The Christmas shopping season is already underway. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 50 percent of consumers begin researching their holiday purchases in October or earlier – and roughly 33 percent have already started checking off their holiday shopping lists. As your company ramps up its Christmas promotions, starting with free shipping and so many sales, it is time to start moving beyond the traditional and into improving your product effectiveness.
Forrester Research reports that better product information is actually more important than free shipping. When your company tells stories about the products it sells that engages its consumers, you put yourself in a better position to be truly relevant to your customers. However, most companies, from retailers to manufacturers, simply do not have the tools they need to streamline high-quality product content creation.
Adopting a Product Information Management (PIM) system will help. PIM systems play an important role in telling the types of engaging stories that result in sales. Here is how PIM can help your company to a merrier Christmas selling season.
The first way PIM systems help your business is by reducing the number of returns you experience. Veteran retail industry research firm Optoro has been studying the issue. It found that eCommerce in the U.S. sees return rates that average between 18 and 35 percent, compared to the 5 to 10 percent returns that brick-and-mortar stores experience – and it’s not like these returns can be resold. “On average, only 40 percent of the country’s returns are liquidated,” explains Optoro. “So what happens to the other 60 percent? They’re either disposed, returned to stock or returned to vendor. This non-liquidated inventory creates a massive hidden cost to retailers.”
You can curb returns and control the resultant costs by providing better product information. Using a PIM system helps you standardize the content you provide about each product so you can make sure that you are using complete details on every product. – and make sure that content is optimized so that your products are easily discovered, both from internal searches and web searches. You can also integrate fit prediction tools, product videos and customer reviews.
Connect Channels with a PIM system
When you use a Product Information Management system, you also make it easier for your customers to connect your different shopping channels to deliver what’s called an omnichannel experience. This “strategy hinges on the idea that providing a seamless shopping experience in brick-and-mortar stores and through a variety of digital channels not only differentiates retailers from their peers,” explains Harvard Business Review, “but also gives them a competitive edge over online-only retailers by leveraging their store assets.”
It makes sense. HBR reports that roughly 73 percent of shoppers use more than one channel when they shop. Whether that means researching online and buying in-store, comparing prices or bargain hunting for coupons, omnichannel is effective. Multi-channel consumers spend 4 percent more when buying in-person and 10 percent more when buying online and research shows that the more channels a customer uses to shop, the more they spend. People who use more than four channels to connect with a brand spend 9 percent more in-store than shoppers who use only one channel to connect with a retailer.
Dominate next holiday season by adopting a PIM system for your online store and other sales channels. Not only will you reduce the number of returns you receive, but you will be able to entice your customers to spend more – you just need the right product content and the ability to manage that content effectively. A good PIM will help you get there.
For a merrier Christmas online
- Download our white paper
Do you want to learn more about how a PIM system can help you to succeed in e-commerce? Download our white paper ‘A CMO’s Guide to Online Store Success Using PIM’.