Using Managed Product Data For A Better Buyer's Journey

Dec 6, 2017 11:50:46 AM

by Sean Messier

Product data plays a crucial role in your business’s sales process. Without product data, your customers would have no way of knowing exactly what your products have to offer. And if your existing data isn’t effective, there’s a good chance that prospects will instead choose a company that clearly exhibits their ability to get the job done.

Even if you think you’ve compiled the best product data in the game, you might not be using it as well as you could. Quality product data is essential at every stage of the sales funnel, often called the buyer's journey. By using managed product data to ensure accuracy and consistency, your business can strategically guide customers through that journey from start to finish.

What Is The Buyer’s Journey?

We discussed the buyer’s journey at length in a recent blog post, but we’ll provide a quick recap. As defined by some sources, including HubSpot, the buyer’s journey is a three-stage process buyers typically go through when making a purchase. Those stages include:

  • Awareness, during which the buyer tries to identify their problem.
  • Consideration, during which the buyer seeks ways to overcome their problem.
  • Decision, during which the buyer chooses the best solution to their problem.

What Is Product Data?

The words might sound self-explanatory, but are more complex than you'd think. Product data includes any information about a product that may be relevant to a business’s sales efforts.

This data typically includes the product’s features, physical attributes, warranties, instruction booklets, general product copy, videos, photos and anything else that could be of use when creating unique product pages. And while all of this information already exists for a reason, effective retailers can take its usefulness to the next level by applying it strategically to the buyer’s journey.

Product Data And The Awareness Stage

Your product data will likely see the least use during the awareness stage, and that’s because awareness-stage content is intended to be as promotion-free as possible. But while you might have other content prepared to address the awareness stage, that doesn’t mean your customers won’t stumble upon your product while seeking to identify their problem – and if this occurs, it’s crucial to thoroughly illustrate the problem within your product content.

To do this, you'll need to have all your product data normalized and ready to go as soon as possible. Rather than simply stating the product’s functions, go above and beyond by explaining the sort of problems it addresses.

For example, if a convertible crib features four different modes, explain that those modes are designed to prevent parents from having to invest in additional beds in the future, rather than simply explaining that the bed is convertible. This helps customers put words to a problem they’re facing – the need for a cost-effective bed for their growing child, perhaps – while showing that it can be solved. The same information will also come in handy throughout the rest of the buyer’s journey.

Product Data And The Consideration Stage

Once buyers have identified their problem, they move into the consideration stage, where they begin to search for solutions. This is the first step during which consumers start to weigh their options against one another, so it’s fundamental that your product data is thorough and clear.

Why? Because the consideration-stage content often comes in the form of product comparisons and product videos that actually discuss your product and its features.

First, effective content of this nature should feature accurate information about your offering and its benefits, which can typically be found within your bank of product data. Second, if a buyer is swayed by consideration-stage content, they’ll probably want to learn more from unique product pages. If you’re using your product data appropriately, this page should provide all the information your buyer would need to understand that your product is a viable solution to their problem. From high-definition photos to diagrams and how-to videos, this is a great chance to move each visitor further along in their journey.

Product Data And The Decision Stage

As customers arrive at the decision stage, they’re preparing to make a purchase. If you want that purchase to involve your business, your product data has to be in good order – if it’s not, your lead simply won’t know why your product stands out from the crowd. It’s in the decision stage that the specifics become most important.

For example, assume the aforementioned buyer seeking a cost-effective crib has pared down their options to a list of four products. Why might they choose one over the other? They could have specific space constraints, so they’d look for product dimensions. Or they might prefer something that’s easy to coordinate with other furniture, leading them to choose a product that’s part of a family of similar pieces. If your product data only covers a few basic features, there’s a good chance you’ll lose out to the companies who fill their product pages with rich, useful information.

On a related note, if a buyer ends up choosing your product based on inaccurate product data, the story ends poorly for both parties – the customer will likely return the product and seek a reliable alternative, and your business’s reputation will take a hit in the eyes of at least one consumer, and perhaps even more in the form of reviews and social media postings.

The Benefits of Managed Product Data

When considering the relationship between product data and the buyer’s journey, the importance of a reliable product data management system becomes abundantly clear. Without in-depth product data, sales simply won’t occur. But by ensuring your product data is organized and available at every step of the buyer’s journey, you’ll be forging lifelong relationships with your leads in no time.

Struggling to manage an overwhelming amount of product data? There are plenty of easy ways to implement improvements. Alternatively, reach out to Virtucom Group and we’ll help you out with our comprehensive data solutions

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About Virtucom Group

Data integrity, time to market and increased conversions are vital to all e-commerce retailers. Our product data management and unique content creation program ensures consistent product names, robust product descriptions, complete and accurate product attributes and an array of digital assets are at your disposal, providing time to market and quality improvements that will outpace your fiercest competition. Contact our teamand get started with Virtucom ProdX today.