Suppose you are setting up a home office and are in need of a new desk. You have a relatively small space to work with, so ensuring that your new desk will fit is critical. You would like to make the most of your space with excellent storage and work area options.
After perusing numerous online furniture sites and offline furniture stores, you find a desk that might work. Now your priority is to get the best price and shipping options and confirm the size and specifications of the desk.
However, when you find what appears to be your chosen desk on several prominent web sites, the product information is not consistent. In each instance, the product has a slightly different brand name, color, and contradictory product dimensions. Pricing for one option is nearly double that of another option. It is also uncertain whether the product will be available and in stock.
Kathy Ireland Home by Martin Carlton 4 Piece L-Shaped Desk Set in Bourbon
$1373List price $1510.49
Martin Furniture Carlton 4pc L-Shaped Desk Configuration in Bourbon
Carlton L-Shape Desk Office Suite by kathy ireland Home by Martin Furniture
$3,010.00 23% Off
Product Dimensions:53“H x 73“W x 78“D
Product Dimensions:78 x 73 x 53 inches
Product Dimensions:72" H x 58" W x 27" D
Color: Brown, Espresso, Chocolate
|In a clear bourbon finish||Desktop Finish: Mahogany|
|Some assembly required||Some assembly required||Assembly Required: Yes|
Each instance of the product has enough significant differences that you begin to doubt your choice. What are the accurate dimensions? How much assembly is truly required? Will the color match your other furnishings?
Not surprisingly, more than 8 of 10 shoppers surveyed are unlikely to trust a retailer or the manufacturer’s brand after detecting inaccurate product information. In addition, more than 50% of consumers trust a manufacturer’s web site more than those of other syndicated retailers.
These data suggest that being able to handle the syndication process of product information is an important requirement of online shoppers. Product information needs to be consistent across all of your retail channels. This builds trust, increases brand loyalty, and boosts customer satisfaction.
What does this mean for you?
If you don’t have a robust and state-of-the-art product information management process in place before syndicating, you may lack the ability to publish consistent and helpful product information across channels that really makes a difference. Your product information needs to answer any possible questions that shoppers may have, at any time, in any place. And it needs to be consistent—always. It is about winning the customer’s attention in every channel, by providing the most relevant information to answer any potential question that they might have—in that moment.
Failing to deliver great product information will lead to a poor customer experience. According to Forrester Research, “Customers rely on comprehensive, accurate data to help guide their purchasing decision…customers use this information to decide whether they can trust the seller and if the product will meet their needs.”
Take a look at inRiver’s white paper, “Product Information from a Single Source: Syndication by inRiver” to learn more about how your marketing organization can guarantee great product information across your channels.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager North America, inRiver
Online shopping is increasing as a percentage of overall retail transactions every year. Even higher-priced and bulky items, such as furniture, appliances, and other home goods, are taking place online. In fact, according to an eMarketer report published in October 2016, U.S. retail ecommerce sales of home furnishings grew more than 15% in 2015 to nearly $27 billion. Because shoppers are becoming more comfortable making these large purchases using smartphones and tablets, furniture manufacturers and retailers are realizing that they, too, must address the needs of the online and mobile shopper.
According to a newly published report from Forrester research, home furnishings is one of the retail categories that has a high level of web-influenced offline sales. The report states that, “The day when almost all products are 100% web-influenced is rapidly approaching.” What this means for furniture retailers is that they must focus more on the accuracy, completeness, and searchability of their online product information. When shopping for long-term décor for their homes, consumers need compelling product stories to assist them in their search.
Jordan’s Furniture Put Customer Experience First
For nearly 100 years, residents in New England have come to rely upon Jordan’s Furniture for the largest selection of brand-name furniture and mattresses. Peter Clark, Vice President of Information Systems, shared how Jordan’s Furniture has stayed on top, with the support of great product information software and efficient processes. “We were searching for a product information management (PIM) solution that would integrate with our current web solution. Perficient brought inRiver PIM to our attention.”
inRiver PIM allows the Jordan’s team to pull the basic product information from the host ERP system, enrich it, and prepare it to be channel-ready—significantly reducing the time it takes to load new product information onto the website. Jordan’s CIO lauded, “Perficient implemented significant changes to our website strategy and…I'm pleased with the value we realized.”
Additional results include improved site search, product indexing, and page load times, and a newly-designed robust online shopping experience. “When we compare the way we made changes in the past to how we do it today, we are more than 30% faster. An unexpected benefit has been providing our customers with really great information, telling them everything we know about our products. To this day, inRiver PIM provides great value and ROI.”
Wehkamp Improves Time-to-Market
Wehkamp, the biggest online department store in the Netherlands, is also seeing growth in its eCommerce sales of home furnishings and large appliances. When the Dutch retailer was looking for a system to meet their needs for next-generation product information management, they also selected inRiver. inRiver has allowed the company to become more agile and speed time to market. “We can do more with the same people in less time,” Wehkamp's Manager Marketing Technology Development, Gerhard van der Bijl told us. “inRiver is ahead of the market for PIM technology. In the future, we will combine insights from PIM with other insights for better customer experience.”
Let inRiver Bring Comfort to your eCommerce Platform
Together with our partners, inRiver has helped guide furniture companies, and other retailers around the world, as they strive to provide their buyers with an exceptional online customer experience. Deploying inRiver PIM helps these companies provide compelling product information and tell exciting product stories about how shoppers can find products to enhance the homes they love. Our partners work with us to connect inRiver to internal systems and external channels to get product information into consumers’ hands—at the moments when they need it—and to provide a seamless and enjoyable purchasing experience.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager North America, inRiver
As a part of a very fast-moving and trend-sensitive business, sports retailers face increasing demands from highly engaged and truly social customers that want to connect with them across many channels. For you as the sports retailer ― at times managing tens of thousands of products per season ― you must not only bring products to the market quickly with all the right marketing assets, but also understand your customers and provide them with a unique and exciting shopping experience that builds trust and keeps them coming back.
So how can you keep a swift pace and stay ahead while still informing your customers with compelling stories about the products they are looking to buy?
Let’s first take a look at how sports & recreational shoppers behave. According to AgilOne’s research, 43% of sports shoppers prefer to conduct research online, compared to only 30% that research in-store and 20% who do not do any research before purchasing. 46% are still drawn into the store to make the purchases, while about 32% make their purchases online. This, however, varies according to market: in the UK, 55% of shoppers purchase their sports goods online (http://www2.agilone.com/blog/sports-retail-trends-snapshot). This suggests that your sports & recreational shopper is likely to conduct their research in more than one channel; one in five will not research at all, and between a third and half (at least in the UK) will make the actual purchase online.
If you connect and engage with your sporting goods customers and coordinate your marketing to be consistent across all your channels, you can create an inspiring customer journey that gives your customers the information they are craving. When your store reflects your eCommerce experience, which in turn reflects your email marketing and also reflects your printed matter, you can create a 360-degree view of your products that is consistent and inspiring everywhere your customer wants to connect with you.
To create this exciting customer journey ― while still maintaining full control over your entire product range― you can manage all your product information and digital assets efficiently with the help of a PIM (Product Information Management) system. By perfecting all your product marketing in one single system that enables you to create, plan and publish it, you can reach all your channels with the same consistent message and experience. You can also adapt your marketing efforts to fit the needs of specific channels, yet still trust that the product information is up-to-date.
Our customer, the sports goods retailer Stadium, decided to rise to the challenge and implement PIM. With PIM, Stadium staff can create and manage product information and digital resources while maintaining a consistent style, look, and feel across all channels. Not only did this dramatically reduce production costs, it also improved the quality of their marketing material, enhanced the customer experience, and increased sales. The PIM system made it easy for Stadium to guide customers with images, text, and videos, providing the best possible service regardless of where customers wanted to interact with them.
When you can swiftly handle product texts, images, videos, comparisons, similar products, related products etc. within one system, you can update the information in all your channels with just one click. Since all channels receive information from the same system, you can trust that your customer experience is consistent, regardless where and how your active customers connect with you.
Annette Ståhlberg, Content Manager, inRiver