Product Information Management is Not a Once-Off Project—Here's Why

Product Information Management is Not a Once-Off Project—Here's Why

June 17, 2021 | by Shannon Kelly Ash

Your web store is packed with revolving data that changes almost every day. Whether it’s content for new sales channels or insights generated by analytics, your ecommerce store constantly produces data that needs to be maintained.

Ecommerce content, when done right, is a goldmine. According to a recent study, it is said that 81% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase online. In a separate study, it states that “the most desired types of information that consumers seek about the products that they view online are product descriptions (76%), reviews (71%), and images (66%)in that order.” So, with poor or outdated information, you’re missing out on a huge market.

It’s naive to think that your ecommerce product catalog doesn’t require regular spring cleaning. All that content your customers are looking for changes over time, and if we're being honest, you probably know deep down that yours is past due for an update. If you agree, keep reading to find out the reasons why you should make regular content maintenance part of your ecommerce marketing routine.

Data quality improvement is two-fold 

If you believe content maintenance is a once-off project, you’re wrong. It’s ongoing. Product data without maintenance is useless, and vice versa. Ecommerce changes so rapidly that it’s crucial to analyze product performance and tweak existing content to act on real-time insights. Without up-to-date information, you will struggle to create product pages and listings that A.) convert, B.) resonate with users, and C.) provide Google (and other algorithms) with the right signals. 

Quality data doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a work in progress, and it can only be achieved once data has been sanitized and maintained. The first one, sanitization (also known as cleansing), is essentially a data dump. It’s the initial one-time process of addressing errors within a specific database or product catalog. When sanitizing, you review existing content with the aim of fixing any incorrect, duplicate, or missing data and optimizing it to suit your digital marketing needs. 

Maintenance, on the other hand, is an ongoing procedure. Your goal shifts to managing, correcting, and improving the existing content on your website. It is done to ensure that any new product information is as consistent and accurate as everything else, and it forms part of your strategy that requires regular attention.

The role of quality data in marketing

Product Information Management, and the maintenance thereof, is crucial in a highly competitive market. With the rapid growth of ecommerce and multichannel commerce across the globe, it’s more important than ever to create and maintain product information for multiple sales channels. 

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To build a scalable model, you need an organized structure for your content. A successful store has accurate, rich content that is optimized for search and discovery. This will enable your business to be flexible and resilient to any new challenges. An innovative PIM tool, also commonly known as catalog management software, can be used to centralize, manage, and syndicate content on an ongoing basis. When your content is up to date, you’ll be able to get your products to market faster and keep customers satisfied. This will, inevitably, increase sales.

The role of quality data in customer success 

If you’ve ever purchased a product online, you’ll understand the importance of detailed content. It’s not just a fluff factor for marketingit’s key to the decision-making process. Consumers rely on trustworthy information to take action. By staying transparent and keeping your customers informed about low stock, discontinued items, shipping expenses, and more, you can avoid disappointment, cart abandonments, poor reviews, and other dreadful experiences. 

Issues that you can avoid with regular product data maintenance 

A lack of maintenance shows unprofessionalism and will lead buyers to question your credibility in the industry. Clean and complete information is a small price to pay for long-term success and strong competitive advantage. By using a PIM tool, you can drastically minimize the time spent on manual maintenance because you can automate updates from one central source of truth across all channels. 

Here are the main, costly issues that regular maintenance can help you avoid:

1.) Errors and inaccuracies all around 

If you’re using spreadsheets for your product data, you’re bound to run into problems. Errors are a reality of manual entry—any product manager can copy and paste data incorrectly. Be it something as small as a wrongly entered attribute color, a specification size, or a misspelled title—it’s still an issue. Any mistake filters through every internal department, to suppliers, or onto your ecommerce website. These somewhat “small” things can be the difference between a high-converting product listing on Amazon or a failing one. So, if you’re not doing a regular maintenance check on your product information, you’ll easily miss it. 

2.) Inconsistencies in data 

When multiple hands are touching product databases, you’ll find inconsistencies in information. Regardless of where your products are listed, you want to ensure your brand’s message is consistent across every digital platform. PIM software helps with this, thanks to its functionalities that ensure content uniformity.

There are requirements that need to be met, and if not, they won’t meet an overall standard. Without a collaborative system like this to guide your teams, you’ll never know what your company’s content standard is. Everyone will be entering information in silos, and there will always be a struggle with miscommunication. 

3.) Duplicated information

“Completed content” doesn’t mean it’s original. More often than not, website and third-party listings are riddled with duplicate data. This is a result of working with multiple spreadsheets at once or working off of database versions that haven’t been updated in months. This is a no-no for SEO, as well as your customers. It gives off a negative impression, and prospects will likely drop off the page. 

4.) Missing fields and outdated content 

Sure, when you're on the thousandth product listing for your upcoming spring launch, it can be tempting to skip over a couple of data fields that you don't deem to be too important (...but in hindsight are. Missing data can hurt your website’s search potential and affect your selling opportunities on multiple channels. 

Each marketplace has its own required fields, and if you don’t complete them, you’ll be rejected. If not rejected, incomplete listings will almost always affect your rankings and brand image. Without monitoring your content, you’ll never know why your product performance is so low. (Not to mention, content becomes outdated so quickly that it needs to be tweaked to be able to compete again.) 

Final thoughts 

To survive in ecommerce today, you need to be willing to go above and beyond to keep your traffic consistent. A boost in traffic increases your awareness and potential to convert more customers. This, however, is only possible with rich, structured product information. There are no one-size-fits-all or overnight successes with ecommerce—it takes consistency and maintenance to succeed. 

Stay competitive with Plytix, an affordable Product Information Management (PIM) platform. It’s made (and priced!) for small to medium-sized businesses with enterprise dreams. Sign up for FREE and get a 14-day trial to explore.

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Shannon Kelly Ash
Written by Shannon Kelly Ash

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