How can retailers make product data accessible on channels their customers use?

March 16, 2023
4 mins.

How can retailers make product data accessible on channels their customers use?

In a world where buying decisions have increasingly shifted online, customers must be able to access all relevant product information on whatever platform or location they decide to hang out on. 

Improving customer insights for an omnichannel experience

To be truly omnichannel in marketing it means as a retailer, your brand presence exists across multiple channels e.g. in your own physical store, brand website, email, on a reseller’s e-commerce website, in a catalogue, on mobile apps, or maybe used in product configurators. 

To be truly omnichannel as a retail business, it means for sales, marketing and customer support that you’ll seek to deliver to your customers a seamless and unified brand experience, regardless of which channel they use.

Omnichannel is defined in Wikipedia as "seamless and effortless, high-quality customer experiences that occur within and between contact channels”.

It’s important to remember that these channels are not siloed; a customer journey can start online and end up offline (in person at the store) or vice versa. Because today’s customers want to be able to shop (especially post-Covid) in the way that is most convenient for them.

A Harvard Business Review found that based on a survey of 46,000 shoppers, omnichannel retailing was having an great impact on their buying patterns, with around 73% of customers showing a preference of shopping through multiple channels. 

In order for retailers to successfully deliver on an omnichannel customer experience, they need to improve how they manage and utilise their product and customer data. 

Read more: How to use Stibo STEP to unlock value in the CPG sector

Making sure stakeholders can consistently see up-to-date information

Whatever the channel, businesses must be able to supply rich, accurate and up-to-date product information in a supported format and delivered through a supported delivery mechanism. With real-time integration synchronising information and assets across the omnichannel experience.

This can only be done if product data is not stuck inside some application like a content management system (CMS) optimised for a specific format and output.

A business needs to make information and data available in a media- and channel-neutral format, managed in a granular data model, where you can pick and choose which precise elements of the data should be shared with each particular channel and how it should be structured. 

Having such a data foundation in place will not only enable to support the many channels customers use, but it also prepares a business to be ready to support the next channels that will no-doubt pop-up in the not too distant future.

Read more: Is Your MDM Strategy Ready for the Metaverse?

Gaining an omnichannel presence

In today's 24/7 digital age, it's essential to make sure that your product data is available across all the channels that your customers are on, in their various stages of the buying lifecycle. 

By making product information available on all channels, retailers can increase customer engagement, reduce shopping cart abandonment rates, and drive sales growth. 

Providing prospective customers with detailed information about their products such as specifications, features, and customer reviews, can help customers make informed purchase decisions.

Here are some tips on how to achieve all this:

Centralise your product data: To make your product data available on all channels, you need to centralise it in a single repository. This repository should contain all the information about your products, including descriptions, marketing texts, images and supporting documents, technical specifications, certifications and so on.

Integrate where necessary: Establish a view of all the detailed components of your product data that you will need across all channels and identify the sources of these. Ideally all the information should be maintained in a single place, but if this is not possible, ensure that integrations are in place to your central data repository, so all relevant information is gathered in one place.

Optimise per channel, but consolidate first: Each channel is unique and the customer’s experience of your product is very specific to where, when and how the customer is meeting your brand. For that reason you may need to consider having different descriptions, USPs, imagery etc. per channel. In preparation, make sure that your data is first consolidated in a way, where you can re-use as much information as possible from a common pool of product information. Maybe you can even optimise some of the content per channel by following some automated rules that extracts from the consolidated data set.

Leverage data analytics: Use data analytics to gain insights into customer behaviour and preferences across the different channels your products are distributed on. This data can help you optimise your product data for each channel and identify new opportunities for growth.

Monitor Performance: Build a feedback loop into your processes that monitors the sales performance and customer engagement with your product content and feeds it back to the product information repository. This includes sales data, customer feedback, and product reviews. By tracking and monitoring these numbers, you can identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to your product data strategies.

All these points may sound daunting (and nobody said it was easy), but if you’re halfway there if you choose the right technology for the job and the right team to help and guide you on your way. 

With the STEP MDM platform from Stibo Systems, you can manage your product data efficiently and effectively. This software solution can help you create and maintain product information across all channels, improve data quality and accuracy, and automate data entry and updates. 

Read more: What Is Stibo STEP & How Can It Help Your Business?

At  Unit of Measure  we have the know-how and experience to successfully implement and develop STEP in your organisation. 

Book a free consultation  with us and let’s explore how we can help you get your master data in shape and prepared for the changes waiting to happen.

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