Modern users are pretty demanding. With that said, modern businesses need to catch up with current trends in order to support the needs of their users. This is a total no-brainer and is super simple to understand, mind-bogglingly there are still so many businesses that haven’t quite caught on.
There are tons of reasons. We could list them out here, but I think it’s better to illustrate all of them with this handy picture.
I’m going to highlight some fresh ideas that might improve your performance and free up some additional time.
Tip #1 – use PIM
Product Information Management is far from being a new technology. Actually, it’s been there for several years already and it’s helped many well-established companies optimize their time and resources when managing their product pages across multiple channels.
Once you update the product info inside your PIM, it’s automatically updated on every owned online store, no matter if it’s your custom online store, Magento/Shopify store, or a marketplace like Amazon. If you have other distribution channels, for example, print materials, products press release via email etc… PIM might update product info on those channels as well.
If one were to visualize PIM, it might look something like this:
Besides updating product info to the distribution channels, PIM might do a great job importing product data, so that you have no need to type it all manually. More info on this will be covered in the next chapter.
There are 2 options for using PIM.
Option 1. Use an established PIM solution from a company whose only business is providing PIM systems.
Here is the list of 4 of the biggest PIM companies on the market:
The list can always be extended, and I invite you to do additional web searches to find more. I’m sure the right solution for any business is out there.
This option perfectly suits huge brands and distributors which, already have their IT-landscape developed and running, but for some reason want to update their PIM system.
Option 2. Use a PIM from a company, whose core business is to craft ecommerce environments with diversified functionality. This option perfectly fits small and medium sized ecommerce businesses. At the early stages of growth, distributors need a wide range of features and options to run their online business. They need to settle product listings, add payments options, sync points of sale with warehouses and logistics provider etc.
All these actions, if implemented separately, will cost a whole lot. This is a given since every separate vendor will need a substantial amount of time and effort to analyze the IT landscape of the distributor to analyze which apps are already in use, and ascertain which ones are going to be implemented soon.
Making only one company responsible for all this would be easier as far implementation goes.
A great example of such a system is Gepard Ecommerce ERP. It provides a wide range of capabilities and functionalities for small and medium multichannel retailers. Among them, there is also a PIM module, which you can find under the “Products” section.
This is how PIM is connected with other ecommerce features:
Tip #2 – Import (syndicate) product photos and descriptions to your environment automatically
I’ve already mentioned that PIM might have a second great option, aside from distributing product information. You have the option to import product data from other sources.
You might ask where the product data might come from?
You could try importing product info from a manufacturer, but I believe you have many of them and synchronizing with each might be a real challenge. For this reason, I advise you to get in touch with companies that provide product info as a service:
Aside from these established brands, you can also find a variety of smaller providers of product info, which are dedicated to some specific categories or content type. For example, there might be a product info supplier dedicated to publishing videos with handcrafted goods, or a supplier dedicated to foods and beverages.
Depending on your business goals and products, you can decide where to syndicate the content from.
Please be aware that you might encounter a struggle with product data transformation. Each of these providers has its own data taxonomy, which does not coincide with the taxonomy of your environment. It’s not a negative and it doesn’t mean you have to change the structure of your website/environment. It’s much easier to transform the data, which comes is sourced from product data suppliers.
For more info, please visit Gepard Syndicator – this tool solves the problem of different data structures and once set up, works automatically without any need for manual updates. Once you sync your environment and map the rules for how to transform data from a content provider, you will have fresh and updated product info on your website on a regular basis.
Tip #3 – Use deep learning to enhance product discovery and engagement
Deep learning is a branch of machine learning which has been developed to help us discover and trace user behavior online, at a more complex level than ordinary machine learning.
Read full article about what a deep learning is and how it works>
Deep learning analyzes user behavior while a user searches for a product on your website. It analyzes the pixels on the pictures, where the user clicks and hovers. In this way, the deep learning algorithm knows which preferences a user has and can suggest visually similar products.
A great example of a deep learning algorithm is Loop54. They have demo videos on their website and might help you better understand how the process goes.
This is how their algorithm looks:
With a deep learning, algorithm enabled on an ecommerce website, the odds that a user will find the right product increases the chance of a successful deal.
Since this article is mainly focused on product pages, and less focused on search pages, you should also consider how to use deep learning algorithms to improve your product pages.
Make sure to set your deep learning algorithms in such a way, that you can know where on the product page the cursor is located most of the time (like a heat map) in combination with info, where there was a cursor of the same user on another page. This way you get insight about what kind of info is the most applicable for each separate user.
Next, integrate your deep learning tool with your PIM, which should contain multiple versions of product data for each product. In this way, once your deep learning tool knows which info is preferred by which exact user, your PIM provides the version of product data, which has the highest conversion probabilities.
This element of business intelligence can bring about significant improvements to your ecommerce business. Please be aware that you need a lot of tests before you set everything in just such a way that it fits your specific business needs.
This is my final suggestion for you, and it’s not actually about product data, which you can manage yourself. It’s about what your buyers say about your product. All of us know how important it is to have product reviews on your website in order to convert more visitors into buyers. We’re all well aware of how complicated it might be to encourage visitors to leave comments and reviews on your website.
Here are some statistics about product reviews:
- 70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before making a final purchase. (PeopleClaim)
- 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.
- 67% of consumers read 6 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business enough to make a purchase. (MarketingProfs)
- As many as 79% of consumers trust product reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- 80% of consumers have changed their mind about purchases based on NEGATIVE information they have found online. (ReputationAdvocate)
- On average, 75 percent of reviews posted on review websites are positive, and 71 percent of consumers agreed that reviews make them more comfortable that they are purchasing the right product or service.
So, reviews are important. What should you do if you have zero reviews on your website? Snatch them from other sites.
For example, you have 1 owned ecommerce website with a custom CMS, 1 Amazon store and 1 Shopify store. Each of these stores are dedicated to different type of users or locations. Why don’t you sync all the reviews from all websites?
Moreover, there is Yelp. If you didn’t already know, its API key allows you to sync reviews and references to your website. Here are 2 links for you to learn how to do that right:
Ultimately, you’ll get something like this:
Move forward with reviews and make sure that every user on your website has the right impression about you and your products.
That’s it. Please let us know in the comments if you’ve used any of these models – it would be great to hear about any success stories and challenges of implementing these upgrades.