PXM: The bridge from eCommerce content to revenue

PXM – Growing sales in the digital world

A product page is the single most important factor for a customer doing research or shopping for products online.

Traditionally, the online product page was designed to hold all of the basic information about a product. Including, specs, descriptions, images, and price.

Today, to win the digital shelf brands are publishing more robust and creative content to win.

The brands that craft more and more compelling product pages are the brands that will win.

Publishing Product Content to Win:

Let’s assume a brand has taken the first step in winning online by creating more compelling product content.

They will quickly run into syndicating this content to all of their sales channels. This is enough to drive anyone crazy. You created this content and it isn’t getting published like you envisioned!

The solution to this is challenge is PXM.

What is PXM?

PXM is the solution. What exactly is PXM and how does it help you craft and publish product pages?

PXM is a platform that stores all of your product content in one location and pushes the content out to your sales channels.

PXM allows you to manage, optimize, and publish product data & images effectively on all of your sales channels. The sales channels PXM updates is most often your distributors and retailers. However, companies are also using PXM to share data with their reps or feed their website.

At the highest level, PXM is the bridge that allows you to transport product content from inside your organization to your ecosystem.

The brands that realize not only having great content but the bridge to get it out are the brands that are winning.

The components of PXM

There are three main components to PXM:

Centralizing the content

Optimizing the content for each channel

Syndicating the content to each channel

Centralize:

Centralization is the foundation of PXM. It allows you to store all of your product content in one single platform.

Centralization is the PIM portion of PXM. 

For the manufacturers who are living in spreadsheets the idea of centralizing product content in one platform is a fundamental change. Brands today have product content scattered in many excel files, folders, and whatever else they can find.

SImply, Centralization can provide immense value for them.

Rather than bouncing around in different files and folders to look at a single product’s information. Your team will now have one page to view all data & content related to a product.

Having one place to access all content related to a product is incredibly valuable. First, it saves your teams massive amounts of time when they need to find or edit product content. Secondly, it ensures accuracy because there is only one location where your product

Optimize:

Optimizing your content for a channel is vital to winning the digital shelf.

Each retailer and distributor has different requirements for the content you send them.

 Optimizing content for each channel when done manually is a very time consuming process.

PXM gives your team the tools they need to efficiently tailor the product content for each retailer.

This means helping optimize descriptions, resizing images, selecting retailer specific product lists, populating retailer specific item numbers, and more.

In addition to more quickly optimizing your content for each retailer. A great PXM will give you insight into how you can improve your product page.

Incorporating analytics to tell your team what keywords to use or what changes to make to your product pages will pay for itself. 

Analytics is what your team needs to make sure they stay at the top of the search results. It helps boost not only product page views but the conversion rate for all visitors.

PXM simplifies the optimization process for your team. With the time that saved your team can put a bigger emphasis on creating high quality content to even further improve the quality of your product pages.

Syndicate

Syndicate is all about actually getting your products posted on each retailer site.

A great PXM will have the ability to export product data & images in every retailer or distributor’s formats.

It is crucial in today that your PXM is used for as many retailers & distributors as possible rather than only helping with a few of your sales channels.

It is so crucial to keep all channels up to date from your pxm because if you don’t you’ve only created another data silo for your team to manage.

Some retailers may be able to receive your product data via API while others will have custom excel templates that can be populated directly from your PXM.

Regardless of how your data is sent your PXM should be able to meet any requirements. This automated populating of the templates will drastically cut down the amount of time it takes to send data to each retailer.

How is PXM different from PIM?

PIM is the father to PXM. Everything that a PIM has a PXM has. However, a PIM is only used to create one source of truth for product data & images.

PIM doesn’t have the robust tools a PXM has to share the content with all of your sales channels.

The ability to share is where the value is in PXM. The value in centralizing data is greatly diminished if it is still very challenging to share it.

Who cares if internally your data is accurate and robust. It only matters if you can get it out to your customers.

PXM gives you the tools you need to not only manage data like PIM but also get that great content out to the people who really matter. Your customers

How PXM provides value

PXM gives your organization the platform they need to build a process to manage and share product content.

Without a PXM you will never be able to build a process to consistently onboard and publish products. Having that ability is absolutely crucial to your success in today’s digital world.

In 2019 and beyond if you are still managing product data with scattered excel files and image folders you will fail to keep up with your competitors and slowly fade away.

On the other hand, if you implement a PXM and leverage it to build a streamlined process to manage and share product data & images you will be able to separate yourself from the pack.

Workflow Drives the Productivity of Your PIM

Publishing content is difficult. Some parts can be automated, and others can be accelerated with efficiencies. Workflow is a tool that improves efficiency.

Publishing content for ecommerce can be quite an undertaking, with lots of moving pieces. Parts of the process can be automated, while others can be sped up by building efficiencies. One tool that can help in improving efficiency in the publishing process is workflow and notifications.

Centralizing product data and images is incredibly valuable and helps the speeding up process in a number of ways. If you have multiple users and multiple departments collaborating on your product content development in a product information management (PIM) solution, workflow is a necessity.

In this blog, we outline how incorporating workflow with your centralized data and digital asset management maximizes the value your organization gets out of your PIM.

The Basics: What is Workflow?

The sequence of steps involved in moving from the beginning to the end of a working process.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (source)

Workflow drives production within teams, increasing their productivity and automatically delegating tasks. It passes notifications from individual team members, or entire departments, as they complete specific tasks. Tasks continue to be passed in this way until the full process is completed.

You can also tailor workflows to a team or a specific business.

A great example of this in the context of PIM is a new product introduction (NPI) workflow vs. a product deletion workflow. Different types of companies may also utilize different types of workflows.

For example, a small equipment manufacturer’s NPI workflow may consist of only product managers and a marketing team. On the other hand, a large consumer packaged goods manufacturer’s NPI workflow is likely to be much more complex. It may encompass many different departments, actions, and levels of approval.

Different Workflows to Increase Productivity

Product content workflows for each business are unique, since each business is unique. However, there are a few key ways workflow drives productivity for any business. 

The most commonly implemented is the NPI workflow. Every company needs to introduce new products and every company struggles working across departments to release them.

A second commonly used workflow is the content update workflow. When a user makes a change to specific attributes in a database those changes are noted in this kind of workflow. Notifications are automatically sent to  the user granted the authority to approve or deny changes. Overall, you can use it to maintain the quality and cleanliness of all product data.

(We cover this topic in depth in the blog featured below.)

Last, but possibly the most important, is the channel introduction workflow. This workflow comes into play when you are onboarding new products to a retailer or sending product information to a new retailer. 

This is the newest challenge PIM workflow is helping organizations address. It allows them to get all required information out to retailers as quickly as possible while still maintaining accuracy.

Let’s look at each workflow in detail.

New Product Introduction Workflow

Building robust product data can be a massive challenge for manufacturers. Many users work to create product data. For example, your marketing team is writing descriptive copy, specifications have to come from your product managers, and everything needs to be approved by management.

Unfortunately, often times these departments are disconnected or don’t communicate with each other well. Workflow automatically notifies each team member when they need to edit or approve data for a new product. This eliminates the possibility of any user overlooking data or images that remain missing through the on-boarding process.

An NPI workflow connects your team digitally. Today, it’s easy for employees and their teams to become disconnected, perhaps because they only communicate occasionally on their phones or in informal meetings. This lack of communication can slow down and confuse normal business operations.

The NPI workflow facilitates communication, cutting the time it takes for employees and departments to complete their tasks. Its power comes in letting all users know where others are in terms of completing their task, so everyone knows what still needs to be done.

An NPI workflow builds a sense of teamwork within your organization. It allows your team to tackle what may seem like months’ worth of work in days or even hours.

Implementing workflow with your PIM can reduce your NPI process from days to only a few hours.

Not only does this workflow decrease the time it takes to complete the NPI content creation process, but it also improves the quality of the content created. Because each user has ample time to accomplish their assigned tasks, workflows eliminate the problem of working against an unrealistic deadline.

Content Update Workflow

A content update workflow is implemented to ensure product data and digital asset content quality is improved, or at the very least properly maintained. 

Content update workflow is typically designed so that all changes to attributes that have already been populated are sent to a specific user for approval. The user who approves the changes is usually the content manager or another employee in a management role.

The content update workflow is important because often changes need to be made frequently. Without an approval process a user could make changes to data that are incorrect. Allowing these changes to go live reduces continuity across your brand, confuses potential customers, and can ultimately decrease revenue.

The content update workflow ensures all changes go through the right people. This ensures brand messaging stays on point, even as core content undergoes changes.

Channel Introduction Workflow

Manufacturers today constantly have the opportunity to open new sales channels via online retailers or distributors. Not only is this a new opportunity for manufacturers it also can be very lucrative. However, with new opportunities come new challenges.

One critical challenge that comes with selling through more online retailers and distributors is actually getting the content necessary for the retailer or distributor to post your product on their site.

(We cover this topic in depth in the blog featured below.)

PIM serves as a central repository for all of your product data, simplifying syndication of data.  Some vendors employ practices to make it easier to meet each of your retailer’s specific requirements. Having centralized product data is great, but knowing which data and products you need to send to a retailer can be tricky. This is where workflow can help.

Workflow, when used for on-boarding new products, organizes your team’s tasks in the way you’ve determined is most efficient. A typical flow of activities would be as follows:

  1. Select products
  2. Map attributes
  3. Create missing data
  4. Share with the retailer

Don’t fool yourself, because a workflow that looks as simple as this can actually take teams weeks or months to complete. This says nothing of the tension that can arise between different departments attempting to work in parallel.

Workflow stops the blame game and kick-starts your organization’s collaboration.

A retailer on-boarding workflow prompts users to work on the new retailer only when necessary. In addition, you can make specific tasks a top priority for a given user. This streamlining results in the products being ready for the retailers in a fraction of the time.

Gone are the days of departments working on separate projects and seemingly spinning their wheels. A workflow tool provides the most value adding projects that are started and completed as quickly as possible. This speed to market allows you to capture sales though new channel partners quickly and even create new life-long brand loyal customers.

Benefits of Workflow

Improve Team Collaboration

PIM is valuable because it allows you to centralize all of your product content in one location. The only piece left to unify is your users.

Simply, PIM unifies your product data and digital assets, like images and videos. Workflow unifies the users of that PIM.

PIM without workflow leaves users working in their own worlds, unaware of the contributions and progress of other users.

The key is to have your team connected, to push and drive each other.

Workflow also notifies users when others have completed tasks relevant to their work. This allows users to effectively manage all their priorities. When your team can consistently track their collective progress, it further drives production.

Workflow within a PIM leads each team member to hold themselves accountable. Users work harder to complete their tasks knowing their team members can’t start contributing until they’ve done their part.

Eliminate Missing Product Data

Incomplete product pages missing dimensions, descriptions, images, and other content are a challenge manufacturers have faced for years. Making sure data is not only accurate but populated across all your channels, as your SKU count grows and your teams get larger, has always been a headache.

Workflow brings your teams together, filling potential cracks in your process.

Workflow solves this age-old challenge easily, by creating tasks for users, notifying them when attributes are missing required data. With workflow you can assign specific attributes and products to specific users. This way they’re notified whenever any attribute they’re responsible for is missing or incomplete.

This consistent flow of notifications raises the quality of your content and allows agile teams to handle more data in less time.

Why does accurate, complete data matter?
  1. Data drives the search functionality on your site and your dealer sites.
  2. Completeness ensures your customers have all of the information they need to make a buying decision.
  3. Accuracy allows your customers to more easily find the products they are looking for.

Publish Products Faster

Getting your products published faster is a direct result of the NPI and channel introduction workflows.

In the digital world, posting your products online as quickly as possible is vital to success. With the implementation of PIM, and workflows to drive team productivity, you can minimize the amount of time it takes to publish products across all the channels you sell through in your ecosystem.

Ultimately, workflow is the PIM feature you need to ensure you get to market before any of your competitors.

Improved Product Pages

High quality product pages are important for two reasons.

  1. Increased product page views
  2. Maximized conversion rates
Workflow is the most effective way to assign tasks to improve the quality of your product pages.

Without workflow, it becomes very easy to push off tasks that lead to higher sales. Workflows give you the ability to remind users to complete revenue driving tasks like adding images, creating new features, and improving descriptions.

Now that you know how workflow drives PIM productivity, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Why You Need a PIM to Make and Keep Your Data Clean

Clean data is vital to the creation of enriched product pages that drive sales. See how PIM both makes and keeps your product data clean.

Today’s buyers overwhelmingly use the Internet to gather data to make their buying decisions.

Whether they’re after something cheap and simple or complex and expensive, around 88% of today’s customers do research online before deciding to buy (source).

This means in today’s world, sales success means you need clean data, and a way to keep it clean. Your product data needs to be accurate so your customers have the information they need.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “Only 3% of companies’ data meets basic quality standards” (source).

Connecting how clean your data is with your sales and growth goals makes this stat alarming, to say the least.

What Are Basic Quality Standards?

Quality data is easy to understand, accurate, and complete. This applies to everything from feature bullets, pricing, dimensions, and descriptions to digital assets like images, videos, and CAD drawings.

Basic quality standards means ensuring all the fields on your product pages populate with accurate and complete data. This must be true for every single product you sell, across all sales channels, be they your D2C site, ecommerce marketplaces, or retail websites.

(See the blog post below for more data about solving the challenges of selling across multiple BigCommerce sites.)

It sounds simple, but the amount of product data a company needs to manage to be successful has exploded over the last few years. What’s more, basic quality standards have become incredibly difficult to meet with traditional data management methods.

There are any number of different causes of this and PIM implementation solves nearly all of them. However, before going into how PIM helps you solve this problem, let’s first look at what leads to low quality data.

data-quality

What Causes Data to Not Meet Basic Quality Standards?

There are many different reasons why data issues crop up. We will take a look at the most common causes.

Storing Data in Many Different Files

This is the most common cause of low quality data. And it doesn’t mean you can solve the problem by simply putting all of your files and folders on a server or cloud storage service.

Because if you put the files in a server, even if it is accessible to the entire company, your data will become out-of-date very quickly.

Why? Because users will download the files and store them on their own computers for easy access.

It isn’t fun to search through a ton of files and massive spreadsheets to find the most up-to-date price or image.

Files with the Same Information

To eliminate this headache, users will download the data to their desktop to increase their working speed.

The problem with downloading files to your own desktop is obvious. When a master file is updated, how can you make sure all of your users get the update?

You could re-download the file every time you make an update. However, if you change data even once a month, this is an unrealistic solution.

In reality, users won’t get your updates and instead will keep the files they first downloaded. In short, they’ll continue to operate with the files they’re familiar with.

Companies these days have many different users who need this data. This leads to an almost infinite number of versions of what is supposed to be the same data.

Deleting Old Versions of Data

Another common cause of inaccuracy is not deleting old data.

You will see this very frequently with digital assets. If the decision is made to update a spec sheet or image, and a new version is created, the old version almost never gets deleted.

Out-of-date versions, especially of images, is like cancer to your data. It will continue to grow until it’s too out of control to stop.

The only way to solve this is to bring in departments of employees and go through each and every image for every product to determine what is the most up to date version.

If you endure the never-ending meetings to eliminate old data and images, once you leave, the problem will only restart the second new images are introduced.

The only way to ensure you’re keeping the most up-to-date images and data is to change the foundation you manage them on.

Different Versions of the Same Data

This whole time we’ve been talking about creating one version of the same data. Unfortunately, the online world requires certain pieces of data come in different versions.

A great example of this is having different descriptions for a product. To tell the story of your product to the different customers you want to attract, you often times need to tell the story differently.

Let’s say your product sells to multiple industries. A generic description won’t be compelling enough to convert a shopper in to a buyer. In fact, it can actually alienate your potential customers.

It has become more and more common to see industry specific descriptions like these, but they are often poorly managed and necessary changes are never made.

clean-data

How a PIM Cleans Your Data and Keeps It Clean

A PIM functions like a database, a location for storage of all of your product data.

Traditional PIMs are often tough to use, so employees shy away from managing them. Also, this kind of a PIM is likely to only store product data, leaving digital assets high and dry.

Because a traditional PIM only solves half of your challenge, modern businesses need an easy to use, cloud-based PIM that also stores digital assets.

You can count the vendors and companies providing a platform like the one outlined above on one hand. Partnering with the right vendor gives you access to a foundation that not only cleans your data, but most importantly, keeps it clean.

(See the blog post below for more data about picking the PIM that is right for your operation.)

The First Step: Cleaning Your Data

Using PIM properly means doing things right from the very beginning, before actually using it. The right vendor knows they have to help your team implement your sleek new PIM before you can use it.

The best way to find out how good a vendor is at PIM implementation is to go to G2.com’s “highest rated” PIM page.

Read the reviews left by customers and see who has the highest customer satisfaction rating. If a vendor has issues with customer satisfaction, you can be sure that dissatisfaction started with poor implementations.

During the implementation phase, you’ll want to gather all product data files along with your digital assets and send them to your vendor for review.

You can leverage the implementation team’s expertise to learn their best practices and hear advice about which attributes to create and how to quickly and accurately rid your company of bad data.

This process takes time and requires collaboration, but it’s vital to your company’s future success in the digital world.

optimized-product-page

Structure Your PIM to Fit Your Needs

Every business is different. Teams are built differently. The products sold are different.

To maximize the benefit of PIM for your organization you need to ensure that you configure your PIM to your specific needs.

The key components you’ll need to configure:
  1. Attributes
  2. Attribute Sets
  3. Taxonomy/Categorization
  4. User Roles

Let’s look at what these mean.

Attributes

Attributes are the bits of data that constitute the differences between otherwise similar products. Every company that sells products knows these attributes today as the columns on their Excel spreadsheets.

We list attributes first because they are the first step in configuring a PIM to your unique needs. You need to create all of the attributes you need to successfully market and sell your products.

Attributes can be:
  • Text: such as product descriptions and explanations of features
  • Digital Assets: such as product photos and instruction guides
  • Options: such as sizes, colors, and materials to choose from

A unique added value PIM gives your organization is the ability to make an attribute required or optional.

A great example is a specific image that may only be needed for your “hero” products. As such, this particular attribute could only be optional.

Also, say you decide each of your products needs to have no less than three features. You can require listing of three feature attributes to ensure product pages populate exactly as you want them to.

Later, you can run reports to identify which products are missing values for the attributes you’ve decided to make required. This allows you to easily identify product pages needing improvement.

Attribute Sets

This may be new to you if you aren’t currently employing a PIM platform, but an attribute set allows you to group like attributes together.

This way, when you create a new product, rather than adding each attribute individually, you can assign relevant attribute sets to each new product.

Attribute sets are most commonly used for two purposes:
1. To group attributes that are only relevant to a specific product category

This first use case is self-explanatory. If you sell chairs and tables, you’ll want an attribute set for each product line that includes every attribute relevant to that product line.

A massive added value is the fact not only that all relevant attributes are assigned to each product, but additionally that no irrelevant ones are either.

2. To group attributes that are relevant to a specific organizational department

This second use case will vary from organization to organization. A good example is separating marketing copy from digital assets.

Many organizations have one set of users that manages text and another set that manages digital assets. With PIM, you can create an attribute set with all of the text attributes and a second with all of the digital assets.

This way, when a user goes to a product they can easily find the attributes specifically relevant to them.

Taxonomy/Categorization

Every company has their own unique way of categorizing their products. But today, this is very much managed manually.

During implementation, you have to create a strong taxonomy conforming specifically to your business and the products you sell. This will make it easier for your internal teams to manage your products and all of the attributes associated with them.

Additionally, when you share your data and images with reps, dealers, retailers, distributors, and others, your taxonomy will make it easier for them to find what they are looking for.

User Roles

The final step in configuring your PIM to your business is creating a hierarchy of different user roles. A flexible PIM gives you the ability to choose which products and attributes each user can view and edit.

For example, a user who manages all of your product specs will likely need to be able to see all marketing attributes. However, you’d want to restrict that person’s ability to edit the product descriptions and features which include that marketing material.

Setting user roles ensures the owners of each product or attribute are truly in control of inputting, modifying, and deleting data. No longer is there confusion about who changed what data. Instead users automatically create the digital footprints necessary to track all changes.

Once you have decided on a structure to store your data, you can quickly load up all data, images, and other pieces of content.

team-adoption

Adoption by Your Team

The true value of PIM only comes with using it to create a “Single Source of Truth” for all of your product content. For this to happen, your team has to adopt a new way to manage and share their data. All of this needs to happen within your PIM.

So often people are averse to change, but to grow you need to change with the times.

Think back to when your team started managing product data and images in many different files. It wasn’t something they were excited to do, but it was the only option.

Over the years users have become used to the terribly inefficient process of managing massive Excel files and searching through image folders. Initially, some of the team may be averse to adopting a new method, but with the right PIM and some training, they will come to love this new way of managing data.

The number one key to adoption of a new PIM is making sure it’s easy to use. To reiterate, many older PIMs have the deserved reputation of being so difficult to manage that you need to have a PhD in computer science to use them properly.

Just like implementation, the best way to ensure a PIM is easy to use is to go to the G2.com’s “Ease of Use” ratings page.

The easier a PIM is to use, the faster your entire team can adopt it. You’ll see this is true even of those users who aren’t exactly “tech savvy.”

Notifications and Workflow

Today most organizations have a workflow process they follow, but it’s all manual.

Connecting your team with notifications is vital to ensure your data starts clean and, most importantly, stays clean. If updates and changes are made, but no one knows, how will you make sure the changes are correct or leverage the new content?

A flexible and robust PIM gives you the ability to create different workflows for different actions that may occur in your PIM.

At a high level, a workflow gives you the ability to send automated notifications to users informing them of new tasks. Additionally, you can incorporate an approval step, so if a user makes a change, it won’t go live until it’s approved.

Workflows help in a variety of ways and are ultimately a crucial part of driving team efficiency.

The most common types of workflows are:
  1. New Product Introduction
  2. Content Update Workflow
  3. Product Syndication Workflow

Let’s look at what these are.

New Product Introduction Workflow

This is the most common workflow because the most competitive companies today tend to introduce new products more frequently.

New product introduction workflow ties your team together when introducing a new product. This ensures all required attributes are quickly and accurately created.

It also ensures each user role knows exactly what data they need to create for each product, eliminating the possibility of missing or forgetting about data required for product launches.

Not only does new product introduction workflow ensure all attributes are correctly created and populated with data, it dramatically cuts down the time it takes to launch a new product.

Content Update Workflow

Content update workflow solves one of the biggest headaches companies face today: knowing how changes are made, who made them, and who approved them.

A content update workflow allows you to create a workflow process when a change is made to any or all of the attributes in your PIM. This is most commonly used to notify a manager who then approves or denies a change to product data.

Not only does the manager have the ability to accept or reject a change, but they can also send notes back to the user who initiated the change. This improves communication both within teams and across different departments.

The approval step also ensures data stays clean. Today, when updates are made they often times don’t have a step for another user to review. Ultimately, this is a leading cause of data being out of date and “dirty.”

In addition to having an approval step worked into all product updates, a great PIM gives you the ability to see which user made what change and which user approved it.

If there is ever a disagreement on data, you can quickly identify who made and approved the changes, and identify why the changes happened.

Content Syndication Workflow

This workflow is specifically for companies fulfilling data requests from retailers and distributors.

Retailers and distributors send you large Excel files to populate. You need to quickly complete and return them to get your products listed on these great channel partner sites. The slower you are the less likely you are to capture sales.

A modern, robust PIM allows you to load in the attributes you received from your retailers into your PIM. If you are using a truly modern PIM, you should be able to quickly load all of the rules associated with the attributes as well.

Content syndication workflow notifies all users responsible for any attribute that is going to be sent out to your new channel partner. These users know exactly what they need to do and collaborate on one platform, instead of working in separate Excel files.

Once a user has completed the data they are responsible for, approval can be requested. This way you can be sure you are only sending clean, robust data to your channel partners.

The lack of this step is the number one reason product pages on leading retailer and distributor sites include incorrect and incomplete data.

Adding this small step to your process post PIM implementation will result in an increase in sales for all channel partners you use to fulfill requests with your PIM.

Clean Data Drives Sales and Increases Market Share

Ultimately, clean data benefits your business because a smooth-running company empowered by accurate, up-to-date data, is going to be able to utilize that data to grow sales and market share.

Presentation of clean data on product pages results in…

  • More page views
  • Lower shopping cart abandonment rates
  • Higher conversion rates
  • More good reviews
  • Fewer negative reviews
  • Higher likelihood of word-of-mouth sales

All of these are sales drivers, meaning clean data helps you increase revenue, grow your market share, and, ultimately, own the digital shelf.

Now that you know why PIM is your best bet for making and keeping your product data and digital assets clean and up to date, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Multi-Store BigCommerce Challenges Solved with PIM

Do you struggle to manage your multi-store operation? See how PIM can help overcome those challenges, so you can drive revenue and grow market share today.

Optimal BigCommerce Multi-Store Management Equals Increased Profitability

The key to maximizing sales and growing market share is robust product pages. To delight today’s customers, manufactures and brands run multiple websites, each optimized for a specific purpose. Product information management (PIM) solves the challenges of managing a multi-store BigCommerce operation.

But why run a multi-store BigCommerce operation?

Benefits:

  • Tailor business storytelling by industry
  • Customize product messaging to target customers
  • Sell to businesses as well as consumers
  • Maintain distributor specific sites

Even for a brand with only limited online sales, it is vital to sales and growth to have multiple websites featuring enriched product pages.

Creating BigCommerce multi-stores with robust, tailored product pages results in skyrocketing online sales.

But there is 1 major difficulty. The challenge of even maintaining 1 website, let alone 2 or more, is daunting. And you’ll need a massive amount of time on top of that to improve your multi-store, and keep your product information up to date. Doing all of this manually becomes impossible fast.

According to prevailing trends, to see the results you want from your website in 2019, you need to focus on continuously improving and updating the story and data across your multi-store.

It’s irrelevant whether 68% (source) or 94% (source) of B2B buyers do product research prior to making any online or offline purchase, the bottom line is that’s what’s happening.

Where do these buyers want to go to do their research? You’d better believe they want to go to your website. Your brand is a proxy for trust, because a manufacturer is best able to present an authentic story, featuring reasons to buy a product, that drives conversions.

This is why having compelling websites with robust product pages is a surefire way to maximize your sales growth in 2019.

Now, how exactly do you automate the tasks required to create and maintain successful multi-store BigCommerce websites?

PIM will reduce the time you and your team need to maintain and improve your multi-store. PIM also comes with the tools necessary to improve the quality of all of the sites you maintain.

4 ways PIM maximizes sales on your BigCommerce multi-stores:

  1. Automatically feed product data updates to all websites
  2. Better manage specific and tailored product content for different types of buyers
  3. Improve the quality of all product pages
  4. Save time managing and updating images on all sites
Let’s take a look at each of these in depth.

1. Automatically Feed Product Data Updates to All Websites

One of the biggest challenges to maintaining a great product website is keeping product content, made up of information and assets, both compelling and accurate. So, when you partner with BigCommerce to roll out multi-stores, this challenge is greatly magnified with each additional store.

Some PIMs provide the functionality for you to update product content once, and automatically push it out across all your BigCommerce stores. Thus, you can provide customers with all the product content necessary to make a buying decision.

As the data changes, you simply make the change in your PIM, and it will automatically update all of your BigCommerce stores. This is a massive time saver compared to the old way of manual updating each page on every site.

Being able to publish across sites automatically and simultaneously significantly empowers your ability to expand your business.

2. Better Manage Specific and Tailored Product Content for Different Types of Buyers

BigCommerce is designed to create a great product store but isn’t designed with robust product data and image management capability. Effective management of this product content is crucial to sales success, especially when you are tailoring sites to match specific buyer personas.

A PIM allows you to store and direct all product content to any of your BigCommerce stores. You can pick and choose which descriptions, specs, images, and more to update. Organizing this product content on each site individually is nearly impossible if you can’t tell what’s already up to date and what remains out of date.

3. Improve the Quality of All Your Product Pages

Only a robust product page, chock-full of information, is a high-quality product page.

Why is a high-quality product page so crucial to your success?

A high-quality product page includes the SEO optimized content to bring in customers. Once the customer has landed, they in turn have all the information they need to make a buying decision.

When BigCommerce stores fail to bring value, they do so for two main reasons:

  1. The site is hard to find, because the information customers need isn’t there.
  2. Customers land on the product pages, but the information they need to make a buying decision is missing.

If you have poor or under-performing product pages, implementing a PIM is a surefire way to improve the value of all your BigCommerce sites. This is because you can be sure the information needed to drive traffic and convert visitors into customers is populating on now robust product pages.

4. Save Time Managing and Updating Images on Across Your BigCommerce Multi-Store

Because ecommerce is a visually immersive experience, digital assets like images, videos, and CAD drawings become the most important pieces of any BigCommerce product page. Research shows, images or videos seen online inspire 75% of consumers to make purchases (source).

Maintaining images on multiple BigCommerce sites can be a near impossible task.

  1. Searching through files for the image you want can take forever
  2. Associating the right image with the right product is often difficult
  3. Images are often overlooked when product pages are updated, leaving customers with out-of-date information

A PIM that incorporates Digital Asset Management (DAM) gives you the tools your team needs to publish the digital assets you need to inspire a visitor to buy your product. And depending on the complexity of the product you sell, you’ll need different numbers of digital assets.

Industry standard dictates 4 as the bare minimum a customer needs, so make sure to associate each product with at least 4 images. But the most successful BigCommerce product pages will have more.

Quality pages that convert incorporate multiple lifestyle images, along with a video telling the manufacturer’s story or displaying the product in use. The most recent digital asset trend to emerge involves 3D images. Managing these in file folders typically results in 36+ images just to get a single 3D view.

DAM simplifies storage and sharing of those images, allowing you to publish more rich pictures, compelling videos, and 3D images for more and more of your products. In the last two years, a majority of consumers noted 3D product images were the most compelling piece of content of a product they purchased.

Multi-Store Authenticity and Trust

Let’s do a thought exercise.

Imagine a potential customer comes to your page looking for information about a product you sell. You know that because products can have numerous different attributes, you can never be exactly sure what a potential customer wants.

SITUATION 1: Let’s say this customer is looking for 5 specific pieces of information, but your product page only includes 4 of them. Do you think you’re going to convert this customer, or is she going to go elsewhere?

SITUATION 2: Now, this time imagine that every time a potential customer lands on one of your product pages, it’s optimized with a full set of up to date information. It answers any possible combination of questions any customer might have, because nothing is missing and everything is accurate.

The result of the first situation is a lost sale. The result of the second is a conversion. And the next time that customer has a question about a product you sell, where will they go for an answer? Who do they think of as an expert?

With complete information, you show your customers you have an authentic concern for fulfilling their needs. That authenticity builds trust in their mind, which in turns drives repeat visits and increased sales revenue.

Ultimately, when you invest in a PIM that provides your customers with everything they want to know, they reward you with trust, return visits to your site, more sales, and recommendations. In short, they reward you with loyalty.

Now that you know how to solve your BigCommerce multi-store problems with PIM, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Use PIM Component Expertise to Create Perfect Product Pages

Product information management (PIM) is more than managing product information. PIMs come in different forms, incorporating a variety of functions.

Product Information Management (PIM) is software that provides a central space to create, manage, and syndicate product information across sales channels in a unified manner.

Internally, PIM comprises tools to store and share product information across multiple systems, and to facilitate workflow.

PIM can store all product information:
  • Product Descriptions
  • Configurations
  • Logistics Information
  • Reviews
  • Warranty Details
  • Prices

This makes PIM a reliable, all-in-one source of product information. Content is the king of ecommerce, and quality, tailored content that ensures a delightful customer experience is built on product information accuracy.

PIM delivers this accuracy to your product pages.

PIM Essentials

At its core, PIM offers companies the flexibility of working with every platform for product information retrieval and distribution. Companies must ensure customers receive complete, accurate information to make purchase decisions.

PIM and its standard elements make this possible.

Your PIM must syndicate product information easily.

Product information syndication is crucial, because storage spans individuals, teams, and their devices. For example, bulk editing ensures information consistency.

Editing information on marketing channels and platforms one by one takes forever. This also leads to product information inconsistency and increases the chance of including errors on product pages. Make sure your PIM can edit product information across digital channels simultaneously.

A good PIM is also highly flexible and configurable.

Users should be able to view product information by channel to make adjustments according to specific channel requirements. Your PIM should also integrate easily with other systems to turn out quality product content.

Content analytics is another element your PIM must have.

Analytics allow you to monitor product sales performance and fix problems as they arise.

Your PIM has to include a Digital Asset Management (DAM) feature.

DAM in PIM allows you to optimize digital assets, such as images and videos, for specific channels. Your DAM should be able to transform assets for seamless syndication across all the channels you use regardless of what their specific requirements are.

Define Your Objectives

What do you want your PIM to do?

Answering this question will allow you to structure your PIM to support your marketing strategy and organizational goals. PIM capabilities are numerous, and performance tends to vary from one organization to another.

Start by defining your central business objectives.

You may want to simply deliver quality product information or improve internal team coordination. Maybe you want to expand across channels, reduce time to market (TTM), or improve your entire customer experience.

It’s essential to set goals and define how success will be measured.

It’s no use investing in a PIM if you can’t understand its impact. Ultimately, you have to define how your PIM will support brand growth, because if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Determine Your Implementation Parameters

Ask yourself how you’re going to implement processes with your PIM.

To define implementation scope, you need to consider your preferred channels, your operation region, and current TTM.

Either of two models can determine how to handle product information.

1. Model all product information from the outset.

or…

2. Start with subsets of product information and increase in subsequent phases.

Large companies tend to opt for the second method, because they prefer beginning with a particular product line or region. The second method allows for process testing to ensure proper functioning well before full implementation.

Other companies may prefer the benefits of full information centralization by rolling everything out at once. While both methods include pros and cons, your decision should rest on your company’s current and future needs.

Implementation Strike Team

Successful PIM implementation requires a strike team.

Even for a small ecommerce operation, it’s unlikely one person will be able to handle all the requirements of implementation. The tasks of implementation are as different from each other as the knowledge and skills required to complete them successfully.

You will need:
  • An executive sponsor to see everything through
  • A project manager overseeing daily tasks
  • A product manager to gather all your product information
  • A group of individuals to input all the information
  • A marketer to write your product page text
  • A designer to supply images
  • A tech who knows how your ERP system will integrate with your PIM

Determine Your Product Catalog Structure

The only way to build a strong catalog is by using accurate product information regarding all of your offerings.

This means your product categories, attributes, how they vary, and their use regarding different customer touch-points.

PIM offers a broad range of options.

You can structure your catalog virtually any way your company requires. But craft that structure carefully, as the success of your PIM implementation depends upon it.

Your catalog structure should reflect the attributes of the specific sales channels you intend to use.

The structure should also support different product categories, attributes, and how these may vary.

Finally, incorporate the catalog must include the relationship of a given product to another as well as metrics for different online sales areas.

Workflows and Mechanisms of Integration

Getting the most out of your PIM depends largely on the strength of the workflows you set up.

You need to think about which teams interact with what product information, as well as what each team’s core function is. Consider how each team will use your PIM and how processes need to be ordered to maximize efficiency. Also, define permissions carefully so the right people have access to the right information, nothing more or less.

Proper understanding of the entire workflow will guide business operations and increase efficiency.

Previous work processes may need updating for the way processes will work after PIM implementation. You may want your PIM to support processes you think you can’t change, but those processes might be the most in need of overhaul.

Remember that one of the greatest strengths of PIM lies in eliminating the placement of product information in silos.

PIM workflow support provides for information sync, driving accuracy in real-time. This kind of integration helps streamline your entire ecommerce operation.

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

It’s important to ensure that your PIM includes DAM capability.

While some companies have modified DAM to mimic PIM, the result is often clunky, incomplete, or both. Moreover, PIM and DAM may seem similar in function, but they are actually fundamentally different.

PIM centralizes and facilitates syndication of product information, while DAM specifically handles digital assets.

Some assets, like company logos, may not even relate to products. DAM ensures proper management of images, videos, and documents attached to specific products. PIM allows you to store and manage these digital assets alongside product information.

Long story short, PIM is not DAM and DAM is not PIM.

Why Is DAM Important?

Digital consumers absorb media of all kinds every second they spend online.

The rise of digital technology and acceleration of innovation have only increased this digital consumption of media, driven by market and popular trends.

Media files include:
  • Animation
  • Videos
  • Interactive ads
  • Games
  • Audio files

Navigating these media has become a challenge companies and their customers share. Today’s digitally empowered consumer doesn’t want a rich digital customer experience, they expect one.

Companies that don’t meet and surpass customer expectations are doomed to suffer dwindling sales.

Customer expectations include access to the high-quality media content necessary to convince them their buying choices are correct. This is the key to conversions, because disappointed potential customers won’t give you their money.

Digital assets are more than just files, as they also include metadata about the asset.

You can use digital assets to product strong, searchable content only if the right metadata is associated with it. Searchability saves your teams time and makes it easier for customers to find you in the crowded digital marketplace.

Enrichment Tools

PIM integrates with multiple resource planning systems to extract product information for storage as product attributes. This allows marketing teams to enrich product descriptions and assets for syndication across sales channels.

PIM systems are specifically designed to support information syndication regardless of the particular formats various channels require.

With PIM, information can be enriched from internal and external sources. Internal sources include your marketing department, while external sources are your suppliers, external information bases, and agencies.

Information from both sources increases product information accuracy, driving sales.

Product Attributes

The description of product attributes directly affects purchase decisions.

It’s important to properly manage both the tangible and intangible attributes described on your product pages.

Tangible attributes include:
  • Size
  • Feel
  • Packaging
  • Weight
  • Quantity
  • Material composition
Intangible attributes include:
  • Quality
  • Aesthetics
  • Reputation
  • Price
Customers expect products and services to have certain specific attributes.

Points of parity refers to the way in which a given company’s products are similar to those of another.

Some companies go a step further and incorporate “points of difference.”

In a bid to differentiate their products and services from the competition, they discuss the ways in which their products are superior to those of their competitors.

Optimizing your product information means including both types of information.

Ultimately, product attributes discuss product quality, features, and style/design. All three should add value in the eyes of your customers.

PIM Analytics

PIM implementation allows access to powerful analytics tools which detail product content performance.

Product information quality, as well as team performance, can be analyzed. Management can see all activities taking place across the system and how much time they require.

With analytics, you can quickly search, find, and fill in product information gaps, along with finding errors. These gaps are not limited to text, as your images, descriptions, and translations may be missing crucial information, too.

You can also conduct analysis by product groups.

Management can control the accuracy and overall quality of product information with analysis by section, language, or geographic region.

Analytics also covers your syndication channels by ensuring the right product information is pushed out. You can also streamline searches by field and create multi-variant tests using different versions of standard documents.

This will go a long way to improve content quality, even that of custom content.

Audit Trails

This core PIM function provides a time-stamped record of every change or operation your team undertakes.

By automatically tracking actions, from sales made to customer service complaints, optimization becomes far easier. Audit trails also support product information maintenance, helping to quickly identify errors for correction.

There are two approaches to audit trails:

Progressive

Tracks and monitors all actions from beginning to end

Retrograde

Tracks results back to the starting point

The purpose of using audit trails is to maintain a log of all information modifications.

Monitoring all modifications acts as a check against unauthorized or mistaken changes. You can monitor specific entities in the PIM for modification.

These include:
  • Items
  • Media assets
  • User groups
  • Products
  • Structure
  • Supplier catalogs
  • Structure features
  • Structure groups
There are two ways to retrieve audit trails.

1. Call up a given audit trail from the context menu to display specific changes.

or…

2. Display an overview of a given audit trail.

Regardless, every PIM has a default audit trail configuration.

Users can create specific queries to search for specific entities or users and a search window will display the results.

Bells and Whistles

PIM options and tools include more benefits than spreadsheets or manual solutions could ever offer.

By unifying product information in a single repository, companies can derive maximum value by delivering quality product information. This reduces the risks and delays that come with displaying outdated or incomplete information.

The flexibility the PIM system affords allows for significant customization.

With an expert team, you can configure your PIM to include the specific functionality you need to manage all of your product information. However, it’s always best to make sure you add only what you need, meaning only what you’ll use.

Opting for a standard PIM that satisfies all your ecommerce marketing and distribution needs is ideal.

Now that you know all about what a PIM is, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Optimize Product Attribute Management and Maximize Your Sales Now

Optimize management of your product attributes to turn your great products into hot sellers that fly off the shelves and maximize your revenue.

Just as humans have different characteristics that make us unique, so do products.

Think of product attributes as the features or properties that make your products what they are. Color, packaging, capacity, size, weight, and anything else distinguishing your products from the competition are product attributes.

Another way to look at it is that product attributes directly affect customer purchase decisions.

If customers see your products’ attributes as unique, they become the distinguishing factors setting your products apart from your competitors’. When these are seen as valuable, you convert lookers into buyers and make sales.

You need to know your target customers and their preferences for certain product attributes.

Basically, how can you give them what they want for a price they can afford? The answer is, sell them a product packed with the attributes they want.

Tangible vs. Intangible Product Attributes

Tangible Attributes:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Feel
  • Packaging
  • Weight
  • Taste
  • Quantity
  • Material composition

Intangible Attributes:

  • Quality
  • Reliability
  • Aesthetics
  • Price
Consider the example of a car.

Qualities like the color or the interior décor can determine which brand a customer might buy. On the other hand, safety tests or overall quality might prompt a customer to buy this or that brand.

This is why your tangible and intangible product attributes have to be properly managed. After all, they are the criteria your customers use to make buying decision.

Determinant Attributes

Before developing strategies to help manage your products, familiarize yourself you’re your products’ determinant attributes (source). These work like an arrow pointing to the underlying product aspects that determine why customers buy them.

Consider the example of fast-food.

Fast-food is quick, easy, and cheap, right? Digging deeper, customers may be drawn to service speed, interior décor, restaurant ambiance, or simply the courteous staff.

It’s important to remember that determinant attributes vary by customer. Just because you know you offer something you think is valuable, you need to be able to translate that value to your customers.

Often the easiest way to communicate the value of determinant attributes is with product ratings.

Even negative reviews are useful, because they tell you which determinant attributes customers notice, enjoy, don’t know about, can do without, or outright don’t like.

Responding to bad reviews gives you the opportunity to build brand reputation, a critical intangible attribute.

Why Product Attributes Matter

Describing product attributes, marketing guru Philip Kotler said, “Product attributes are the ingredients necessary for performing the product or service function sought by consumers.”

The specific attributes a given product or service must have to enable proper functioning fall into two categories.
  • Points of parity discusses how a given product or service has attributes that match those of competing products.
  • Points of difference refers to the opposite, how attributes differentiate the products and services of competing companies.

A product lacking points of parity can’t even boast of offering the same attributes as competing products, and is thus not likely to sell well. On the other hand, a product lacking points of difference lacks uniqueness, and may be just as unpopular.

Remember, it is unique experiences that delight customers and drive conversions. It is very important to note points of difference gradually transform into points of parity over time.

Dissatisfiers

Other types of product attributes can be classified as dissatisfiers: attributes customers don’t like (source). These are attributes that discourage customers from buying a given product or service.

Dissatisfiers can range from design flaws to unappealing presentation to intangible associations between the product, brand, company, and the customers’ preferences.

At a minimum, dissatisfiers should be overhauled to improve overall product appeal or simply discontinued.

Vestigial and Extinct Features

Companies necessarily phase out certain product attributes over time.

Attributes approaching this phase either become vestigial or extinct features. While extinct features are product attributes that have been discontinued, vestigial features are those that used to serve a specific purpose, but now serve another.

For example, the small second pocket inside the larger righthand pocket of your Levi’s jeans was originally designed to hold your pocket watch. Despite the fact that most people stopped using pocket watches over 100 years ago, Levi’s still have a watch pocket simply because people like them.

You need to constantly reevaluate your product attributes to ensure at a minimum they satisfy your customers’ needs.

Determining how to improve product attributes to delight your customers is arguably even more important. Their unique attributes just may give your products a competitive edge. This is especially important as searching often results in similar products being displayed side-by-side.

Managing Product Aesthetic Appeal

When you hear the word aesthetics, words like beauty, attractiveness and pleasurable come to mind.

Product aesthetics, which appeal both to the five senses and emotion, must be considered when designing products. Aesthetic appeal can even be the primary selling point for some products, while for other the opposite is true. This tends to vary both by product and target customer.

Successful companies understand the importance of visual elements in influencing buying choices.

Ask yourself, “How can I make my products look more beautiful?” The answer to this question runs the gamut from initial functionality and design, to packaging and presentation, to the images you use in online sales.

Companies ignore individual steps in this process to their utter detriment. Even beautiful products can be poorly displayed online and less attractive products can be better packaged to drive sales.

Product Design

A distinctive, unique product design often adds a great deal of customer value.

People want to buy products they consider cutting edge, that look cool, and that showcase stunning, even daring, design. But simply having an explosive, new idea isn’t enough.

You need to conduct research into your customers to figure out what they want, need, and expect. Doing this will allow you to create a design suited to your product according to the specifics of your target customers.

A winning strategy might focus on unique design features, using them to your competitive advantage.

On the other hand, customers might be so used to the standard specifics of a product that overhauling the design could result in fewer sales. While it might seem like a guessing game, research will reveal the specific data you need to understand to delight your customers with products that solve their problems.

If your research indicates focusing on design is the correct decision, you might choose to redesign your existing products.

This new design obviously should captivate customers enough to elicit a second, third, and even fourth look. Product design rests on customer demand for an ever-greater variety of products doing basically the same thing.

So much of online shopping is the search for something to replace another product that doesn’t quite do what the customer thought it would do. Design versus functionality is a delicate balance, which directly affects product lifecycle.

You always need to know where your product is in its lifecycle.

Is it declining in sales? If so, you absolutely must know whether you need to change more superficial concerns, like packaging, more important concerns, like design, or crucial concerns of functionality.

Remember, you aren’t going to sell anything, if you don’t know where your products are missing the mark. A beautiful product that doesn’t work, isn’t going to sell.

Quality

Individual wants and needs tend to vary from customer to customer. Because this variability had a direct effect on a given customer’s concept of quality, it tends to be subjective. This is especially true when selling any product capable of fulfilling more than one customer need.

Do your customers like your products because they look good, they’re cheap, they’re durable, because they solve a very specific problem well, or any combination of these?

Product quality is that feature or set of features that reliably solves the problem or set of problems the customer bought it to solve. But quality overall refers to more than just product quality. Quality is the whole experience.

In ecommerce, quality begins with the experience each customer has on your website, through product delivery and unboxing, to every time they use the product.

Begin cultivating a quality-focused mindset by asking, “Is my processes organization good enough?” Remember, standardization and consistency maximize efficiency. This begins with recruiting and training your personnel, continues with well-defined work processes, and centers upon clear, open communication both within your operation and between the company and customers.

Any increase in customer satisfaction is an indication you are doing something right.

Build on these by obtaining feedback from suppliers, partners, and employees alike to further improve practices. This feedback will point out areas of weakness and strength which resolved will help build positive brand image and simultaneously increase your productivity and profitability.

Positioning Strategy

You should select a product quality level in line with your positioning strategy.

This will help customers answer the question, “Why should I buy this brand?” Your brand positioning strategy determines the value proposition you make to your customers.

This is the promise you make to your potential customers that gets them to convert and buy your product. The most important concern to remember here is to never make promises you can’t keep.

With this in mind, your company can utilize any of multiple positioning strategies. These tend to vary by company, product, and target market, directly affecting success.

  • Less for Less – sell lower quality products at a significant discount
  • Same for Less – charge less than your competitors do for the same products
  • More for Less – sell a product that outperforms your competitors’ products at a lower price
  • More for Same – charge customers what your competitors charge, but provide better products
  • More for More – sell a premium product at a premium price
Companies gravitate toward or shy away from these positioning strategies according to the implication they can have on overall brand image.

Do you want your company to be known for its absolute rock bottom prices or will identifying with material excess drive success? Your positioning strategy is the link between your customers and your products, and must therefore suit both.

The Silent Salesman: Presentation

Optimizing your products’ attributes means paying attention to every possible detail.

Presentation is an easy product attribute to ignore or forget. For example, you’re already selling the best solution in a demand-heavy market, but sales are low. The problem could be your packaging or unboxing experience.

Your packaging needs to drive intrigue and your unboxing experience has to balance excitement against tedium.

The truth is instinct buying is taking over, because ecommerce is a primarily visual experience. Even before the logical side of the brain has time to weigh the decision, it’s over and the most attractively presented product flies off the shelf. So, thinking like a customer making somewhat impulsive product decisions can inform your presentation choices.

When designing your packaging, apply sensory triggers to generate the subconscious emotional responses that drive expectation and excitement.

Your packaging should tell your customers what they are getting with only a glance. It should also follow your product design message and be just different enough to tantalize your customers.

Including extra surprises along with your packaging drives positive unboxing experiences, driving popularity and positive reviews. Packaging has to more than adequately protect your products from damage that may occur during delivery.

Never underestimate the power emotions have over purchase decisions.

Customers tend to buy products when companies have worked to provoke their feelings. Your packaging should mirror this strategy and trigger emotional engagement with your customers. This is the silent salesman at work.Now that you know why managing your product attributes well is so important, see what Catsy’s product information management solution can do for you.

How to Ramp Up Your Online Sales

Learn the tried and true methods to ramp up your online sales and maximize revenue without wasting time on quick tricks and schemes that don’t pay off.

Struggling to increase ecommerce revenue?

2019 is poised to offer 1.92 billion ecommerce shoppers, that is, if you can get them to your site. (source)

Whether you’re new to online business, or just need help ramping up online sales, this blog has the information you need to make strong choices today.

Have an Ecommerce Marketing Strategy in Place

You can’t talk about increasing online sales without drafting a strategy to guide you to the results you desire.
Your marketing strategy should:
  • Contain your value proposition
  • Cover all goals and objectives
  • Reflect a specific period of time
  • Communicate your mission statement
  • Describe your target market
  • Outline your buyer personas
  • Detail your pricing
  • Include your positioning strategy
  • Discuss distribution strategy
  • Summarize content mix
  • Cover your digital channels
  • Explain the processes you will use to execute the strategy
Your marketing strategy should communicate a clear and consistent message to your customers about your brand. (source)

Extra advice: you can step things up by educating your prospects with tools like webinars, video tutorials, and online chat. Use all of these to guide customers through every step of the buyer’s journey with your store.

Know Your Audience

You already knew that, right?

But roughly 60% to 70% of marketers in B2B businesses know true understanding of their customers escapes them. (source)

That stat alone demonstrates the importance of simple preparation, and the edge it will give you.

So, before even thinking of starting an online business, let alone increasing online sales, you have to know who you are selling to.

Can you comfortably say with absolute authority that you know your customers?

Don’t waste money on inefficient campaigns that yield little success. Know your audience to build buyer personas.

Buyer Personas Must Be Detailed

The questions you need to answer to create strong, useful buyer personas will tend to vary depending upon what you are selling and where.

Here are some examples of important questions to answer:
  • How old are your customers on average?
  • Where do they exist online?
  • Where do they look for information online?
  • What problem do they have that your product can solve?

You should know what your customers are interested in, their demographic characteristics, and the media they use to search for products and services. This will help you select the best marketing channel to communicate your message. (source)

Remember, you can’t please everyone, so keep your offer focused.

No customer is going to buy your product if it doesn’t satisfy a need or solve a problem. This is why it’s key to know which specific market appeals to your products and services.

Customer Experience with Your Brand

Customers are no longer passive when it comes to information, especially product information.

86% of customers would likely pay more for products that come with a fantastic customer experience. (source)

The availability of information via the Internet means your customers have access to myriads of products offered by sellers the world over, all vying for their attention.

If you’re only offering a product, you’re already off on the wrong foot.

There are a million online stores offering products like yours.

To customers, your brand and their experience with it are one and the same. You have to ensure your customer experience is enjoyable and personalized to their specific needs and preferences.

The customer experience will make them return to buy far more than your products will. This is brand loyalty. A solid customer experience sets you apart from your competitors and brings your brand promise to life.

Today’s customers are looking for meaningful engagement, a “wow” experience, from brands.

Customers are loyal to brands that demonstrate a commitment to them by consistently exceeding expectations. The key word here is consistency both before and after purchase.

Your marketing communications must be consistent across all marketing platforms and online sales channels.

Available digital technology is yours for the taking. Make use of it to personalize your service offerings to create a deep connection with your customers. Customers tie what they think about your brand to their loyalty.

This is why it’s important to provide a delightful brand experience across all platforms. (source)

Find the Right Marketing Channels

A mere 14% of companies currently have a true omni-channel campaign in place. (source)

You need a channel strategy that will be the best fit for your business. It should ideally focus on spaces where customers falling into your buyer personas already exist.

1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

You pay websites like Google and Amazon for every click an ad of yours gets.

PPC ads can be Paid Search Ads. These are usually text-only ads at the top of search engine results. Display ads are usually banners on popular sites, blogs, mobile applications, games, and shopping campaigns. Here, images of your product appear alongside search engine results.

PPC is an easy way to sidestep the time required for SEO.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

How your site ranks in search results.

When potential customers are looking to buy a product you sell, they are most likely to use a search engine, like Google, to find you. Those customers aren’t going to look through dozens of search results or even scroll to the bottom of the first page.

You have to provide your content at the top of search results to sell.

3. Content Marketing

Provide useful information to build a base of potential customers.

Also known as inbound marketing, you write blogs, create infographics, and make videos to get shoppers to your doorstep.

  • Pro: cheap, long-term approach
  • Con: requires a lot of work
This slow process builds traffic organically, but there are ways of speeding it up.

4. Influencer Marketing

An influencer is someone with a large number of social media followers.

People who pay attention to influencers online think they are credible sources of information. You increase awareness and push more sales by getting the influencer to post about your site.

This channel has become extremely popular across social media, popular blogs, and channels like YouTube.

Influencers are free, but you can also pay people to drive traffic to your site.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Increase your brand’s online sales by paying an external website to generate traffic.

The advantage is payment occurs only when affiliate traffic generates actual sales. This affords you the opportunity to generate online sales from customers you didn’t or couldn’t target.

Affiliates are like professional influencers, meaning they tend to be social media experts.

6. Social Media Marketing

Engage with your customers where they already spend time online.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others offer different ad types to suit the your brand’s advertising strategy. They’ve also innovated features to bridge the gap between brands and target audiences.

The goal is to connect directly with potential customers.

7. Email Marketing

Send marketing content and offers directly to potential customers’ inboxes.

Because it’s interest-based, you get customer contact information when they sign up to receive a newsletter or content offer. Proper maintenance of your email marketing campaign, to ensure the emails are attention-grabbing and sent to the right people at the right time, is absolutely crucial.

Find a balance between not enough and too much, you don’t want to lose subscribers or have them flag your emails as spam.

Choose Wisely

Ultimately, the channel you choose has to support your marketing strategy and how you broadcast your message. (source)

Content Marketing to Ramp up Online Sales

60% of marketing professionals make 1 content offer per day and content marketing is up to 7.8 times more effective for driving traffic to leader sites. (source)

Think of product content as the juicy appetizer that invites customers to stay for a main dish. Not everyone knows how to create appealing content to pave the way for increased patronage.

Create custom content with conversions in mind and build a long-term content marketing strategy.

Your content is a reflection of what you truly are as a brand. By closely managing your product content, you can get the right products to the right market at the right time using the right channels.

Content encompasses every message used to market your brand, giving customers memorable experiences.
This includes:
  • Blog content
  • Web copy
  • Graphics
  • Animations
  • Videos

Everything you create must be useful, informative, credible, and engaging, telling a story that speaks to the emotional side of your market.

This can be an original story, a testimonial of how your brand has made the lives of your customers better, a description of how you solved a problem, or all of the above.

Listing the same old product descriptions and statistics is boring, be memorable instead.

With content, you can also showcase the industry authority your brand commands. This need not be limited to your products and services. Discuss the issues that are important to your customers.

You may not get results immediately, but content marketing will impact future conversions.

Good ecommerce content includes compelling descriptions of product attributes. All sense of touch, sight, or smell is eliminated in online sales. So, it’s critical to ensure your product descriptions give your customers the same feeling they would get in an actual store. (source)

Content Must-Haves

Images

Written descriptions go hand in hand with rich, colorful, high-resolution images displaying your products from every possible angle. Display products being used and in tandem with associated products you sell.

Keywords

How are potential customers finding the sites where they are buying products like yours? Make use of relevant keywords to boost your web page ranking and increase traffic.

CTAs

All content must include a relevant and useful call to action. Content should never just end, it should lead to more content.

Common CTAs include:
  • Cheat Sheets
  • Guides
  • Blog posts
  • White Papers
  • Ebooks
  • Tools
  • Links leading to specific pages on your website
Don’t ever give a potential customer an excuse to leave your site.

An Easy, Seamless Checkout Process

Abandoned shopping carts cost between 2 and 4 trillion dollars a year and it’s only going to get worse. (source)

You may have done a great job drawing customer attention to your brand. You held those customers with compelling content and have convinced them to buy. Don’t lose them now with a clunky, cumbersome payment system.

Increase your website’s loading speed and make it easier for your customers to give you their money.

It’s key you make buying from your store an effortless, painless process. If customers feel like it is easier to buy from other sites or physical stores, you need to look into your checkout process.

A seamless checkout process reduces cart abandonment and ultimately drives customers back to your site for more sales.

In the same vein, it’s crucial to reduce distractions to the bare minimum during the checkout process. Ads bombarding your customers during checkout distracts them and will cost you sales. (source)

Build Your Online Credibility

Customer perception of your business is critical, so infuse your brand communication with personality.

Content goes a long way to assure customers that your brand is credible. Display trust seals and highlight both positive and negative reviews on your website if you have them.

Positive reviews obviously speak directly to your brand quality, but why focus on negative reviews?

Negative reviews you have successfully resolved speak to your brand’s commitment to your customers. Showing potential customers that you’ve accepted returned products, processed refunds, or simply reached out to customers directly helps them build trust in your brand.

Only customers who trust you become loyal.

Consumers will always want to know, hear, and see the comments of others who have used your products and services in the past, before they decide to commit to you and what you are offering. Thus you have to optimize your website and social media accounts, to provide avenues for customers to leave reviews about their experiences with you. (source)

You need to convince your customers that their dealings with you are secure.

84% of customers won’t buy if they think a website isn’t secured. (source)

Communicate to your customers the steps, procedures, and software in place to ensure their transactions and information are safe with you.

Have a Feedback Mechanism in Place for Evaluation Purposes

Always take time to analyze and evaluate your performance.

Doing this will reveal gaps and give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Make use of resources that track the health of your SEO.

This can be measured in terms of:
  • Referral rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Leads generated within a specific period of time
  • Site traffic
  • Social media sharing
Solicit feedback from your customers directly.

Ask questions on social media and encourage customers to fill out surveys about their experience with your brand. Experiment to fix the gaps you discover until you figure out what works best.

Scale up to Online Sales Success

There is no one magic method for online sales success, but be sure NOT to select services that can’t scale up as you grow.

It’s important to make choices tempered according to your future goals, especially when selecting the ecommerce marketing channels that will help you grow as a brand.

Conclusion

Ultimately, ecommerce sales success rests on consistently dazzling your customers with delightful experiences to keep them coming back for more.

Now that you know how to ramp up online sales like a pro, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

7 Steps to Creating Tailored Content to Grow Sales

Tailored content has been optimized in every possible way to maximize sales. Read our 7-step guide and get started tailoring your product content today.

Today, tailored content is king.

More than 2,500,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of data are made or posted online every day? (source)

Yes, and every moment someone spends looking at a screen the possibility some bit of content will catch their eye increases. Simply dishing out more won’t automatically get you more customers. Customers are smart, so be smarter.

Break through the clutter, if you want to be a customer-centric brand.

In this post, we’ll explain how to tailor your content to improve sales, grow market share, and increase revenue in 7 easy to understand steps.

But first, you need to know…

Why Tailored Content?

Did you know that 90% of all online data worldwide was created in the past two years? (source)

With all that data, your content is unlikely to appeal to customers if it doesn’t speak directly to their needs. Everyone is looking for product information and content that will benefit them and their needs specifically.

Tailored content is all about personalization.

Make your business one that’s concerned with satisfying the particular needs of your customers to hyper-charge the customer experience you provide. Tailored content is all about delivering experiences that speak directly to each individual customer.

It’s the perfect way to deliver solutions that customers aren’t yet aware of.

Personalized content is the heart of the new age digital revolution, helping digitally-savvy shoppers discover what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, with minimal effort.

Personalized product content helps customers find their way by placing them at the center of the digital shopping experience.

Tailored content facilitates the buyer’s journey, because the process will make more sense to your customers. When you tailor messages to customer behavior, demographics, and searches, conversions become more likely.

Tailored content increases engagement by speaking directly about the personality of the ecommerce retailer.

This deepens the relationship your customers have with your brand. First time shoppers will want to stick around if content speaks directly to them. Content that is relevant to the problem or need they have does this.

Start with research and ask yourself…

1. Who Are My Customers?

Tailor content won’t suit your customers’ needs if you don’t know at least as much about them as they know about themselves.

Buyer personas are generalized descriptions of people who make up your ideal market. But the trick is to make them as detailed as you can.

How is it possible to make buyer personas both general and detailed?

By including as much information about them as possible:

  • Age
  • Behavior
  • Gender
  • Job
  • Income
  • Education
  • Status

(source)

  • Likes
  • Wants
  • Needs
  • Motivations
  • Difficulties
  • Fears
  • Values
You might think it’s most important to know what your customers want to buy, but don’t forget about why.

For example, are they buying for themselves, to give to others as a gift, or for further resale? You need to know whether your business is specific to different demographics or does more business on holidays.

Knowing your customers inside and out speaks to your brand’s authenticity.

You need to know their reasons for buying from you and what doubts they have about you. Also, you need to find out which media they use regularly so you can make sure you’re reaching them.

Find all this information by:
  • Surveying your customers directly
  • Studying their past purchases
  • Examining their account setups
  • Looking at your site analytics
  • Going through their profiles
  • Soliciting feedback
  • Reviewing and responding to comments
Two ecommerce retailers may be functionally identical, but appearing exactly the same will spell ecommerce suicide.

What’s even more important is to come back to buyer personas from time to time. The audience you had when you started your business is unlikely to be the same group of people you’re selling to today.

Who are you selling to now?

Your target audience is at best simply older than they were when you got started. Do they like the same things and find information in the same ways? Alternatively, they might be a completely different group of people, with preferences you never even considered.

And ask…

Who is my competition?

You should routinely visit your competitors websites and social media pages.

This is a good way to stay on top of current trends and gauge your competitiveness. Knowing what your competitors are doing allows you to spot gaps in your service and content to fill.

It’s a great way to come up with new blog ideas.

There are companies, like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs, that provide products like consolidated lists of content by URL and numbers of social media shares. However, doing the research yourself comes with 2 distinct advantages.

  1. It’s free.
  2. You are likely to find more than just what you are looking for.

Doing research yourself is by no means easy, but the price is right, and who knows what you could find? Because research companies provide a specific product, they may not be set up to get you that little something extra you can find by accident yourself.

Differentiate yourself.

Developing your brand has to do with communicating something to your customers that your competitors are not. Your tailored content needs to strategically highlight how what you offer is both different and superior to other companies in your space.

Tie functionality to benefit to sell your brand.

Directly trashing your competition with a long, complicated list of everything you offer that they don’t is going to turn potential customers off. Instead, provide easy to absorb examinations of how your products’ features translate into concrete benefits for anyone who buys from you. Back these up with customer testimonials and reviews.

Bring customers to your website with…

2. Dynamic Landing Pages

How customers find your site is equally as important as them finding it in the first place.

You already know who your customers are and where they exist online. Your landing pages need to reflect this origin. Each link you share should lead to a landing page personalized to the interests and needs of the specific persona you target in that space.

If a potential customer clicks one of your links and doesn’t immediately find what they want, guess what they’re going to do?

Reduce your bounce rate and demonstrate your commitment to your customers at the same time with personalized landing pages. Dynamic landing pages can be set to display a wide variety of different information based on how each visitor gets there.

Set landing pages to change by keyword searched, too.

You don’t always have to build content from scratch to cater to different market segments. Making a few small tweaks to the targeted content you already have is easy and far more likely to pay off than presenting everyone with the same message. Also, if you want to increase lead generation, it’s important to tailor calls-to-action by persona.

When are your offers being made?

There are several time-related factors to keep in mind, if you want your content to resonate more deeply with your potential customers:

  • Are your social media posts timed by channel to reach your target audience?
  • Have you set up automatic emails that trigger when a purchase is made or by length of time since then?
  • Do you collect personal information about your customers, like birthdays or work anniversaries, which also trigger emails?
  • Is your systems designed to leverage Christmas or another holiday when your sales tend to spike?
  • Do your products have a long history or have any of them changed significantly over time in ways you can highlight in your content?
  • Can you create or participate in events that would allow you to highlight your company and products?

You need to offer…

3. Personalized Website Design

Reduce the likelihood your customers will abandon shopping carts.

Your website design and layout can be more instrumental in keeping customers glued to your website than you think. This is especially true when websites are designed with customer preferences in mind. You should offer a persona-centric website experience to make customers feel comfortable and fulfill their expectations.

Personalization of your homepage will increase online sales.

It’s important that you craft your website’s design with your buyer personas in mind. The more your website gives customers what they expect to experience, the more time they will spend there. As a prospect spends more time on your site, the chances of you making a sale increase dramatically.

Your website needs to be packed with…

4. Personalized Product Descriptions

Descriptions are the virtual equivalent of a sales pitch.

Product descriptions answer customer questions and arm them with the information to make informed purchase decisions. With the help of your buyer personas, you can tailor product descriptions to your customer.

Under-promise and over-deliver.

Many sites miss from the beginning by writing specifications instead of true descriptions. Specifications do not communicate experience, because they focus on what a product is, not how it will solve their customers’ problems.

Customize descriptions by including only what customers care about.

Just because you think something is important, doesn’t necessarily mean your customers will, too. Help customers by replacing bland repetitive language with specific helpful information. Also, make suggestions that make sense with what they want to buy.

Less is more.

This is especially true for those well-versed in scanning pages. You can attach more detailed descriptions to address further concerns. Also, use easy-to-understand grammar and vocabulary.

Revisit your content regularly.

It’s going to take Google about 35 weeks to rank your pages. Once you’ve identified content that’s off or stale, update it as quickly as you can. Remember, just because that blog post of yours popped when you wrote it, doesn’t mean it’s going to forever, so update anything that looks dated.

Your descriptions need to feature…

5. Rich Product Images

Ecommerce’s one drawback is its lack of immediacy.

Your customers are not going to be able to pick up and hold the products you’re offering, so your pictures have to do the work. All product details must be clear, so the same hand-held feeling comes through.

Include high resolution pictures taken from all angles.

This will help clear up any misgivings customers have about buying from you. Make sure you have a relevant picture for every product variant, and that you show the product being used and in tandem with associated products.

Here, it’s better to provide more than not enough.

People often abandon purchases because they can’t reconcile product images against descriptions. They need to see highly detailed images, so they don’t feel the need to examine the item in person. Including a variety of close-up images of your products will dispel customer doubts.

Pay close attention to…

6. Customer Ratings and Reviews

Publish all the reviews you receive, whether positive or negative.

When you get negative ones, reply courteously and strive to bridge the service gap. Often times, if you turn bad reviews around, you can turn customers into brand advocates.

Negative reviews are golden opportunities to turn a prospect around.

Have a personalized system for handling complaints and negative reviews. Address each one in a personal manner to show prospects you hear them. Do this even if you don’t immediately have a solution for them.

You can also find out about potential customer questions on Q&A sites.

Use sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers to identify the questions your potential customers have before they even find your website. Make sure that if you use these sites for marketing purposes, you state your intentions clearly and at the beginning of your post.

Nothing erases brand authenticity faster than deception.

These websites are yet another way to find out about and stay ahead of changes in trends. The Internet isn’t doing anything if it’s not changing all the time. Research is the only way keep up.

Monitor social media to demonstrate customer satisfaction.

You could either manually publish positive customer comments and tweets or set up a stream to bring them in as you “like” them. Use these to add that additional pop to your landing pages, as well.

Don’t forget to…

7. Tailor Content by Specific Channel

The average Facebook user is 40 and a half years old. (source)

But is that the same for Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn? Definitely not. Each channel you sell on is already attracting a certain type of visitor, so you can only disregard those differences to your detriment. New channels are coming up and older channels are going out of style, so make sure to figure out a way to stay on top of those changes.

The average age of customers buying on Amazon is 37.

It’s not an overstatement to say you’re unlikely to enjoy the benefits of personalization unless it’s applied across all digital channels your customers interact with. Documents, text, images, manuals and other business tools inform your customers about products and services. All these must include tailored content.

Finally…

Bring It All Together

Nobody’s going to read your content if it’s not informative.

According to McKinsey and Company, the 3 Cs of customer satisfaction are consistency, consistency, and consistency. In practice, the easiest way to say this is that you have to make promises you can keep and then keep them. (source)

Customer experience is as much a promise as high product quality, good prices, and fast delivery.

Personalized content is your path to improve overall customer experience and overcome the constant stream of new competitors. This, of course, relates positively to sales, because personalized content warrants continuous consumption, keeping customers coming back to your site.

Now that you know why product content needs to be tailored to boost sales, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Grading Your Product Content to Grow Sales

Do you expect to earn sales from quickly written, marginally edited, and easily forgotten content? Grading content for quality is key to ecommerce success.

‘Content is king’ is the popular axiom in the ecommerce marketing space. There are many reasons why this assertion is true.

For starters, a company’s content regarding the goods or services it offers is often the difference between selling and not. Your company’s product content forms a direct link with generating and attracting traffic to an ecommerce website.

Analysts believe product content has a great influence on consumer buying decisions, behind pricing and product delivery times. You need to set up a system for grading content quality and effectiveness to turn lookers into buyers.

Product content bears its potency from strong descriptions of product information.

Visitors to your ecommerce website are not only busy, they have an avalanche of options. In effect, the content for your products and services must be concise, understandable and straight-to-the-point.

Therefore, common sense points to the need to have useful product descriptions that meet the mark. These tips can serve as rules of thumb to follow for grading content and writing potent product descriptions:

1. Have a good idea about your target audience.

The first step to creating a great product description centers on identifying and marking your target audience or market. Knowing your market will help you ascertain the most compelling features of your product. These will attract and keep the attention and loyalty of your audience.

At the heart of producing an in-depth product description is assessing the personae of the buyer. A buyer persona comprises the natural characteristics of potential and existing clients. As you construct your product description pages, the following questions should shine a light the buyers you seek:

  • How did this potential or existing client reach your product page?
  • What are his or her interests, hobbies, likes, put-offs, etc?
  • What aspects of your ecommerce store would attract this buyer and why?
  • How do you think this person would describe the product to another individual?
  • What features or benefits would interest this person the most?

Keeping these questions in mind enables you to create tailored content that turn visitors into customers.

2. Zoom in on the benefits of the product for the client.

Don’t necessarily bombard your audience with descriptions of features and benefits right from the outset. Rather, after an adequate introduction, it’s standard practice to lay out a structured description of your products’ benefits.

You may want to showcase benefits as much as possible. But another rule of thumb is to show the buyer how using your product or service will benefit them.

Remember that a product feature is an accurate description of one product feature. This description should provide technical information. On the other hand, a product benefit tells the customer how the product can improve their life.

Start writing product descriptions by outlining the product’s features and benefits. Think about how your product or service enhances the pleasure or assuages pain points for your customers.

3. Don’t cut corners – tell a compelling story.

While at face value this tip seems to stand at odds with the preceding one, it reinforces the underlying principle. At its most basic, a strong product description should contain relevant details and possess the power to convince. It should pack an emotional punch. Beyond your choice of words and page set-up, closing the deal means appealing to your customers’ emotions.

Telling a product story connects with potential and existing buyers on an emotional plane, rather than a transactional level. Make your story link with the buyer’s experiences by shining a light on questions they ask. Who invented the product or service? Where did the creators draw inspiration from? What challenges were encountered in bringing the product to reality?

Outlining this scenario vividly shows the product to the buyer beyond what just talking about features and other specifications can do. Rest assured, if the buyer thinks the product meets their needs, you’ll get the sale.

4. Mind your language.

Your medium of communication matters if you want to make consistent online sales. Your product description should have the tone and feel of having a conversation with a close friend or family member.

Remember that in this circumstance, you are not reading from a prepared script. Instead, your tone is natural as you give the benefits of the product or service in a natural manner.

Often, this friendly talk abhors empty adjectives or sweeping claims; rather you will dwell on giving a helpful description that focuses on the benefits of the product.

5. Go for words that precipitate action.

You must understand that certain words and phrases have the inherent capacity to elicit an emotional response in people. Studies show once individuals connect with your products emotionally, chances are higher they will buy.

These words, sometimes known as power words, make your descriptions of product attributes jump off the page. They enter the minds and hearts of your target audience. Some of these words include the following:

  • Amazing
  • Beautiful
  • Blissful
  • Great
  • Magical
  • Mind-blowing
  • Wonderful
  • Wondrous

These power descriptions tell your customers your products are genuine. They also convey the idea that they are getting the premium value for their money.

6. Make your product description easy to understand.

In this millennium, time is of the essence, and as people continue to live life on the trot, you can only afford to have a product description that is easy to scan and concise.

A study reveals that due to increasing shortened attention spans, individuals will often read only 16 percent of the content of the average product page.

So it’s best to capture all the essentials of your product description pages in that readable bracket to stand any chance of connecting with your client and making a sale.

7. Search engines are your friends.

To further boost your sales, you must get a hang of using search engine optimization (SEO) to give mileage and visibility to your products. The bottom line is that SEO is an effective means of attracting new clients to your page, which is the very first step in convincing an individual to buy your products.

SEO revolves around the use of keywords, especially the kind of words that search engines like Google index as a response to inquiries from online visitors and customers.

8. A good image drives sales.

A great addition to accentuates great product description writing is a rich image. Why you ask? Recent studies reveal over 63% of customers consider digital assets, such as photos, accompanying a product as the primary purchase influencer.

More often than not, vivid photos will show the customer all or most of the key features about your product. They will also appeal to the mind’s eye of the client, allowing them to imagine having this product as a part of daily life.

The above tips are part of the arsenal you need grading content to boost your online sales.

Grading Content

At its core, grading content looks at the means and processes you can take in ensuring that your marketing content passes necessary assessment tests on both qualitative, and to a lesser degree, quantitative levels.

Grading, in a sense, equates to evaluation, and as a business owner, you would need to shine the light on what works continually or not, concerning product sales.

Questions that readily come to mind for online businesses should include the following. “Is this ad, blog post, or social post good enough to share?” “Will this marketing strategy or channel increase my revenue base?”

Grading content often comprises taking steps and implementing measures, based on observable market trends and expectations. The ultimate aim is finding the right mix for product content and marketing strategy that leads to sales and repeated transactions.

The following ways are good points for grading content to drive sales:

Place a Premium on Value

Your product content can only go so far in boosting your financial bottom line when customers feel and believe that your product description will do all that it says it will do and so much more.

The latter “so much more” can mean a number of things. To some, the value might be a comic rendition on using the product, a free sample of designer perfume, or a helpful tip on purchasing a home.

The bottom line borders on the customer leaving your ecommerce platform satisfied with the thought that they received some added takeaway from the transaction.

In another sense, the value derived from your product content should comprise any material any unique, original, or exclusive content or information that your target audience cannot get anywhere else.

So a good strategy is sitting back and taking an overview of your business, to determine ways by which your product can satisfy your customers on many fronts.

Go For the Right Context

Have you noticed that there are periods you experience super bumper sales, while at other times, transactions seem to trickle in a dime a dozen? Well, it could be that you have not given much thought to the issue of context in your product content marketing efforts.

No two customers are ever the same, and each comes to the marketplace for different reasons.

Some instances will suffice at this point. For some people, ad campaigns are more meaningful when there are no distractions like an exciting book, hence they are better able to pay more attention.

In another scenario, using a comedian to play up the efficacy of a diet plan, may shore up purchase numbers, even as your customers enjoy the laughter.

These scenarios collapse into a term known as context marketing. In a nutshell, content marketing involves timing your product content communication. You want it to reach your target audience when it’s most necessary.

In other words, your product content provides the appropriate content to the right audience at the most appropriate moment. Context marketing also weighs heavily on the specific traits and personality of your target customer.

So successfully grading content should lay sufficient emphasis on providing the appropriate, time-based context.

Meeting Expectations is Key

Your product content should set realistic goals, so that the customer can look forward to achieving their objectives of using the product or service. Your product features should do what they say they will – and on a consistent basis.

You must understand that customers have numerous choices for their online shopping needs. It’s essential to deliver a customer experience that meets expectations, and pushes customers to shop with you – and it all starts with your product content.

Embrace Originality

Again, this tip wants you to focus on the areas that your product content can open new doors and give new experiences to your existing and potential clients. Originality can hover anywhere from creating a new type of product or service, churning out a creative design for something that already exists, or presenting a unique mix of two everyday things or ideas or concepts.

If a product offers something new and off-the-chart, customers will often engage in word of mouth advertising to achieve two things: tell of their pleasant experience using the product and make actionable recommendations to other individuals to try out your product.

Raise the Standards for Quality

In the immediate analysis, product content quality involves factors such as eliminating typographical errors and ensuring images are vivid and purposeful. Other considerations will look at the ease with which your business pages load and present information when queried.

If your medium of communication is full of errors and your site is slow, customers may think your products will perform just as badly.

Therefore, you should note that consistent, compelling, engaging and qualitative content increases brand loyalty, minimizes shopping cart abandonment and reduces the number of complaints and returns. Ultimately, a product is deemed just as good as the information given alongside it.

Find a Balance as to Length

At every point in your advertising campaign, you will have to decide how long or short your engagement with your client will be. Especially in this age of Google crawlers and SEO. And in most cases, the wants, temperament of the customer should determine how long or how brief your post should be.

If your audience wants to learn a 3-second trick to folding shirts faster, then your educative material should not put them through a 45-minute video tutorial. If people need just some contact information to help make a decision, they should reach their goal in one or two clicks on your web pages.

One effective means of assessing how long your product content should be is looking at the demographics of your existing and potential client bases. Are your customers always on the move, viewing pages and placing orders with their mobile phones?

If that is the situation, you should obtain additional metadata such as the times spent on each page and information searched for. The knowledge gleaned from these sources should help you craft the most appropriate product content strategy regarding the length of your posts.

Clarity is King

From the outset, jumbled, disjointed product content increases the chances your customers will leave your site. At the very minimum- for the sake of clarity, visuals should complement – and not compete with text; ideas should have the property of easy identification, and design should embrace intuitiveness.

You can avoid enemies of clarity and precision such as using illogical and incomplete arguments, industry jargon, metaphors as well as business buzzwords.

The simple premise for achieving clarity is keeping your message straight-to-the-point and straightforward, so your customers see only the most relevant material on your product pages.

Temper your Content with Credibility

Your content must have the essential trait of being believable; otherwise, you may find that your customers may leave your pages altogether. For instance, promising users will shed 30 pounds in days taking a weight loss pill is lying.

However, providing referrals from trustworthy sources and using original, unedited images isn’t. Alluding to the possible is the right place to start in building credible content.

Be Guided by a Rubric

To derive the most from your product content regarding boosted sales, you would need to create a framework to oversee your posts. According to workable global standards, specific content and the form of the rubric depend on associated factors.

Your target audience and client base, including consumer search preferences and behavior, all matter. You also need to keep your content marketing strategy in mind.

Reviewers can help provide a third eye, providing objective analysis for increased efficiencies and performance. These reviewers will grade your product content against the following inquiries:

Is the product description…

  1. Appropriate to the product?
  2. Free of factual mistakes?
  3. Filler and marketing copy, or authentic and valuable?
  4. Free of spelling, punctuation and capitalization errors?
  5. The right length?
  6. Clear and easy to understand?

An essential part of your rubric will center on making provisions for reviewers to leave feedback and suggestions for improving your product content pages, to help bolster sales.

Grading Content to Drive Sales Success

A lot can come from grading content, and for every ecommerce business, sales is one thing that crowns the efforts. Content really is king, and if you have read through this article, you should understand how true this is.

Always remember the number of customers you attract is as high quality as the effort you put into your product content. Grading your content will go a long way toward showing customers you care by giving them content that matters to them.

Always look for areas to improve your product content and sales can only climb. Grading content tells you what content to toss, what to keep, what to fix, and what to build from.

Now that you know why grading content is key to growing ecommerce sales, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Expand Across Digital Channels to Maximize Sales Revenue

More than ever before, customers’ online research is driving sales through digital channels. Read how you can ensure customers find your products.

Your industry will sell through digital sales channels if it isn’t already. Traditional channels have taken a backseat in today’s digital world. Gone are the days of depending on face-to-face meetings with prospects and repeated sales calls before landing a sale.

Today, brands use digital channels to connect with customers at just the right time. Failure to go digital will reduce you to reactivity, negatively affecting your growth potential. The best change to make now is to start using digital channels.

To carry out a digital campaign, you need to set specific goals, define your target market, draft compelling product content, pick the digital channels you want to use, and measure progress.

Online sales is becoming more complex each day, with more channels popping up and consumer tastes changing rapidly. But one thing is a constant: people prefer brands ready to provide them with a delightful customer experience throughout their journey. And these customers will keep coming back for more.

The Problem with Only Using Traditional Marketing Channels

Traditional channels used to reach target audiences with the aid of face to face, telephone, print, and broadcast media communication. The goal of traditional channels is to provide information to push your brand with little or no interaction between the medium and the public. Digital marketing, on the other hand, makes audience interaction with the selected medium possible. Prospects have the opportunity to visit your site, read descriptions of product attributes, make comments, and provide feedback.

Digital channels level the playing field between big, well-established brands and those just starting out. Remember, a local retailer, using traditional channels probably won’t be in a position to compete with larger names. Through digital channels, brand success isn’t dependent on the size of the store to achieve greater exposure.

Data is harder to store with traditional media. On the other hand, digital marketing gives the public variety and the ability to select how they want to receive your digital assets.

While traditional marketing channels can do the job, digital marketing can do so more quickly and efficiently. Digital channels provide real-time results at the click of a link, tracking progress to readjust. Traditional channels just can’t compete with this kind of functionality.

On the issue of generating buzz and viral sensation, digital marketing channels have taken the lead over traditional channels. Social media sharing distributes your content to millions in seconds, thus increasing your brand visibility. This is impossible in print or broadcast media.

Digital Channels and the Power of Content Creation

As a business, you need to be available where your consumers exist. Digital marketing reaches your customers in an environment ideally suited for you to satisfy their needs. Through digital channels, you can connect, inform, persuade, and make an offer that meets your customers’ specific, individual needs. Using digital channels saves money and time, and reduces the frustration bound to happen when using traditional channels alone.

You can’t talk about digital channels without discussing content and organization of product information. Content is the backbone of digital marketing, because it encompasses all communication between brand and customer. Engaging content influences purchasing decisions in your favor.

When content is great, it is easy to spot because it’s informative, interesting and easy to understand. Good content tells your brand story and connects with your audience. Brands are subscribing to the use of digital content not only to pitch their products and services, but to deliver valuable information to customers. Using content to become relevant to their lives and turn them to loyal customers is key.

Quality is essential in content creation, if it is to be engaging and powerful. The content you produce should inspire your customers to “take action.” Your calls-to-action should encourage customers to supply you with their details for immediate purchase.

Preparing for Digital Channel Marketing: Digital Marketing Strategy

While we are not disputing the fact that traditional channels are still important, it is safe to say that digital channels have come in to complement the failures of traditional channels. This is why you need to be ready for digital channel marketing and your digital strategy can help you best prepare.

Digital marketing strategy is a plan of action that can help you achieve your business goals through the use of online or internet marketing. Buyer personas should be built because they represent the customers you are targeting. All these are explained in the subsequent points below.

Understand Your Customers Intimately

It should be at the back of your mind that everything you do in business is for the satisfaction and delight of your customers. They are the reason for your existence as a business. Do your research well by knowing who they are and the best way to market to them that can capture their attention and sustain it.

Excellent customer service should be at the core of all marketing activities so that value is assured even before a purchase decision is made. Building buyer personas is a great way to understand the target audience of businesses. The nature of your business will influence the data you collect when building your buyer personas. Information should be collected about their demographics which span from location, income, age bracket, among others.

Psychographic information can also be collected with regard to their interests, challenges or pain points as well as their preferences in a bid to intimately understand their behavioral patterns. You should go as deep as knowing the amount of time they spend on each page on your website.

All this information should be accurately collected because your digital marketing strategy will be targeted to your customer segments through the buyer personas you have created.

What Are Your Digital Marketing Goals?

Your digital marketing goals are different from the overall goal of your business. However, they must complement each other. Your marketing goal should not be completely different from the overall goals of your business but should be tied back to it.

Your marketing goals should be outlined in clear statements. This is very important for measurement and evaluation. The effectiveness of your digital strategy can be largely determined by the extent to which your marketing goals were achieved.

Your digital marketing goals should revolve around some specific points. It can be tailored to converting leads to buying customers, known as customer acquisition. Increasing sales by a certain percentage, to win back lost customers who have ceased to be active or to increase the lifetime value of customers. In other words, reducing customer churn and increasing customer retention.

The set goals should be as specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound as possible. Each of these elements will go a long way to ensure its success. It should be properly defined to ensure that campaigns are drafted in line with them if you want successful results.

Determine the Digital Channels You Want to Use

There are a lot of digital channels that are available for the use of businesses, which is why it is so powerful. Remember, the digital channel selected must be one that will fit into your digital marketing strategy with the capacity to fulfill your set goals. It may not be all channels that may be the right fit for your products and services. Hence, you need to understand the ones that are relevant to your business and the ones that are not.

You can use owned, earned or paid media channels in order to generate awareness about your brand. Digital channels present opportunity for brands to engage their prospects across multiple touch points. While there are so many, a few will be discussed below;

Websites

It is important for you to have a website for your business if you don’t have one. You need to have a place where customers can go to when trying to access your products and services.

Before you build your website, you have to know the purpose it will serve and the impression you want customers to have when they visit. You need to know the customer segment your brand is targeting and what their needs will be, so you can include tailored content your site specifically for them.

For those that already have one, while you may argue that you already have a website, it is important to answer the question of whether your site is fully optimized for visits done via mobile devices. Your site should be easy to understand and navigate with engaging content that will make them want to stay longer.

The design and functionality of your site is also an important consideration it should be one that can catch the attention of shoppers and have a positive effect on their view of your brand as a whole.

The reason for the poor turn out to your site could be that it is not mobile-friendly, slow load-time or poorly structured layout. Whatever be the case, it is important for your design team to fix these problems if you want to attract more prospects to your site. Ensure your website is secure as cybersecurity is the concern of most shoppers online.

Regularly test your website to have an insight into the experiences of customers when they visit your site. This will give you insights into the problems they face and effective solutions can be implemented.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a digital marketing channel used in the promotion of brands on various platforms. Some popular ones include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. As earlier said, your choice of channel will depend largely on your digital marketing strategy.

Social media is not just for socializing, but helps build rapport and engagement with customers on their terms with the platform of their choice. With more and more platforms developed every day, it is fast becoming an essential targeted advertising platform. Be interactive with your followers, for example, chat with them in real-time and answer their questions promptly. This goes a long way to show them that they are important and you value their contributions.

Social data analytics program is one that can help you collate data from social media sites for proper targeting of content to the right market. Write industry specific content to focus in on specific client verticals. Speaking to these customers directly will show them how interested you are in their business. This will help you win new customers and improve existing customer loyalty.

Grading content likewise will help you focus in on what works and what doesn’t. You will know what content needs to be improved, what needs to be deleted, and where the holes to fill are.

Your digital strategy should inform all social media activities to achieve your marketing goals. Your brand voice should be consistent across all the platforms you use. This is a great medium to display the personality of your brand and your brand promise which will help differentiate your brand from others.

Search Engine Optimization

This is not a channel per se but a strategy to increase your ranking on the results of search engine queries. It is largely connected to specific keywords used when entering a particular subject or topic. Optimization is important because it can help you drive organic search and increase your site rankings through important elements of quality content, relevant links, and social media engagements.

Beware of your page load speed and reduce anything that will slow it down. No one is going to wait around for your website to take its sweet time loading and frustrate their experience; they will move on to faster alternatives. Always remember to tailor your custom content to your customers, not to search engines. Focus on consistently delivering quality, original and engaging content and your customers will always come back for more. More brands will want to link to your share-worthy content.

Your images matter, and connecting them to the right keyword optimizes them for search engines. Your customers should be able to understand your Uniform Resource Locator (URL) easily with just a glance. And use words instead of characters to make it more memorable for your customers.

At the end of the day, always have an effective tracking system to tell what is working and what is not.

Email Marketing

This is a channel that uses electronic mail medium to market their brands and businesses. It is a very important channel that can increase the visibility of your brand because it is the most personal way brands can interact with their customers.

Email marketing is effective in targeted communications across your sales funnel. You cannot be relevant to everybody at the same time. This is why you should segment your email list to send targeted messages to prospects.

Don’t fall victim and become a pest to customers by sending too many emails to customers; it can get irritating and make them unsubscribe from you. Sending few emails is bad because you can be forgettable and end up in spam. This is why there should be a perfect balance when it comes to the issue of frequency and timing.

Have a clear purpose before you request the customer to give you an email address. You need to be able to give your customer something valuable which will keep them interested for more offers from you. Remember to include a call-to-action in a way that recipients will not miss it even if they are only skimming through.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

This is another avenue that to explore with regard to selling through digital channels. Think of PPC as paid adverts offered by search engines. Here, you can buy visits to your sites instead of solely depending on organic visits. Here, advertisers pay a fee when someone clicks on one of their ads. Google AdWords is an example of a PPC system.

In order to expand the reach of your PPC advert campaigns, include keywords that are relevant to your business. Carry out reviews regularly, especially on expensive PPC keywords and any others not performing according to expectations. Ultimately, strong content is content that’s working. If it’s not working, fix it or shut it down.

Make Digital Channels Work for Your Ecommerce Business

Why select a medium that allows you have just one conversation at a time, when you can talk to millions at the same time at even lower cost? This is not to say traditional channels aren’t important to generate leads and boost conversions. Traditional channels offer a human touch that digital doesn’t. On the other hand, digital channels are more efficient, cheaper, and have a wider reach.

This post is not in any way an exhaustive list of all channels your ecommerce business can use. Do research and discover more, if you want to be a leader in your industry.

Your traditional marketing methods and channels should support an already solid digital marketing effort. You shouldn’t use either in isolation. It is not advisable for firms to solely depend on digital channel and abandon the ground work traditional channels can play. Thus, for optimum results in their dealings with current and prospective customers, firms should combine the human element of traditional channels with the efficiency of digital ones.

The goal is delightful customer experiences that keep them satisfied; hence, you need to make sure that your service providers are willing to go above and beyond to ensure that this is done. This means speeding up response time and handling complaints effectively.

Personalization of your services is important to make your brand more “human”. Customers do not want newsletters and emails from firms, they want personalization. The information gathered from your buyer personas can help you tailor your messages specifically to certain groups of people.

Regularly evaluating all the digital channels you use for adequate corrections is key, especially where you find goals deviating so management can begin making smart decisions again. The goal remains quality interactions with customers that can root your company name and brand image firmly in the minds of your customers.

Now that you know the value of selling through digital channels, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.