Bad Product Data Management Is Making E-Commerce Harder

Dec 20, 2017 10:09:57 AM

by Virtucom Group Team

Yes, e-commerce is becoming increasingly crowded – especially now with Facebook and Instagram stepping into the retail game. And yes, every online retailer is vying for consumers’ attention and wondering how they can make their brand stand out. But no matter how advanced your user interface is or how strong your social following, none of it matters if you have poor product data management.

Your product pages are your foundation. If there are cracks in this foundation, it’s going to be difficult for you to flourish amidst thousands of competitors.

Moving forward, it’s always a good idea to review your current data management system to ensure your website is on par with your competitors. If you’re using automated data feeds, item setup sheets or vendor portals in particular, quality control might be difficult because these systems tend to have more room for error. It's not that they're a bad solution, but brands who utilize these options need to be aware of the need for careful oversight.

Here’s how poor product data management can directly impact your online retail sales performance, making the e-commerce game that much harder to win.

Poor Product Data Management Increases Bad Reviews

If a customer isn’t satisfied with their purchase because of incorrect or misleading information on your website, they’ll probably return it. Research by Forrester Consulting reveals that 65% of e-commerce returns are triggered by retailer mistakes online. Not only that, but they’ll be less likely to order from you again, and they might even post negative online reviews. As social media continues to grow and infiltrate the consumer experience, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms play an increasing role in brand awareness. And while great reviews can boost your online presence, bad ones make it harder to stay competitive.

That’s because, as Dimensional Research indicates in their 2013 report, 95% of customers who have a negative brand experience are likely to tell someone about it, and 45% of them will use social media to do so. And since 42% of online customers are heavily influenced by recommendations from friends and family, this results in a ripple effect in which more people will be unlikely to purchase from you online. How many? Data suggests 86% of shoppers hesitate to make a purchase due to negative reviews. And while there are steps you can take to mitigate negative social media activity, once something is put onto the web, it can be hard to remove it.

Poor Data Management Causes Delays In Getting Products Online

If a product is missing important information, you might not be able to display it on time. For example, if the wrong specs were imported or if a vital attribute was never provided, your team might have to hold back the SKU until this data can be collected. But when it comes to retail, you always want to be ahead of the curve. If there’s a new product launching, you need to make sure it’s live on your site in a timely manner. If not, your competitors will, making it harder for you to win a larger portion of sales.

Poor Data Management Leads To Trust-Destroying Inconsistencies

If the product image indicates that a T-shirt is black, but the copy says it’s green, do you think a customer will feel confident in making the purchase? Probably not. Online consumers are becoming more discerning and being more careful about their purchases, which makes your job much harder with poor data in place. So during the product data management process, it’s important to emphasize quality control and take time to vet out these discrepancies, so that you can post accurate, trustworthy product pages.

Poor Data Management Creates An Unprofessional Appearance

While following that AP style guide from college might seem irrelevant for product management, style standards actually do play a role. You should have some data normalization standards in place in order to present a clean, streamlined look across all of your pages. Consistency is key, even for things as small as an Oxford comma or whether you write two or 2. Simple as it may seem, standardization helps reinforce your brand identity, so it’s crucial to make sure every product description aligns with your predetermined guidelines. Brands that operate without these standards only make comparison shopping within their site that much harder.

If you're not sure how to implement these changes without overburdening your team and increasing an already loaded schedule, a managed product data service could provide the solution you need. Interested in learning more about effective product data management strategies? Virtucom Group can help you input and organize data and generate compelling content. It’s designed to eliminate many of these errors, so that your e-commerce company won’t just stay afloat, but thrive in today’s fast-paced retail climate. 

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