10 Signs You Should Invest in User Experience Design

User Experience Design

The user experience is the most important piece of your business puzzle when you want to build up your long-term customer base and enjoy the loyalty that’s necessary for success in a competitive marketplace. If your users have a bad time when they engage with your website, they’re going to make it known by going elsewhere. Here are 10 signs that you need to invest in user experience design as soon as possible.

user experience design
User Experience Design
  1. You hear a lot of customer complaints about your website. When people are telling you exactly what’s wrong, you need to take a step back and listen.
  2. Mobile users are out of luck when it comes to getting usable features. Tablet and smartphone users are not going to be happy if they can’t check out your site on the most convenient device for their needs.
  3. Your navigation takes 10 clicks to get to the right resource. Your users have probably gone to your competitors five clicks ago.
  4. You’re pretty sure no one actually knows how to use your website. If the information on your site has confusing organization, resource-heavy elements and poor information architecture, you probably won’t see a lot of repeat visitors.
  5. You never consulted actual users during development. They’re the ones using your company’s site, so they need to give their two cents.
  6. Your conversion rate is horrible. Problems in the user experience show through in your bottom line.
  7. Customers can’t figure out how to contact you. If your phone number, chat, social networks or email addresses aren’t front and center, you’re generating a lot of frustration.
  8. Your bounce rate is sky high. People come to your site, but they’re closing the tab almost immediately.
  9. You use the same website design you’ve had since the late 90s. You might love it, but it’s showing its age and needs to be modernized with the most recent UX improvements.
  10. You don’t continually evaluate your user experience performance. Pick key performance indicators, and track your progress over time. This shows you which design elements are great, and which ones need to go out the window.
Product Information Management
Product Information Management

If you’re guilty of one or more of the things on this list, it’s time to get in touch with a user experience design expert immediately.

More About Catsy

Catsy is a product information management platform that makes it easier for manufacturers and distributors to manage and share product content. For more information on centralizing data, listing on marketplaces, giving dealers access, and more visit www.catsy.com.

10 Excellent Product Data Blogs To Follow

Do you want to expand your product data knowledge?

Keep up with the latest news and trends with these ten product data blogs.

ProductsUp

Learn about the ways that product data improves your customer experience, how to analyze the information that you have floating around in your organization and find industry news.

Handshake

This manufacturer- and distributor-focused blog bring many insights into the ways you can use data to improve operations, lower costs and reach your audience.

Retail Intelligence

Want a high-tech look at the latest advances in retail data and other areas? This blog gives you the jumping-off point to take a deep dive into AI and big data.

MultiChannel Merchant

The articles at MultiChannel Merchant cover many aspects of the industry for retailers working across more than one sales channel. They include product data on a regular basis.

Forrester’s Retail Blog

Forrester is well-known for its business analysis, and their retail blog tackles big data subjects and related technology. You also get previews of the latest industry data even if you don’t want to pay the high fees associated with Forrester reports.

Practical Ecommerce

This frequently updated blog focuses on practical e-commerce knowledge that you can apply immediately. Data is a topic that you’ll often see on its pages, as well as product marketing and copywriting.

Digital Commerce 360

The publisher of magazines such as Internet Retailer and B2B E-Commerce World also features useful articles on its website ranging from how you can use product data in your catalog to improving your data quality.

Channel Advisor

Channel Advisor takes a broad look at e-commerce, covering the latest news and offering quality resources to its readers.

Retail Touch Points

This blog provides excellent insight into using data-driven approaches for the retail environment as well as covering emerging technology such as AI.

GoSpotCheck

If you’re curious about the intersection of product data and retail execution, GoSpotCheck’s blog covers this topic from nearly every angle.

Product Data

You always have something new to learn when it comes to product data. The latest technologies can change how you interact with your information overnight. You need to prepare for the most recent changes and make sure that you follow the current best practices and these product data blogs can help.

CATSY is a product information management and publishing platform that enables businesses to collect and manage product information. Centralized product images and data can be accessed throughout the organization, listed on marketplaces, shared with partners, published, and more.

For more information on how CATSY can help reduce product data and image management friction, sign up for a demo here.

How to Utilize Non-Linear Marketing

A few decades ago, it was easy to map out the customer experience. You only had to deal with a handful of marketing channels, such as mail order catalogs and commercials. Things are a lot more complicated these days. You have consumers checking out your products on multiple devices, looking up information from all over the Internet and going most of the way through their journey without getting in direct contact with you. In fact, they may not ever talk to you. How can you adapt to non-linear marketing?

Integrated Marketing Campaigns

Many companies try to keep their online and offline campaigns separated from each other and often use different teams entirely for these processes. However, optimizing your non-linear marketing efforts requires bringing both sets of channels together.

You can get results that are greater than the sum of their parts when you create marketing campaigns that use multiple channels to build up the message.

Content Marketing to Build Trust

You don’t have control over the channels that a consumer explores during their journey to a conversion. However, a robust content marketing strategy increases your chances of getting your content in front of them at each major step. The repeated exposures to your brand and message build trust over time, especially if you avoid hard sales messaging and take on the role of a trusted advisor.

Omni-Channel Experiences

The modern consumer jumps around between all of their devices and uses whatever is convenient for them. That channel selection might not be the most convenient for you, but you have to accommodate their expectations. After all, your competitors might offer the full range.

You have to strike a careful balance between the omni-channel experience that transports your customers seamlessly and the risk of stretching yourself too thin. This aspect of non-linear marketing may be something you need to scale up to over time. Try to establish a bare-basics configuration of your website, email and social networking channels to begin with. This covers most of your bases, and you can build a presence on the social platform that has the highest population of your audience.

Non-linear marketing requires a comprehensive approach that’s far different from putting a few ads up here and there. When you do it right, you end up with loyal and happy customers.

What’s Next?

CATSY makes it easier to store product data and images and then push to multiple channels like eCommerce, online marketplaces, and more. Reach your customers in every way they shop and share data with outside sales and dealers. More at www.catsy.com.

Sources:

http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2016/08/28/definition-of-nonlinear-marketing/

http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/non-linear-marketing-working-with-multiple-narratives/all/

https://econsultancy.com/blog/67954-what-is-non-linear-advertising-how-can-it-help-publishers/

https://thenextscoop.com/non-linear-marketing-campaigns-traditional-marketing/

20 Great Articles About AI/Robots in Content Marketing

AI Content Marketing

Artificial intelligence and robotics have a place in nearly every industry, and content marketing is no exception. It’s exciting to see the innovations introduced by this advance in technology. Learn all about the current events with these 20 great articles about AI content marketing!

  1. Curata has an excellent overview of artificial intelligence and how it impacts the content marketing world.
  2. Content Marketing Institute explores the question of whether AI will replace manual content creation.
  3. Forbes has its own take on the AI taking over the content marketing world.
  4. Content Marketing Institute introduces the concept of cognitive content marketing and what it means for the future.
  5. Outbrain covers the benefits of AI in content marketing, as well as the drawbacks.
  6. eMarketer goes over the ways that marketers are using AI for their content marketing strategies.
  7. Marketing AI Institute offers a list of 14 AI tools for content marketing.
  8. Chatbot’s Life reports on the ways that AI has innovated the content marketing world.
  9. Marketing AI Institute has a compelling argument as to why marketers should embrace these changes rather than fighting against them.
  10. ClickZ delves into how close the industry is to robot generated content.
  11. Marketing Dive wonders whether AI can manage to hit the right emotional tone.
  12. The Drum shows how marketers are using AI technology to complement their current efforts.
  13. Business2Community tells you five ways AI can help your content marketing operations.
  14. Convince & Convert offers a beginner’s guide to AI for content marketing.
  15. Adworld covers the possibilities when AI intersects with SEO.
  16. Word Lift is thorough in explaining all the ways that AI disrupts traditional content marketing.
  17. Christopher Penn gives a nine-part crash course in AI for marketers.
  18. Adage tells it like it is and explains how marketers can adapt to this new environment.
  19. Demand Gen Report lets B2B marketers know what they can expect out of their new AI overlords.
  20. Martech Series reports on findings that reveal the effectiveness of AI in content marketing.

Enjoy these articles and start strategizing how you might incorporate AI into your current content marketing strategy. Early adopters are going to catapult themselves ahead of their competition and not just in the space of AI content marketing

Why the Next 10 Years of Selling Online Will Smash the Last 10

E-commerce has been smashing records left and right, and its rapid growth isn’t set to die off anytime soon. While the last ten years of selling online have certainly been an exciting time, it’s nothing compared to the next decade.

Online Selling AI Technology Will Provide Greater Customer Insight

AI helps selling online to retailers make sense out of all of the data that they have available, especially as organizations bring in more big data specialists. As this technology matures, e-commerce companies will be able to better predict which products to stock, where they should warehouse them, whether their efforts help them retain customers and many other details.

More Customers Will Switch to Online-only Shopping Patterns

Brick and mortar stores are slowly finding their place in an selling online e-commerce dominated world, but more customers are going to change their shopping habits, so they’re almost entirely purchasing online. Even traditionally in-person experiences, such as grocery shopping, can switch to online channels thanks to improvements in delivery services and supply chains.

Mobile Checkout and Other Payment Improvements

Mobile payment options have not taken off as quickly as many people expected, but over the next ten years, they will become one of the go-to methods for purchases. Other innovative payment methods will contribute to increased e-commerce purchases as well, such as biometrics authentication.

Online Selling Increase with Same-day Shipping Methods

Amazon made everyone used to same-day, one-day and two-day shipping methods. Logistics and shipping companies have adapted their technology to speed up the fulfillment processes to adapt to this need. Amazon is always looking for new ways to get their products into customer hands quicker, and drone shipments may not be too far off.

You can see the shift among many large e-commerce companies today, and this trend will continue to grow in the future. Retailers that have physical locations can use their stores as fulfillment centers, and online-only companies can lean on improvements in the supply chain for their speed increases.

The next ten years of e-commerce are going to be an exciting time, especially if you’re at the forefront of new technology. Keep an eye on the predictions and make sure that your organization is well-positioned to benefit from the continued success of the e-commerce industry.

Debunking 4 Common Product Information Management Rumors

Product Information Management Rumors

As a leader in the Product information management (PIM) industry, we hear a lot of rumors or preexisting ideas people have about the software. Some product information management rumors or assumptions are true while others are false, or not exactly true and require digging deeper. Our sales team put together a list of popular PIM assumptions they thought it would be beneficial to reveal the truth about. 

It’s Easier to Build In-House

FALSE

Sometimes IT departments see our system, but they’re cautious. They decide to try and develop it in-house, even though their experience working with product information management software might be limited. In fact, they may not have logged into one up before. Needless to say, these ventures rarely end well and cost the companies more money than they would have spent purchasing the pre-existing software.

For more information on this topic read our blog post IT Departments: Why External Applications Aren’t Your Enemy.

More Features = Best Choice

FALSE

An “interesting” decision incorporated in a lot of PIM systems is the addition of features. They spend so much time on features that don’t have any impact on product information management workflows. They might look flashy and impressive on a demo, but the front-line employees soon start looking elsewhere for an application that doesn’t get in the way. 

Print is Dying

NOT ENTIRELY

Print media is a powerful tool for integrated marketing and advertising campaigns. Companies might not be able to thrive on print catalogs and other printed collateral alone, but when brought together with other channels, they really tie everything together. The digital wave is all about critically examining what is best to continue to print and which pieces are better off digital. 

We have a blog post about one company’s reason for keeping print alive because of their industry.

Images are Necessary to Sell Products

TRUE

We’ve saved the best for last. One of our favorite rumors revolves around product photos, or the lack thereof. The in-house solutions can’t handle the volume of media required for modern marketing campaigns. Either they fail to address the need for images at all, they don’t allow external partners to access the pictures, or they can’t be resized. Either way, it’s a core feature that ends up being a complete mess.

Keep Seeking the Truth

Product information management software does require an upfront investment, but the money that you save in productivity over the long term more than balances it out. Before investing years into in-house development, spend some time researching the current solutions on the market. Your business needs a powerful product information management application backing up your advertising and marketing efforts. Make sure that you’re getting everything you need out of it and not falling for these product information management rumors.

Curious About More Product Information Management Rumors?

As a leader in the Product Information Management space we have heard these Product Information Management rumors and many more. Curious to find out answers to your pim questions? Reach out to us for a demo http://catsy.com/contact-us.

IT Departments: Why External Application Implementation Isn’t Your Enemy

External Application Implementation Fear

You may view external apps as the enemy to your IT department. After all, they’re created by someone outside of your organization and you don’t have full control over the application. It’s understandable that you might be worried that external app adoption could cost you or your colleagues their jobs. You might be surprised to hear that it can actually make things easier on your end and not all external application implementation fear is helpful.

Your Time is Valuable

The IT department often times has to manage everything from the company’s data security to helpdesk support. You don’t exactly have the free time available to put together a product information management app, even when that brings significant benefits to your organization.

Your resource allocation problems aren’t an issue when you bring in an external solution. The product is developed and ready to go. You have the advantage of getting on-going vendor support. If the solution is cloud-based, you don’t even need to worry about finding servers to handle a new app.

If something goes wrong or the app needs new features, the vendor provides most or all of the support. They’re responsible for developing and testing any software changes and maintaining an extensive knowledgebase.

Expert Perspective is Key

You have a talented IT department, but your staff often handles broad technology duties. If you didn’t need to bring anyone on with product information management expertise before the business needed this product category, you might not have on-site experts.

An external vendor is dedicated to working with this software category. A product information management supplier keeps up with the best practices in this narrow area. They have experience putting it in place at many types of businesses. Their first-hand expertise with deployment and adoption provides the IT department with the complementary help required to ensure a successful application rollout.

Product information management apps require years worth of builds and research to get right. You’re saving time and resources so you can address the other urgent to-do list items or maybe even the more exciting projects while your company gets the technology it needs. Don’t hold off on bringing a mission-critical solution because there aren’t enough in-house resources to go around. Take a look at external applications.

The Next Logical Step

If your business is researching product information management solutions one of the best ways to ease some of the external application implementation fear is to be included in demos and sales calls. Catsy always encourages the inclusion of decision makers on calls. Enterprise solutions are often times conscious of IT Departments concerns and might have resources to send your way. If you are in IT and your company is considering Catsy reach out to us.

Sources:

http://www.encompassgroupllc.com/articles-case-studies/article-how-to-leverage-cloud-computing-for-maximum-value/

8 Image Management Questions Your Boss Has

Image Management

How many images do you have floating around in your organization? If you’re still trying to handle these manually, your boss may not have enough information about your current image management situation. Here are the eight things you should let them know.

1. Where is my image?

Location is everything, so is everyone still using a file server to organize images? This inefficient process is costing the business a lot of time, money and resources.

2. Not thumbnails again, right?

How can you make lower quality thumbnails? Your boss wants to know whether you can quickly generate these preview pictures without taking up someone’s time.

3. What is up with all these formats?

What’s the best way to store .jpg, .png, .psd and other photo formats? Let your boss know about the image management platforms out there and how they handle storage for your most commonly used file formats.

4. This has got to be possible, right?

Can we store videos in the same place as images? Putting your visual content into one central repository gives the company a good economy of scale. This configuration also speeds up overall image management, since you don’t have to go to multiple platforms to get everything you need.

5. Please say yes

If we use software to store images, can we connect it to our product information management system? Your PIM benefits significantly from having easy access to your photo content. Make sure that any solutions you propose can integrate with your current infrastructure.

6. CTRL

Can you restrict access to files based on user account? You don’t need every department to have access to the full database. User access control gives people the assets they need, without the ones they shouldn’t have permissions to view.

7. How do partners play into this?

Do partners have the right images for their campaigns? The wrong brand image can do a number on your sales. Make sure that you can tell your boss how your current image management solution addresses this problem.

8. Please say no

Do you have to update images manually across all channels? You might have dozens or hundreds of partners displaying your products. Do you have a major update, so you have to send these images out on a one-on-one basis or simply update the files in one place?

What It Comes Down To

If your image management strategy isn’t working for your company, your boss needs to know. The right solution gives your business a powerful tool to improve your sales and revenue. Luckily a good digital asset management system can meet a majority of the points above. Powerful systems like Catsy can solve these questions and give you even more powerful functionality like integrated catalog software, price book automation, the ability to create spec sheets, list your products on online marketplaces like Amazon, and more.

To learn more about Catsy sign up for a demo at http://catsy.com/contact-us.

10 Ways to Learn from Competition in B2B Businesses

Learn from competition in B2B Businesses

Are you looking for new insights about your B2B Businesses? You can find out a lot by turning your attention to the competition. They’re an unexpected source of interesting information about your company, from the way your employees feel about you to the effectiveness of your technology infrastructure. The following hints will help you learn from competition.

  1. Your weak points. The competition is going to capitalize on your most vulnerable areas, whether that’s a problem with your product line or a lack of resources when you’re starting out.
  2. Problems in customer experience.  Your competitors are quick to point out any painful parts of your client experience. If your customers complain about long hold times on the phone, other companies may talk about their responsive customer support.
  3. Strengths and weaknesses in your employee experience. Many industries see the same people going back and forth between companies on their way up the ladder. You can get a valuable perspective from connecting with these workers and it will help you to learn from competition.
  4. The overall impression of your perks and benefits. Once your current employees leave for a different company, you can look at reviews on Glassdoor and similar sites to see what they have to say about your benefits package.
  5. When you’re doing something right. “Imitation is the best form of flattery, ” and you’re going to see it in droves when you’re doing something right.
  6. When you’re doing something wrong. On the flip side of the coin, you’ll find out the instant you’re doing something wrong. Check out the competition’s social media posts and see what their audience is commenting about, or just watch some of their advertisements.
  7. The best ways to engage on social platforms. Another way to use competitor social comments is to figure out what customers expect when you talk with them on these platforms.
  8. The markets you’re missing. Look at your competitors and see which niches they seek out. You might have gaps that skip over these underserved audiences.
  9. Your key differentiators. Other companies are going to let the world know how they’re different from everyone else, and you can use this information to hone your own list.
  10. The way you’re perceived in the industry. Some markets are small enough that everybody knows everyone else, and the rumor mill is happy to let you hear some of the choice bits from your competitors.

The next time you sit down to do some market research, use these tips to get the most out of your competitors’ information.

What to Do About It

Businesses that have a lot of images to manage and/or a large sku count usually benefit from product information management platforms. Having images and data stored in one centralized location streamlines workflow and can help your business get ahead of the competition. Catsy has helped companies pull ahead for over 12 years. Sign up for a demo at www.catsy.com/contact-us to gain valuable insight about the technology that your competitors are utilizing to move digital and reduce friction.

Will Selling on Online Marketplaces Sink Your Business?

Sell on Online Marketplaces

As you are probably aware, Amazon, Walmart, Newegg and many other e-commerce companies offer third-party marketplaces that give you the opportunity to sell your products on their websites. You may view them as your competition or at least a distraction that pulls away buyers at critical moments. What if online marketplaces are actually your ally in growing your business?

Think Complementary, Not Competitive

You need to shift your perspective so that you’re viewing e-commerce markets as a complement to your business. They offer quite a few benefits to small businesses, with an established user base that is accustomed to making purchases on these sites.

You piggyback on their marketing and advertising efforts to take advantage of the traffic it brings in. Advanced seller tools give you the opportunity to work with a technology infrastructure you may not have available for your sales efforts. They have more resources at their disposal for experimenting with new technology and techniques, and you reap the rewards.

It’s time to make third-party marketplaces an essential part of your online approach. Whether you sell online or not, they can form an important part of your business growth strategy.

How to Get the Most Our of Online Marketplaces

Before you start putting products on these marketplaces, you need a solid strategy to maximize the benefit of using them. The audience that uses Amazon and other massive e-commerce sites may be far different than the people who shop at your business. You may need to curate your product line to match their expectations, as opposed to offering everything you have for your regular customers.

Brand awareness is another major benefit of getting on these marketplaces, so make sure you’re taking advantage of that. Promote your business as much as the product so you can start to grow your customer base through a broader reach.

Make sure that your product information is up to date and synchronized with the rest of your online presence. You don’t want inaccurate information to cost you customers when they compare listings between your site and the marketplace. With synchronization, you also don’t have to spend time updating every single listing on every single site. Instead, you change it once and automatically refresh the rest.

Product Information Management Online marketplaces are a tool to add to your small business marketing toolkit. They might seem like they’re taking sales away from you, but in reality, they bring you far more customers than you lose out on.

Sources:

http://www.practicalecommerce.com/Third-party-Marketplaces-What-Merchants-Should-Know