Tag: product experience

Black Friday 2020 – and why it still matters to all kinds of businesses

Black Friday 2020 - and why it still matters for many businesses

It started in the USA, a name for the day after Thanksgiving when shoppers across the country began their Christmas shopping, but Black Friday has become a global phenomenon. Initially popularized outside the US by American-owned international retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, it is now a day when consumers expect to be offered deals and bargains – especially when shopping online.

With governments still planning the rollout of vaccination programs against COVID-19 and consumers remaining cautious about going out into potentially crowded stores, Black Friday 2020 will be busier online than ever before. According to Adobe Analytics, there will be a 39% growth in e-commerce sales on Black Friday in the USA compared to 2019.1 This is a number large enough to send ripples across the wider economy.

This uplift will not just be confined to Black Friday. Retailers now typically run promotions that begin before the main day itself and continue over the weekend into Cyber Monday, a day dreamt up by the e-commerce sector to encourage people to shop online, and beyond. Adobe Analytics predicts that this year Cyber Monday online sales in the USA will grow by 35% year-over-year.2
 

Black Friday timeline

  • 1939. US president Franklin D Roosevelt fixes the date of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November rather than the last Thursday. This lengthens the shopping season in years where there are five Thursdays in November.
  • 1951. The term Black Friday is used to describe the day after Thanksgiving – in the journal Factory Management and Maintenance – the earliest known usage and a reference to workers calling in sick on Friday to get a long weekend.
  • 1961. With the terms Black Friday and Black Saturday associated with shopping crowds and traffic congestion, the city of Philadelphia tries to rebrand these days Big Friday and Big Saturday. People ignore the rebranding.
  • 1981. Black Friday first becomes associated with the idea of a day when retailers go into profit for the year – ‘in the black’ rather than ‘in the red’. Over the coming years, use of the term will become more widespread, first across the US and then internationally.
  • 2005. shop.org coins the term Cyber Monday.
  • 2011. A clutch of retailers, including Macy’s, open at midnight so that shoppers can begin to spend the moment Thanksgiving is over.
  • 2014. Facing competition from US-owned Amazon and Asda, UK retailers, including John Lewis and Argos, introduce Black Friday deals. A similar pattern has been repeated around the world.
  • 2020 and beyond. With China’s Singles’ Day, Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday all falling between late October and early December, this period has become not just key in the retail business calendar but punctuated by days with strong consumer recognition.

 

The impact of COVID-19

eMarketer research suggests that in 2020 it will be more important than ever for retailers to compete for the attention of consumers shopping online. This is because, while eMarketer forecasts that total US retail sales will rise 0.9% compared to 2019 to $1.013tn, bricks-and-mortar sales will decline by 4.7% to $822.79bn. In contrast, US retail e-commerce sales are predicted to jump 35.8% to $190.47bn, a figure equivalent to 18.8% of total retail sales in the country.3

We should, of course, treat such predictions with caution in the midst of the pandemic, but it is clear that more and more of us are shopping online. This trend sped up during the COVID-19 crisis as traditionally reluctant demographics, such as older shoppers, began shopping online more often – or even for the first time. In the summer, UK supermarket Waitrose quantified this trend when it suggested the number of its older online shoppers had tripled. 4

Beyond the sales figures

These raw figures in themselves explain why so many retailers take an obsessive interest in the days around Black Friday, but as we have already noted, the effects of Black Friday reach far beyond the B2C sector. This peak in demand also impacts those that supply and work with retailers.

To understand how and why it helps to remember that the weeks between October and December used to be known as the ‘Golden Quarter’ because these were days when retailers typically expected to make high profits selling items at full price. According to the UK-based Centre for Retail Research, this is no longer true. Instead, retailers often have to offer heavy discounts during November when they expect to sell in volume, which also has an impact on sales in October and December.5

More than ever, suppliers and brands need to plan for a November peak where margins are under pressure. They also need to be aware of subtleties such as the dangers of consumers growing jaded with the noise and fuss that surrounds discounting, which may be a factor in the reduced number of sales retailers see in December.

Insights into consumer behavior

This leads us to another point. Retailers have long had granular data about these kinds of shifts in consumer behavior and can use it to adjust their strategies. In contrast, those that supply them have traditionally had difficulty accessing this information.

However, in an age when so many brands and manufacturers are adopting hybrid business models – selling both via retailers or other intermediaries in the supply chain and directly – this is changing. Any company with tight control over its data and an e-commerce site can begin to gain first-hand consumer insights, data that can be used to inform strategy in areas from product development to wholesale pricing.

Around Black Friday, with so many consumers spending, this data is especially rich. The rise in the adoption of e-commerce in 2020 because of COVID-19 only makes it imperative for businesses to gather and analyze this data to gather insights into how the pandemic has shifted consumer behavior.

 

Black Friday in numbers:

  • Sales on Black Friday in 2018 via e-commerce increased by 663% compared to a typical day.6
  • Reflecting a wider move to m-commerce, shoppers are making more purchases on smartphones than ever on Black Friday. Adobe predicts a 55% increase in m-commerce sales on Black Friday, 2020.7
  • In Germany, 77% of consumers plan to shop for Black Friday in 2020.8
  • The best November and December days to shop for different items vary across different product categories. If you want a new TV, look on Black Friday for the biggest discounts, suggests Adobe. For tools and home improvement items, shop on Boxing Day.9
  • According to Adobe, 33% of consumers plan to have their holiday shopping completed by the end of Black Friday.10
  • In 2017, 116.5m marketing emails were sent in the US on Black Friday.11
  • The most successful Black Friday ever (so far…) was 2019, with online sales of $7.4bn in the USA. The result was only topped by Cyber Monday 2019 ($9.2bn).12

What’s the Difference between ECM, PIM, DAM and DMS?

ECM vs. PIM, DAM and DMS

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

An ECM solution helps organizations store, manage and distribute unstructured business-critical documents, such as invoices and account statements.

ECM use cases

  • Helicopter manufacturer. A world-leading helicopter manufacturer needed to consolidate and format large documents and easily generate their 800-page helicopter maintenance logbook. With data being stored in almost 400 different instances and systems, logging and compiling information into a single document seemed impossible until they used an ECM solution.
  • Telephone utility company. A phone company wanted to improve their customers’ experience with their telephone bill. They used an ECM solution to consolidate and layout information such as usage (SMS and phone calls), profile (personal details), marketing (loyalty points) and legal information. With an ECM, the phone company was able to customize the information they send to customers, effectively creating a platform for them to introduce or promote their products while providing much-needed insight into the customers’ consumption habits.

Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Managenet (DAM)

A PIM solution allows organizations to centralize, manage and efficiently distribute all product-related information across all channels.

Organizations typically have volumes of technical and marketing-related product data that are in different formats and stored on multiple repositories. Through the PIM solution’s data modeling capability, all product data can be standardized, and its characteristics and composition organized and categorized. Product data can then be consolidated into a single central repository, allowing for the distribution of accurate product data inside and outside the organization.

PIM use case

  • The food industry. The highly regulated food industry has complex product information requirements, wherein brands are required to declare the item’s chemistry, composition and ingredients. They must also be made available to international or local markets. Through the PIM’s data modeling capability, brands can create classifications and categories, while ensuring product information accuracy and relevance. If they’re present in several countries, brands can automatically translate and localize content to meet customer expectations.

A DAM solution, on the other hand, enables brands to centralize the storage and management of digital resources such as images, video, etc., making it easy for creative/marketing teams to securely search, enrich and distribute digital assets.

The central repository helps improve processes and accelerate creative collaboration on advertising campaigns and other marketing activities.

PIM and DAM are complementary solutions that are often used together. All the product information that brands manage and enrich in the PIM can be easily associated with the digital content in the DAM.

Document Management System (DMS)

DMS enables organizations to store, manage and track electronic documents and images. It’s a solution that fast-tracks document digitization effectively ending archaic processes and ensuring legal compliance. it’s a timely solution for Europe, as governments require consultancy-type organizations to send legal and sensitive documents (e.g. contracts, payslips, etc.) via a DMS solution for security purposes. A DMS is often associated with electronic signatures or certifications.

DMS use case

  • Digital security. Today, emails are considered as intangible evidence. However, emails can be altered or falsified. A DMS can solve this issue through secured exchanges and document version management. As for payslips, they can be de-materialized and stored electronically.
  • Tax systems. The French tax system allows companies to de-materialize documents as long as they meet numerous constraints such as archiving in specific places. DMS enables companies to digitize documents and solve legal constraints through compliance.

Where the four solutions converge

ECM deals with transactional data, PIM and DAM take care of product data and DMS digitizes and secures documents. All of them promote single repositories, offering to centralize, manage, protect and distribute data. They can help organizations increase productivity, efficiency and data quality, resulting in accelerated time-to-market. They also help reduce costs and lead times, as well as simplify compliance with certifications and regulations.

Product Experience Management Begins with PIM

What is Product Experience Management?

Product information dictates whether a product sells or not. From the smallest detail that can be read, up to how an image is formatted, product content plays a key role for any business — to sell. However, while it is universally accepted that product content is one of the cornerstones of a successful business, it is still challenging to fully and intelligently use it to its greatest potential. In the end, product content fails to live up to expectations because:

/          There’s no solution in place to manage product data

/          There’s a solution but it’s not robust enough

/          There’s a solution but it’s not designed to focus on product experience delivery

So what can organizations do to make the most of their product data? Especially when managing data means working with thousands to hundreds of thousands of data? The answer involves adopting data management software.

What is Product Information Management?

Product Information Management (PIM) software is a data management solution that allows you to easily manage and deliver rich, accurate, complete and channel-ready product content – anytime, anywhere. Implementing a PIM solution to manage product data is key to start gaining the benefits rich product content can produce.

However, just implementing a PIM is still not enough. Consumers want their shopping experience to be easy and seamless. They want to know that a product is exactly what they need, and therefore need to have access to rich, accurate and up-to-date content. And they have options. If their experiences with your product are not great, they can easily go to another seller.

That’s why its critical to provide exceptional experiences to your consumers. It all begins with creating emotional connections that will entice them choose you over the competition. To do so, you must be able to predict what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. And you have achieve this using whatever data you may already have. This is not something a PIM can deliver alone. This is where PXM comes in.

What is Product Experience Management?

Product Experience Management (PXM) is the management and contextualization of your product content for the right channel, location and need. PXM enables the delivery of product information (that has been managed in a PIM) that is contextualized based on the channel, needs and location of your consumers.

PXM in Context

/          Promotions. By streamlining internal work processes and automating workflows, your marketing team can focus on defining a promotional strategy and bringing products to market faster. You can then easily prepare products and promote them for upcoming events or seasons within your target audience. This boosts sales while making consumers feel like you know what they need at just the right moment.

/          Recommendations and bundles. Bundling presents an opportunity for sellers to cross-sell or upsell related products that complement a shopper’s chosen items. These bundles can be offered as recommendations or add-ons that solve a customer need. With PXM, product bundles are easily assembled as required by an event, promotion or campaign.

/          Campaigns. PXM allows the assembly of different batches of products with external communication, be it print or targeted email campaigns, in order to deliver a message adapted to a specific time of the year and always from a product perspective.

/          Omnichannel publishing. With PXM, product presentation can be optimized for different channels. By pairing product information with a merchandising and marketing perspective, you can distribute it consistently across different channels in relation to promotions or enhancements you want to communicate to your customers.

/          Analytics. An intelligent PXM system is equipped with functionality to measure product performances and review the results. That way, it is easier for marketers in your organization to make decisions for products that audiences need to see at the right time. You can also use these insights to continuously improve your customer’s product experiences as it enables you to perform tests for products you deliver to the market.

Adopting a PXM solution is critical for companies that want to make that very sought after emotional connection to their customers. It is more than rich and up-to-date product information—it is how you deliver compelling experiences to your customers. It offers more than products; it makes them choose you because you connect with them through their experiences and needs.

COVID-19 and its Effect on the Supply Chain

COVID-19 and its Effect on the Supply Chain

Many countries have been forced to take measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep people safe. Without a doubt, such measures are highly disruptive to business operations, particularly to the interconnected supply chain around the world.

According to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management, supply chains in different regions have been affected to varying degrees, with 6% of the respondents being disrupted in early March. By the end of the month, drastic disruptions were being reported in North America (15%), Japan (17%), Europe (24%) and China (38%)1.

Shipping, for instance, can be greatly affected by closing for any period of time, with eMarketer reporting that 47% of companies would not be able to continue shipments within 2 weeks of closing a facility2. In addition, Orion Market Research reports that the manufacturing industry is encountering bottlenecks in the supply chain both nationally and internationally – especially in areas severely hit by the pandemic2.

Growth and investment impact

Almost all the countries affected by the pandemic are focusing on fulfilling the high demand for medicines, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and equipment. This shift has reduced demand for other raw materials and many other traded commodities. Therefore, sectors delivering non-essential goods have been seriously hit with lesser or zero demand during the pandemic. This has influenced the movement of goods across nations and created a substantial gap in supply and demand.

Due to the uncertainties created by the pandemic, forecasts on the imminent economic state are not available yet3. In 2018, the worth of the global supply chain market was at $14.5 billion, growing at a CAGR of 10.5%, and was expected to reach almost $24 billion by 2024. But due to the disruptions brought by the pandemic, this growth is expected to decrease. To make matters worse, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that the global foreign direct investment will decrease by 5% to15% due to downfall in the manufacturing sector coupled with factory shutdowns.

Going forward

This pandemic has exposed the need to create a sustainable supply chain across the globe. Now more than ever, manufacturers need to be more agile to survive and remain competitive. However, many fail to create a future-proof plan that will help them mitigate the challenges brought by a crisis like COVID-19.

The manufacturing industry needs to take concrete steps to succeed, starting with investments in solutions that help them navigate any drastic changes in supply and demand. To mitigate the effects of shifting demand in the future, manufacturers must learn from the changes brought by the pandemic, and work to preserve their consumer base by meeting consumers where and how they want to shop. This requires them to be able to deliver accurate, complete, rich and up-to-date product content across channels, so they can offer the product experiences that customers will seek during, and after times of crisis.

Sources:

1Institute for Supply Chain Management – COVID-19 Global Supply Chain Disruptions Continue

2 eMarketer – Supply Chain Disruption due to the Coronavirus According to Companies Worldwide, March 2020

3 PR Newswire – Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Manufacturing Industry, 2020

4 Entrepreneur – Covid 19: Effect of the Pandemic on Logistics and Supply Chain

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

Consumer Expectations: What customers want (and don't want)

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?

Did you nod to many of these 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, 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, 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.

4 Essentials For The Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

Woman smiling because of great product experience

4 Essentials for the Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

Excellent product experience delivery goes beyond ensuring core product satisfaction. Imagine buying one of the popular smartphones out there only to discover later on that it has poor customer support and an even worse return policy. The product itself may be good, as it’s popular after all, but if its ancillary services are a hit or a miss, what’s stopping you from switching to the better brand and leaving a bad review?

Product experience, then, is the customer’s emotional response to the product at every touch point. To excel in product experience, brands must elicit a positive emotional response from consumers each time they interact with a product at every touch point.

How to Get Started:

1. Identify your target’s pain points. To manage experiences, you must first manage expectations. And what consumers expect from ecommerce sites boils down to:

  • UI/UX optimized
  • Accurate and complete product information
  • Unlimited selections or assortment of products
  • Personalized offerings
  • Availability of reviews and ratings
  • Shopping convenience, including flexible payment schemes
  • Discounts and promos with loyalty reward offers
  • Free delivery and pick up options
  • Painless return policy

2. Build a technology infrastructure that can support your content creation and distribution strategy. Top brands implement the concept of product experience management (PXM) to distribute relevant and targeted content at the best times and to the precise targets in order to: deliver the desired experiences and elicit positive emotions, build a relationship with customers and eventually inspire loyalty and expand market share.

According to Gartner, a PXM adds the following capabilities to a product information management solution (PIM):

  • Product content analytics
  • Personalization
  • Contextualization
  • Automation and optimization using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)

3. Create Compelling Content. As with customer experience, the great differentiator for brands in ecommerce is content. Top brands not only address shopper pain points, but work to exceed their expectations. So, through rich and contextual content, you could communicate, engage and build a relationship with consumers, hoping it eventually leads to not just sales, but even endorsement and loyalty. Note, though, that what’s compelling for one may not be the same for another, hence the rise of personalization. By doing a demographics and psychographics deep dive, you could create content that anticipates and addresses a consumer’s particular need, and then position yourself as the credible solution provider.

For more inspired content, you can checkout Warby Parker’s and Airbnb’s websites.

4. Use Analytics for Insights. Brands need insights into their product content performance to come up with tweaks and improvements that could drive consumers deeper into the sales funnel. With analytics, you could also see associations and affinities between your products and customers.

Not only that, by leveraging your operational and transactional data, you could make better business decisions, such as how to:

  • Best respond to rapid changes in market conditions
  • Adjust pricing
  • Improve market segmentation
  • Address seasonal demands

Now You Know the Essentials, Do You Have the Tools to Start?

By using a combination of features and advanced technologies that facilitate not only the on-boarding, enrichment and management of data, but one that can also help you create targeted, contextual and emotionally-engaging product communication.

  • PIM – It’s the foundational piece to a PXP. With a PIM, you can collect, maintain and distribute accurate, complete and consistent product information across all channels. This is important because when it comes to e-commerce sites, consumers expect accurate and in-depth product information.
  • Master Data Management (MDM) – This solution allows you to accelerate business processes by connecting all data in your product information supply chain. An MDM also helps you ensure data quality and security, create golden records, and control versions.
  • Marketing Experience Management (MxM) – The perfect complement to your PIM and MDM, an MxM enables you to exceed consumer expectations through timely delivery of personalized product experiences across channels. With an MxM, you can offer dynamic promotions and adjust them in real-time based on insights gathered from analytics.

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

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

5 Reasons why your business needs a PIM system to grow

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 – but we can help you identify why your business needs a PIM system. 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 are 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.