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Extended Attributes that Aid Product Sales

Extended Attributes that Aid Product Sales

Every retailer’s goal is to satisfy his customers by giving them a superior shopping experience. This is made possible as a result of having on his store, not only what customers need, but what can easily and specifically be accessed via a quick, direct search. Extended attributes is one strategy that is employed to achieve the retailer’s goal and the customer’s needs.

What are Extended Attributes?Extended Attributes

Extended attributes are detailed and consistent product information provided by suppliers to retailers. Suppliers follow guidelines as set by some major retailers in providing detailed and relevant product information that goes beyond the basic and physical descriptions commonly seen. Extended attributes meet the need of shoppers who know exactly what they want down to the very last detail and the need of others who take pleasure in making choices from a large array of available products. It helps retailers to give customers a wonderful shopping experience.

How do Extended Attributes give Shoppers a Superior Shopping Experience?

When more detailed product descriptions are given, it is easier for customers to search out a product that fills a specific need of theirs and navigate easily through your site. If for example, a shopper wants to get a shoe, he might find a list of different, available sizes and colors, which is not bad, but trying to implement extended attributes might require picking each color and stating what sizes you have for each of those colors, the material from which the shoe was made, and even the kind of sole it has. This would make it easier for a potential client who types in a specific color and size of shoe to be brought directly to you compared with someone who just has a long list pulled out.

When products have enough information on them, it earns you as a retailer higher traffic as more specific searches take a shopper straight to your site. Instead of simply typing in “long-sleeved shirts”, a shopper might type in “magenta XL long-sleeved shirt”. The first search might bring up a wide range of shirts with long sleeves which would be available in many places but typing in a specific color and size of shirt streamlines the search and if you have the description stated just as typed, the shoppers get directed to you and you stand a better of selling to him or her.

With consistent information available on multiple channels like on mobile phones, a PC, or a physical store, more sales are guaranteed.

Extended attributes also reduce the rate at which goods are returned as customers get to know every little, but relevant detail needed to satisfy the need of your customers. If you tell your clients how far from their shoulder a specific bag falls, what material it is made of, where it was made, and what kind of closure it has, you will be catering to their specific needs and highlighting details that make the product more appealing.

 

How Extended Attributes affect Suppliers and Retailers

Retailers creating guidelines that suppliers follow in supplying product information breeds consistency. When product classification is consistent, it makes product inventory listing very easy. It also reduces the time spent on editing info as suppliers give only the info requested from them.

Why the need for Extended Attributes?

Sometime before now, there were no set of rules guiding what information suppliers were to give to retailers for customers’ consumption. As such, retailers decide what information to include for the products they offer up for sale. When two retailers offering the same products on their sites describes them differently, shoppers get confused. If you enlist a product as “bags” and it includes purses but was not specified, a shopper in search of purses is certain to not find it. Such clients might thus decide against making an online purchase because they simply can’t find what they are looking for. There thus arose the need for set guidelines that ensure that relevant information is provided by suppliers and that such information is consistently represented across multiple channels. Below are some initiatives collectively put up by some major retailers in conjunction with some organizations to streamline the information provided to clients:

GS1 US Extended Attributes GuidelineExtended Attributes

The GS1 US extended attributes guideline was created by GS1 US, an organization that creates solutions to business-based problems, in conjunction with major retailers like Macy’s, Walmart, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom. They came up with this particular initiative to streamline the amount of product info made available to consumers, ensuring that the most relevant information is not left out or hidden in a maze of data.

Macy’s, Walmart, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom supported this arrangement by GS1 US and helped in creating the guidelines along with a few other retailers. This GS1 US extended attributes guideline applies to 6 product categories, that is, fashion accessories, beauty, footwear, apparel, jewelry, and home. As a retailer whose products fall into any of these six categories, you can decide to employ this guideline in gathering product information from your suppliers

The GS1 US extended attributes guideline tells clearly what product attributes are most likely to give your potential customers, a great online shopping experience and more sales for you. Suppliers also need to be notified of what extended attributes to supply and are to cooperate with retailers to get maximum benefits.

As a small retail store, using this set guidelines makes your product offering as appealing as those of major retailers because you’ll be offering information based on the same guidelines and stand a chance at appearing before consumers as much as they do.

GS1 US’ standards for most of its merchandise categories are as follows:

  • Where the product was made: suppliers have to indicate a clear statement that shows that a product was made in a particular country. For example, a product could be said to be made in Canada, imported, or both. If some materials used in making the product were imported then it would fall in the “made in Canada and imported” category. If all was gotten within the country, then it’s simply “made in Canada”.
  • Brand name: this is the name by which you as a producer is recognized in your industry and by consumers e.g. Versace
  • Care information: this refers to how consumers are to care for your product after purchase. This information is provided by the manufacturer. For a dress, you might direct that it be washed with warm and not cold water or that it should be washed with soaps, not detergents. It would also be nice to state the reason why. Will it damage the ware in any way? Or alter its components?
  • Item depth and height: this involves measuring how deep and how high a product is without packaging. This is applicable to almost all product categories that GS1 US Extended Attributes Guideline allows for.
  • Item length and width: this refers to how long a particular material is e.g. the length of a gown, a sleeve, a belt, etc., while the width is the measurement of a product from left to right.
  • The number of units in a package: this tells how many of one item is in a pack e.g. 4 pieces of hair bows, 18 piece glass set, 3 pairs of trinkets, and so on.
  • Country of origin: this is required and must be expressed using a 3 character ISO Country Code.
  • Material description: this is where you tell consumers what the product you are selling to them is made of. You can simply highlight the most obvious feature or the feature that is most likely to scratch the itch that your potential clients have e.g silver plated wristwatch with a cigarette lighter. This is very likely to catch the attention not just of individuals who want silver plated wristwatches, but also smokers.
  • Marketing message: this is the part that convinces clients to make a purchase. It gives them strong reasons to buy your product. Your marketing message should state unique benefits and utilize search engine optimization that ensures that your products are quickly located. It not only tells the features of your product but how those features benefit your clients. For example, BLISS designs bright, full, high waist skirt for summer. Its features will likely be:
    • 60% cotton, 25% rayon, 15% viscose
    • Made in Tunisia
    • Fully lined
    • Elastic band, no zipper
    • 30 inches in length
    • Can be dry cleaned
    • Easy to wash, dry, and wear
  • Team name: you are expected to provide a professional team name associated with the product e.g. the Elite Inferno
  • Vendor collection name: this is the name a vendor gives to this group of products. Could be “Summer Collection”Extended Attributes

The above are just a few general guidelines to be followed as stated by GS1 US.

Project Mercury

This project by Kroger covers a wider range of product classes, for which extended attribute is to be provided, compared to the GS1 US extended attributes guideline. It is applicable to about 100 product classes. It was introduced in 2012 with the sole aim of providing customers with the right products and services at the right time. Each product category has a set of rules guiding it. All information by suppliers is submitted via the Kroger Portal which is connected with GDSN, the Global Data Synchronization Network and is made available to any user on the network. Suppliers are expected to provide extended attributes like NuVal nutritional scores, kosher labels, health alerts to allergens and cholesterol. Consumers will no longer blindly make a purchase as they will be aware of every minute, essential detail.

Walmart

A great video, punchy product description on a product page are not all you need guys. Product information goes a long way in helping you get one more customer. It makes it really easy for your first-time customers to learn all they need to know about a product.

You might have already heard that phrase, “that customers can’t test your products before buying” so the information you provide about the product is all they need to make the decision to buy or not to buy…simple.

Walmart has proven to be one of the companies that believe that great product discovery begins with great product classification. You might call this shoe a “sneaker” and your competitor calls that same shoe a “tennis shoe”, what do you think happens to that customer? The customer now has two different experiences, and it gets even worse when each retailer provides enough information to support its giving the shoe that title.

Having a standard classification makes each of the retailers have the same product type, name, category and the customer who visits the two websites sees that same product, same product information, and he sees that the product serves the same purpose.

It also makes it pretty easy to search products, without being bedeviled with all types of shoes that have been named just the way the retailer deems fit. The point is this. Not only is extended attributes great for retailers, it makes searching and finding products super easy for customers.

Structured Commerce Classification

GS1 is creating the Structured Commerce Classification in an effort to have a global classification structure instead of multiples, a system that will serve all product categories. With this system, producers or suppliers will be able to provide the same set of information to all retailers.

At present though, individual retailers like Amazon, are starting to request highly detailed product info from suppliers. But would this not mean more cumbersome data to manage? It might translate to that. An information management system would, thus, be essential.

How to Manage the number of Extended Product Attributes you have

A Product Information Management (PIM) system can be implemented. A PIM system gathers information from every unit of management present in a business setup and centralizes it before it is published for sales and marketing. After collecting this information, it processes and stores it. If any redundancies are found, it eliminates them before making such information available for sharing and usage. Such information is made available to suppliers, retailers, and even consumers.

With a PIM system, you can be less worried about how you can manage large chunks of data gathered in putting together a detailed product description. Gone are the days when you have to manage product information in a spreadsheet. That complex process with high chances of errors can be eliminated with the implementation of a PIM system which ensures not only management of complex data but wide distribution. A producer doesn’t have to be worried about sending varying information at different times to different retailers.

With initiatives like the GS1 US Extended Attributes Guideline, Project Mercury, and Structured Commerce Classification, there will be one set standard for providing information to all retailers. As such, with your PIM system, you can send one set of info, following the existing guidelines, to all retailers in no time. This should lessen your worries about managing product information.

Benefits of Extended Attributes

Sorting out product attributes following set guidelines breeds great benefits.

·      It puts you right in the face of shoppers. You will appear on the first page of search results. When you have rich product description with extended attributes that have relevant keywords, search engines will love you. Such rich content earns you more visits, page views, and sales.

·      Extended attributes help to foster trust in you. If the information found online is the same as what a client sees in-store, he is likely to trust you more. At a physical store, customers get to see and feel what you sell, even test them out. In your online store, they do not have this luxury. As such extended attributes in form of texts, images, videos, and social proof convinces them that what they are seeing is just as it is. Replicating same information across various channels will build customers’ trust in you.

·      Extended attributes enrich product content. As is often said, “Content is king”. Rich product content ensures that potential clients in the first place, find you before deciding to buy from you. Customers need to make an informed choice and if you can provide that convinces and puts them at rest, you are sure to make more sales. Has it ever happened to you that you find a gorgeous handbag online but have reservations about purchasing it because you doubt that it’ll be as good as it looks online? Extended attributes let you know what material it was made of, what kind of closure it has, how many compartments there are within it, where it was produced and so on. With your mind’s eye, you can imagine all those features in the bag and be better convinced that this is as good as it looks and will be durable.Extended Attributes

Note: Extended products attributes are great for your business, and if you can subscribe to it, I will encourage you to do that without delay. But know that it just has to remain consistent.

I am a modern day customer, and I know a lot of people who are, and one thing we all have in common is taking extra steps to ensure we make informed purchases, especially when we are buying from some store that seats in the other corner of the world.

So, ensure that product images, content, variants and reviews are consistent. Go the extra mile to present something anyone would want to be a part of. The only way you help buyers see you as a serious business is by providing all the information they’ll ever need about you and your product.

Rich product content can earn you, as a retailer, better conversions and give your visitors an overall fun-filled shopping experience. Including extended attributes in your product description eliminates the possibility of having incomplete or inconsistent information on a product. If your content can earn you higher traffic, you will not only make more sales but retain your consumers.

 

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