress to a 25-year-old.

Next to your brand, it’s your personas. What are they looking for? What do they like in an image? All-in-all, these two should not clash too much. Your brand should be built to cater what your personas want in the first place. That doesn’t mean that it’s useless to look at it from both perspectives. If you notice a huge difference right now, it might be a good idea to reevaluate your personas or your brand.

Even more preparation…

Now that you have an idea of which atmosphere you need, it’s time to start setting up a briefing for the creatives. If your company has an in-house Art Director, do pay them a visit. They’ll be more than happy to help you out! If not, then you’re still not on your own. I’ll give you a few pointers that you have to include in a simple creative brief.

What you definitely need to write down:

  • What is your desired atmosphere?
  • What is your goal?
  • What are you trying to communicate?
  • Where will the pictures be used?

Try to fit it all on one page. Be clear and concise. If something you write can be interpreted in a different way, reword it. You do not want to take any risks here. Aside from this document, there are two more things that will help out the person in charge. Wording a desired atmosphere can be incredibly difficult. That’s why you can try to create a moodboard. Pinterest is an amazing tool for this. Just make a separate board for your product images’ desired atmosphere and start pinning photo’s that capture the atmosphere you want.

Another handy document to include in your briefing would be a corporate styleguide. It’ll give the photographer an insight of which fonts and graphic elements will be surrounding their images… That way they can keep those in mind while shooting. If your ecommerce store isn’t online yet, send them a few of the wireframes so they can get a feel for the layout their pictures will be used in.

Finding the right person

The next step is finding the correct photographer. Please, do not go and make the pictures yourself. Even if you own an expensive DSLR camera, I would advise against it. A professional photographer has access to an entire studio and, of course, his or her extensive experience and skill.

It’s not a choice to make lightly. Every photographer has their own niche. In this case, look for someone that’s specialized in product images. Some sectors, like food or automotive, have their very own set of recognized photographers. Maybe your product type has some as well? Wonderful Machine can be a helpful tool in your search.

Whatever you do, don’t just settle for whoever is closest or cheapest within your niche. Have a look at their portfolio. Does it match the style that you want? If it does, it is definitely worth some extra money to get those product images picture-perfect.

The three paths forward

Fast-forward a few weeks or months. Your photographer has delivered all the images to you. There’s an imposing folder with a quite some gigabytes of pictures in it. What do you do now? That’s entirely up to how your organization handles product data and product assets. Right now, there are three options.

Number 1: You have no real master data management solution. This means that you’ll be doing a boring task for a while. You’ll probably have to upload each picture manually… Good luck with that!

Number 2: You have a custom-built master data management solution in place. In this case, I’m afraid I cannot help you. Your system might be linked to your website. It might not be. Your best bet is to contact your IT department and ask them for help.

Number 3: You have a standardized master data management solution in place. A lot of these solutions have an option to batch upload it. If your images have been properly named, and your data feeds are set-up properly, you might be able to do this with the push of a button.

The power of proper Data Management

Let’s assume our example’s clothing store decided to walk path number 3. There are many options on the market. Let’s keep it simple and stick to one tool. I’ll assume that in this scenario, Contentserv’s PIM and DAM solution fits their needs to a T and has already been implemented.

If we use a simple black dress as an example, it would already be part of their PIM system. Their stock, material, available sizes, other colors, manufacturing details… It’s already there. Now they just need to attach the correct picture to the correct product. They can manually attach the picture to the correct dress, or they can automate it.

If you want to automate, you will have to make sure that your dataflow module is set up correctly. You simply need to make sure that the system has a structured list to follow.

While uploading, the system will look at all the attributes associated to each product  As the data from this system is pushed to your website, everything has already been updated there as well. Right now, your website has the product images that it deserves.

But that’s not where it ends. Since your professionally shot images are already in your PIM system, you can also use them for other means. If our clothing store wanted to print a brochure for their new collection, they could export all the data from their system. That way, their catalogue will be finished in a matter of days instead of weeks. Without a wrongly placed image, price or description.

The key to achieving this lies in a publishing hub. This piece of technology will connect your designer’s software to the PIM and DAM. Inside the PIM and DAM, you can simply check which items and attributes are needed for your catalogue. You can also write a few checks to make sure that your content is up to snuff. Are your images all CMYK? Is their resolution high enough? This all means that your designer doesn’t have to waste time finding the right images and products, while the information in the catalogue will be more consistent and accurate than ever.

Using a PIM system guarantees that you will provide the correct and consistent information across all of your channels. Using your product data and images to create the right experience is key in today’s ecommerce landscape, especially in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Contentserv is proud to say that they are the front-runner when it comes to Product Experience Management. Do you want to learn more how Osudio and Contentserv see the future of PIM in FMCG? Sign up for our Webinar: “Embrace product experience to win in FMCG” here!

 

This blog was written by Brecht Beertens from our partner Osudio and is part of a four-part series of blogs focusing on the FMCG market in 2019.

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

7 Keys to Crafting High-Quality Product Content

7 Keys to Crafting High-Quality Product Content

Content gets the bulk of attention these days when it comes to digital marketing. A quick Google search on content creation will pull up countless articles on blogging best practices, effective strategies, campaign ideas, social media trends, and so on, which can get people to your site.  Driving awareness is one thing, but it’s quite another to convert them into paying customers.

When it comes to product content, accurate, complete, consistent and relevant product information is king.

The following are seven ways to produce product content that will excite, engage and convert your audience:

1) Focus on your target buyer and personalize your offering

The competition to sell inventory across the web is fierce. You might only get one shot at selling your product to the right person. If you’re displaying the wrong product you’re out of luck.  People aren’t going to click into your site to find the right product if the one in front of them has no bearing on themselves. You have only one chance.

As an example, I have spent the last few weeks exploring new SUVs. Car dealerships in general have figured out that I’m looking for a new car, but some have honed in to the type I’m looking for. This ad happened to catch my eye, while I was casually scrolling through…

 

According to the 2018 Trends in Personalization report, 98% of marketers agree that personalization boosts customer relationships, while 87% share that they’re experiencing measurable success.

2) Create a compelling story

Writing product descriptions are no different than any content marketing efforts. They say a photo is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to a product, you might need  a short description (under 160 words) or long description (under 600 words) next to to the photo to bring it it to life. A coat in a product catalog, for example, is just a coat, until you pair it with an interesting backstory…

Why is storytelling important? According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchasing decisions happens in the subconscious. And the best way to reach that part of the human brain is through engaging stories.

3) Use an attention-grabbing headline

As with any piece of content, if people don’t read it it’s a waste of time to write it. The headline should draw your audience in for more.

How to write headlines that people will read? Well, first define which “people”, a.k.a. your target audience. There has to be something in the content for them to continue reading. According to copyblogger, 8 of 10 people will read the headline, but only 2 of 10 will go on to finish the piece. So, for your headline to have the power to grab and hold, it must contain the 4Us: useful, urgent, unique and ultra-specific.

4) Write original copy

Every product is different and when you have an inventory that has hundreds or even thousands of products, writing original copy for each one can be daunting, but it is necessary. Even beyond that, as mentioned in bullet one, writing original product copy for each persona can truly help the content be not only relevant, but persuasive.

 

www.blackdiamondequipment.com

Why is original copy important? Because it builds trust. Writing your own product description shows your belief in your product, respect for your customers and trustworthiness.

5) Product rich imagery

If you’re the type of person who spends time in the mountains and need a utilitarian vehicle, not many words need to be written for someone to click…

How important are images for product experience? 75% of ecommerce shoppers say product images strongly influence their buying decision. With images, consumers are instantly connected to the product, so they have the power to make or break the sale. If that’s the case, ensure that you put up high-quality original images as much as possible. It’s even better if you avoid using stock photography, as it will turn consumers off. You could also provide alternate views/angles and zoom. Finally, shoot a contextual shot. Show people how the product would look like on them or let them experience it with their imagination.

6) Have clear and concise descriptions

Original and descriptive copy doesn’t mean you have to write a novel. In fact, as with most text, less is more. As Dr. Seuss famously quoted “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” Or in the case of product content, making a chore of him or her moving on from your product.

Remember that most people today are on the go and using their mobile to read. Not only that, according to a Microsoft study, their attention span has become worse than the proverbial goldfish. From 12 seconds in 2000, it’s down to eight seconds in 2013. Plus, they’re naturally distracted, what with all the choices given them, so it makes so much sense to write a short purposeful copy.

7) Offer additional relevant products

So, you’ve got their attention, so what’s next?  Don’t stop there, show them what else they can’t live without.  You know who they are now, you know what they want, you have the ability to strike while they’re still on your site.

It doesn’t hurt to offer or suggest items that complement or supplement their purchase. In fact, it’s a known sales technique called cross-selling. Another technique you can use is upselling or when you encourage consumers to upgrade to a more valuable purchase.

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.

The Product Experience Game: Gen Y and Z Edition

What makes these two priced digital consumer groups tick and what are they after?

Businesses have spent so many resources on studying Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials, those born in the early ‘80s to 2000) due to their retail and economic impact. But just as they’re gaining ground in understanding this $600 billion demographic, they now must also keep their eyes peeled for its younger siblings, Generation Z (post-millennials, born 1996 and 2010), for their projected additional spending power presently at $44 billion annually.

While it’s tempting to lump Generations Y and Z together, as there’s not much generation gap between them, various researches reveal that their tendencies and motivations are actually quite different.

Where Gen Y and Z Part Ways

How these two generations turned out to be can be traced back to two major factors: the environment and the generations that nurtured them.

Generation Y were raised by baby boomer parents, while Generation Z are being raised by Generation X parents. Baby boomers are a hard-working and goal-oriented group, which placed so much value on their career that they’ve inadvertently raised optimistic-minded children in Generation Y.

Having achievers as predecessors (Boomers and Generation X) and growing up in a fast digitizing world, Generation Y is the most educated group in American history and so tend to want and demand more. Not only that, they also have a bargaining chip in their projected spending power possibly reaching $1.4 trillion by 2020.

Generation Z, on the other hand, were born in a world experiencing political (post 9/11) and economic (recession) turmoil. They were raised by Generation X parents, which according to Inc. make up the bulk of startup founders. For these reasons, Generation Z is more practical and pragmatic to the point of foregoing college in favor of entrepreneurship.

Presently, their spending money mostly still comes from their parents, but a study revealed that it doesn’t matter because they influence 93% of all household purchases. Not only that, come 2020, they will comprise 40% of American consumers, the biggest to date, hence, the need to get to know them up close and personal.

In terms of habits, as the true digital and mobile-native generation, Geny Y are far more attached to screens and have an even shorter attention span than millennials. They’re also aware of their older siblings’ “entitled” reputation and wants nothing to do with it.

In the workplace, Generation Y prefer a team and collaborative atmosphere, but Generation Z lean towards competition and individuality. Moreover, Generation Z prefer face-to-face contact rather than digital, unlike Generation Y.

Quick Insights into Gen Y and Z shopping habits:

References: CouponFollow, DanaCommunications, VisionCritical, Contently

References: CouponFollow, DanaCommunications, VisionCritical, Contently

Where They Come Together

These young demographics make up majority of the connected and “always on” generation, and so gravitate towards online entertainment.

Quick Insights into Gen Y and Z entertainment habits:

References: Lab42, VisionCritical

They’re both well-informed and they love interacting and sharing experiences through various social platforms. They also champion social activism, uniqueness and authenticity and so tend to rally around real people “influencers” more than celebrity endorsers. In terms of shopping, both surprisingly prefer to shop offline or in-store and are price-conscious.

 How to Effectively Market to Gen Y and Z

 With a combined spending power of $350 billion presently to 2020, it’s imperative for businesses to meet these groups where they live, work and play. And since they’re glued to their mobile devices wherever they may be physically, the marketers’ focus should be on the creation of engaging, worthwhile and platform-specific mobile experiences. Luckily, they don’t have to dig far and deep, because, according to a recent research, they basically lay themselves open, so businesses can create and build the experiences they want.

Gen Y and Z want a mobile experience that:

  • Surprises and challenges
  • Is consensual and contextual
  • Reflects and aligns with their taste, activities and/or location
  • Gives them a sense of self-determination
  • Has content they can act on now and save for later

How to lure them in-store?

Retailers must shift from a product to an experience-centric approach. They must recognize that the future of shopping lies in the individual and collective experiences of these consumers throughout their journey. To lure Gens Y and Z into the store and engage them, businesses can leverage video technology trends such as AR/VR and 360-degree — which are great vehicles for gamification. They can also employ value-adding strategies such as diversified payment methods, engaging rewards programs, convenient delivery and/or pick-up options and painless return policy, to build a relationship with these demographics.