With the seemingly endless number of SKUs that shoppers have to choose from, accurate information is a must at retail.
“Relevant, impactful product content is essential everywhere commerce happens,” says Steve Sivitter, CEO of 1WorldSync, an e-commerce product content platform. “While consumers might be tightening their wallets, they’re spending more time researching and reviewing product content.”
In this Q&A, Sivitter provides further insight on this topic with Todd Hassenfelt, e-commerce director, growth and planning, at Colgate-Palmolive.
P2PI: How has the role of product content evolved in today’s market?
Sivitter: A majority of online shoppers say poor content (or no content) often dissuades them from making a purchase. As ongoing economic uncertainty and inflation concerns continue, consumers have modified their shopping behavior, from streamlining their budgets to visiting multiple websites and product detail pages before making a purchase decision. When brands fail to deliver impactful product content across multiple channels, they risk failing to meet customer expectations and damaging their reputation.
P2PI: What about product content platforms? How do they help brands?
Hassenfelt: Consumers expect up-to-date and expansive product details across different platforms, while retailers want more data in more formats and often require disparate information. Product content platforms help companies fine-tune and safeguard the product information management process, providing the information consumers want and data retailers need. Robust content platforms empower brands to maintain a consistent image across all e-commerce, retail and distribution channels, automating the validation of product attributes to ensure accuracy. These platforms help create a single source of truth for all digital assets and help brands manage, upload and tailor their assets for various digital scenarios. This allows companies to sidestep manual processes, eliminating costly errors and saving their teams valuable time.
P2PI: What role does search data play in optimizing product content?
Hassenfelt: Search is a critical aspect of product content strategy. Most e-commerce shopping experiences begin with a simple query on a search engine or an e-commerce marketplace. To ensure maximum visibility, brands must thoroughly understand keyword trends for their categories. They must adhere closely to each of their trading partners’ internal search engine optimization best practices and style guides.
Believe it or not, SEO also plays an important role for in-store shopping. According to a 2021 1WorldSync survey, 61% of shoppers use search engines to research products before they go to the store.
Companies must learn — and incorporate — all the ways customers talk about their products. For example, consumers are more likely to use non-branded search terms like “whitening toothpaste” than search for a branded product like “Colgate Optic White Renewal toothpaste.” Prioritize writing engaging and authentic product descriptions to reach more customers.
P2PI: How can brands tell their story on a product detail page (PDP) while still adhering to their retailer partners’ requirements?
Sivitter: PDPs allow brands to tell their story in myriad ways and elevate above the competition. The most impactful PDPs include product imagery. High-quality product photos influence the purchasing decisions of more than half of shoppers. The most helpful imagery styles include 360-degree spin, action, customer and scale. But while images are critical, they tell only part of a product’s story. A PDP also needs creative, concise and conversion-driving copy to highlight unique specs and features to generate sales. Customer reviews also build brand loyalty, especially when brands engage with customer feedback — both the good and the bad.
Brands can comply with retailer requirements by using a product content platform. For instance, Colgate leverages 1WorldSync to facilitate storytelling while applying content rules and vendor formatting to ensure brands distribute current, brand-verified product content.
P2PI: How can brands’ success in e-commerce inform strategies for the physical shelf?
Hassenfelt: A digital shelf strategy helps companies draw customers to their websites and leverage rich product data to engage and increase purchases. When successful, a digital shelf strategy significantly impacts physical store sales. By strengthening its online performance, a brand can directly impact a customer’s overall retail experience. For example, even when shopping in-store, 90% of shoppers use smartphones to look up product information like reviews, features and specs (according to 1WorldSync’s 2022 Consumer Product Content Benchmark Report). Bridging the gap between the physical and digital commerce worlds helps brands maintain momentum and retain sales growth.
P2PI: What challenges remain for CPGs as it relates to product content? What are some possible solutions?
Sivitter: Digital technologies are reshaping how people discover and shop for consumer packaged goods. Grocery shopping has also migrated online, and CPG marketers must adapt to meet new demands in the crowded e-commerce market. To achieve success in the CPG space, brands must display product information — including updated availability and price — that consumers can easily find.