Increasing your customer base doesn’t always come down to likes, shares, and advertising. In fact, the most crucial aspect of increasing your eCommerce business is often overlooked: proper Product Information Management.
Kimberly Struyk, the principle SVP at QualQuant Signals, states that, “product information is the single most influential content to raising purchasing intentions” and on average overall brand impressions drop by 19% because of sparse product information. With out proper utilization of PIM you’re not only missing out on customers who could be visiting your site, you’re losing customers who land on it.
You Are Losing eCommerce Customers
When a salesman refers to losing a customer, he’s often referring to giving a customer a pitch but not closing the deal. However, as an online salesman, sometimes you lose the customer before they even see your product.
Imagine a customer navigating your site as a person driving on the road. Without the proper directions you’re bound to get lost. If you’re lost, you’re bound to get frustrated. And there’s only so much yelling at your GPS you can do before you have to pull over and stop. In eCommerce, when a customer stops on your website, they’re not looking for new directions, they’re going to your competitors.
How Product Information Helps
Product information can help your customers stay on track. It’s the directions customers follow through your site. The customer should say they want something black and your site should show them everything listed under black. If they want something small, you should be able to show them everything in their size.
The customer usually knows what they want, you just need to be able to point them to the products that meet their needs. They need clear, complete product information to navigate them toward a sale.
Using a Product Information Management System
According to River Sand Solutions, 30% of data in catalogues has errors. You have to ask yourself whether you’re confident you listed every one of your products correctly. If not, you’re losing customers.
As your business scales it can be difficult to manage all that product information. You have to keep track of the information about every feature of every product you sell. You have to adapt that information for all of your selling channels. That’s a lot of information to keep straight.
Thus, the reason you need a Product Information Management system (a PIM for short). A PIM is an application designed to help you keep your product data straight. You can make bulk updates to attributes and categories. You can create dynamic, logical groupings of products. You can adapt and edit product information and pricing. It takes the data that often resides in many different systems, and brings it into a single interface.
Increase Sales with PIM
One key feature of a PIM application is the ability to create collections. For example, you can make a collection of everything that’s gold and purple, then list that collection as a Mardi Gras sale. Without much effort, you’ve given your customers a customized, relevant web experience.
Give them a button to click for summer activities and take them to a collection of all your sporting equipment and grilling equipment. Send out an email for a Mother’s Day sale and link to a collection of all of your products listed as perfume, spa, flowers, and chocolate. You’re helping customers navigate your site. You’re adapting to your changing market. As a result, you’re increasing your sales.
But, none of this is possible if you don’t have the tools to accurately update all your product information (what if your purple beads are listed as color “violet”?). Nor is it possible if you can’t create those dynamic collections. The PIM is your key to accomplishing both of these tasks.
Improve SEO with PIM
Proper product information helps your customers navigate your site simply by getting them there and making them stay. Another benefit of well managed product info is it makes your products more visible to search engines like Google.
Google is designed to bring searchers to the most engaging content, relative to the search query they enter. In order to rank well, you need well-written, shareable content. If your web content is your eCommerce store pages (instead of, say, a blog), the same rules apply. The content on your web store’s pages is largely your product data. Therefore, Google is reading your product data and trying to understand how relevant it is.
A PIM helps you manage that product data, ensuring you can enrich attributes, like product descriptions, with proper keywords and engaging copy. It helps you annotate your products so that the invisible metadata on your web store pages can give search engines even more context. All of this helps searchers land on your store, instead of someone else’s.
Personalize Experiences with PIM
In an interview with MarketingSherpa, eBay said that it’s not enough to sell on all platforms; you need to “[develop] creative new ways for customers to engage with a brand.” PIM can be utilized for much more than just updating product info for your web store. It can be used to execute some more creative strategies.
With PIM your site can offer your customers fun creative ways to navigate through your site. For instance, let’s say you’re a site that lists recipes and sells cookbooks. With PIM you could create a way for your customers to simply enter in the ingredients they have in their house, and then all the recipes they can make will pop up. Of course a link to the cookbook you sell with that recipe (and many more like it!) would also be included. The existence of correct, complete product data gives you the foundation to create a unique, interactive web experience.
Here’s a few other possibilities you have with PIM:
- Compare and contrast products
- Make recommendations based on products with similar attributes
- Have customers take a survey to pick their ideal product
- Sort products by price, color, size, etc.
So the last question that should be left in your mind is, “How can I start?”
PIM applications come in all shapes and sizes, many of which are targeted in features (and price) for bulky enterprises. Most are also not optimized for managing product information in a multichannel selling operation. Consider your needs and your plans for the future. Think about how you can improve your business by simply improving the quality of your product information.
I’m willing to bet, there’s a big opportunity in front of you.