Brooke Cunningham, CMO of inriver, discusses how new systems can help marketers access the right product information at the right time to personalise the customer experience and add value to the buyer journey.
It’s been another challenging few months for marketers. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has created an unforgiving landscape and industry-wide cutbacks have increased the pressure to do more with less. With businesses and consumers alike grappling with shrinking budgets, it’s never been more important for marketing teams to connect with the right audiences at the right time.
As consumers, we’ve all seen a definite shift in our everyday lives. Our buying habits were once driven by product perception, and now it’s all about the experience. These habits are no longer limited to our B2C spending, either. B2B buyers are also putting experience first, increasingly expecting easy access, rich information and seamless engagement across every touchpoint they have with the brands they choose to interact with. In our current economic landscape, getting this right could be the differentiator between a business thriving, surviving and failing.
After all,when a business excels at customer experience, consumers will typically spend more, be more loyal and share their experience with people they know. In fact, according to PwC research, customers are willing to pay an additional 16 per cent for better customer experiences. Meanwhile, 32 per cent of customers would stop doing business with a brand they love after just one bad experience.
The secret ingredient to better CX
If businesses want to improve their customer experience initiatives, transparent product information is essential. In fact, product information is at the heart of the entire commerce journey. From discovering and researching products to comparing price and delivery options, customers depend on accurate, consistent product information, whether in-store or online. It’s that simple.
However, marketers today face another challenge when it comes to product information. It’s no longer enough to just be accurate. To click that all-important buy button, consumers want product content that speaks to them, a product story that connects to their needs on an emotional level, and a product experience that compels them to buy. In other words, they want impeccable customer experience which is personalised to them.
Part of creating a personalised journey is expanding beyond simply extolling a product’s features and benefits. Customers want recommendations, product demos, how-to-guides, reviews and anything else they need to feel confident about their decisions delivered at the right time in their buying journey. To deliver these things, marketers must be able to access the right information at the right time. This is where Product Information Management (PIM) can help.
Levelling up with PIM
A PIM solution automates and manages all the information needed to market and sell products through multiple distribution channels. By providing a central repository for a business’ product data, PIM enables marketing teams to deliver the most valuable information for a consumer during each phase in their buying journey with a brand.
Businesses are able to add and edit product data in real-time, including product descriptions and specifications, images, videos and other rich content that helps promote their products. PIM can update product sheets and automatically distribute this information through all the required channels, whether websites, print catalogues, marketplaces or social media platforms. Plus, some PIM solutions go further to create personalised relationships between products, parts and associated services, so cross-selling and upselling offers are presented to the right customer at the right time.
For marketers, PIM is quickly becoming fundamental to supporting a multichannel strategy. Accurate, updated and complete product information improves the buying experience. Plus, the data held in a PIM solution can also be used for sales and after sales, enabling brands to establish and nurture stronger relationships with their customers than ever before.
The latest PIM solutions on the market go one step further. Instead of just providing one-way information, they are able to create a feedback loop of actionable insights back to the user. This circular journey for product information means that marketing teams will be able to adapt to customer demand, adjusting their strategy based on what is working and what is not. The level of real-time insight into both buyer behaviour and product performance will mean that businesses can get one step ahead of the competition.
In today’s challenging landscape, it’s never been more important to earn customers’ loyalty. The brands who survive this time of turmoil will provide personalised, omnichannel experiences that inspire customers to stay and also to spread the word.
In a digital-first world, product information is any marketing team’s most valuable asset. But the information alone is not enough. Businesses need to optimise and contextualise this information if they want to create compelling buyer experiences that meet the expectations of their customers. PIM solutions can help marketers to be at the top of their game and enables brands to deliver stellar customer experience at every touchpoint.