7 Mistakes Often Made With Product Content
In Ecommerce, the product is as good as its description and visuals. However, the fast-paced world with hundreds of products updated daily makes its impact. Often it results in errors, gaps, or out-dated information, leading to serious circumstances:
- Sales decline
- Accelerated product returns
- Reputation losses
- Revenue decrease
Profit-eating mistakes and wrong assumptions with product data could cost someone’s fortune.
Mistakes With Product Content
So what are the main gaps in the product data strategy, and how to start fixing them?
Lack of Data Governance
Everything starts with accurate data. How to recognize the mess here? These are the questions, that ecommerce managers often ask:
- Which product data-sheet is the most relevant? Products-fixed.xls, products-new.xls, or products.updated.xls?
- What is the right category for that product?
- Where could I find the relevant product information?
It’s important to catch those small signs before they snowball into bigger problems:
- Incorrect price
It’s the biggest nightmare for the ecommerce manager. The price which is too high will result in no sales until the manager notices the problem. And if it’s remarkably low, the orders will fly. And what then? The company would either cancel orders with penalties from marketplaces or struggle with financial losses. Hope the need to decide between the two of these will never arise.
The company should use the product content syndication software that updates both the pricing data and the product content. Otherwise, it’s crucial to double-check manually with all the prices published.
- The wrong number of products
If a manager submits a lower number of products, it becomes impossible to sell the whole stock. And if someone oversells, things come even worse. Amazon and Walmart suspend or ban such sellers.
The solution is simple and hard at the same time. Businesses should integrate inventory tracking software into all the active sales channels.
- Mis-categorization in a listing
Mis-categorisation errors often come unnoticed, resulting in lost sales and confused customers. Probable retailers' rejection is an unpleasant thing, but at least it helps to catch the problem.
The issue is usually fixed after the clear data hierarchy and structure is set up.
Advice for Better Data Governance
Ecommerce managers keep data in the following systems in different variations and combinations:
- Google Drive
And there’s nothing wrong with using multiple systems at once. Yet, everyone should know which of them is a single source of truth for the product data. And the best option would be to use a PIM or MDM solution for that purpose.
What is crucial in fixing errors; not to be lazy. It’s important to follow the mistake all the way long to its starting point. If not, even after the manager corrects it in the middle of the way, it could still be spreading. And the farther they go, the bigger the expenses are.
For example, after noticing an error in the product feed to Amazon, it’s needed to clearly identify its source. It could first appear in PIM as a manual typo or could be transferred there from the ERP system via API, etc.
And of course, it’s essential to schedule regular updates to keep the content always fresh and relevant.
Confusing Innovation With Value
Sellers often struggle to reflect on what a potential customer might resonate with.
Innovations that impress the company members, won’t necessarily impress the buyers. The product should be always presented in an appealing and understandable way. A manager should explain the benefits that could be received through technical specifications.
Advice for Better Value Proposition
The product title formula is key to make products both identifiable and appealing to customers:
Brand + Product Name + Important Features & Benefits;
Though the first 2 elements are quite obvious, the word order in the third one varies across the industries. And after identifying the formula, the next step is to make all products meet the new quality standard.
These are a few more ways to present product values better:
- Learning from the top competitors’ products;
- Adding story-telling images;
- Publishing video guides and overviews;
- Transcribing the texts, not only translating them.
And of course, the sellers should never make promises they cannot fulfill. It makes buyers furious and accelerates the return rate.
Scarce Social Proof
Would a customer buy an expensive unknown product with no reviews? Probably not. Reviews are the must, and the more user-generated content seller has, the more trust they gain. Moreover, unique reviews also boost positions in search engines and drive organic traffic.
Customers leave positive reviews within their initiative quite rarely. That’s why it’s key to encourage buyers to leave reviews, make photos, and craft videos.
Advice for Getting More User-Generated Content
Some shops offer small bonuses for creating unboxing videos and detailed product overviews. The advanced approach lays in launching a holistic retention program with buyers’ ratings.
AliExpress, for instance, has a great strategy in driving customer engagement. They have various rewards, points, and bonuses, wisely integrated with the notification system.
Another important thing is dealing with negative feedback. Some retailers delete bad reviews, making customers even angrier. The best thing here is to explain the situation and offer an exchange or refund, if appropriate. If sellers show customers that they matter, they would come back.
Poor Keyword Optimization
Product content is not only about creativity, but rather focused on how people search for the products. The right SEO strategy enforces marketing efforts, while not having one hurts. Here are some popular mistakes often made with SEO in ecommerce and a few tips on how to deal with them:
- Neglecting keywords updates once the product is launched.
Particularly every ecommerce manager conducts keyword research before publishing a product. But as time went by, the way users express intent could change. And it doesn't mean they do not want a product anymore, but they may search for it another way. And if a manager does not update the keywords, products simply won’t appear in search results.
Keywords are more than just about the rankings. They help to understand buyers’ challenges, demand, and behavior deeper.
- Focus only on Google search engine
Yes, Google is the #1 search engine. Even so, Amazon has its own search engine too. And a lot of Amazon Prime customers type the product name right inside their favorite marketplace.
The thing is, Amazon SEO works not 100% the same as Google’s one. Some things repeat while others don’t, requiring further investigation.
- Using too generic product titles
If a title consists only of the brand & model number (SKU), that's a problem. It’s extremely important to use the right keywords there. A manager should always balance between search volume, search difficulty, and the user intent behind.
As an example, that’s how things happen in different queries around the lipstick searches.
- Unclear CTAs in SEO articles
In their marketing strategy, content managers often create articles for the corporate blog. Something like “what colors are the most trending”, “how to choose a new TV” or “the most resource-savvy washing machine in 2020”.
While using such SEO optimized articles, the content manager should clearly link them to relevant products. Otherway, customers will find them elsewhere.
Same Product Information at Every Channel
Ecommerce managers often stop working on product feed, once they meet the basic requirements of the current sales channel. They then focus on spreading their products to as many channels as possible.
Although, quality goes over quantity here. To achieve top rankings one should investigate the best practices of a definite platform. For example, a product needs to always be with a white background on Amazon’s feature image. But what about the best number of photos, bullets, keywords, etc? And it’s not only about the buyer’s experience, it's also about in-store SEO.
It’s impossible to get instant results here, but in the end, enhancing the customer experience builds loyalty and boosts sales. To make it more efficient, the product content syndication software could be implemented.
Choosing Data Management Solutions Without the Strategy
Ecommerce managers recognize the potential to improve operational excellence by launching a new data management tool. But what should come first here, is the product content strategy. However, too often managers focus on getting the top solution before they have the strategy.
Choosing the most expensive top-rated solution won’t definitely be a mistake. Nevertheless, companies frequently pay for the functionality which they don’t need and that is difficult to understand. In practice, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The tool itself won’t solve the challenges, but together with the comprehensive strategy, it will.
Data strategy helps to align the content workflows and data used in these processes. Without any, the same information is collected and shared multiple times. It raises the chance of appearing new errors, and people from different departments working against one another.
Advice for Setting up a Data Strategy
Ecommerce and data managers could get started by asking themselves simple questions:
- What are the main external and internal data sources for my company?
- What teams interact with product information?
- Where do I need to send data?
- What are the differences between different data structures?
- What are the platforms our data solution should be integrated with?
- What is the current workflow of launching a new product and what could be automated here?
A centralized process for distributing golden records of product data is a key here. Of course, that does not mean managing all the data processes in a single system.
It's often not affordable to replace them with a one-size-fits-all system. And, there’s no need. The right solution to collect, enrich, and share product data, could be easily integrated with the existing systems.
Such a holistic approach produces dramatic improvements in data quality, performance, and transparency for all users. Consistency across all channels and all countries improves efficiency incredibly.
Treating the Mistakes as the End of the World
Everyone who works with data experiences tremendous pressure. Too many things depend on them. One small mistake in a product listing could cost thousands of dollars, corporate reputation, and even lawsuits.
Recognizing one of the above-mentioned mistakes shouldn't lead to depression and self-beating, though. Brands, retailers, and distributors of different sizes meet them and overcome similar challenges.
It seems that only yesterday the question was how to get the complete product data. Now the key question is how to set up the right data strategy and make the team obsessive with its quality.
Data governance is not only about standardization, it’s about the data culture. Small companies at the beginning of the road often think they shouldn’t invest in data management. However, it’s a great moment to start. The bigger the company is, the harder it would be to implement the right procedures.
The businesses of all sizes try to follow the North Star of the perfect content. Not the most beautiful, but the one that is accurate, engaging, and up-to-date.