Sure, you hear about product data on a daily basis. In fact, you’re probably swimming in it! However, you don’t often hear about one of the key factors that can make or break your ecommerce business—the integrity of that product data.
If you want to be successful in omnichannel retail, gather actionable insight from consumers, and save valuable resources; it all comes back to creating and maintaining healthy product data integrity.
Keep reading for the scoop on the benefits of good product data integrity, the pitfalls of bad product data integrity, and how to leverage it to build better shopping experiences, a happier team, and an overall more successful ecommerce business.
What is Product Data Integrity and Why Does it Matter?
To understand product data integrity, you first have to understand what product data is. That’s easy—it’s the information used to describe a product. It can range from the color and size of an item to its inventory status and shipping options. Product data is integral to a consumer’s shopping, comparing, and purchasing experience.
Product data integrity refers to how reliable and trustworthy all this product information is throughout its lifecycle. The term is often used to both describe the state of the data as well as the process that ensures it remains accurate.
Luckily, when it comes to product data integrity, the biggest threat is not from security breaches but from human error. A product information management platform enables retailers to automate the process of listing products and optimizing product data to eliminate opportunities for human error.
For ecommerce companies, maintaining strong product data integrity is absolutely paramount. Internally, you’ll make important marketing, pricing, buying, and other business decisions based on it. Externally, your business stays in business because of the products you sell or supply. If your product data integrity is poor, it won’t be long before soaring return rates, bad reviews, and the expense of winning new customers—because you won’t have any loyal ones—catch up with you and shut you down for good.
Now that you know how important great product data integrity is for online brands and retailers, let’s explore some of its benefits, what can happen if you let it slip, and how to get (and keep) your product data integrity on track no matter how big or fast your organization grows.
The Benefits of Good Product Data Integrity
Learn how facilitating good product data integrity can lead to awesome new sales opportunities, untapped consumer insights, and valuable resource savings.
Product Data Integrity Empowers You to Pursue Omnichannel Selling
In omnichannel retail, sellers strive to provide a consistent, delightful shopping experience whether a customer is shopping via social media, a digital marketplace, your mobile website, a brick-and-mortar store, or anywhere else. And the only way it can work is with product data of the utmost integrity.
Product data has to hold up through a lot of updates, edits, reformatting, and other changes with each new channel it’s ported into. If it’s of low integrity, it can start to fall apart and leave you with inaccurate and/or incomplete data. This product data with bad or weak integrity can cause your professionalism to be questioned and create disappointing shopping experiences.
Get Valuable Consumer Insight Thanks to Product Data Integrity
Strong product data integrity makes it so that you don’t have to guess at what your shoppers do and don’t like—the numbers are all there in black and while.
High-quality product data provides the most direct insight into which products and variations consumers are purchasing, what they tend to stay away from, which variables are more attractive, buying trends and patterns, and plenty more valuable information to guide your restocking choices.
Good Product Data Integrity Saves You Money in More Ways Than One
Once you’re able to start gleaning valuable consumer insight from your product data, you’ll be able to make educated purchasing decisions. By avoiding inventory that you know won’t move, you’ll save on both the upfront cost and all the expenses associated with holding on to products for too long.
Additionally, product data with integrity is clean and free of duplicates. Don’t think that’s a big deal? One study found uncovered several European companies that had been working with databases where up to 30 percent of the data was simply duplicated! No matter what product information management platform you’re using, the more data you have the more you pay—whether it’s useful to you or not. If you happen to be managing product data manually, I don’t even want to imagine how many precious hours they could be spending shuffling duplicated data around.
How Bad Product Data Integrity Wreaks Havoc on Your Business
At the least, product data with low integrity presents a missed opportunity. However, its effects are often a lot more detrimental than that for ecommerce businesses.
Bad Product Data Integrity Paints You in a Bad Light
One of the most harmful effects of bad product data integrity is how quickly it can position you as an untrustworthy company. Incomplete and inaccurate data is the fastest way to ruin retention rates and boost returns that eat into your revenue and your morale. The vicious cycle just keeps going when those bad experiences lead to bad reviews that scare off current customers as well as potential future customers.
Bad Product Data Integrity Wastes Valuable Time and Money
Poor product data integrity muddies the waters when it comes time to make important business decisions. If you have no—or worse, inaccurate—data on how products and their variations are selling, it’s easy to drop thousands of dollars on items that do little more than eat up cash flow and space in the warehouse.
In addition, product data with low integrity takes forever to clean up if you want to share it to another sales channel or use it to draw out business insights. Don’t forget, as an ecommerce marketer, manager, or business owner; you’re responsible for the hours your staff may waste digging through dirty data.
Culture Can Suffer Where Bad Product Data Is the Norm
Anyone who is truly immersed in their career or their business knows that strong, positive company culture is an important building block in the foundation of a well-performing brand or ecommerce company. Unfortunately, poor product data integrity leads to rework, overwork, low adoption of systems and workflows, unauthorized workarounds, knowledge silos, and an overall culture where anything goes and workers don’t feel like product data or their sanity is valued by management.
How to Get Your Product Data Integrity on the Right Track
When product data flows from manufacturers to suppliers to third party sellers and so on; it’s all too easy for manual processes to introduce errors that damage its integrity. That damage only multiplies the more the information is used—culminating in product data that’s so incomplete and inaccurate that it does little more than piss off product content managers and consumers alike.
However, there is a magic bullet. There is Plytix—a product information management platform that can solve your workflows woes and get your product data integrity back on track.
Plytix empowers ecommerce marketers, managers, and business owners to centralize, optimize, distribute, and analyze any amount of product data from a single, user-friendly dashboard. With clean data and fortified integrity in hand, ecommerce companies that choose to partner with Plytix are ready to face down fierce competition and provide excellent experiences that begin with the product team and radiate out to consumers.
If you’re ready to pursue omnichannel selling, procure valuable consumer insight, cut wasteful spending, and boost business success with better product data integrity; sign up for Plytix today and get awesome shit done.