In this episode we talk to Bradley Watson, Sales Manager UK at inRiver about the new research paper "Turning Browsers into Buyers." Discover how to better manage customer expectations, minimise returns and increase revenue for your e-commerce business in 2019.
Do you have a topic for PIMtalk or would like to be a guest? We're always looking for great speakers and content. Email us at PIMtalk@inriver.com.
It never fails. Executives, sales teams, and marketers reach a critical point where they need more revenue. Even if you have a great quarter, perfect product launch, or stellar year-over-year growth, there is always an imperative to drive revenue faster. For e-commerce teams, manufacturers, and distributions this is a tall order, especially while managing tens of thousands of products across multiple channels. What does it actually take to drive revenue faster?
One idea is to think about growing revenue and margin momentum by looking at the other side of the equation – reducing costs, speeding time to market, and improving core business processes. There are many ways to drive internal revenue and margin momentum. Take a look at driving down product development time. Can the R&D team reduce the time to develop new products or new versions of existing products? The supply chain is often a fertile ground for reducing costs. Can the supply chain be optimized to both reduce excess inventory and eliminate raw materials shortages that could slow down production. It’s a start.
What are three main areas to focus on to help drive revenue faster? They are benefits from using a product information management system (PIM). A PIM solution offers not only a way to improve efficiencies across different areas, but it ultimately improves customer experience, which increases sales.
Eliminating duplicate work across the entire corporate ecosystem is essential to improve revenue. It seems rather simple to say that you don’t want individuals (or worse, even whole teams) overlapping or repeating the same tasks. You’d like to think that this is a rare occurrence, but it is actually quite common.
Often times, the larger, the more distributed the organization, the more likely that this will be happening. But it can even happen in the smallest start-up company. In some organizations, you have R&D, marketing and sales all creating the same product information, with each one slightly different from another. Obviously, this duplication is a very expensive problem and can be a momentum killer.
Focus on increasing efficiencies by having a central repository for product data. Automate manual tasks and enable transparency across the organization. It saves time and resources, driving collaboration for efficiencies that ultimately, save money.
Think about all the places product information can be stored in a department or organization. It includes laptops, databases, the cloud, servers, with vendors or other teams. How to ensure vital product information is available and correct when it is needed? A corporate scavenger hunt to find the latest product images is no fun when a faster time-to-market (Black Friday or Spring Market) might mean you achieve sales goals or miss them.
Situations like these are very real for many companies and can be momentum and revenue killers. Marketing’s job is to get the word out about your products and solutions to enable buyers to buy. PIM facilitates the syndication of product data to a broader ecosystem and makes it easier to distribute data about your products into other complimentary channels. Without that, managing these essential yet unprecedented amounts of product data becomes impossible if done manually.
The role of marketing today is to get the word out about products and solutions, but in 2018 we do this by telling product stories, not just showing bits and bytes. One of a company’s most valuable skills is the ability to tell compelling stories about how products are used and the value that they deliver to customers. By consolidating all product information into a centralized location, you’re better equipping the marketing and merchandizing departments (the chief story tellers) with the information they need to craft product stories that sell.
Customers demand consistency across all channels today. They don’t want to get one set of information online, take the time to travel into a store to make a purchase only to find conflicting information or pricing. Consistency matters. Without it consumer trust erodes, sales are lost, and loyalty becomes impossible.
PIM solutions enable merchandisers to ensure that whatever the channel, language or marketplace, consistency of product information is delivered.
The need to drive more revenue across organizations is fairly universal. E-commerce organizations, manufacturers, retailers, and distributions all are in business to make money. Without consistent, relevant product stories, buyers have a disjointed experiences, losing trust in the organization and most often, abandoning their path to purchase. They move to the next best option where content is consistent and accurate and they don’t look back.
Thankfully, there are many ways organizations can work to drive revenue faster. A PIM solution not only offers a way to drive revenue faster, but it helps improve internal efficiencies and customer experience at the same time. It is a revenue and transformation catalyst.
Download the Drive Revenue Faster – Why Product Information Matters eBook here. Don’t miss out on revenue because you aren’t as efficient as you can or should be.
Today’s consumers have an abundance of options when it comes to purchasing products. In the past decade, the number of online shoppers has increased tremendously and almost half (45%) of consumers now browse Amazon first when looking for a specific product according to a recent survey by inRiver.
Although that is good news for many retailers, there is another side to this equation; the rate at which consumers are returning online purchases has increased as well, causing loss in margins for brands and a poor customer experience for shoppers.
Given the data around the significant numbers of online browsers and buyers, what can retailers do to reduce staggering number of returns that are impacting margins?
Fast Access to Product Information:
Online shoppers want information fast. Consumers are easily discouraged when seeking to purchase if the product information they require is not found quickly or available at all.
How fast do shoppers want their information? In 10 seconds or less. The good news is that 41% of online shoppers won’t consult another online store if all the information they need is provided in the first shop they visit.
But one third (31%) of shoppers will move to another website within 10 seconds if general product information is lacking. The most commonly searched for information is price comparisons (74%), general product information like fabric or ingredients (41%) and reviews (58%).
Knowing your customer preferences is the key starting point when marketing products correctly online. One third (33%) of study respondents say videos that show products in different contexts are most helpful in their buying decision. Additionally, almost one fifth (18%) of respondents want to see products demonstrated by influencers.
Creating videos to showcase product information is helpful, but brands need to know what platforms are preferred by their shoppers too, otherwise, they miss the mark. According to the study, YouTube and Facebook were ranked as two of the most trusted platforms that provide video information about products.
Providing product information across a variety of formats like reviews, descriptions, or videos is important in turning browsers into buyers. While this is great news for brands that shoppers appreciate multiple sources of information, it makes it challenging to deliver consistent, omnichannel product information without a product information management (PIM) solution. Marketing, product, and merchandising teams struggle to create and maintain relevant product information in one channel or format, let alone multiple channels and formats.
Reducing Return Rates
Product data needs to be accurate, detailed, and consistent. That’s not an insignificant task. How to best do this? Make sure to align your product information with your customers’ expectations. Products that do not meet customer expectations are often returned. In fact, 22% of consumers say the products that they buy online rarely meet their expectations, and nearly half usually or always return items (48%).
Providing products with limited pictures and videos does not make the online shopping experience exciting or engaging. What are shoppers looking for in terms of product information? Details, zoom capabilities to see close up, 360-degree views of products, dimensions, ingredients, and context of how the product or item can be used or bundled. If you are not doing that today, it is likely that product gets returned for not meeting expectations and that impacts the customer experience.
When return rates reach a critical mass, it impacts margins and reduces overall revenues. How much do returns impact business? For some of the UK’s largest retailers, the cost of servicing returns has spiraled to almost £60bn a year. That is never a good thing for even the most customer-focused brands. Revenue matters.
To ensure you deliver the types of product information and content browsers seek before becoming buyers, find out what is most important to them. Learn how to create compelling and consistent product that your shoppers can easily find and what it takes to avoid the margin-draining returns via the Turning Browsers into Buyers report here.