E-commerce organizations sell online by definition. No surprise there. However, the most successful e-commerce organizations are omnichannel and they sell through a variety of channels including merchants, marketplaces, distribution channels, in stores, and on their own sites as well. One of the big indicators of success for e-commerce is the ability to get to market quickly with their new products, no matter the channel.
What is needed to get to market quickly and easily to start selling products? Many technologies, business strategies and processes go into the mix, but selecting an e-commerce platform to help meet business objectives and deliver the best customer experience is what drives results.
Selecting the right e-commerce platform to go to market involves different criteria depending on the organization’s needs and competition is stiff. Selecting the right technology to enable strategy is critical as e-commerce is only expected to grow in importance. In fact, digital platform-originated sales are projected to increase from $2.3 trillion in 2017 to $4.5 trillion by 2021 according to Social Media Today.
Once a platform is selected, how will the marketers, merchandiser and digital e-commerce teams get products to market quickly to secure the essential time-to-market advantage? Traditionally, e-commerce teams have used Excel spreadsheets, home-grown solutions, and cobbled-together platforms to enable “stocking” of the digital shelf.
Ask any enterprise e-commerce company how to bring 100,000 SKUs to market or launch a new marketplace with product information loaded into Excel and you will see why product information management (PIM) solutions are now an essential solution for any e-commerce organization that sells or distributes multiple products today.
Faster time-to-market can be a differentiator for e-commerce organizations, especially for retailers. Launching a new, celebrity-endorsed shoe line before the holidays? Having all the relevant product information, images, videos, pricing and descriptions ready for Black Friday shopping in every market is essential. Content will continue to be a big part of e-commerce, and will help differentiate brands as we enter 2019, according to an article in Forbes.
Miss your window of opportunity to enter a new market and you miss not only a sale, but perhaps the channel as well. Not good for near-term revenue, and not good for the customer experience either.
PIM solutions work lock-step with the e-commerce platforms to enable scalable, repeatable and consistent product information for marketplaces, channels and anywhere sales happen.
Today, inRiver joined the Shopify Plus technology partner program. This means merchants can now utilize the power of the Shopify Plus e-commerce platform and achieve faster time-to-market with inRiver’s solution in the following ways:
The need to achieve faster time-to-market is one of the essentials in omnichannel e-commerce. Delivering the right product information, consistently, easily, across channels increases the customer experience and drives more revenue. It’s one piece of the e-commerce puzzle that now fits into place easily with inRiver PIM.
Learn more about the Shopify Plus and inRiver partnership here.
Video as a marketing medium is not going away. The importance of video as part of a marketing strategy continues to increase as its effectiveness in driving conversions increases. What impact does video content have in educating, connecting, and ultimately, driving conversions? A great deal.
In fact, “84% of consumers felt convinced enough to buy a product after watching a brand video about it,” according to Wipster.
The role of video as part of product content in e-commerce cannot be ignored. Why is video an essential component of product content or selling online? It’s informational. It delivers information quickly and it is easier for humans to process video than written word. We process visual information at a significantly faster rate (60,000 times) than written information according to Paula Poukka, Chief Customer Officer at Videoly.
What is even more impressive about video? Viewers also retain almost 100% of a message when watching a video versus only 10% with text.
Another reason why video is so effective when used in e-commerce today is that it helps creation an emotional connection with the buyer. In video, consumers can see facial expressions, hear tone of voice, and as a result, generate an emotional response. There are two main types of video content. Think about video in terms of brand-driven content and user-generated content.
Brand-driven content is often inspirational and lifestyle-focused. While user-generated content often delivers how-to information or “unboxing” to show what a product really looks like or how to use it. Both are effective and lend brand authenticity. Videos help consumers connected with a brand, learn how to use a product, or help increase customer experience.
Listen in to hear more on why product videos are so effective with Paula Poukka on the latest PIMtalk.
In our efforts to highlight thought leaders and industry experts that are part of the vibrant inRiver community, we are proud to share a guest blog post written by our partner, Aperture Labs.
So what is a product taxonomy and why is it important? A product taxonomy is a logical structure that is used to organize your products and any related unstructured data. Much like a department store organizes its products into certain areas of the store in order to help customers find what they’re looking for, product taxonomy improves the user experience in an e-commerce organizations by helping consumers find relevant information easily.
Image via Shutterstock
If you are remotely interested in a product information management (PIM) system, you are well aware of the importance of providing relevant and consistent content for products. According to Forbes; Eighty-eight percent of shoppers characterize detailed product content as being extremely important. But what good is detailed product content if shoppers can’t find your product to view it? For this reason, a great taxonomy is critical to helping users find the products they are interested in buying. If they can’t find the product, they can’t buy the product.
inRiver has provided e-commerce organizations with the tools to effectively develop and maintain a flexible taxonomy structure. This helps customers find the products they want, whether they are viewing your products on your own site, on a distributor site, or on a marketplace.
How? It all starts in the inRiver Plan & Release application. In this application we can create ‘channels.’ Each channel represents a publishing location for your product data. So if you sell products on your own website, on Amazon, and on a distributor’s website, you would likely create a channel for each of these.
Inside each channel are channel nodes. Channel nodes can contain their own child channel nodes. This creates a tree structure that will represent the category and subcategory structure of the site the products are being sold on. Users then add products directly to nodes through the simple and intuitive drag and drop interface that exists in the Plan and Release application. Critically, channel nodes can be linked to multiple parents, giving merchandisers the ability to duplicate parts of the taxonomy structure where it makes sense. This ensures that shoppers are not frustrated by being unable to find a product they are looking for because they are looking a logical, but ultimately, incorrect category.
E-commerce teams need to make sure to keep some of the categories up to date with the correct products, or the products that belong in a category change rapidly. To address this concern, consider a ‘new products’ category in to display all products that were added to the catalog. In this case, inRiver has a powerful querying tool to automatically add and remove products to a channel node as they meet the requirements of the query.
The importance of taxonomy goes beyond just product structure. The inRiver Plan and Release application delivers the tools for e-commerce teams to develop a well-structured and dynamic taxonomy that will not only satisfy, but thrill, your customers. By allowing them to discover and consume that rich product content marketers and merchandiser have produced, consumers have a better customer experience.
Learn more about Aperture Labs and how they help their clients.
Written by: Adam Ketterhagen
Co-authors: Alex Moss & Brent Jansen
About Aperture Labs:
Aperture Labs, Inc. is a premier Milwaukee-based E-Commerce & Web Solutions firm. Our mission is to increase your revenue through design, development and optimization of E-commerce, CMS, and PIM Solutions. Our team combines a unique understanding of business, technology, E-commerce, design and marketing to deliver world class solutions that maximize your return on investment.