5 Unlikely Obstacles Hindering Fluid Product Information Management

Obstacles Hindering Product Information Management

Fluid product information management keeps operations running smoothly, as your suppliers, distributors, partners and customers encounter a quality experience that often exceeds expectations. However, your workflow may hit a bump in the road if you run into one of these five unlikely obstacles hindering product information management.

1. Weak Channel Support

If you can focus on only one or two main channels, leaving others to be created manually your efficiency can be destroyed. When one of your vendors needs product information in a different format, you’re left scrambling to fulfill the request. This reactive fulfillment strategy leads to content inconsistency. Different image sizes, writing voices and product options could throw off your brand messaging and cost you sales.

Tip 1: Look for a PIM system that supports channels and make sure to ask during the demo which marketplaces and channels are included. Feel free to ask how the process works and if the exporting is flexible enough to handle

2. Unorganized Spreadsheets

Do you rely solely on spreadsheets for your product information management strategy? You run into many problems when you rely on this type of manual system to stay on top of your data, especially when there are more than one. Multiple versions of a file can introduce errors into your copy and cause prices to become out-of-date. You also need to allocate employee time for manually updating the spreadsheets.

Tip 2: Spreadsheets are an inevitable part of product information management, and they can be very useful when it comes to populating a PIM database. Keep one or multiple spreadsheets organized by coming up with consistent categories and running scripts to remove extra spacing, all caps, etc.

3. Unorganized or Lack of Access

Decentralized product data leads to important information languishing in inboxes when employees go on vacation. If the team lead is the only person with access to these details, the project grinds to a halt when he’s out of the office. Hard drive crashes and other technology problems can also get in the way of effectively managing product information.

Tip 3: You need a product information management system with role access and security. Systems with history features are great because you can see who made changes and when.

4. Too Much Content

Your organization could end up with an unmanageable amount of content, especially if you don’t have a structured product information management solution in place. Teams and employees work off their own copies of content, resulting in more work when everything comes together. Some digital assets may also be lost on forgotten network drives or personal thumb drives.

Tip 4: Spreadsheets are an inevitable part of product information management, and they can be very useful when it comes to populating a PIM database. Keep one or multiple spreadsheets organized by coming up with consistent categories and running scripts to remove extra spacing, all caps, etc.

5. File Names

Inconsistent file names can do a lot of damage to product information. When everyone chooses their own structure and style, you can’t conveniently use search tools to track down the right product. Instead, you sort through a list manually and hope that everyone saved it within the same folder, which can be hindering product information management.

How many of these obstacles are lurking in your organization? Your product information management strategy needs to tackle these problems head on and fix the environment that encourages them to thrive. Once you eliminate these roadblocks, you’ll have an easier time scaling your operations and distributing product information to relevant parties.

Tip 5: Spreadsheets are an inevitable part of product information management, and they can be very useful when it comes to populating a PIM database. Keep one or multiple spreadsheets organized by coming up with consistent categories and running scripts to remove extra spacing, all caps, etc.

How Catsy Helps

Catsy product information management is a flexible PIM system that enables you to store and manage product specifications and images, publish to marketplaces, populate your eCommerce website, print marketing collateral and more. Catsy can also populate digital catalogs, online product listings, and much more via a robust API. To learn about the flexibility of Catsy PIM and how it can help streamline your product management and remove obstacles hindering product information management, sign up for a demo at http://catsy.com/contact-us.

Sources:

https://www.experian.com/assets/decision-analytics/white-papers/the%20state%20of%20data%20quality.pdf

http://mspmentor.net/blog/five-ways-saas-data-lost

https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/product-information-management-best-practices/

Turning Marketing Leads Into Marketing Sales

Convert Marketing Leads

In a perfect world, marketing leads would be ready to convert into sales the second you get their information. However, your prospects are rarely ready to finish their journey after the first direct interaction. Use these four strategies to move your visitors further into your sales funnel and convert marketing leads.

1. Lead Nurturing

Do you like companies taking hard sales tactics the moment you interact with them? Neither do your potential customers. Instead, you should focus on building a legitimate, long-term relationship with your lead. You can send helpful guides and resources to help customers make informed decisions about your product selection, or you can keep in touch via a relevant newsletter.

2. Consistent Follow Up

Don’t leave your leads hanging when they reach out to you with a question. You could easily leave a bad taste in their mouths if you drop the ball before they even make a purchase. A customer relationship management tool or contact management solution can help you stay on top of incoming inquiries, while automated reminders and templated replies can reduce the hands-on time spent on this process.

3. Personalized Recommendations

Modern consumers have so many choices that they sometimes end up in a decision paralysis. Don’t try to sell leads on your entire product line; instead, use the information you have on each person to personalize the recommendations offered. Leads might be overwhelmed by your complete product line, but if you reduce the choices to two or three, you could make their purchase decisions much easier.

4. Benefits, Explained

Your leads come into the sales funnel with an interest in your company or a particular product. However, your interactions and sales messaging must revolve around one important question: What’s in it for them?

Leave the nitty gritty details about your products for later in the sales process, and focus on emphasizing the benefits for potential customers. How can the item solve their problems? Does it improve their quality of life? Where does it fit into their daily lives? Once you answer these questions for a prospect, you can move on to overcoming the final sales objections before they convert.

Turning your marketing leads into sales is as much of an art as it is a science. By optimizing your strategies once visitors show interest in your products, you can bring in more customers and keep them around for a lasting relationship.

Sources:

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/15-psychological-triggers/

http://marketingwizdom.com/strategies/conversion

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/definition-marketing-qualified-lead-mql-under-100-sr

Using Social Proof to Market Your Products

Social Proof

Buyers base their purchase decisions on many factors, including recommendations from trusted sources. The information doesn’t need to come directly from friends or family, as 70 percent of people accept input from users or organizations they don’t know directly. This social proof also acts as a powerful marketing tool for your products. You show consumers that other people enjoy what you have to offer, which helps them move beyond sales objections. Here are a few ways you can work social proof into your marketing assets.

Testimonials

Incorporate your customer testimonials throughout your marketing materials. You can easily fit in a small section on your landing pages or create a full-blown area on your site. When you do this, potential buyers don’t need to leave your website to find social proof, which means you can minimize distractions on the way to the conversion.

Online Reviews

Many people use online reviews as a critical step in the buyer journey. If you don’t have any reviews at all, you will have a hard time convincing customers to trust you. Encourage reviews by providing current clients with clear instructions on applicable review sites, including your own website. If you’re holding off on requesting these because you don’t want a bad review to sink your sales, you’re putting yourself in a weak position. A mix of good, neutral and bad reviews adds veracity. If you have five-star reviews on every site, potential buyers may worry that they are fake.

Case Studies

Do you offer products and services that are more technical or business-oriented in nature? Case studies not only show off satisfied customers, they also go into detail on exactly how you helped. Decision-makers get the information they need to determine whether your company can assist in resolving their pressing problems.

Famous Users

Do you have celebrities, big name companies or prominent influencers buying from your business? Leverage this information to give your company more authority. For example, technology buyers may be more inclined to use the same vendors as Google or Microsoft. They assume if it’s good enough for famous brands, it’s an excellent fit for their needs. One way to incorporate this social proof into your marketing is to use the logos of companies or websites.

Social proof is a vital component for overcoming sales objections. Your buyers want reassurance that other people or brands recommend your products. By leveraging testimonials, online reviews and other customer input, you help the customer finalize their purchase decision.

Sources:

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2012/trust-in-advertising–paid-owned-and-earned.html

https://consumerist.com/2015/06/03/nearly-70-of-consumers-rely-on-online-reviews-before-making-a-purchase/

http://laramcculloch.com/word-of-mouth-marketing-strategy/

Cloud Storage for Product Images

Cloud Storage

Your product images are an essential part of your marketing. If your internal teams and external partners can’t access these assets, your campaigns suffer. Cloud storage is a cost-effective way to handle image-serving needs, whether you need a centralized location for your internal needs, a reliable server for your partners or an off-site backup.

Box

Box gives you a secure cloud storage service with many business-focused features. It integrates with a wide range of third-party applications and supports custom enterprise applications, which makes it easy to access your product images directly from the software you already use. Box offers a $5 per month starter tier and a $15 per month business tier. 

Dropbox

If you need a straightforward cloud storage option for an off-site backup, Dropbox offers plenty of space at an excellent cost. You can set up automatic syncing with your product photo folders, so you never have to worry about having a convenient backup if a disaster occurs.

Google Drive

Google Drive offers two distinct advantages for your internal teams. The platform is built for collaboration, so it’s easy to add people to the appropriate folders. Google’s powerful network provides anytime, anywhere access. User-friendly sharing can be limited to the organization or set to public views.

Microsoft OneDrive

Do you already use Microsoft products for your technology infrastructure? Microsoft OneDrive will integrate readily with them. For a solution that fits into your existing workflow for internal teams, OneDrive is an excellent choice.

Amazon CloudFront

Are you looking for a reliable content delivery network for your product images? Amazon CloudFront gives you access to a secure, powerful network with data centers around the world. This service operates as a pay-per-usage model, allowing you to scale your operations without unnecessary expenses. This service also works well as a backup to your in-house resources. If you want to accommodate unexpected demand during high-traffic times, CloudFront could take over so you don’t have customers running into website errors or broken images.

Akamai

Do you provide product videos to go along with your photos? If you don’t have a powerful delivery network available, your customer experience suffers. Akamai specializes in many cloud-based media serving solutions, especially high-demand content, such as videos. If you have extensive requirements for your catalog assets, you get a flexible solution for your ongoing needs.

You spent a lot of time and resources on optimizing your catalog content. The technical infrastructure required for high-availability delivery may exceed your in-house resources. These cloud-based solutions fit your budget and provide exceptional service quality for your customers and partners. Don’t lose out on opportunities because your in-house servers can’t handle sudden traffic spikes. Migrate to the cloud and improve your catalog performance.

Catsy Cloud Storage Integration

Catsy cloud storage API integration with Dropbox and Box to simplify your digital asset management. Utilize the powerful image storage options provided in Box and Dropbox such as team access and backup options with easy linking to Catsy PIM. Utilize the apps you already use to simplify your workflow. All of these images can automatically populate your catalogs, customer service hub, price books, spec sheets, and more.

Sources:

http://drive.google.com

http://www.dropbox.com

https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/

https://aws.amazon.com/cloudfront/

https://www.akamai.com/

4 Ways to Retain Good Customers

Retain Good Customers

A good customer is one of your most valuable assets. You invest a lot of resources into your client acquisition costs, which are much higher for new buyers. When you focus on people who are already familiar with your brand, your products and your purchasing process, you have a much easier time getting the sale. If you can’t retain good customers loyal to your business, however, you’re going to have a hard time scaling efficiently. Here are four retention techniques you can use to keep your buyers happy.

1. Personalize the Customer Experience

Do you really want to know how to get on a customer’s good side? Reduce how much they need to think before they make another purchase. A personalized customer experience focuses entirely on the products that make the most sense for the individual consumer. They spend less time looking around for the things they want, and you enhance their overall experience.

2. Make Customers Feel Special

How much money do you invest in customer retention campaigns? You shouldn’t drop all of your efforts to court a consumer after they make their first purchase. Switch your strategy to a relationship-focused approach. You want to deepen the connection to build more loyalty in this audience. Offer special discounts or give early access to new products to show them that you value the relationship.

3. Stay Useful and Relevant

Don’t put all of your focus on promoting your products and your brand. Look for ways to add value to the customer relationship. Send them helpful guides that cover the ways they can use previous purchases. Check-in when they send in a new order and make sure that they’re happy with everything. Dedicate yourself to helping your customer succeed at their goals.

4. Be Responsive

How long does it take for you to respond to customer inquiries or complaints? Be responsive to your current customers’ needs, whether they have a complaint or they want to suggest a new feature for a product. Listen carefully to their input and do your best to provide a solution, if needed. If you can’t help them, look for ways to lessen the inconvenience or offer a viable alternative.

Your customer retention strategies are an essential part of meeting your business growth goals. You can invest your entire budget into bringing on new customers, but if you can’t keep them around, then you’re not going to achieve success.

Sources:

http://www.gainsight.com/your-success/importance-of-customer-retention-strategy/

http://www.cmswire.com/cms/customer-experience/the-true-value-of-repeat-customers-020492.php

The Importance of Efficiency in Product Feed

Product Feed Efficiency

Your product feed is a useful asset for your internal resources and your external partners. You need an efficient and effective process for generating this feed and sending it to the appropriate parties. When you streamline the steps it takes to put it together, you enjoy several competitive advantages.

More Time for Creativity

Automation reduces the amount of hands-on time you spend on your product feed. Tasks such as data entry and photo loading take place behind the scenes, so you get to focus your attention on creative endeavors and strategic decision-making. When you spend more time doing the things that you’re great at, rather than busy work that gets in the way.

Quick Turnaround

How long does it take to update your product feed with new pricing or an additional ordering option? A quick turnaround of creation or revision puts your company in a good position to adjust your offerings based on real-time data. For example, when you go into the holidays with the must-have gift of the year, you can implement an aggressive pricing strategy.

Up-to-Date Information

Your customers expect product listings to have the most current information. If your feeds are weeks or months behind, you confuse customers, cause pricing arguments and process more returns. An efficient process makes it simple to make any changes to a particular item or the entire feed. Product launches are much easier to handle.

Fewer Errors

A complex procedure offers many chances to introduce errors. The more steps and people involved in the process, the more likely you are to run into problems. Automation reduces the amount of human input required for this task and also optimizes the overall workflow. When your employees step in to handle the manual aspects of the catalog creation, they can accomplish their jobs easier.

Accessible Content

Your websites, distribution partners, vendors and other parties need access to your content. If the material is unavailable or hard to access, you lose out on potential opportunities. An efficient product feed reduces the barriers required for loading the necessary product assets.

Your product feed plays an important role for your company’s sales and growth rate. By focusing on ways to make it more efficient, you make better use of your available resources and improve your chances of the feed getting used properly.

Sources:

https://productsup.io/blog/best-practice-guide-google-shopping-feed/

http://www.cpcstrategy.com/product-listing-ads/shopping-feed-tips/

http://searchengineland.com/6-ways-to-leverage-merchant-feeds-to-optimize-product-listing-ads-167827