Our partner Akeneo is one of the leading providers of PIM systems worldwide. With Akeneo, companies bring together all the data relevant to a product and can channel intelligently which data is displayed where and when. In today’s guest article, Akeneo summarises what it takes to provide brands, retailers and manufacturers with a consistent and complete customer experience across all sales channels.
Use the Potential of Product Experience
At Akeneo, we are constantly wondering about the state of product information and product experience. Well, after enough wondering, we went out to get some answers. To do so, we created the Akeneo Global B2B Survey 2020, speaking to more than 1,600 B2B professionals in industries including retail, construction, manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, and more.
So what did our research reveal? It turns out that product information and product experience are crucially important to B2B brands and manufacturers in 2020, and it is not hard to see why.
More than half (56%) of our survey respondents said they could increase sales conversions by improving their product information and product experience, while 47% claim they could accelerate cross-sell and upsell activities, 45% think they could charge more for the same product/service, and 32% envision a decrease in product returns.
We also discovered more information about the challenges that plague B2B product information management, including a lack of team efficiency, slow time-to-market, difficulties managing digital assets, collecting and standardising data, and more.
So how can you overcome these challenges and realise the potential of product experience at your business? We have five recommendations.
Product Experience: 5 Tips
1. Understand Your Customers’ Buying Journey
One of the biggest changes in B2B buying in recent years has been the change in the criteria companies use to make purchasing decisions. As more digital natives have entered the workforce, B2B buyers have started to act more and more like omnichannel consumers.
That means B2B buyers are becoming increasingly selective, making purchasing decisions based on a list of criteria and across a growing number of channels. And no two purchasing processes are the same – each buyer has a unique and complex buying journey that takes them from the initial search for a product to the final purchase. So, make sure you truly understand the criteria your customers use to evaluate potential purchases so that you can include the relevant product information, and invest in the channels where your customers are buying to extend your market reach.
2. Enrich Product Information to Reinforce Your Brand Values
In recent years, emphasis on corporate environmental and social responsibility has increased, spurring a number of changes in how businesses present themselves and their products.
Perhaps most interestingly, corporate values have become crucial to B2B buyers, growing to become the #1 purchasing criteria after price. This includes information about the origin, organic materials, the manufacturer’s social responsibility, carbon footprint, and more. Nearly half of respondents also cited personalised experiences as a key part of their decision-making process.
If you want to win over these buyers, you will need to show that your brand’s values align with their own by broadcasting your brand beliefs and showing how you put them into action. That includes providing information about the origin of a product, organic materials used in a product, a given manufacturer’s social responsibility or carbon footprint, and more.
3. Contextualise Product Information
Expanding to new channels or locales can be a lucrative operation for companies looking to expand their horizons. But it is not as simple as just opening a new channel or shipping products to new countries.
Most customers, whether they are B2B buyers or an average consumer, want, even demand, to see product information in the context of the channel they are on. And if you are expanding to a new geographic market, there is no chance that your new potential customers will become loyal purchasers if they cannot understand the product information displayed on your website, mobile app, marketplace page, or any other channel.
Make sure your product information is contextualised to deliver the right information and experience for each sales channel, conforming to each channel’s rules and how buyers interact there. And, if you are selling in multiple locales, make sure you speak your customers’ language, and go beyond translation to include adaptation to local customs, metrics, and regulations.
4. Optimise Product Information Management Processes and Foster Collaboration
Does your B2B business face increasing pressure to cut costs while being more agile? You are not alone.
Companies of nearly every shape and size struggle to be able to move quickly enough to keep up with the rate of change and demand in their field without burning precious time and resources. But creating and maintaining accurate, compelling, and complete product information can be a time-consuming and expensive process.
To avoid watching your product enrichment budget and schedule go up in smoke, improve product information management productivity by leveraging automation and efficiency gains with a dedicated product experience management solution. This will help your team remove tedious, manual tasks, and empower them to create the compelling experiences that convert prospects into customers.
5. Create New Experiences with New Technologies
As we all know, technology is ever-changing, and these changes and innovations often have major commercial ramifications for B2B and B2C players alike. Whether it is new devices like the increasingly popular vocal assistants offered by Amazon or Google, bots designed to help improve the online shopping experiences, or a pair of goggles designed to help you enter a new, virtual world, new innovations seemingly hit the market every day. And, as interest in new and evolving technologies like voice search, chatbots, AR/VR, and more continues to rise, so does the demand to use these advances to make purchases or learn more about products.
That is why it is crucial you understand the technologies your customers use to make purchasing decisions, invest in reaching them on those channels. Be sure to avoid falling into the trap of simply seeking to replicate the experience provided by a previous channel, instead offering a new and compelling experience that uses the specific properties and capabilities of this new technology.
Find out more about the state of product information management and the potential of PIM for your customer journey in Akeneo Global B2B Survey 2020: 5 Takeaways on the Rising Importance of Product Experience.
Product Experience Platform with the Right PIM System
A PIM solution makes it faster and easier to create and deliver compelling product experiences that are optimised for your customers’ buying criteria, and in context for each channel and market where you do business. It is a winning investment as it supports the key mandates of today’s B2B businesses and helps to unlock growth.
Read our completely renewed »Selecting PIM and MDM Software« white paper to find the PIM system that suits your company.