Many companies struggle with manual and time-consuming product data preparation processes, lengthy ERP or PIM implementations, and confusing responsibilities in data management. But why is that and what does the product experience have to do with it?
For Tobias Schlotter, VP Global Channel at Akeneo, the product experience starts very early in the product data process, before products are even presented to the target group. When preparing product data for the various sales channels, retailers and brands must already ask themselves how the products should be presented: How should they be described? Which images will be shown to the target group and which media assets must be part of the advertising?
The product experience must therefore be seen as an important communication strategy that has a significant impact on the customer, complementing the customer experience, and aims to positively accompany the customer's journey. In order to survive in today's highly competitive market, it is simply no longer enough to provide a nice online store with all the usual payment options.
Or to put it another way: a modest product experience has a negative impact on trust. After all, no one wants to come across missing or incorrect product descriptions or be put off with a "tbd" when shopping online. Although this is well known, it still happens. Why?
One possible explanation is that companies have not yet come to terms with the fact that trust in one's own brand or company already begins with the completeness and availability of product data. However, this realization is absolutely necessary and must be included as a strategic goal. Above all, because it is clear in today's market that appealing customer experiences must be created wherever the clientele is. Customer experiences that offer the customer real added value and are distinguished by the targeted use of the right product information along the customer journey.
But how do customers recognize a very good product experience? This can be ensured through personalization. For example, anyone who opens a profile on a store wants to be addressed by name in the future and, if possible, have new trends or additional items matching the last purchase displayed. Detailed and accurate product data is especially central when things get very technical or the expectations for a product are particularly high. For example, home improvement stores need to provide very many and accurate data points on the respective products. The same also applies to luxury brands: Because there, the clientele expects only the best and an ingenious customer experience.
Creating customer experiences is not only a major challenge for retailers and brands, but also for suppliers and manufacturers. The classic dichotomy of markets is blurring in the area of product experience: For manufacturers, for example, it is a challenge to prepare product data from production and product development in such a way that it is available for the desired sales markets in the appropriate quality. Often, product data is unstructured and must be structured, for example by means of classification, before it can be passed on to the various retailers.
Retailers, in turn, have the problem that a large number of suppliers provide product data in a wide variety of data formats. This data must then be harmonized, enriched and transferred to their own target structure. In this important point, too many retailers still rely on manual preparation processes that could actually be automated. This is where companies can benefit from the Onedot product data platform. This is designed in such a way that all supplier or manufacturer catalogs can be brought directly into an import-capable ERP or PIM format.
So if you want to sustainably improve the product experience, you have to set up a powerful e-commerce IT infrastructure. Our next expert, Marco Kahler, Head of the valantic PIM Competence Center, will tell us what role a PIM system plays in this and what you should consider when introducing a well thought-out infrastructure. We are looking forward to the next Expert Talk!