With so many products from so many different organizations competing to be noticed, it is important to fine-tune your product pages. This post will focus on what essential elements you need to bring to your product pages in order to attract and convert as many visitors as possible.
There are many different ways to get noticed online these days – through images, titles, pricing, calls to action, etc. For your product pages, it’s not only important to get noticed by prospects, but also to convert them from visitors to customers.
Before a prospect clicks on a product or a product page, there are certain characteristics that you should bring to your online presence in order to maximize the conversion rate of your pages. This post will address the six major factors that create a superior product page.
Have an Interesting Title
Odds are, no one is forcing you to read this blog. The conscious decision was made to click this post and spend some time here – most likely, it’s because we had a title that was intriguing enough for you to look into. Presumably, it’s a title that’s relevant, and of potential value to you.
It’s vital to take interested site visitors and get them to click on specific product pages. This starts with a title that stands out from the crowd, resonates with your target market, and drives prospective buyers to peer into your page.
Once they’re on your page, you want them to stay there. You can do this by providing various pieces of information and value for the visitor. We’ll cover those pieces in more depth below, and show you how to get your visitors to go from simply visiting, to purchasing – and showing you how to maximize your product pages to yield the most conversions, and ultimately, drive your revenue.
Lead with a Unique Photo
A picture is worth a thousand words – and when it comes to your product page, this could not be more accurate.
Be sure to have images – and plenty of them – that give the visitor a full and complete understanding of your products. A typical industry standard suggests that you have at least four images per product. Having four or more images in most industries will be a major factor in maximizing your conversions. Of course when it comes to this, the more digital assets the merrier. Provide multiple views and angles of your products, especially for physical goods and gadgets.
The more images you have of your products, the more comfortable a potential buyer will feel with making a purchase. And ultimately, the more conversions your page will bring.
“Just Google it”: one of the central phrases used in our world today.
It’s imperative to prioritize your adword text when it comes to your online presence. It is nearly the lifeblood of online product pages today, and ultimately, your revenue. When shoppers enter your type of product into a search engine, you want your company to be the first brand they see.
Don’t be shy to commit some marketing dollars and plenty of effort towards maximizing the effectiveness of your Adword Text.
Have a Clear call to Action
Once you’ve presented the prospective customer with adequate product page attributes, there needs to be a clear call to action that results in a conversion for your page.
You want to walk the page visitor down a path of making the purchase – you don’t want your visitors to end up leaving your product page and end up buying a competitor’s product. This is why it’s important to have a clear, obvious, and intriguing call to action.
With the number of options there are out there today, it can be tempting for a visitor to explore other alternatives to your brands’ product – you need to make it so the call to action on your page overpowers that temptation. Ensure that your “add to cart” or “proceed to checkout” buttons – and yes, make sure it’s a button; not a link – are clearly visible to your visitors.
Understand the Context of the buyer
Knowing your audience is key.
Catering to your market buyer is an essential characteristic to building your product page. You will want to place your product in appropriate, and relatable contexts – this can refer to your images, your product descriptions, your verbiage, and everything in between. You want your buyers to have a clear understanding of what they are actually purchasing, and how it will be of value to them.
When your product page and the products within it resonate with a buyer, a conversion becomes far more likely.
With the amount of buying options that exist in today’s world – and at our very fingertips –you better believe that your prospective buyers will be reading into what others are saying about your products.
Frame those positive reviews you have from customers in a bright light – display them visibly on your pages, and be sure that any perusing prospects will catch them while on your site. This again draws back to your visitors being confident in what they are about to purchase. Positive reviews will boost their confidence in moving forward with a purchase, resulting in conversions for your page.
All of these elements are important to keep in mind when creating and upkeeping your product pages. The web is more competitive than ever, and visitors are as difficult to convert as ever. With the whole world being at the fingertips of the prospect, it’s so easy for purchases to be made online – but keeping them on your product page for that conversion is the challenge. Ensuring that you are keeping your pages intriguing, informative, and motivating for the buyer to convert will prove to be an essential part of your business.
A product page is the single most important factor for a customer doing research or shopping for products online.
Traditionally, the online product page was designed to hold all of the basic information about a product. Including, specs, descriptions, images, and price.
Today, to win the digital shelf brands are publishing more robust and creative content to win.
The brands that craft more and more compelling product pages are the brands that will win.
Publishing Product Content to Win:
Let’s assume a brand has taken the first step in winning online by creating more compelling product content.
They will quickly run into syndicating this content to all of their sales channels. This is enough to drive anyone crazy. You created this content and it isn’t getting published like you envisioned!
The solution to this is challenge is PXM.
What is PXM?
PXM is the solution. What exactly is PXM and how does it help you craft and publish product pages?
PXM is a platform that stores all of your product content in one location and pushes the content out to your sales channels.
PXM allows you to manage, optimize, and publish product data & images effectively on all of your sales channels. The sales channels PXM updates is most often your distributors and retailers. However, companies are also using PXM to share data with their reps or feed their website.
At the highest level, PXM is the bridge that allows you to transport product content from inside your organization to your ecosystem.
The brands that realize not only having great content but the bridge to get it out are the brands that are winning.
The components of PXM
There are three main components to PXM:
Centralizing the content
Optimizing the content for each channel
Syndicating the content to each channel
Centralization is the foundation of PXM. It allows you to store all of your product content in one single platform.
Centralization is the PIM portion of PXM.
For the manufacturers who are living in spreadsheets the idea of centralizing product content in one platform is a fundamental change. Brands today have product content scattered in many excel files, folders, and whatever else they can find.
SImply, Centralization can provide immense value for them.
Rather than bouncing around in different files and folders to look at a single product’s information. Your team will now have one page to view all data & content related to a product.
Having one place to access all content related to a product is incredibly valuable. First, it saves your teams massive amounts of time when they need to find or edit product content. Secondly, it ensures accuracy because there is only one location where your product
Optimizing your content for a channel is vital to winning the digital shelf.
Each retailer and distributor has different requirements for the content you send them.
Optimizing content for each channel when done manually is a very time consuming process.
PXM gives your team the tools they need to efficiently tailor the product content for each retailer.
This means helping optimize descriptions, resizing images, selecting retailer specific product lists, populating retailer specific item numbers, and more.
In addition to more quickly optimizing your content for each retailer. A great PXM will give you insight into how you can improve your product page.
Incorporating analytics to tell your team what keywords to use or what changes to make to your product pages will pay for itself.
Analytics is what your team needs to make sure they stay at the top of the search results. It helps boost not only product page views but the conversion rate for all visitors.
PXM simplifies the optimization process for your team. With the time that saved your team can put a bigger emphasis on creating high quality content to even further improve the quality of your product pages.
Syndicate is all about actually getting your products posted on each retailer site.
A great PXM will have the ability to export product data & images in every retailer or distributor’s formats.
It is crucial in today that your PXM is used for as many retailers & distributors as possible rather than only helping with a few of your sales channels.
It is so crucial to keep all channels up to date from your pxm because if you don’t you’ve only created another data silo for your team to manage.
Some retailers may be able to receive your product data via API while others will have custom excel templates that can be populated directly from your PXM.
Regardless of how your data is sent your PXM should be able to meet any requirements. This automated populating of the templates will drastically cut down the amount of time it takes to send data to each retailer.
How is PXM different from PIM?
PIM is the father to PXM. Everything that a PIM has a PXM has. However, a PIM is only used to create one source of truth for product data & images.
PIM doesn’t have the robust tools a PXM has to share the content with all of your sales channels.
The ability to share is where the value is in PXM. The value in centralizing data is greatly diminished if it is still very challenging to share it.
Who cares if internally your data is accurate and robust. It only matters if you can get it out to your customers.
PXM gives you the tools you need to not only manage data like PIM but also get that great content out to the people who really matter. Your customers
How PXM provides value
PXM gives your organization the platform they need to build a process to manage and share product content.
Without a PXM you will never be able to build a process to consistently onboard and publish products. Having that ability is absolutely crucial to your success in today’s digital world.
In 2019 and beyond if you are still managing product data with scattered excel files and image folders you will fail to keep up with your competitors and slowly fade away.
On the other hand, if you implement a PXM and leverage it to build a streamlined process to manage and share product data & images you will be able to separate yourself from the pack.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
You need to know which keywords people are actually using to search for products in the category you’re selling in.
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:
Search engines hate redundant content. In the ecommerce space, populating your product pages with content you copied from the manufacturer is poor SEO practice.
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.
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.
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.
7 Ways PIM Supports Your SEO Strategy
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.
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.
3. PIM with Digital Asset Management (DAM) Functionality
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
In most cases, the goal of an ecommerce operation or eCatalog is to:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
An incomplete list of different kinds of customers and specific example concerns includes the following.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
These customers will want to negotiate the best possible deal at scale, requiring a long sales cycle and development of a close business relationship.
Buyers of this kind are likely to be even more focused on scale than enterprise companies, because military equipment is subject to intentional destruction.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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:
Create missing data
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?
Data drives the search functionality on your site and your dealer sites.
Completeness ensures your customers have all of the information they need to make a buying decision.
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.
Increased product page views
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.
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:
Automatically feed product data updates to all websites
Better manage specific and tailored product content for different types of buyers
Improve the quality of all product pages
Save time managing and updating images on all sites
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
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:
The site is hard to find, because the information customers need isn’t there.
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.
Searching through files for the image you want can take forever
Associating the right image with the right product is often difficult
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.
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.
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.
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 described above, you might not need a PIM.
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…
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.
Standardizing information entered with different systems requires more and more work to coordinate
Formatting that information for your sales channels adds a second level to standardization
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…
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 personalizing your brand message 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…
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…
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…
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.
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.
Your product pages or catalogs require regular updating
Your company sells on two or more channels
Multiple manufacturers provide you with products
You sell a wide variety of products
The products you sell come in a variety of configurations
Your prices are volatile
You have more than a few employees who directly control some amount of your product information
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.
We promised a list of PIM do’s and don’ts at the outset, so here it is:
DO choose a PIM that…
Solves all of your concerns, but don’t choose one that’s overly complex or provides functionality you know you won’t use.
Includes DAM integration, but don’t opt for a DAM built to mimic the functionality of a PIM.
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.
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.
#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…
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…
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…
Content needs to speak directly to your target audiences regardless of where they exist online and physically live.
Take care with…
Area specific context
Units of measure
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.
When tailored to the wrong market, even the best content is virtually as useless as no content at all.
22% of returns are due to customers receiving products that look different from what they saw or read about online
Simply, PIM is the solution for managing product pages and keeping product information accurate and fresh.
Accurate and fresh product information leads to conversions.
#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.
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.
#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 efficiencysimultaneously. 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
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.
#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.
As ecommerce businesses expand, so does the number of services vital to ensuring continued sales success.
PIM works with:
Digital customer channels
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.
In a bid to differentiate their brands from the competition their product content is overflowing with:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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:
Equal to 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.