Product content–images, information, and data–is playing a larger role in brands’ omnichannel effectiveness. Today consumers are leveraging product content across the path to purchase for informed decision-making–from the food they eat to the lotion they put on their skin. To satisfy consumers’ quest for information, brands must ensure that the right product content is available across channels, including online, mobile, and in-store.
In addition to empowering consumer decisions, brands rely on product content to meet their trading partners’ requirements. Retailers often have stringent requirements as to what product content is needed to market and sell a brand’s products, and it is in the manufacturer’s best interest to provide this information quickly and accurately. Manufacturers also rely on product data for internal operations to power back-end systems for warehousing, transportation, order processing, and more.
However, despite the importance of product content, many brands still struggle to create and distribute product content to meet the needs of the omnichannel marketplace. As the demand for product content has increased, so, too, has the complexity of its management. A complete set of product content comprises a variety of images in multiple formats, resolutions, and angles; packaging attributes, such as dimensions and weight; product attributes, such as nutrition values and ingredients; and product highlights, such as directions, warnings, and marketing claims.
The way product content is managed in an organization–traditionally, within departmental silos–makes it incredibly difficult for a brand owner to access a complete set of content for each product. For example, images might be maintained by marketing, dimension data by IT or ops, and product attributes by R&D. With this approach it becomes difficult for organizations to ensure that their content is consistent, accurate, and up-to-date across the enterprise.
The escalating demand for product content from consumers, retailer customers, and internal departments is bringing these inadequacies to light. The inability to create, maintain, and distribute the right product content to the right audiences is threatening to undermine brand loyalty, customer relationships, internal efficiency, and, ultimately, omnichannel effectiveness.
To leverage product content as a foundation for omnichannel success, brands must take these three steps:
1. Build a central source of product content: For brands to deliver the very best content, they need to leverage a consolidated source of product images and information that serves both internal and external needs.
By relying on a consolidated source, brand owners don’t have to work across multiple departments to gather a complete set of product content–it’s all included in one database. This allows organizations to overcome the silos inherent in the way most companies manage product content.
2. Update product content regularly: Product content is constantly changing. Packaging will undergo redesigns, nutritional values will be updated, and the marketing department will alter its messaging based on consumer trends. These constant updates across SKUs and product categories are hard to manage, and the potential for inaccurate or inconsistent product content is a threat to brand integrity.
To maintain the validity of their product content, brand owners must commit to constant updates to their product content database. Taking a process-oriented approach to product content management ensures that product information is uniform across channels.
3. Ensure that distribution is flexible and scalable: Brands often have hundreds of external and internal content consumers with unique needs. Accommodating all of these requests requires a content distribution system that is flexible in order to meet specific customer needs and system requirements.The demand for product content is increasing rapidly–largely fueled by the number of new channels and platforms across consumers’ path to purchase–so a content distribution system must be scalable to broadly disseminate the right content to the right audiences without overburdening internal resources.
Flexible and scalable content distribution will result in more consistent omnichannel content and tighter brand control.
Fulfilling product content expectations across channels is essential to brands’ long-term success. Given the importance of product content, companies need to take a closer look at their strategies for product content creation, maintenance, and distribution.