Create a unique customer experience with structured product data
The customer experience has become the heart of modern marketing strategies – and in a crowded market the greatest differentiator for brands and retailers. However, accurate content and precise information have long been insufficient for a good customer experience. The customer wants to be inspired at all touchpoints and expects a consistent and continuous brand experience. A great customer experience begins with the presentation of the products. This is where companies can gain a real competitive advantage by following a strategic Product Experience Management (PXM) approach. Context-based product information forms the basis for this, as it puts the customer at the centre of every interaction.
Numerous suppliers, brands, companies and retailers compete online for the attention of their target group. If you want to win customers today, you have to offer much more than just advertising. It is also no longer enough to simply put your portfolio online or to make your web presence mobile friendly. The demands of customers are significantly higher: They expect to be able to shop easily at any time of day – from anywhere and using a wide variety of devices. Millennials, for example, want maximum service and learn as much as they can about products and alternatives before making a purchase. Both B2C and B2B retailers must keep pace with this new shopping behaviour.
Inspire the target group with the right content
In addition to the service, the target group must also be provided with content that inspires and appeals to them on an emotional level. The customer wants to be informed, inspired and entertained. Strategic content marketing generates recognition value, trust, credibility, loyalty and authenticity. The brand remains in the customer's memory, the moment of interaction becomes an experience in itself.
Good content is also an ideal means of identifying customer preferences faster and improving products. Interaction on social media, downloads, likes and shares, quickly reveals the interests and preferences of the target group. In this way, the supplier can get to know the customer better and optimise his or her products accordingly. This, in turn, promotes brand-customer loyalty and increases sales.
So, it's not just about managing customer interaction, but about designing the product experience to meet or exceed expectations.
The total package, the customer experience, is therefore decisive for the success of a brand. In order to create the best possible experience for the customer, this user experience must be the focus of attention.
A unique user experience results from a mix that ensures the greatest possible attention from the relevant target group: It can consist of interactions on social media platforms, individual newsletters, personal greetings on the website or the chat bot, which answers the questions of interested parties 24/7. All these touchpoints create an individual experience and strengthen the bond with the customer. Today, this switches seamlessly between channels and end devices. This blurs the boundaries between e-commerce and point of sale: The customer reaches the brand by clicking on an advertisement and then switches to the website and finally to the store.
Did you know? The ROQQIO Commerce Cloud can easily be connected to the Akeneo PIM.
Omnichannel strategy for a consistent brand image
Many channels, but with one consistent message: This distinguishes a promising content strategy. For an outstanding customer experience, the brand must convey a stringent message in a consistent language – at every point of contact. To deliver this brand experience across all channels, a company needs an omnichannel strategy. It includes business as well as print, web, mobile and social dimensions.
If you want to distribute your products and services consistently and successfully across all channels, you need to make sure that the content is adapted to each channel and placed in the right context. Each channel should provide product data and information, but each channel also has special features that an omnichannel strategy takes into account: Product statements, formats and presentation types must fit. In this way, the customer's buying journey is optimally supported.
To choose the best differentiation for channel content, companies need to understand how their customers interact with the different platforms and adapt and optimise their product descriptions accordingly. In this way it is possible to create a brand experience and a “rich experience” for the customer with a well-founded strategy, which inspires and enriches him or her accordingly.
What’s important here: an effective, well-organised database. There is hardly anything more frustrating for the customer than finding outdated or contradictory information about the same product on different channels. These different data and their sources must be harmonised.
Customer experience: This is what the future looks like
Innovations are progressing. If you want to continue to offer an optimal customer experience in the future, you should keep up with current trends.
Currently, more than half of global e-commerce takes place on mobile devices. Users surf the Internet, research products or buy them directly on their smartphone. Here, it is necessary to further refine the product experience – by adapting the product data to different specifications and formats and preparing for the increasing dominance of mobile apps.
Another trend is voice-activated, intelligent devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home. Product data must therefore be prepared in such a way that it can be found by searching with these devices. Verbal interaction is very different from a search query via text. Language queries are usually at least 15 words long and often begin with words such as "where", "how" and "what". Product data must, therefore, be contextualised for voice activation in order to exploit the potential of this distribution channel.
AR and VR technologies are also gaining ground. This allows brands to show their customers how they will see and experience the products in the real world – without having to go to the store. Machine learning and AI applications are also predicted to grow strongly in 2019. Thanks to these technologies, companies can offer their customers exactly what they want with little effort and in the shortest possible time. The resulting increased level of personalisation allows companies to improve product recommendations and further optimise the user experience.
PIM and PXM for perfect brand experiences
In order to adapt to the needs of the customer and provide an optimal cross-media user experience, companies and retailers need highly structured and consistent product information.
A Product Information Management System (PIM) is the ideal tool for managing them. It not only facilitates the collection and maintenance of product data and its provision to various channels and media. Data maintenance and recording become more efficient, manual effort is reduced, while at the same time data quality increases and the error rate is reduced. With a PIM it is also possible to manage data in a media-neutral way. The system also helps to differentiate consistent product information by distribution channel or location.
With a PIM, product data from various systems and sources is first collected in raw format. In the next step, this is consolidated and standardised, then enriched and thus improved. For this purpose, attributes are compiled, the products are categorised and digital assets such as images are added. Now the data can be adapted to the context, such as the channel and location, and targeted to specific markets. At the end of the process a complete and adapted data catalogue is available, which can be marketed via all channels.
This context-based information is the future. It forms the basis for Product Experience Management solutions. Away from pure data management, real, expressive and unique brand and product experiences are developed and communicated. They place the customer at the centre of every interaction and the resulting transaction. With the next generation of Product Experience Management solutions, offers can be presented with the required context-based information on the different channels. This enables brands to further optimise their omnichannel customer experiences. PXM helps marketers and sales teams to manage product information as easily and efficiently as possible and to market it in different contexts.
The outstanding product experiences thus created reward customers with purchases. Increase conversion rates and sales. Through a positive and consistent shopping experience on all channels, the customer builds up an emotional bond and thus brand loyalty. And thanks to the optimal product information, the customer is kept precisely informed – thereby reducing the number of incorrect purchases and returns.
In general, products with a good PXM can be marketed more quickly – this also increases the speed of market launches, which is essential for seasonal products and promotions.
- Akeneo is one of the world's leading providers of Product Information Management (PIM) systems that provide manufacturers and retailers with a consistent and complete customer experience across all sales channels; whether e-commerce, mobile, print or point of sale.
- With Akeneo's Open Source Enterprise PIM, product data is harmonised centrally and translated and can be used intuitively and flexibly by external suppliers as well as by your own employees.
- Worldwide leading companies such as LVMH, Polo, Frankfurt Airport, Heineken, Karstadt Sports, Veganz and many more have chosen Akeneo software and thus have positioned their product content for the future in the right way.
- With Akeneo, companies experience easy multichannel marketing, improved customer experience, increased sales, higher productivity and, therefore, reduced time-to-market.
- Akeneo locations can be found in France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and the USA.