Many businesses recognise that a positive shopping experience plays an increasingly important role in the customers’ decision-making and buying process. How can a centralised Product Information Management (in short: PIM) help companies improve their customer experience?
The shift to digital and the growing complexity of managing a massive amount of data are driving the need to redefine requirements and reshape processes. While the focus used to be on reducing costs and increasing sales, this has changed in recent years. One of the hot topics right now is “customer experience”! Customers’ shopping experience matters more than ever before. It is no longer just the customers who expect a seamless experience across all channels; businesses too are making it a top priority. They have realised that a positive customer experience increases customer loyalty and that it can be turned into a competitive advantage. What is necessary to deliver an amazing customer experience? How can you satisfy your customers and meet the demanding requirements of an everywhere-commerce?
Where does customer experience happen?
Customer experience takes place throughout many different touchpoints. If you want to create a positive customer experience that has a long-lasting impact, you need to know where your customers interact with your organisation. Each one of these touchpoints is critical to the overall customer experience. You need to identify and assess all these touchpoints in order to map out the end-to-end customer journey. This means that you have to find out precisely at which point and where a consumer becomes a customer in the first place, why he buys a product and whether he has access to all the product information he needs. Likewise, you need to know what your customers’ needs are and what their expectations are in order to satisfy them. These touchpoints and sales channels shape your customer experience. Social media, emails, mobile devices, online shops or websites, but also the phone, brick-and-mortal shops and advertising media play an important role in customer experience management. At each of the above touchpoints, you should try to improve your customer experience.
And to do this, you have to determine which information is important for which sales channel.
Determine which information you need
First of all, you have to determine which information you need. What do you want to sell? What are your target groups and which sales channels can be used to reach them? Thus, you will be able to define the goals you want to achieve with each sales channel. Then, you should develop the right information strategy in order to determine the level of information required for each channel. Depending on the product, channel, target group and intention, you need to supply different types of information. If, for example, you just want to promote the USP of a product in a social media advertising campaign, you won’t need detailed product descriptions at this point. The customer will, however, expect detailed product information such as technical specifications, material and prices in your online shop, as these paramount for his buying decision.
Defining a data model
Once you have established which information you need, you can create a suitable data model for your PIM. You can, for example, use different product description texts depending on the channel or target group. Or specify which product attributes should be displayed on which channels. This way, you will be able to effectively respond to your customers’ demands for a personalised and contextualised experience, and you will be able to communicate with your customers in a targeted way, according to the channels they choose.
Product Information Management can help improve the customer experience by:
- building trust through consistent information;
- tailoring content to meet the needs of your specific target groups;
- providing information faster and more flexibly;
- considerably improving product search;
- ensuring the right level of information is provided;
- customising information to fit specific sales channels.
A centralised Product Information Management
In order to create a unique, seamless customer experience, you need to integrate, create, maintain and provide product data through a PIM system. You can only achieve an optimal balance between costs and benefits if product data is managed centrally and product-related content is correctly linked. By using a PIM system, you can optimise your processes, improve content quality, and increase flexibility to generate more revenue. By consolidating your product master data and using a consistent terminology for your product information, you can optimise online searches – which in turn improves customer satisfaction. Likewise, more reliable product descriptions that allow consumers to choose the product they are really looking for – and therefore are unlikely to send back – will considerably reduce the return rate.
These are all essential factors that contribute to creating a better customer experience and a strong emotional bond between customer, product and supplier.