7 Ways a PIM Supercharges Your SEO Strategy

Using SEO to optimize product content for search is one proven way to drive ecommerce revenue. PIM gives you the tools to optimize your content for SEO.

One proven way to drive revenue is by optimizing product content for search with an SEO strategy. A search engine will eventually rank almost all product content built or syndicated for your own website.

An SEO strategy is critical to ranking on searches.

Searches can be done on Google, or through Amazon, Bing, or whichever retailer or marketplace you’re selling on.

Ranking high on these search engines is vital to drive revenue and growth.

There are many online resources that will help you optimize content for product pages. If you’re selling more than a dozen or so products, manually identifying, ranking and optimizing for all of their respective keywords is tedious and impractical for most organizations.

Remember:

  • There are between 12 and 24 million ecommerce websites (source).
  • Google uses at least 200 different ranking factors (source).
  • Between 2015 and 2018, Amazon overtook Google by capturing 54% of all product searches (source).

A PIM gives you the tools you need to optimize your content for SEO at scale.

But first…

What is PIM?

PIM is an ecommerce software solution for creating a single source of product content truth. Use PIM to optimize content for richness, accuracy, and completeness. Finally, PIM syndicates content to meet requirements by sales channel.

Think of PIM as a central repository for all the content you use to populate product pages to sell your products online. It’s important to remember that product content means two things. It’s both the information essential to descriptions, feature bullets, and specifications and digital assets, like images, videos, and CAD drawings.

What does any of this have to do with SEO?

PIM’s foundation is a robust centralized repository for inputting, storing, organizing, modifying, updating, developing, optimizing, and syndicating product content.

The goal of PIM is to drive sales conversions by presenting potential customers with fully optimized product pages. These have to be bursting with all the information and images customers need to make strong, informed buying decisions.

Thus, in the ecommerce space, with the digital foundation PIM provides, your SEO strategy has the potential to accomplish not only what you know it’s supposed to, but the how as well.

Quite simply, PIM is the “how.”
seo-keys

The Four Keys of SEO

Minus all the fads, trends, and gimmicks, the correct practice of SEO comes down to just three main points. All three of these are driven by the product content PIM has been purposefully designed to manage.

1. Keywords

You need to know which keywords people are actually using to search for products in the category you’re selling in.

Remember:

  • What you want people to search doesn’t matter.
  • It also doesn’t matter what you think they should search.
  • What they used to search doesn’t matter either.
It only matters what they’re going to search.

2. High Quality Content

You have to plug your keywords into high quality content.

High quality content is:

Original

Search engines hate redundant content. In the ecommerce space, populating your product pages with content you copied from the manufacturer is poor SEO practice.

Informative

Potential customers want to read content that tells them what they want to know. That content has to be accurate, up-to-date, and directly related to the keywords you’re targeting with your SEO strategy.

Exhaustive

Both Google and customers want pages to tell them everything about the topic. Informed customers make strong buying decisions, reducing returns and increasing loyalty.

(Read everything you need to know about how high quality content flows from clean data in the blog featured below.)

3. Digital Assets

To hold potential customers attention online, you need to break up text content with, digital assets like images and videos. In ecommerce, the key is showing products from every possible angle, to ensure their features are fully showcased. 360-degree images are the new standard minimum.

Bridging the gap between the actual product and what the customer thinks increases conversions and reduces returns.

These days, nothing drives conversions like videos. Product pages that feature unboxing, assembly, and installation videos provide customers with the information necessary to make informed buying decisions. Videos that show product in use connect the reality of the product with the customer’s mental picture.

4. Tech

Finally, your product pages have to load quickly. And they have to be optimized for the mobile devices many customers tend to prefer to shop with these days.

Let’s get to how PIM makes this happen.
pim-supports-seo-strategy

7 Ways PIM Supports Your SEO Strategy

1. Keywords

With PIM, keywords can be incorporated into product management at any time from implementation on. This means you can hit the ground running from an SEO standpoint. Because the content you push out to your product pages is already optimized for search.

Because product launch involves multiple internal teams, coordinating and centralizing product content with a PIM allows everyone to contribute input. The result is a fuller, more robust, and better thought-out SEO strategy.

This more diverse view means you’re less likely to miss the keywords critical to driving views that lead to conversions.

Also, it should go without saying, but those keywords can be amended, adjusted, deleted, or changed. This way, you keep pace with changing trends. If after implementation your pages aren’t getting as many views as you’d anticipated, the solution is simple: adjust your products’ keywords in your PIM. It’s an easy way to bring in more traffic.

Further, with PIM, the keywords you choose to most centrally identify your brand with can be populated across product pages to present a unified message. Savvy customers shop in multiple online marketplaces, and noticing your central message varies from site to site may give them an impression of carelessness. 

PIM makes sure your product pages present a unified brand message.

On the other hand, some product content needs to vary to match the buyers you target with specific channels. You can use buyer specific keywords can to target specific kinds of potential customers by target channel.

PIM allows you to tailor your brand message, niching your messaging where it’s most likely to resonate. This is important, because speaking your customers’ language, instead of trying to sell to them in sales speak they may find inauthentic and off-putting, is a recipe for success.

product-tag

2. Product Tags

Product tags are short descriptors you connect to your products. They give more detail than simple product names, which are often reflective of broad categories. Think about the products you sell, and then think about how many different variations you sell of each.

Different types of customers search for the products they want to buy in different ways. Product tags provide your customers with the ability to narrow their searches down and find exactly what they want more quickly.

When supported by a PIM, product tags enable easy translation into SEO keywords.

An individual customer might search something like, “pliers,” while a contractor with a greater amount of knowledge and experience would be more likely to search, “5-inch needle nose pliers.” Building fine-tuned descriptions into your product tags allows potential customers to find your products via search much more quickly and easily.

Remember, search engines return results depending upon where you place keywords, so sprinkling them in various locations within your product pages will return better results. Simply incorporating keywords into product titles and descriptions is far too simplistic.

PIM lets you place keywords in every possible location a search engine might look.
store-information-images-together

3. PIM with Digital Asset Management (DAM) Functionality

PIM manages product information, but that information doesn’t mean much without the visual context ecommerce experiences are built around. This means your PIM solution needs to store product information alongside digital assets, which make up the visual component of your product pages.

Provide your customers with the fullest possible understanding of your products

Your customers will feel empowered when you give them the information they need to make informed buying decisions. Rich digital assets, such as 360-degree pictures, unboxing and installation videos, and CAD drawings, transfer that power of information to your customers.

Because you need to include these digital assets to achieve sales success anyway, optimizing them for search is the next logical step. With a PIM that includes a DAM you can attach metadata to digital assets. Like product tags, you can write that metadata to include keywords your customers search online.

(Read everything you need to know about how PIM with data governance functionality drives revenue for your ecommerce operation in the blog featured below.)

4. PIM Supports Automatic Image Transformation

These days a given page’s mobile compatibility impacts search results heavily. This is because, for many people, phones, tablets, and other mobile devices constitute their primary means of accessing the Internet. As such, search engines have begun to rank sites more highly if their content is optimized for mobile.

To be optimized for mobile, your product pages need to display content dynamically regardless of what kind of device a potential customer is using to search for and experience your site. As you might imagine, text transforms more easily for the mobile experience than do images and videos.

Ultimately, what this means is you need to be sure that your product pages can display with the smaller images necessary for product pages to display correctly on phones and even watches. At the same time, different retail and ecommerce websites require resized images to populate according to their specific requirements.

Product pages that feature a full complement of images and videos are more likely to convert customers than pages with limited digital assets.

PIM, with DAM functionality, automatically resizes images and video both for smaller mobile screens, and to conform to channel-specific requirements like aspect ratio and resolution. This way, no matter where potential customers find your product pages, your images and text tell the story of your brand you know is most likely to drive conversions.

Remember, while a search engine can’t distinguish a compelling product page from one that’s not driving conversions, they can see what potential customers are doing. If visitors are finding your product pages, but leaving them quickly without buying, search engines will assume the page did not provide the person searching it with what they wanted. Over time, pages like this will begin to rank lower, hurting your overall SEO profile.

sales-rep-feedback

5. Sales Rep Feedback Integration

Feedback from customers is incredibly important for understanding how well your product pages are performing, or why they aren’t. Feedback allows you to shape your brand messaging and more fully optimize product pages to drive conversions.

But even more important is feedback from the sales reps whose job it is to sell products, yours and others, to customers all day, every day. These are the people, even more than customers themselves, who know precisely what drives conversions and what doesn’t. Gathering their feedback and comments constitutes an invaluable resource.

Sales reps have their fingers on the pulse of today’s sales environment.

PIM gathers sales rep feedback in the form of the search terms they’re using on your sales channels. This provides a consistent feed of the newest material to guide updates to your sites with an eye to optimizing pages for SEO.

6. PIM Allows for Competitor Cross Referencing

Knowing how your competitors are succeeding at any given moment ranks among some of the most important information you can collect, regardless of your business vertical. With an eye to ecommerce and SEO, it’s a major win to draw sales away from competitors when potential customers search the keywords they’ve already cornered.

With PIM, you can do more than optimize your own pages for searches of the keywords you’re already ranking with. A little bit of research will tell you which keywords your competitors are outcompeting you with, and with PIM, you can plug them into your product pages.

More traffic necessarily makes for more conversions.

Instead of using your valuable time to build results organically with blogs and other presentations of lengthy content, potential customers will see your products alongside those of your competitors. Combined with the other benefits PIM affords you to optimize your product pages, appearing in searches of your competitors keywords might just be enough to redirect that traffic to your site.

To fully leverage this functionality, you should go beyond using the keywords you and your competitors are ranking with now, and predict the ones you intend to corner in the future. This way, even if you aren’t able to rank for those keywords using more conventional approaches, you’ll still see the traffic when potential customers search those keywords of tomorrow, next month, and next year.

persona-driven-product-pages

7. Persona Driven Pages

Manufacturers have diversified their sales channels by selling on across as many platforms as they can, from ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, to retail sites like Home Depot, to their own D2C sites and multi-storefront operations. Simple math tells us that with more stores comes more chances of a potential customer finding one.

Simply, more stores means more likelihood of more conversions.

Because you intend to target a different, specific buyer with each of your sales channels, each is going to need a tailored SEO strategy. Think about it, different buyers are going to exist in different spaces online. Targeting them with the same strategy is only going to be so effective.

Instead, PIM allows you to tailor content by buyer and channel to maximize traffic and drive conversions. With PIM you can segment product content to feature the precise sort of search terms a targeted buyer is going to use to find the kind of products you’re selling. Visitors empowered with the information they need to make informed buying decisions are the ones most likely to convert.

PIM empowers you to empower your customers to buy.
pim-drives-seo-scale

PIM Drives SEO at Scale

Individual products require carefully articulated strategies to rank high in search results. These strategies have to include content optimized not only for the ecommerce audience, but also for the search engines that audience uses to find your products.

It’s easy to sell a dozen products across a few marketplaces manually. But as the number of products and sales channels you sell across increases, the number of optimizations you’ll have to do to stay competitive will increase exponentially.

PIM grows with your operation, to ensure you stay on top of your SEO strategy as your operation grows into the future.

Now that you know how PIM can help optimize your SEO strategy, click here to see what Catsy can do for you today.

Multi-Storefront Operations: 18 Ways PIM Drives Revenue

Multi-storefront operations present differentiated and compelling product content tailored to the customers you want to sell to, maximizing revenue.

If you are running a multi-storefront operation, you are probably fine-tuning your stores’ experiences to the buyer personas. This is because most multi-storefronts are designed with the buyer personas they sell to in mind.

Let’s take for example, a hypothetical organization called “HVAC Superstore,” that among other products sells thermocouples. HVAC Superstore is targeting three personas: consumers, contractors and enterprises.

And based on these personas, the current strategy for most organizations is to differentiate on the following:

  1. Branding
  2. Blogging
  3. Creative Voice
  4. Persona Resources
  5. Calls to Action

In 2019 and beyond to continue to drive conversions, this just isn’t enough.

The bar has risen. 

Progressive organizations are taking this one step further. And that next level centers on product pages. It may sound incredible, but content on product pages is often overlooked as a key differentiator across storefronts, costing real conversions.

Enter product content.

To maximize revenue in today’s global marketplace, content has to be differentiated and compelling at the same time across your multi-storefront operation. Simply put, to maximize revenue and expand market share, companies have to craft product content to sell to different kinds of customers.

From individual consumers to massive global enterprise corporations, if your content doesn’t speak precisely to them, you’re probably losing conversions.

Each multi-storefront represents a different type of buyer.

Product content that the buyer sees has to be compelling and uniquely targeted to the persona of the buyer. This targeting and storytelling becomes difficult as storefronts are introduced. But this is critical to drive revenue.

Unique and tailored content is the key to driving conversions.

(Read everything you need to know about tailoring product content in the blog featured below.)

What’s more, different customers naturally and automatically expect to see product content presented in a way they can immediately understand and respond to. Targeting different customers with a multi-storefront approach does this.

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.

Jeff Bezos (source)

In most cases, the goal of an ecommerce operation or eCatalog is to:

  1. Maximize Revenue
  2. Grow Market Share

In this blog, we’ll focus on realizing these sales goals with a product information management (PIM) solution that simplifies publishing across multi-storefronts. But first, it’s key to know exactly who you’re selling to. To illustrate this, let’s continue with our HVAC Superstore example by looking at a case study.

water-heater-thermocouple
a water heater thermocouple

A 3-Part Multi-Storefront Case Study

A thermocouple is a common safety device like a thermometer that detects when a pilot light has gone out. The picture above shows a thermocouple for a water heater. Remember, HVAC Superstore has determined it wants to sell thermocouples to 3 kinds of customers:

  • Consumers
  • Contractors
  • Enterprises

An individual consumer is unlikely to buy more than 1 thermocouple at a time, whereas a contractor is likely to buy thermocouples for water heaters, stoves, or furnaces regularly. An enterprise construction company may need to buy 1,000 thermocouples for a new high-rise in one large purchase, or in combination with thousands of other products.

The point is, because of their individual needs, each type of customer in this case study is going to have a particular concern. Also, while there may naturally be overlap, that specific concern is more likely to be unique to that customer than not.

The Consumer

This customer’s primary focus is on getting their thermocouple at the lowest possible price, and will need to be assured of its quality. 

The product page for this kind of customer will need to include several images, a guide explaining how to hook up the thermocouple, and a video to demonstrate installation. Further, the images will have to show the consumer exactly what the thermocouple looks like packaged, unpackaged, and, most importantly, what it’s going to look like after proper installation.

Multiple payment and delivery options are part of delighting individual customers. They’ll be concerned with warranties, returns, and refunds. Ultimately, the consumer is more likely to buy and less likely to return the thermocouple if your product pages make a clear, attractive promise your company and products can keep.

The Contractor

This customer wants to be certain the thermocouple is available for pick up immediately, or that delivery is available for precisely the right time and place. The contractor will also require the thermocouple to arrive in perfect condition, ready for installation.

The product page for this kind of customer will need to include all necessary installation information and precise specifications, like a CAD drawing. If the house where the thermocouple will be installed is in a city, county, or state with complex regulations about installation, your product pages should address this concern to maximize conversions.

Contractors are also knowledgeable, so product content has to include a certain level of industry-specific jargon to assure them your company knows everything about what it’s selling. Ultimately, the contractor isn’t going to buy your thermocouple if your product pages don’t assure them they won’t have to waste time, and lose money, waiting because the thermocouple is out of stock.

The Enterprise Company

This customer may have specialized pricing schemes to take advantage of buying at geographic or volume scale, or both, and certain specific delivery requirements. 

Beyond product pages, enterprise customers are likely to expect a gated view of your site. Once logged in, they will want product pages customized to negotiated requirements. Enterprise companies will also expect your product pages to include a high-degree of product content to educate them about your thermocouples.

Notice how little the two paragraphs above actually discuss the product itself. The impersonal focus of the enterprise company is just one demonstration of the wide variability in customer-specific requirements.

You can’t sell to a person the same way you can sell to company, so your product pages have to reflect that fact.

Here is a breakdown of the differences inherent to the 3 kinds of customers in our case study.

Multi-Storefront Sales Tailored by Customer

The case study above is only an example, as ecommerce operations often sell simultaneously to many different kinds of customers. Obviously, the more store considerations you have to account for, the more multi-storefronts you will need, and the more complex your operations become.

Because customers range in size, even though there is some overlap, each tends to have a specific main concern. These main concerns are best met with product content presented in a particular way across a company’s multi-storefront.

pim-tailored-content
An incomplete list of different kinds of customers and specific example concerns includes the following.

Individual Consumers

People shopping online tend to place price above all other concerns, but don’t forget to highlight quality and functionality in product descriptions. Individuals also like lots of images, but videos are the biggest sellers today.

Students

Like individual consumers, students care about prices. But students are also eligible for discounts, so don’t forget to address those. Students also tend to buy one of everything per year, so highlighting a 1-year guarantee is key.

Small Contractors

Contractors have to know products are available and will be delivered precisely on time. They’ll also need as much installation and regulatory information as necessary to opt for your products.

Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofits and NGOs are often focused on local, regional, national, and international issues. So your product content has to speak to their values concerning one or all of these.

Media Companies

News outlets focus on the issues their readers and viewers are concerned with. So your product content has to assure them those issues are important to you, too.

Schools

Public schools are highly regulated by local governments, so product pages need to include regulatory compliance information. Universities, on the other hand, are often focused on prestige. So they tend to associate with brands with strongly established reputations for high quality.

Law Enforcement

Like public schools, law enforcement is tightly regulated. But unlike them, selling to adults instead of children means your product pages will have to focus on quality over aesthetics.

Hospitals

Hospitals are subject to a heavy amount of oversight, because so much of what they buy has the potential to kill people. As such, your product pages will have to place extraordinary emphasis on compliance to ensure customers your products meet absolutely every regulation.

Enterprise Companies

These customers will want to negotiate the best possible deal at scale, requiring a long sales cycle and development of a close business relationship.

Military

Buyers of this kind are likely to be even more focused on scale than enterprise companies, because military equipment is subject to intentional destruction.

Government

Finally, because governments are the most bureaucratic institutions on Earth, you’ll have to develop relationships with dozens, or even hundreds, of individuals and departments. This level of required detail means omitting even a single piece of product information on any of your product pages could be the difference between a sale and not.

Regardless of who you’re selling to, PIM is ultimately the solution for simplifying optimization of product content for all the product pages making up your complex multi-storefront operation.

pim-multi-storefront

Multi-Storefronts Tailored to Use Case

As stated above, multi-storefronts work because of an emphasis of focus on specific customer types, but that’s just the beginning. You can also use multi-storefronts to differentiate between any number of other varying factors, such as:

Specific Products

Above we looked at how you can set up multi-storefronts to serve different kinds of customers. But you can also arrange them to showcase a specific product or group of related products. Selling only a specific group of products together, with descriptions and images that highlight their connections, drives cross-sell.

Geographical Location

Multi-storefronts simplify international expansion of operations by supporting different languages, currencies, and units of measure. Don’t lose customers who like how your products look, but who can’t read your descriptions.

Technologies

Some customers prefer to shop online with a desktop computer and some like the flexibility of buying with a phone. Some customers have Android phones and some use iPhones. Don’t disappoint customers with product pages that look bad just because they prefer shopping with a phone.

Themes

Many products sell better at specific times of the year or are automatically associated with holidays or other events. Boost seasonal sales with multi-storefronts optimized to appeal to back-to-school shoppers or people who shop for Christmas presents year round.

Promotional Multi-Storefronts

Use multi-storefronts to set up sites with short-term special offers or temporary sales promotions.

Product Page Optimization

If you aren’t sure about the buyer persona you want to target with a particular product offer, set up multi-storefronts like A/B tests. That way you can determine how best to optimize product pages, to craft and sharpen brand messaging.

Sheer Numbers

Ultimately, it’s the simple math that leads to groundswell. The more multi-storefronts you operate, the higher the likelihood that one or more of them will end up ranking highly on Google. Whether that happens or not, with more multi-storefronts comes more chance customers will simply find one of your stores. All that adds up to more conversions.

multi-storefront-mistakes

How PIM Helps You Avoid Common Multi-Storefront Mistakes

Succeeding in today’s ecommerce space is as much about figuring out how to do things right as not starting off by doing things wrong. Here is a list of common mistakes you can solve by implementing a PIM solution.

As of 2017, there were approximately 12 to 24 million ecommerce sites online worldwide.

Digital Commerce 360 (source)

Mistake #1: Not differentiating yourself enough

Nothing is going to make selling online easy, but PIM makes it easier to organize product content. With regard to multi-storefronts, PIM removes the endless hassle of managing product information and images. In turn, you can focus on niching your sites.

Building a strong brand is hard, so delegate work to your PIM.

Setting up a successful ecommerce website can take up to 1 year.

Entrepreneur.com (source)

Mistake #2: Not automating simple required tasks

Don’t use up your valuable time making sure all your product pages are optimized. Instead, sharpen the focus of your multi-storefront operation by tweaking your page designs and product presentation to drive sales. You can ensure you present visitors with accurate information and up-to-date images and videos with a PIM.

Achieving sales success takes time, so let your PIM do the repetitive work.

82.97% of ecommerce website content is duplicate in nature.

Ecommerce Platforms (source)

Mistake #3: Running an overly complex multi-storefront

This blog is full of reasons why a multi-storefront operation will drive revenue and grow your market share. But it’s important not to get ahead of yourself. PIM simplifies running even hundreds of sites, but ask yourself why you need so many.

Instead of thinking up ideas for new sites, make sure your sites are built on robust, revenue-generating necessity.

(Read everything you need to know about picking the right PIM solution in the blog featured below.)

pim-meet-goals

The Bottom Line

If the goal of your eCatalog or ecommerce store is to drive revenue, you have to provide the tailored product content that converts for different kinds of customers you sell to. Simultaneously you have to keep your multi-storefront product pages optimized with accurate and up-to-date product information. The best way to do this is with a PIM solution.

With PIM supporting the product content syndication behind all these multi-storefronts, you can be sure your product pages are enriched and compelling. This is the case regardless of who sees them, where they see them, how they see them, when they see them, or what their specific likes and interests are.

Now that you know just how important a PIM is for driving multi-storefront revenue, click here to see what Catsy can do for you today.

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.

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.

PIM Do’s and Don’ts: 7 Steps to Picking the Right PIM

PIM do’s and don’ts – the biggest DO when it comes to selecting a product information management (PIM) solution is also the biggest DON’T:

You DO need to choose the PIM that solves all the problems you have, so DON’T buy one if you don’t need one.

But how do you know if you need one or not?

To help you with this important decision, we’ve created a simple, step-by-step guide. With it, you can determine whether or not your operations would benefit from PIM integration.

How does it work?

Easy, if you answer any of the 7 questions below with large amounts, or worse, you don’t know what the answers are, it might be time to start thinking about a PIM.

But first, let’s talk about value.

pim-dos-and-don'ts-value

What value does PIM bring?

One key feature of PIM is greatly simplified functionality for inputting, updating, and managing product content across channels, manufacturers, products, and variants. If you’re repeatedly having trouble finding specific pieces of product content, how can you enrich your product pages?

What is product content?

Product content can be divided between the following two categories.

  • Product information
    • Descriptions
    • Specifications
    • Feature benefits
  • Digital assets
    • Images
    • Videos
    • CAD drawings

*These lists are not exhaustive.

As the numbers of these increase, so must the complexity of your organization.
pim-update-product-pages

1. How often do you update your product pages or catalogs?

Complex operations necessarily require ever higher degrees of organization.

In 2010, research into 1,150 senior executives at companies of at least 1,000 employees resulted in 2 major revelations:

“Companies reporting low levels of complexity … had the highest returns on capital employed and the highest returns on invested capital.”

(McKinsey & Company)

Further, 80% of companies that minimized complexity also saved money, with some having slashed nearly 20 percent of personnel costs by prioritizing value of activity over its complexity.

Ecommerce today is overburdened with automatable busy work.

PIM makes keeping product content up to date and accurate far easier than with traditional spreadsheet management. These benefits minimize complexity, but are best understood at scale. So if your products don’t change from month to month or year to year, updating your product pages and catalogs often is probably unnecessary.

For example, companies that sell seasonal products likely have an annual updating schedule, giving them a year to foresee and avoid product page and catalog updating problems. Companies that provide a set of products proven to sell year after year may not need to update their catalogs and product pages at all, except to change their overall aesthetic.

So if you’re consistently certain your product information is accurate and up to date, and your company falls into one of the categories describes above, you might not need a PIM.

Unless you want to increase sales by selling on more channels…
pim-channels-amount

2. How many channels do you sell across?

And how complex are their processes?

Do the sales channels you work with provide standard templates to create new products in their systems? Are those templates ready to accept attribute information for new products immediately? If not and you have to send in a general description, how long do you have to wait for them to get back to you?

Multi-channel campaigns that bring limited or no results might be suffering from a lack of the enrichment capability of PIM.

One channel might be fine with several different file types and sizes, while another might want your images to correspond to highly specific parameters. One channel might require a small number of specific pieces of information, while another might need dozens per product page.

PIM makes this, and many other jobs, easier.

Another key function of PIM is automatic translation and conversion. Do you sell products in other countries? Only 20% of the world speaks English, so if you don’t have a way to convert your product pages into your customers’ preferred languages, you’re not going to sell to them.

Likewise, if your spec sheets discuss your products in Imperial terms, with inches and gallons instead of centimeters and liters, it’s likely you’re just confusing 7.3 billion potential customers who use the Metric system worldwide. Ultimately, PIM ensures product content coherence across channels.

Just how many markets do you want to sell in anyway?

Selling across multiple channels is complicated at best, but it’s relatively easy to maintain high quality product content on one channel if you don’t update your product pages or catalogs often. In that case, you may not need the functionality a PIM provides.

Unless you sell products made by several manufacturers…
pim-manufacturers

3. How many manufacturers do you work with?

If you only work with one manufacturer, you probably don’t need the organization PIM provides.

Again, the more simple your operation, the easier it likely is to manage. But as product information comes to you from ever more manufacturers, several possibilities become more and more likely.

  1. Standardizing information entered with different systems requires more and more work to coordinate
  2. Formatting that information for your sales channels adds a second level to standardization
  3. Some manufacturers will inevitably be worse at supplying you with error-free information

To a certain degree you can mitigate some of these difficulties in Excel. But if you don’t know how to build, maintain, and feed standardized information into macros, managing more and more manufacturers will only require more time and effort.

So, if you only work with a single manufacturer to sell on one platform and your product pages or catalogs don’t need much updating, you probably don’t need a PIM.

Unless you sell a large number of products…
pim-products-amount

4. How many products do you sell?

Is a hard number really a useful measure?

It can also be helpful to think of this question in terms of people, amount of work, or simply time. Regardless of the number of products you sell, if one person can get all the work done in 40 hours a week, do you need to buy a PIM?

But is the work REALLY getting done?

Ultimately, you know your operation well enough to confidently say all the product content management work is getting done. Think about how well organized your products appear to be, and whether any associated information is ever missing from your product pages. PIM is a way of getting even more done in an equal amount of time, which means organization that leads to robust product pages that convert.

Do you provide a personal experience?

Personalization driven by tailored content is the engine of modern ecommerce, something consumers have come to expect from shopping experiences. PIM functionality makes personalization easier, so you can keep the promises you make to your customers, increasing sales and decreasing returns.

What about new products?

How long does it take your company to bring new products to market? Ecommerce success is typically measured in dollars and cents, not hours and days. But the fact of the matter is PIM can reduce whatever that amount of time is.

If you dread bring new products to market, because meeting deadlines and quality standards is so difficult, PIM can help. With PIM, product pages aren’t just complete, they’re dripping with the most accurate information possible and set off with rich, detailed pictures, descriptions, and feature explanations.

To sum up, if you don’t have trouble bringing new products to market, sell a small number of products from one manufacturer on a single channel, and your product pages or catalogs don’t require regular updating, a PIM likely isn’t for you.

Unless your products have a lot of variants…
pim-product-complexity

5. How complex are your products?

Product complexity increases with the number of attributes.

How did you estimate the number of variants for your products when you completed the tool at the beginning of this post? If you have a large operation it’s likely this was the most difficult question to answer, because some products are simple and some are impossibly complex.

In any case, most products vary to some degree.

Another key organizational feature of PIM is variant organization, known as parent/child relationship. A parent is like a master product template, including a comprehensive list of all possible attributes a given product has. The children are the variant products sharing an identical set of attributes, but with varying values for them.

For example, if a parent product is a t-shirt, one child would be an extra-large, blue t-shirt. This is a very simple example, as complex products can have virtually any number of attributes and those attributes can have a huge variety of possible values.

Product content enrichment, accuracy, and completeness drive sales conversions, so the more variants you have, the more digital assets you’re going to need. A PIM with digital asset management (DAM) capability simplifies this by giving you the option of tying a single image to each child product. One benefit is that your product pages will be tidy, making more sense to your customers and the search engines they use to find your products.

Think about the example above, if you’re selling 10 sizes of blue shirts, do you need 10 different pictures?

If your operation is simple, you have a small number of business partnerships, and you sell a narrow variety of simple products, you probably don’t need to invest in a PIM.

Unless your prices change often…
pim-update-prices

6. How often do you update your prices?

If you sell a lot of different, highly complex products, you’re probably adjusting your prices often.

Selling in highly competitive markets tends to call for adjusting prices more frequently. Under certain circumstances you may need to display discounted prices next to original prices, to entice potential customers to take advantage of savings.

If you run sales, promotions, or special offers frequently, you’ll probably need to set and reset prices often. If those offers take place at random, or if you have to manually calculate prices precisely, adjusting your prices may be taking up a significant amount of your time.

PIM can be set to do all of these automatically.

So, if everything above leads to you to believe you don’t need a PIM and your products have stable prices, then a PIM probably isn’t going to help you do business.

Unless your product content comes from multiple internal sources…
pim-team-size

7. How many employees do you have?

Getting this far through the list means you’re probably running a big company.

PIM collects product content from multiple sources to maintain product information consistency across internal teams and external sales channels. If yours is a small operation, you’re less likely to need that kind of management control.

However, large operations require a significant investment in inter-team organization. PIMs often include workflow capability to increase efficiency and productivity. Workflow allows you to assign tasks in a specific order with messaging and reminders set to trigger automatically. This makes it easier to ensure operations more forward smoothly, and that each of your employees gets what they need to complete their work right when they need it.

To Recap:

If any of the following are true or if you’re planning on expanding to the following capacities, a PIM might need to be in your future.
  1. Your product pages or catalogs require regular updating
  2. Your company sells on two or more channels
  3. Multiple manufacturers provide you with products
  4. You sell a wide variety of products
  5. The products you sell come in a variety of configurations
  6. Your prices are volatile
  7. You have more than a few employees who directly control some amount of your product information
best-pim

What the Best PIM Will Do for You

Owning the digital shelf means delivering the rich, accurate product pages most likely to convert visitors to your site into paying customers. Remember, accurate product information is one lever you have significant control over on the engine driving ecommerce sales success.

While human fickleness means you can’t keep people from changing their minds and returning products, you can help them make them up in the first place.

Do this with rich, compelling product pages full of accurate information.

Bonus Pointers

We promised a list of PIM do’s and don’ts at the outset, so here it is:

DO choose a PIM that…
  1. Solves all of your concerns, but don’t choose one that’s overly complex or provides functionality you know you won’t use.
  2. Includes DAM integration, but don’t opt for a DAM built to mimic the functionality of a PIM.
  3. Offers responsive customer service, but don’t simply take their word for it (see final thought below).

Final thought: To verify the PIM you’re considering offers all of these, you should conduct your own research and read reviews on sites like G2Crowd.

Now that you have everything you need to know to decide whether or not you need a PIM, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

Product Pages Drive Ecommerce Success: Everything You Need to Know

Compelling product pages full of accurate, up-to-date information delight customers and drive sales conversions. Optimize your product pages with PIM.

“Can I use PIM to grow market share and improve sales?

Let’s answer this question by talking about product pages.

Ecommerce success is mastering product information to build high-converting product pages and thus maximize visibility.

Why?

Fact #1: As of January 10, 2018, Amazon was selling 562,382,292 products.

Do you think that number is going to go up or down?

Fact #2: Ecommerce expanded by 15% in 2018 to $517.36 billion.

By 2040, as much as 95% of all retail sales could be done online.

So, how are you going to sell products in a market that continues to grow? In short, how are you going to make your site and products stand out?

Answer: with beautiful product pages full of compelling product content

PIM is the foundation of product pages that convert, because it ensures centralization and optimization of product information, driving completeness, accuracy, and consistency across sales channels.

In this post…

We’ll take a look at 6 ways PIM simplifies ecommerce, so you can create the high-converting product pages you need to maximize revenue.

pim-powerful-product-pages

#1. Powerful Product Pages

High-converting product pages are built out of compelling product content. Product content is any information a visitor needs to become a customer, including…

  • Specifications
  • Descriptions
  • Reviews
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Guides

Pro tip: only product pages full of content that draws in and holds visitor attention are optimized and convert.

Pro tip: optimized product page content targets specific buyer personas directly.

How do I build buyer personas?

By gathering as much information about your potential customers as you can, so you can better serve them. You need to know their…

  • Interests
  • Demographic specific
  • Preferred media
And you have to speak to them in a language they understand.

Social media gathers a massive amount of data you can use to gain insight into the lives of your buyer personas, so you can customize and personalize your product pages with the content your customers find…

  • Important
  • Compelling

Localize Content

Content needs to speak directly to your target audiences regardless of where they exist online and physically live.

Take care with…

  • Language
  • Spelling
  • Area specific context
  • Units of measure
  • Currency-specific prices

PIM tailors product pages by persona, and includes location information.

Use PIM to configure product pages to display varying content automatically, so the language, units, and spelling used in a given target market convert automatically.

Because

When tailored to the wrong market, even the best content is virtually as useless as no content at all.

Remember:

Quality product pages simultaneously increase sales conversions and minimize returns.

They do this by making a compelling promise and delivering.

#2. Complete, Accurate Product Information

Online shoppers do more research than ever these days. Product pages full of poor quality content will tell your customers you can’t fulfill their needs.

2018 Online Shopper Research Statistics:

  • 62% of customers who don’t know what they’re looking for start with a search engine
  • 50% of customers who DO know what they’re looking for start with a search engine
  • 25% of customers visited at least 5 popular search or retail websites before buying: Amazon, Best Buy, Google, Target, and Walmart

Your product pages have to be full of the complete and accurate product information customers want across all these channels.

Optimizing your product pages with quality information requires ongoing effort. Your business has to be responsive enough to update product information in real time.

Enrich Supplier Information

Collecting information from suppliers manually involves near constant communication.

Instead…

PIM provides an improved flow of product information between suppliers and ecommerce management, increasing…

  • Efficiency
  • Collaboration

Information gotten from suppliers exists in fragmented subsets, but PIM makes those confusing spreadsheets unnecessary.

PIM manages information flow, allowing for…
  1. Data enrichment
  2. Detailed descriptions
  3. Rich images
  4. Compelling videos
Ultimately: Optimized Content

PIM

  • Makes editing, modifying, and exporting product information far easier than before.
  • Simplifies supplier on-boarding, easing integration and increasing productivity.
  • Improves product information quality and removes the need for constant information transfer from one spreadsheet to another.

It all adds up to optimized product pages.

Reduce Errors

Problem: Product information from multiple decentralized systems compromises consistency.

Solution: Spreadsheets have traditionally been used to store product information manually.

However…

Using Excel increases the risk of human error and time spent.

A Better Solution: PIM eliminates manual data entry errors by providing a central product information database.

This means staff input and update all product information centrally. This unification produces beautiful product pages, so you can:

  1. Increase brand confidence
  2. Ensure a seamless customer shopping experience
  3. Convert more visitors into buyers
  4. Maximize revenue
  5. Grow your market share

Simply, PIM is the solution for managing product pages and keeping product information accurate and fresh.

Accurate and fresh product information leads to conversions.

pim-unify-syndication

#3. Unify Syndication

Customers want product information to be available on your site as well as the platforms they prefer. Even when product page design varies across platforms, customers who see information that isn’t identical will become confused.

Confused customers don’t convert.

The current average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.57%.

With more customers doing research online, it’s no big surprise that sites suffer abandoned shopping carts when their product pages don’t display matching information across channels.

Manually updating product pages across platforms after you’ve updated your website is a total waste of time.

With PIM, product information goes out across all of your distribution channels automatically.

When information is accurate and syndication is coordinated, only then can you deliver a truly excellent digital shopping experience.

Basically, PIM is a central hub of quality product information, which…

  • enables product page updates
  • ensures product content consistency

Because ecommerce businesses tend not to operate on a single channel, PIM ensures customers see the same product information regardless of which channel’s product page they’re looking at.

Expand to Sell Across Multiple Channels

Want to grow, but not exactly sure how?

Because product pages vary by sales platform, product information has to be specifically configured to requirements by channel.

What has to be configured?

  • File size
  • File type
  • Image size
  • Description length
  • Required information
  • Unit Value Length
  • Conditionally required information

Anything not set properly will detract from the overall pop of your product pages. Ultimately, this turns off potential customers, and loses you revenue.

Selling on more channels requires robust organization and management of existing product information.

With PIM, you can create subsets of information from your master catalog. These can be automatically tailored to each platform’s requirements.

International Growth

What is ecommerce’s single greatest value to you?

Selling online levels the playing field. It allows small businesses to compete against massive companies in the global market. This unlocks the potential for tremendous growth.

Problem: with expansion comes the need to sell in multiple languages with specifications to meet customer needs across the globe.

Adding new languages and converting units manually is nearly impossible.

Solution: PIM provides clear processes for all data and language translation.

Remember:

Time saved = money earned.

pim-efficient-management

#4. Efficient Management

Supervising manual processes is dull, time consuming, and difficult.

You need automation.

Further, management needs a consistent overview of ongoing processes to increase efficiency.

PIM automation speeds up processes, providing quick answers to important questions about:

  • Approvals
  • Launches
  • Updates
  • Translated text
  • Information changes
  • Product discontinuation

PIM systems come with built-in workflows providing visual overview of processes and project progress and completion.

PIM keeps management on top of everything so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Enhance Team Productivity

Product pages populate with information generated by and spread across your entire operation.

  1. Images from your design team
  2. Feature bullets written by marketing
  3. Specs from product managers
  4. Shipping details from logistics
  5. Warnings from legal
  6. IT techs upload everything by channel specifications

Storing this information centrally supercharges efficiency.

Remember:

New product launches compound existing inefficiencies exponentially.

When individual bits of critical product information are held by dozens of individuals, emails fly back and forth and accuracy is lost in the shuffle.

Don’t sacrifice your product pages to miscommunication.
PIM centralization eliminates hassle, safeguarding accuracy.

Teams spend far less time managing existing product attributes, leaving them free to devote themselves to bringing on new ones.

PIM facilitates smart work over hard work.

Synergize Marketing and Sales

Ecommerce companies wage a war to win customers, this war is called marketing.

Good marketing is good messaging.

PIM allows you to consistently supply target markets with accurate information about products and services.

No more marketing promising one thing and sales delivering another.

PIM makes effectively and efficiently managing sales channels to ensure consistent messaging much simpler than traditional methods.

pim-reduce-time-to-market

#5. Reduce Time to Market

Time to market is how long it takes to go from conceiving of a product to being ready to sell it.

Fact: No retail business in the world can disregard reducing time to market.

Using PIM, different teams and departments can work to improve efficiency simultaneously. Having a single data repository speeds up teamwork as each update is centrally available immediately.

Workflow automation allows you to:

  • Assign tasks to multiple employees automatically
  • Manage progress at a glance
  • Automate reminders
  • Ensure tasks are completed in the correct order
  • Set permissions so critical data is protected throughout processes
For example, PIM automates time-consuming tasks like working with vendors.

Imagine how much less time it would take your internationally sold products to get to market if you automated collaboration with your translation services.

Produce Catalogs Faster

Product catalogs remain a big part of omni-channel marketing.

Aside from being of great use in direct marketing, catalogs guide customers through the digital landscape. Powerful and consistent catalog content presents the opportunity to up and cross-sell customers.

PIM organizes ecommerce product information into a central point of reference for both merchants and buyers. This ensures consistency and drives conversions.
pim-efficient-workflow

#6. Drive Innovation

As new technologies fill the digital landscape, the information filling your product pages needs to be flexible and responsive.

The most cutting-edge digital technologies, like virtual assistants and chatbots, require precisely structured data to work properly.

This data is very difficult to produce manually.

You need a system that ensures smooth updating transitions and supports as many channels as you want to syndicate across.

PIM centralization makes product information available for quicker integration with new solutions. So you can create customized and personalized customer experiences with ease.

Integration

As ecommerce businesses expand, so does the number of services vital to ensuring continued sales success.

PIM works with:

  • ERP systems
  • Procurement systems
  • Suppliers
  • Data suppliers
  • Legacy systems
  • Print channels
  • Digital customer channels
  • Source systems
  • 3rd party channels

Centralization of information is nothing if the information isn’t complete, because it comes from a system you can’t integrate.

The Goal: Ecommerce Success

Today’s ecommerce leaders know the role quality product pages play in the success of their businesses.

Hence: PIM

In a bid to differentiate their brands from the competition their product content is overflowing with:

  • Rich description
  • Beautiful images
  • Precise information
  • Interesting videos
  • Compelling presentation
  • Exhaustive completeness

Ultimately, ecommerce thrives on the digital exchange of information.

This is what PIM is made to facilitate.

Which is why ecommerce success is centered on PIM.

Now that you know how a PIM empowers you to increase revenue by optimizing your product pages, click here to see what Catsy can do for you today.

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.

Product Delivery Is Quick and Reliable with PIM

Digital channel product delivery is a priority for manufacturers, but it’s tough. Use these insights to deliver your products quickly and reliably.

The Internet is sure to undergo ever more innovative changes in the coming years.

Also, we know we’ll continue to make purchases via digital channels. The the shift to ecommerce sales channels, and corresponding decline of brick and mortar stores, means product delivery has become a key ingredient for success.

This change will affect the customer experience for consumers and businesses alike.

This blog will focus on B2B buyers, because the volume of transaction made in business buying is much higher and more complex than in consumer to consumer buying.

Product delivery speed and reliability are important weapons companies can use to stay ahead of the competition.

  • Speed assures buyers their purchases arrive on time.
  • Reliability assures buyers the product delivered is what they ordered.

Not offering enough product delivery options results in more abandoned purchases. Most people have little patience when it comes to assuring them of fast delivery of their orders.

A foolproof product delivery strategy is crucial.

Often times, customers become frustrated and the resultant effect is an abandoned shopping cart, meaning lost sales. Thus, the need for increased speed and visibility influences the logistics chain heavily.

Product delivery doesn’t only signify the arrival of ordered goods, but encompasses so much more.

Every single piece of the pie has to do with product delivery. This includes everything from delivery presentation and marketing, right down to the time and method of delivery. Your customers will place great importance in all of these.

What do Customers Want?

How to draw in customer attention is a puzzle all businesses grapple with.

Business buyers and consumers alike all have misgivings about the product delivery process of most ecommerce stores. This could stem from:

  • High delivery costs
  • Lack of a suitable delivery option
  • Having little or no faith in the seller’s product delivery system

As the time it takes to deliver a product increases, so does dissatisfaction. Ultimately, it all ends with a frustrated “I’ll never buy from them again!”

Customers want a clear and accurate tracking system in place to keep them updated on the progress of the orders they have placed. They want interactive communication about their order even before it arrives. This can be done through email, texts, or phone calls to update customers about changes or just to reassure them.

Customers want a brand that is ready to own up to lapses in their purchase system especially when product delivery issues come up. Hence, ecommerce stores must find the best way to provide excellent customer service. This is especially true because, after all, customers can choose to buy from anyone.

Customers are more likely to return and buy again if a brand can deliver at affordable prices, with flexible shipping options, and provide fast delivery. This shows that you must devise strategies to improve your product delivery to meet all these expectations.

Product Delivery Delays

To find a way to make product delivery systems more effective for ecommerce stores, go to the root of the problem looking for possible causes of delivery delays.

Delivery experiences may be the test to judge the personality of a brand, influencing its identity. This is why any customer that has to put up with a delivery delay on the first order may decide not to buy from your site again.

One major cause of delivery delays is documentation mistakes.

It has dual roots and can come from the company or the business buyers themselves. Documentation mistakes include:

  • Misspelled addresses
  • Incomplete information
  • Incomplete order forms
  • Human error as a result of poorly managed multi-tasking
All these affect the delivery of products quickly and reliably.

Ecommerce is a 24/7 marketplace unrestricted by location. Hence, system failure, bad hosting, and other technicalities affect the ability of a store to deliver reliably and on time.

Increase Conversion Rates

Conversion rates increase with the boost in customer confidence an efficient delivery system generates. And these days word of mouth is more important to ecommerce than ever before.

Delivery options and prices should display clearly on every page of your site, including cart and checkout pages. Prices shouldn’t be hard to find, but instead clearly visible to customers. Only then can customers make good purchase decisions.

Your excellent delivery strategy can set you apart from competitors. Your site will easily stand out from those that don’t deliver on promises. This creates buzz around your uniqueness, resulting in increased sales and a favorable brand image.

Positive Business Results

The prompt and accurate delivery of orders creates value for your buyers.

In return, you gain positive business results. The value created is the delivery of products at the right place, in the right condition for customer needs. These positive results create widespread buzz for your business, increased goodwill, and improved brand reputation.

Increase Repeat Purchases

Your delivery strategy is a source of competitive advantage for your offer, turning visitors into customers and customers into repeat buyers.  Thus, delivering on your promise is sure to improve your brand image in their mind’s eyes and wow them.

Good delivery is the mechanism for ensuring issues are handled when they arise.

The end goal in ecommerce is the transformation of buyers into repeat buyers. Your delivery mechanism can help do this. Ensuring that orders are received in satisfactory condition at the right time will go a long way to help make the transformation a reality.

Repeat customers are the cash cows of every business, so their needs are a priority. At the back of your mind should be the knowledge that repeat sales don’t happen by accident. A conscious effort by a brand to wow the customer at all touch points with them does the trick.

Do Your Homework

First things first: research and don’t forget preparation is very important.

You need to carry out research into delivery issues and use facts to find and implement the best solution. Identify your delivery needs and goals to direct the actions you will take to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.

Your delivery goals should promote:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Improvement in customer service
  • Increased online sales
  • Improved relationships between your business and buyers

All these should be taken into consideration as goals and objectives are being set. Information about shipping costs and competitive delivery practices should be priorities.

Answer the dilemma of whether to outsource or not to.

Do you have adequate resources to be able to handle logistics internally or will you use the services of a third party logistics provider? This can only be properly answered with adequate research.

The issue of returns should be addressed in the phase of logistics policy formulation.

Buying online comes with the possibility of returns because product aren’t physically present to be handled and properly inspected. A survey conducted revealed that 81% of customers will go for businesses that offer easy and free returns.

Allowing returns comes with its own problems. Hence, research and proper consultations should be made, with pros and cons tabulated to make the best decisions that will deliver best customer experiences.

Packaging Is Important

More than the generic benefit of protecting and preserving the product, there should be a special “feel” that your packaging should give.

Some experiences of customers have left them discontented with the purchase they made. Ecommerce stores need to keep up with consumers’ unrestricted purchases.

Since business buyers can’t physically handle the product, the packaging their order comes in becomes their first impression of you, which is a really huge deal you can’t afford to miss out on.

Some studies reveal that an average number of customers have the belief that the packaging of their shipment reveals the level of importance the seller has about them and the order they placed.

Your Word Is Your Bond

Breaking promises is the best way to lose customers.

If it is broken despite well-thought-out plans, a mechanism for service recovery should be put in place. You should list realistic minimum and maximum delivery times. This is to strike a balance between putting unnecessary pressure to meet up and disappointing customers from the resultant delays.

Remember, the reason why a purchase is made is to meet needs, and time is one of them.

No matter the additional benefits and promises your product comes with, if delivery is promised in 48 hours, it should be done so consistently. If orders made aren’t received within the specified time, a disconnect between the buyer and brand develops. Ultimately, this leads to disaster

The moment a business loses sight of the need to fulfill brand promises, it starts to decline.

It is preferable to promise delivery in five business days, even if it can be done in two, than to promise two days and end up disappointing the customer. The secret is to make a realistic promise and delight your customers by delivering it in less time than promised.

Shipping rate and delivery condition transparency will earn you customer loyalty.

While transparency is exercised, also apply flexibility. Thus, consumers should be offered as many options as possible. They should never have a reason to abandon their shopping carts.

Update Your Inventory

Have you ever clicked to buy an item you absolutely loved only to get an error message? This must have produced a myriad of negative emotions.

Having incorrect inventory levels will only upset customers.

Classify your inventory properly to ensure stock levels are maintained, especially for fast-moving products. This will go a long way to help save time in the process of order fulfillment. Hence, your inventory should be regularly updated to prevent the occurrence of incidences.

Keeping your inventory up to date will mitigate running out of products.

After all the effort spent in product promotion, the product should be on hand when requested. Management of inventory can help increase profit margins because it allows the efficient movement of goods. This can offer a business competitive advantage.

Use Logistics Software

Using automated logistic software goes a long way to ensure accuracy.

This is especially true when regularly updating data. The Amazon effect has increased customer demand, particularly with regard to delivery time. Amazon offers same-day delivery for many products sold on its platform.

Using automated logistics can help reduce costly errors that can be gotten from manual data entry, helping brand deliver better customer experiences. This is highly important, especially when you realize that it costs you so much to lose just one customer.

Your overall strategy will determine which logistics software you should use.

Remember, it must also be in line with your delivery goals and objectives. Determine the best way to integrate your logistics software into your overall business strategy.

An automated system also helps resolve business decisions as a result of access to stored trends and history. Having valuable data will help you see a clearer picture of the costs of each decision you make.

Use a unified platform that can integrate all aspects of the supply chain in the management of logistics. It should be one that can easily harmonize all links of your supply chain network.

Product Delivery with Couriers

A number of ecommerce stores use the services of courier companies with a specialty in handling logistics and delivery. However, assess them properly and find the best one to help achieve your delivery goals.

The contract drawn with these companies should communicate a clear message and should be easy to understand. Courier companies can offer flexible delivery packages that can save you time and avoid unnecessary delays.

When you don’t have the resources at your disposal to fulfill orders on time, go with a courier.

A lot of stores benefit from the advantage courier companies bring to the table. Courier companies can offer services that will increase overall performance, reduce costs, and allow you to focus on other demanding business activities. Outsourcing your order fulfillment function also allows you make the most of technology without the accompanying risks. Outsourcing your order fulfillment function also allows you make the most of technology without the accompanying risks.

Include Surprise Freebies

You aren’t just trying to deliver products quickly and reliably, but to do it so well your customers feel like they have no choice but to come back for more. A surprise gift may sound complicated, but it’s really not. A thoughtful little gift can make a huge impact.

Remember, the gift doesn’t have to be expensive to make an impression.

Surprise freebies are a great way to delight customers and create impressions that will live on and influence further purchase decisions. Unconsciously, buyers psychologically incline toward your brand in a bid to repay the favor.

Pull It Together to Win

Delivery is one factor buyers consider before trusting a brand.

This is why consumers are quick to point out that unreliable delivery is what discourages them from buying online. Surveys have revealed 60% of customers say their central reason for online shopping is delivery convenience.

A defective delivery system is a liability to the success of the company.

Quick and reliable product delivery is key to ecommerce success. Again, product delivery doesn’t start and end with the receipt of goods. Instead, it’s traceable back to buyer shopping experience. This is also true of the processes and technology necessary for order fulfillment.

A lot can go wrong at different stages of these processes, in particular with order placement and delivery. Online checkout pages should be shorter and should enable easy filling. If brands can’t fulfill these expectations with the resources at hand, outsource the function.

Third party logistics firms have the capacity to handle your customers’ delivery needs.

With the increase in the popularity of online stores, buyer expectations expand. This is why delivery of products is a challenge for ecommerce stores and finding a flexible delivery option becomes necessary.

Your customers brand experiences will fall into three categories:

  • Below expectations
  • Equal to expectations
  • Beyond expectations
Brands that want to grow to meet industry standards will aim to exceed their buyers’ expectations of their buyers and delight them.

You can’t afford to make even one mistake in your product delivery, because your image and reputation are at stake. These go a long way to influence customer retention rates. Consistent customer communication, so customers are informed every step of the way in their order fulfillment, is crucial.

Now that you know the ins and outs of product delivery, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

How Do You Manage Your Ecommerce Product Attributes?

In this post, we discuss common attribute management mistakes and how you can improve your current processes to maximize sales revenue.

Product attributes vary from one to another as much as people are different from each other. Does that seem weird? Just think of your product attributes in terms of the features or properties that make your product what it is. Features like color, packaging, capacity, size, weight, and anything else that distinguishes a product tend to be different.

Your product attributes will definitely affect your consumers’ purchase decisions. Consumers considering the product attributes highlighted on your site as unique can be the difference between you and the competition. You can turn a prospect into a loyal customer if they think these unique features are valuable.

You need to understand your target customers and the preferences they have for certain product attributes. This will dictate the best way to satisfy them in line with their budget. The issue of price comes into play here. Some product attributes can only be attained within a particular price range.

Tangible vs. Intangible Product Attributes

Now, you probably have an idea of this already, but product attributes can be tangible or intangible. Size, color, touch, packaging, weight, volume, taste, quantity, and material composition are tangible product attributes. Intangible product attributes include quality, reliability, and aesthetics, among others. For example, when driving a car, qualities like the color or the interior décor can move customers towards a particular brand. On the other hand, quality and safety tests can change the mind of the consumer in favor of a competing brand.

This is why you must manage tangible and intangible product attributes properly. Simply, they are the criteria a customer uses to arrive at his or her buying decision.

Why Choose One Product Over Another?

Before you can think of developing strategies to help you manage your products, you need to be familiar with all your product attributes. In creating compelling product content to market your products, attributes work like arrows pointing to the underlying aspects of the product. These can easily determine whether a given consumer will buy them. Let’s look at two examples.

Consider a customer walking into a fast-food restaurant. Your first thought will be the purchase of food at reasonable prices, right? Digging further, the product attributes your consumers could be looking for may include service speed, the interior décor and ambiance of the restaurant, or just the neatness of your staff. A consumer looking at cars may want reliability or durability as opposed to being focused on the car’s brand name.

However, the importance of various product attributes differ from person to person. While reliability may be a deal breaker for some, it could be aesthetics for others. It goes to show how important product ratings are with regards to product attributes. Most companies conduct extensive research on product attributes and their competitors’ methods to incorporate the best product attributes into their delivery.

Why Do Product Attributes Matter Anyway?

Phillip Kotler, a marketing authority discussing product attributes, said: “product attributes are the ingredients necessary for performing the product or service function sought by consumers.” There are basic attributes that customers must find in products and services. They enable the product to perform their proper functions, referred to as Points of Parity.

The absence of these must-have attributes in a product leads to a complete eviction without consideration. A movie theatre should sell treats like popcorn and drinks. We all know consumers expect to have a good time.

In the same line, there are differentiating attributes that make a product or service unique, referred to as points of difference. These features go a step further to create a unique customer experience that will delight. Still on the movie theatre, as a differentiating attribute, it can go a step further by having extra-cushy and comfortable seats for the delight of their consumers. However, it should be noted that these features gradually become points of parity with time.

Some product attributes could also be on the verge of extinction or being phased completely out of existence. These extinct and vestigial features can be modified or completely abandoned. The advancement in technology occurring at the speed of light makes it difficult in some product modifications and may require complete abandonment. Ask the companies that make videotapes and you will understand better.

There is also the presence of dissatisfaction that must be considered. These are the attributes that are abhorred by consumers and discourage them from its use or consumption. A product design can dissatisfy a consumer or the general composition of the product or service. For example, some consumers may reject your offering of fur coats because of the thought of animals being harmed in the process.

I can only imagine the wealth of product information that can be gleaned from understanding your product attributes. You need to constantly be in touch with your product features to ensure they are still satisfying the needs of consumers and going a step further to delight them.

The unique feature you offer may be your product’s saving grace when grouped in a category of products offering similar benefits, giving you a competitive edge. It is so important that consumers are beginning to choose products and services that offer more features than competing brands. And of course, the popularity of internet makes it possible to evaluate similar products in so little time.

Managing the Aesthetic Appeal of Products

When you hear the word aesthetics, synonyms like beauty, attractiveness, and pleasurable come to mind. Aesthetics relate to art and beauty. The aesthetic appeal of a product appeals to your five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and of course, your emotions. Qualities like color, shape, pattern, movement, texture, scale and movement appeal to the sense of sight. Consumers can use these qualities to make their purchase decisions.

When we talk about our sense of hearing, we look out for elements like the beat, noise, pitch, tempo, and melody and volume control. Using sense of smell exposes us to elements like strength, sweetness, fragrance. Elements like texture, weight, shape, vibration, ease of use, comfort can influence through our sense of touch. To satisfy the appeal of our sense of taste, we use elements like sourness, sweetness, amongst others.

The aesthetic appeal of your product should be considered in product design. Of course, the aesthetic appeal may be the primary selling point for some products, while the reverse is the case for some. Using the example of a car, a sports car will have more emphasis on aesthetics than a family salon car which has more emphasis on durability and reliability. It will not be wise making the aesthetic appeal of a product your major selling point when it should deliver on other elements.

The importance of visual elements in influencing purchase action should not be ignored. Constantly ask yourself “how can my product beautify?” and use this answer to increase aesthetic appeal and make your customers understand why you should be at the top of their list. Marketers are gradually realizing that design of products can be a differentiating factor in the purchase of products and services.

Product Style and Design

A distinctive and unique product design and style have the capacity to add customer value. Oftentimes, the design of a product can be attributed to its looks and usefulness to the consumers. It is not enough to brainstorm and come up with an explosive idea, you need to observe your consumers and think of the benefits consumers should expect to enjoy. Doing this will expose you to the design that is best suited for your product according to the expectations of your customers.

Your winning strategy might be focusing on the design features that are unique to your product and use it to your competitive advantage. A typical example is the sleekness of Apple’s design which consumers can spot a thousand miles away.

Create new styles for your existing products. The style of your product must be captivating enough to elicit a wow expression and not a yawn. Yes, it has to be eye-catching to warrant a second, third and even a fourth look. Product design is important because the demands of customers for greater varieties are increasing on a daily basis with technological advancements; with an ever-ready switch option. Here, product lifecycle comes into play.

You need to discover the level your product is at in the product lifecycle. Is it declining in online sales and market share? If it is, you can modify some features like packaging, contents and so to re-introduce it to the market.

Key Points to Note on Product Quality

The issue of quality is a subjective one. Of course, a lot of literature has been written about quality but attacked from differing points of view. With all these numerous definitions, at the end of the day, “quality” to a consumer is achieved when the product can be used effectively. Quality is that feature that distinguishes the novice from the professional. What will bring people beating a path to your doorstep is your commitment to quality; which makes a world of difference to your customers.

Ask a regular customer which feature she would appreciate more regardless of price. The response is likely to be “quality.” Because who wouldn’t want a high-quality product?

How organized are your processes? Standardize your processes to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. This translates to recruiting and training all personnel working with you with well defined tasks to deliver and produce high-quality products. Bear in mind that your practices must align with standard industry practices.

I agree that using substandard parts, components and equipment can save you some huge bucks; however, it is an only short-term with long-term negative effects that are destructive to the growth of your business.

A lot of firms are quick to carry out quality tests at the end of their manufacturing processes. You do not have to follow the bandwagon. Infuse the quality tests into your processes and do not wait until the end. Doing so will help you uncover defective components problems which can be resolved immediately.

The increase in customer satisfaction is indications that you are doing something right; build on that and obtain feedback from customers, suppliers, and employees alike to further improve your practices. These feedbacks will help point out areas of weaknesses and strength which if resolved will help build your image as a brand and increase your overall productivity and profitability.

Quality and Positioning Strategy In Relation To Price

You should select a quality level that is in line with your product’s positioning strategy which will help consumers find an answer to the question of “why should I buy your brand?” Your brand’s positioning strategy is in their value propositions, which are benefits that differentiate your brand from that of competitors.

A company has many positioning strategies it can use. And all of them will affect the quality of their offerings. Some businesses can opt for the option of positioning their brand on a more for more strategy.  With this positioning strategy, businesses provide top-of-the-line products that deliver more benefits at a higher price. Apple is a typical example of a business using the more for more approach.

Using the more for the same strategy, firms can introduce their brand into the market as one with comparable quality at a price that is lower than that of competition. Another positioning strategy is the same for less strategy. Some discount stores make use of this to appeal to consumers who don’t want to sacrifice quality.

The less for much less strategy is one that offers less quality for much less price, taking into account the section of the population that cannot afford the absolute best but need to experience the feel of it. For example, Southwest Airlines positioned their offerings on this strategy, offering cheap flights without the luxury of flying attached. A final important strategy involves getting more for less. This is a winning strategy because of the promise of high-quality products at a lesser price.

Packaging: the Silent Salesman

Looking to manage your product’s features? Product delivery begins with packaging, a feature that you will do well to manage properly. So, you figure you have the best solution in the market and your product should be in high demand but the opposite seems to be the case. One reason could be that there may be a defect in the packaging of your product.

You have to take charge and give your packaging a hundred percent rating. The truth is that instinct buying is taking over and that color, shape, and proximity to location are the drivers of this. Even before the logical side of you has time to reason it out, you buy. Remember, as much as you are store owners, you are consumers first! Thinking as a consumer when making product decisions is the best option you can follow.

When designing your packaging, you have to apply sensory triggers that generate emotion in the subconscious before the conscious side of your customers is awoken.  With your packaging, it makes it easier for your customers to know all about your offering at a glance, further influencing quick purchase action. Your packaging should be such that it can adequately protect the contents within and stand out from the crowd on the shelf.

Your design should not be overly complex. Simple would do just fine. Nothing is more frustrating than a package that seems to provoke stress and headache in uncovering its contents.

Never underestimate the power of feelings in purchase decisions. Consumers will only purchase when a brand provokes a feeling within them. Your packaging should have the capacity of triggering an emotional engagement with your customers; making it a silent salesman!

Pull It Together

As a business that seeks to stand the test of time, it is best to remain uncompromising on the quality of your product or service offerings. However, it isn’t just for management to maintain quality processes. Instead, it requires the conscious effort of everyone within the company.

Maintaining quality practices should become a culture guiding every action through careful planning. Follow the program by implementing the plan and iteration. You can maintain quality by consistently employing best practices.

As for aesthetic appeal, research shows aesthetics is like a bridge linking products and consumer emotion. How a product looks pushes them to make decisions in the shortest of time spans. Consumers are looking for products that appeal to their emotions daily and are willing to shift to competing brands that can satisfy this. So, do not settle nor play it safe!

As a store owner, you need to determine the positioning strategy you want to incorporate into your activities and this will determine the attributes that will be accorded to your products and services, tailored to a particular customer group.

On the issue of product benefits and product features, many will base their arguments that benefits matter more. Although benefits are highly important, product attribute also plays a role in providing a competitive advantage for store owners.

Every product has a particular benefit they render. For example, mobile phones render the benefit of connectivity; facial creams render the benefit of beauty, amongst others. While all these are indisputable, consumers will likely go for products that offer features that other products do not offer within similar price ranges.

For the mobile phones, a consumer will opt for a mobile device that comes with extra features like Bluetooth connectivity, glass screen guards, phone packs as against those that come without, even if they do not understand the functions the features perform. The same applies to services. When you distinguish your services with the addition of unique features, consumers will always beat a path to the door of your store. Be it offline or online, this remains true.

However, communication tools like advertising and personal sales can change your customers’ opinions and influence their tastes. Through marketing communications, your customers can discover little known product attributes and maybe even buy something they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Now that you know how important product attribute management is in ecommerce, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.

9 Benefits of Centralizing Product Content for Your Entire Organization

Centralizing product content for your entire organization is crucial. Take a look at the 9 most important reasons why this is true.

We hear a lot about product content but what does it really mean? When you talk about product content, it encompasses every written and audiovisual material that gives information about your product offering. Yes, including your business documents, texts, imagery, technical manuals and a wide range of other business tools that communicate a uniform message about your product and services.

Product content is a must for any e-commerce business. This is because it is the first point of contact your customers might have with your brand. When customers cannot physically handle the products you have to offer, they naturally depend on the product content you provide as a brand. If they are not satisfied with what they read or see, there becomes an uncertainty in going ahead with the purchase decision.

Now, we move on to the next thing; centralizing your product content! It is a known fact that every organization that strives to be productive must be able to manage and store data for information spread. Furthermore, communication is very important in order to create a unified message. By unified, I mean a message that speaks the same language to everyone such that it is easily recognizable and can occupy a distinct place in the minds of the consumers.

Centralization refers to a central location where information can be collected, stored and maintained that can be accessed from numerous points. Centralizing your product content helps you move at the speed of your shopper. Anytime a customer goes online in search for information about your brand, you have the ability to respond to them immediately from a well of content that gives them amazing digital experiences and builds their loyalty in your brand.

Decentralizing your product content can lead to data inconsistencies which could relate different messages to your consumers. Can you imagine your product content everywhere, pointing in different directions and telling different stories? I bet you know the resultant effect! This is why there is need to centralize your product content across your entire organization.

The importance of information cannot be overemphasized. This is because customers today are in complete control of what they filter and messages that do not benefit them in any way are shelved out the door. Product content that is highly consistent, valuable and relevant can be used to build a relationship with your customers as a brand. This is where centralizing your product content comes in as it fulfills the criteria necessary for building your brand.

Benefits of Centralizing Your Product Content

Every consumer expects to be given quality information about the products and services of a brand in order to make an informed purchase decision. This includes information about the shape, size, condition, manufacturing information, and 360-degree high-resolution image of the product, accessories, specifications, usage, ratings, reviews and dimensions among others. There is a need for a centralized data location to source all information needs.

We can talk about centralizing your product content throughout the course of this article. But why save the best for last? With all the information shoved down your throat about centralizing product content, I bet the important question on your lips is “how does this benefit my business?”

There are many benefits that you are sure to enjoy as a brand when you centralize your product content. For this article, however, nine of them will be extensively covered.

Benefit 1: Fresh Data

The goal of every data management is data integrity. What other means of achieving this than through centralizing your product content? Within a centralized database, no same information is expected to be repeated. This means that everyday fresh data gets updated to the existing database.

Centralized product content provides a clear guide to marketing efforts and serves as a roadmap for other departments to follow and incorporate their practices with. I cannot emphasize how redundant files can be a real thorn in the growth of a company.

Let us analyze this scenario objectively; person A and person B both work for the same firm. Imagine that these two persons are separated by a continent or state and they work on a particular spreadsheet, separately of course. The end result is dual copies of the same file with different versions, some of which may not be accurate or recent and this can be confusing to other employees accessing it. Do not get me started on the time or resources wasted!

With centralization, data is new as reports can be developed across a wide range of business activities and updated in the central database. Furthermore, time will be used to create more accurate versions of existing information rather than duplicating information that is already in existence.

Benefit 2: One Place to Go

You will agree with me that it can be quite a hassle to search through emails, drop boxes and files just to find the accurate information about a product. This process of looking for product data that is up to date can consume time, which is a strategic tool that is never in excess. Once lost, it can never be regained.  The worst part of it being that you can never be a hundred percent sure the source of your content is accurate enough for consumption.

With the centralization of your product content, all your product content can be accessed from a single location and used by many people at the same time. Basically, there is only one place to go. This goes a long way to assure customers of their choice to come to you and creates the right information to enable them feel confident buying from you.

When all your product content is stored in a central place, whether your product data or a general marketing data, it makes it possible for you as a brand to see your entire picture and answer any tough question or inquiries from your customer.

Benefit 3: Save Time Finding Data

  • Centralizing your product content for the entire organization truly does save time. This is because all product information needed by various departments can be retrieved from one source. Your data is a critical asset to your business; hence it should be treated with the care it absolutely deserves.
  • Through centralization, a much more comprehensive view of your product data is obtained from a single source of truth. This goes a long way in saving time that would have been spent poring through different information sources scattered around. Data can also be properly analyzed when it is centralized, making it more useful for the use of various departments in your organization.

Contents can be easily created and uploaded to the central database where partners, employees and marketers alike can easily access the information. The greatest thing is that this product content will be created according to the brand identity for the use of interested stakeholders.

The process of maintaining product information takes time. It is even more time demanding when your product content database is dependent on multiple sources. Wouldn’t it be far better, time-saving and profitable to your entire organization if you could search and update product information without the hurdles and pains multiple sources pose? Of course, it is!

Benefit 4: Feed All Channels from One Source

Since all channels are fed from the same source, it enables consistency in delivery; thus leading to greater effectiveness and efficiency in the organization. Of course, for content marketing, consistency is a factor that should be enforced in the growth of the organization.

A company can centralize all data collected within a data “warehouse” within which all departments can withdraw information from, uncovering patterns and trends that exist more easily than the individual systems would have uncovered. This is a much better option than storing data in various departments at different locations.

Data can be integrated from all sources into a single centralized data system, from which different sources can feed on. When product content is centralized, the complete picture of the direction of the business is better understood’ showing lapses and how it can be better resolved for the overall growth of the business.

When all channels draw from the same source, it leads to data integrity as data redundancy is completely removed from the equation. Introducing a single point of entry also helps to increase the operational efficiency of a business and saves the cost of data management across different channels.

Benefit 5: Encourage Team Collaboration

Trust me; you cannot miss the benefits that are sure to be obtained when there is collaboration among the members of your team. When teams collaborate and act in sync, there is bound to be greater synergy which will lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness in the organization.

When product information becomes centralized, it breeds a fertile room for growth as it saves time and reduces duplication of efforts. I will explain further! When teams create content and there is an easy way of sharing, it will help team managers manage their teams better. I mean, having one source for product information makes it easy for one to see recent uploads and make changes where necessary.

When all marketing communications and documents are linked to a central system, it helps you achieve better collaboration among your team members. This is driven by the fact that everyone has access to accurate versions of the information being provided.

Furthermore, many teams now have the opportunity to contribute to the product content; thereby delivering a unique content that is complete, consistent and timely in its entirety, reaching the consumers wherever they are and delivering a unified message about your brand.

The truth is that centralized content is so much easier for your teams to work on with access to authorized persons and readily available data. What is not to love about the ease it presents? You jump the hurdles of managing your team wherever they are by storing your contents in one place, basically helping you stay connected and in touch with your team. And everybody wins!

Benefit 6: Images Are Always Up-to-date

Without centralization, your brand will have fragmented images and product videos which will present an overall distorted brand image. You have probably heard the well-used phrase “the only constant thing about change is change itself”. Well, it comes to mind here. With market intelligence influencing product changes and new product additions to meet up with competition, a brand needs to communicate updates to their customers.

With product content centralization affording a brand the flexibility to access all product information from a central location, product image changes can be updated easily.  Customers do not need to search through different locations and sources for their entire product inquiries as every information needed can be seen including product changes.

Quality content includes not only the texts but clear images of the product you are communicating about and it should be captivating enough to generate and sustain the interest of consumers. Having seen that centralization of your product content can increase the quality of your content, recent product images can be uploaded to the central database.

Benefit 7: Sales Reps Have Access to All the Data They Need

When people are able to have access to the exact information they want based on their specific needs, communication has reached an amazing peak. I can only imagine how many newsletters, memos, product updates, industry news and so many others are shoved into the throat of the salesperson. Of course, all these are gotten from multiple sources and tracing them becomes an uphill journey.

The trick is not in the number of information shoveled down but in the ease, this information is consumed. In simple terms, make it easy for the information to be consumed. And what better way, I dare ask, than centralizing all product contents? With the centralization of product content, a salesperson can get access to all data needed easily since it is in a central location. With a centralized library of information, your sales representatives can get access to contents that will be useful to the achievement of their targets. It also becomes go-to for all content that is relevant to the growth of the company as a whole.

Think of it this way; if you make it easy for sales representatives to access all the data they need, you help them gain more insight into the industry you operate in as a brand. This makes them more knowledgeable and better informed. And yes, this impacts positively on their selling and attracts more customers to your brand.

Every sales rep knows that the right content can help enhance their credibility, but for most, there is a problem of not knowing where to source the data needed. Well, your prospective clients can tell someone who is uninformed from their interactions with the person. Equipping them with contents that are easily accessible through centralization puts your sales team in a positive light!

Benefit 8: Increase the Quality of Your Content

The quality of your product content should be such that it uplifts the perception of your brand. There should be a sentiment attached to your products in the minds of your customers from the contents you produce.

When you centralize your product content, it increases its quality and consistency. A piece of content is capable to generate gross amounts of buzz, shares, retweets, likes, comments, and so much more, generating lead which can be converted to business revenue.

Relevant content can be gathered from different sources to enrich the content in your centralized database. With this, you have better control of your content to deliver quality and valuable experiences to your customers, thus increasing traffic and generating sales lead for your brand.

When data is centralized within an organization, it creates the establishment of a data standard which sets the pace for smart business decisions. Centralization increases the quality of your content as it ensures that every piece of product content meets the set standard. One can take a good look at all the content; how each one can fit into the goals and plans of the company and how they can complement each other in the delivery of meaningful and accurate information.

Benefit 9: Add New Attributes to Products and Categories Easily

  • Of course, I bet you already have a clue with regards this. With the centralization of product content, you can access all your contents from one location. This means the information presented can be analyzed and features and attributes can be easily updated.
  • The attributes of your product are what makes it unique and stand out on the shelf. When talking about attributes, it encompasses the product size, color, packaging, flavor and other attributes that make it different from other products. Product attributes can be created easily on a single database than on multiple channels, thus facilitating content sharing across various departments in the organization.

Conclusion

Marketing is getting more complex than it was before. Gone are those days when teams critical to the success of the organization were geographically concentrated with different managers working independently to create the product content. With the opposite being the case, there seems to be the challenge of bringing all dispersed teams together to deliver consistent messages to the right people at the right time and through the right channels.

Centralization of product content comes in to bridge the gap. You should not rest on your oars but research on more benefits you can enjoy as a brand in order to make your operations more effective and efficient.

Don’t you just love technology?! With its advent, there are content management systems in place that can be used to manage your product content more effectively. Look at it this way; once information or content is stored, the system can monitor everything that happens to it. Not only does this make your content more secure, it also saves time as one can search contents and retrieve them to make decisions within minutes.

Just in case you did not know, information is also an offering that is a strategic asset to a firm. No matter the products or services you sell, you must give great care to the information you pass across as a brand. This means the delivery of consistent and valuable product content should be given topmost priority.

Product content centralization is really worth the time and investment to implement. The marketing world is a jungle and only the strongest survive. A lot of challenges can be overcome when information is reliable, accurate, timely and more importantly, consistent. Much more positive results can be achieved with available resources when content is created within a centralized platform.

You need to continuously apply innovation in your business practices. As a brand, the same “wow” expression should be felt by your customers. The delivery of consistent product content which delivers superb shopping experience with your brand will go a long way to validate your brand in their mind’s eye.

Now that you know why you need to centralize your product content for success, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.