The exponential growth of product information, fuelled by consumer demand for ever-increasing amounts of information, influences the path to purchase with a particular emphasis on winning in search. Coupled with the complexity of a journey that requires managing each touch point in a consistent and relevant manner, product content plays a key role in defining whether or not an item is placed in the consideration or the purchase set. Consequently, retailers and consumer goods companies cannot afford to ignore this imperative. According to Forrester’s 2014 benchmark study, when consumers consider a purchase, “71% of prospective online buyers rely on product information.”
The definition of product content has broadened to include traceability, how-to, and user-generated content such as reviews and ratings. Product content can also no longer be a simple by product of product development. There needs to be clear ownership of the end-to-end “product information supply chain.” The product information supply chain needs to start and finish with the consumer, and ensure that it is responsive and agile. The typical accretion of information across siloed functions such as R&D, marketing, commercial, and its accumulation from different systems is haphazard and clumsy at best.
Companies need a “data czar”—a Product Information Officer—to align the data needs throughout the enterprise and the supply chain so that it focuses on the consumer. Such a role will take care of:
- Orchestrating efficient data flows across internal business functions that work with existing Master Data Management functions
- Ensuring that different product information cycle times, from annual planning cycles to near-real-time optimization, are managed holistically
- Maintaining focus on the consumer and helping the company win in search
- Organizing the flow of product information from central or regional to local and back
Read our point of view paper entitled, “The Devil is in the (Product Data) Details” to learn about an holistic approach to managing product information supply chains to drive path to purchase and win in search.
The paper provides the key findings of research on the status of product data maturity of the top 30 retailers in the world and shares the views from top retail and Consumer Product Executives on omnichannel product information.
1.Forrester’s North American Consumer Technographics® Retail Online Benchmark Recontact Survey, 2014