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4 Product Information Management Best Practices for Ensuring Omnichannel Success

The importance of effective product information management is monumental for retailers. In fact, $40 billion in sales, or 3.5%, are lost each year due to supply chain information inefficiencies. When it comes to products, companies spend an average of 25 minutes per SKU per year cleaning out and syncing old information and for new products, it takes an average of four weeks to launch the offering.

As retailers across the globe expand their brick-and-mortar offerings to ecommerce, and bring their thousands of SKUs to the digital world, product information management is key to driving quality traffic, increasing conversion and building customer loyalty.

Companies spend an average of 25 minutes per SKU per year cleaning out and syncing old information.

Yet, despite its growing importance, many retailers are still unfamiliar with the processes to implement a strategy. Simply put, product information management is the process of centrally managing information about a retailer’s products and the necessary data required to sell those products across one or multiple sales channels. Implementing this process can have a profound effect on a retailer’s level of efficiency in managing this information, as well as their ability to scale.

Below, you’ll find the best practices for implementing a proper omnichannel product information management strategy.

Consolidate All Product Information

The first step in establishing a sound infrastructure to manage product information is to consolidate all product information across your organization in a single location. From this location,  team members can access, manage and publish said information to one or multiple locations.

In addition to consolidating all of this data in a central location, it is important to create consistency in determining how that information will be formatted.

Benefits: fewer redundancies and errors in product information, improved traceability and control over how products are managed, greater scalability via the ability to more easily add new sales channels.

Build Processes To Create Speed & Efficiency

It’s no secret that rolling out new products or making updates to existing products can be a lengthy, painstaking process. By implementing processes and/or utilizing technology to expedite those tasks, you can significantly decrease the amount of time spent managing product information –– in many instances by more than 50%.

It’s important to note that because every retailer’s product management challenges are unique, there is not a “one size fits all” approach to building these processes. Furthermore, the processes themselves are the most important consideration, whereas any technologies to support those processes should come second.

Benefits: increased revenue achieved by bringing new products to market faster; time saved updating existing product information; more accurate and up-to-date inventory and price information.

Product Information Enrichment

Product information can be a tremendous sales asset and a competitive advantage for retailers who place an emphasis on enhancing the quality of that information. What appear to be obvious, necessary steps, such as writing unique high-quality descriptions, adding product videos and using high-resolution images, are often overlooked as brick-and-mortar stores extend their offering to the ecommerce space. Effective product information management is not just about adhering to these standards, but utilizing processes and tools to make them more efficient.

Benefits: improved customer engagement and loyalty; increased conversions and revenue; stronger differentiation.

Product Performance Optimization

Product information management is much more than simply efficiently managing product information. It’s also about optimizing the performance of those products across all sales channels.

At the end of the day, ecommerce success can be boiled down to two elements: driving high quality traffic and converting shoppers to customers. Product information plays a crucial part in both areas. Below, the top four areas of focus to increase pull in quality traffic and increase conversions:

  1. Create rich, thorough product information that is SEO optimized to increase traffic and attract highly qualified shoppers.

  2. Strategize well thought out product information that is designed via A/B testing to increase conversions.

  3. Customize product information to better cater to different sales channels and market segments will go one step further in increasing conversion rates.

  4. Monitor the performance of products across all of your sales channels, then make constant improvements to these elements moving forward.

Benefits: increased traffic; more qualified shoppers; increased conversion rates.

If executed properly, product information management and all that it entails can improve efficiency, increase revenue and ultimately foster growth. The methods discussed here are really only the tip of the iceberg as it concerns product information management. That said, it’s important to realize that you should build a road map for implementing a product information management strategy one step at a time to ensure long-term success.

Photo: Flickr, bookfinch

Matt Tortora avatar

Matt Tortora is the CEO and Co-founder of ClaraStream, a cloud-based product information system built for retailers selling online. ClaraStream helps retailers efficiently manage their product information across multiple sales channels as well as optimize the performance of those products. You can learn more here.