There are plenty of quick ways to improve your product data management immediately, but long-term planning is arguably even more important. The world of ecommerce is always moving fast, so your product data management protocols need to be calculated and responsive, able to adjust when timely changes are needed. Here, Virtucom Group explains three long-term strategies that can build your product data management practices from adequate to excellent.
1. Analyze Your Current Process for Improvements
We get it – retailers are busy, and employees are bogged down with business as usual. While not intentional, many retailers fall victim to poor product data management practices. That’s why the first step to better results is taking a good, hard look at the current processes in place. Evaluating your methodology will likely reveal some pain points and give you the chance to work on improvement.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider where your data comes from. Take it from Virtucom Group, a provider of turnkey data solutions for Fortune 500 retailers. Way too many retailers struggle with numerous data collection methods, such as:
- Data feeds
- Vendor portals
- Item setup sheets
- Web searches
When this is the case, contradictions in data quality are more than likely. Conflicting data takes time to clear up, and commonly, retailers spend a lot of time and money without improving quality. That’s where long-term planning comes into play.
Another important consideration is how your existing resources are being used. Are employees being used to their fullest potential? Do you have the right tools, like a product information management (PIM) or digital asset management (DAM) system? The answers to these questions may help to simplify your data collection efforts and improve overall data quality. However, no matter how great your technology is, there will still be data challenges that the most sophisticated programs cannot solve.
2. Implement Strict Quality-Control Protocols
Sure, there are countless automation systems and artificial intelligence (AI) programs to seemingly do this step for you. Unfortunately, these tools cannot be fully trusted, as nothing compares to the human review of your data. Relying on data feeds or automated quality control won’t yield the level of data integrity demanded by ecommerce – that’s why so many retailers turn to Virtucom Group for assistance.
Putting your data in the hands of trained professionals ensures more than just accuracy – retailers get the benefit of our expertise. With a discerning eye, we come to understand your data requirements, governance rules, and data strategy, allowing us to evaluate whether product data meets them or not.
For many retailers, the cost of a partnership with Virtucom Group is more than paid for with the return-on-investment generated by good data. Inaccurate information costs sales – it’s as simple as that. Since there are so many online retail options, customers won’t settle for questionable data, as they can simply purchase from a competitor instead. However, incorrect product content can have far more serious consequences than lost revenues, such as:
Significant Damage to Your Reputation
Incorrect product data can greatly affect brand loyalty and how consumers perceive your business. Not only does this hurt your bottom line today, but it also has long-term effects. Thanks to online reviews, social media, blogging, and the like, it’s far too easy for negative word of mouth to tank your brand.
Heightened Legal Risk
No business owner wants to be confronted with costly lawsuits or other legal issues, especially when the blame is bad data. For instance, what if your online store presented a toxic substance as safe for children? Or, what if you published inaccurate weight limits on a product that could cause serious injury? All of this can be avoided by taking every precaution to ensure quality data.
Get ahead of these problems now by planning your product data management approach wisely.
3. Establish Rigorous Normalization Standards
Collecting data is part of the equation – sound management also considers how this data will be processed. When it comes to product data management, consistency is the key to success. Unless retailers offer consistently formatted data, shoppers won’t be able to use it effectively (i.e. make a purchase that won’t result in a return).
That’s why the implementation of data normalization standards is so crucial. Doing so ensures that consumers can use product attributes to compare items and understand what they’re really buying. This is especially important for online retailers who don’t have brick-and-mortar locations. Regardless, data normalization can lower your return rate and assist in positioning your brand in the best possible light. Plus, it provides time savings when it comes to getting SKUs published online. With Virtucom Group, you can receive fully normalized, high-quality data that helps prevent inaccuracies, as our processes replace the back-and-forth and miscommunications between your internal teams.
Smarter Content for Better Ecommerce
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to product data management, but the difference between success and failure can come down to the strength of your processes. Remember: creating the value-rich product description pages that drive conversions requires clean, accurate, and fully normalized data. By implementing more stringent review protocols and better overall standards, you’ll likely find that your initial investment in time and resources was well worth it.
Allow us to be part of your success story with our managed product data services. We work as an extension of your team and collaborate with suppliers on your behalf, resulting in streamlined product information. We also offer data procurement, normalization, and product content creation services. To learn more about how Virtucom Group serves Fortune 500 retailers with our host of ecommerce solutions, contact us today.