Did you know that in 2019 digital selling accounted for 20.1% of the entire holiday sales, and Thanksgiving Day alone saw online sales cross the $ 4 billion milestone for the very first time? Shopping has always been big on these occasions, even with 2020’s disastrous impacts, it won’t be much different this year. Thanks to the surge in digitalization, businesses who’ve been ahead in embracing digital technologies are nearly as ready as they were in the last few year. And the ones who were lagging behind, have woken up to the significance of online selling, especially CPG and retail businesses.
They’ve realized that unexpected downtime during this seasonal blitz can spell doom for them. They must ensure that all their business touch points – from websites to apps to social media – are all primed and ready. This is where product information matters the most. Shoppers want all the information at their fingertips, including basic features, related media, technical specifications, product differentiators, and delivery and return details.
Data management technologies like Product Information Management (PIM) can brace you for a vibrant, albeit different ‘Thanksgiving’ and ‘Black Friday.’ Here’s how:
- Accuracy and Consistency in Deals: In a journey where customers skim through abundant information to make the right purchase decision, shifting from site to site and channel to channel, there is no room for inaccuracy or inconsistency in information. Synchronizing all customer touchpoints is a tedious and time-taking task for any brand when the demand peaks, however, with a PIM system, product information can be made consistently available. Automating product information dissemination and offering a centralized view of it can not only give you the right control over information, but also enrich the product experience in real-time. With zero manual actions, each product can be backed by all the relevant information across POS (Point-of-Sale) channels, online stores, marketplaces, mobile apps, native apps and even smart devices. The resulting catalog assortments backed by intelligent categorization of descriptions eliminates any chances of data redundancy or complexity, thereby appealing to even viewers with short attention spans and limited time, to consume information.
- Robustness to Handle Spikes in Sales: 2020 or not, demand fluctuations and sudden spikes are a big part of holiday shopping. Slowdowns can occur from overburdened legacy systems, non-scalable servers, graphic-heavy or third-party dependent components, etc. The last thing shoppers want during a holiday season is to have endless delays or get a ‘sorry’ notification after investing their time. All such challenges can be mitigated with a PIM system that can automatically update any product detail dynamically. This way operators can focus on marketing strategies, discount offers, gift guides, or design innovation while PIM rearranges data so that analysts can handle demand surges. It can tremendously boost conversion rates and customer lifecycle value by easing navigation and quickly formulating catalogs best suited to demand surges. An agile PIM solution can hence centralize the entire holiday product portfolio, create process coupons, highlight featured products, and announce the campaign dates while maintaining control over fast-moving SKUs.
- Faster New Product Introductions: During holidays, customers look forward to new product launches, deals-of-the-hour, and other exclusive bundle offers. That means, during this time if you snooze, you lose! All platforms and distribution channels must have timely product announcements with accurate and relevant product information. This entire process requires collaboration between multiple teams to expand product catalogs, launch ad campaigns, manage social media and graphics, and address customer inquiries. PIM can be a lifesaver in making all that happen with minimal errors or delays. Since, it offers a single source of truth for all product information, it can manage product pages and specifications sheets by updating all the information at once, for all your customer touchpoints. With PIM, you can manage different data fields (new colors, sizes, flavors, prices, etc.) without losing your precious time. This way, you can send updated information about new product launches to all stakeholders and catch the customer’s attention with an accelerated go-to-market plan.
- Omnichannel Efficiency: Omnichannel solutions have been the top retail technology investment in 2018 for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Omnichannel efficiency provides a seamless shopping experience across digital channels and stores, giving businesses a substantial competitive edge. As such, channel-compatibility issues can prove to be a significant setback given the time-sensitivity of holiday shopping. PIM can make it easier to connect different shopping channels by updating site contents and making it more visually appealing to mobile users. It can help in integrating new channels and configuring plugins with ready-to-publish data. Product description becomes eminently important for buyers during the holiday season when they spend more time researching and comparing product offers across channels. You can export files from your existing applications, synchronize and standardize and centralize it for streamlined distribution. This way, product data can be accessed and used by several departments to provide holistic information to customers to substantially increase brand loyalty.
- Operational Excellence and Productivity: As Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the following weekend await a massive influx of buyers, without automated, reliable product information and easy-to-use customer interfaces your staffers can find themselves unfairly burdened and overwhelmed. There might be a requirement for new banners, better media, enriched product stories, emotional messaging, and appealing product presentation demanding quick coordination among various teams. . This can put your product, marketing and sales teams performing under enormous pressure— leading to poor performance, resentment, even errors— which cannot be an option. PIM can take all the pressure off by bringing different stakeholders on the same page with data transparency and a single view of product information. All the changes made across the value chain can be recorded in a central repository with complete visibility of end catalogs. Teams can collaborate better with zero misunderstanding, data duplication, or manual data handling errors and focus on complex tasks to handle demand surges.
Adopting a smart data management solution like PIM to churn out engaging product experiences with intelligent batch management, automation, and control over fully-featured product detail pages is a smart move. Win the 2020 holiday break by enabling internal systems and external platforms to reap impulse shopping rewards.
The deals have arrived, and they make it apparent that a lot of them are already powered by PIM. Businesses, especially CPG and retail, who haven’t yet been exposed to PIM’s obvious advantages, must see how it can enable them not just for now, but for the long haul.
Have a great Thanksgiving and Black Friday!