Last updated: Product information: The seven deadly sins

Product information: The seven deadly sins


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In its recent Wave report, global analyst firm Forrester looked at the problem of managing product information from various data silos and legacy systems:

Retailers are prioritizing the enhancement of online product content above other merchandising initiatives including personalization, product recommendations, and A/B testing. Why? Detailed product content is a differentiator when it comes to customer experience.  (Forrester Research, Inc., The Forrester Wave™: Product Information Management (PIM), Q2 2014)

So what should organizations be wary of when managing product data and content, intended for publication across multiple channels?

The seven deadly sins in Product Information Management:

  1. Failing to excel with Excel. Manual processes and improvised solutions – such as storing various bits of data in lots of Excel spreadsheets – can be asking for trouble when it comes to accuracy and consistency, thanks to a lack of version control and document visibility. 
  1. Weak links in the channel chain. There’s little point in investing in e-commerce or social commerce initiatives if product information is flimsy or inaccurate on those channels. Having one weak link in the omni-channel chain can result in lost opportunities.
  1. Ignoring the online/ offline interplay. PIM isn’t just about having the right information in different places. It’s also about creating a holistic experience – so shoppers can see what’s available in store when they’re online, access online information when they’re in the store, and so on. 
  1. Being slow off the mark. When bringing a new product to market, time is of the essence. Slow product information and publishing processes can seriously hinder the commercial outcomes of a product launch.
  1. Content neglect. Content is there to help sell your product – it’s not just about data. Organizations should consider how rich content, such as video demos or user testimonials, can help convert to purchase.
  1. Resistance to change. Larger organizations in particular will face challenges in maintaining consistency across established and disparate business units – but their need to manage product content properly is the greatest. Failing to adapt can set them back. 
  1. Getting lost in translation. Complex, global organizations need to offer product content that is 100% relevant for each different market, recognizing regional languages, cultures and attributes. One size does not fit all.

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