No single formula, algorithm or crystal ball can tell you for sure when and why each individual customer will make a purchase.
However, it’s clear that having a clearly defined omni-channel strategy is key. The word ‘omni-channel’ has been a buzzword the past few years, but what does it actually mean?
According to the dictionary omni-channel denotes or relates to a type of retail that integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers (e.g., online, in a physical store, or by phone).
HubSpot defines it as: “the ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels, while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.”
Key to Omni-Channel Success: Product Content
Regardless of your definition, the key to success in omni-channel retailing is product content. Consumers rely on access to information about products they are considering purchases. Thus, the way businesses inform, educate and engage customers and consumers using product information must be robust and accurate.
Trusted product content is king when is comes to delivering a consistent experience across channels. The quality of a product matters less to a consumer than the quality of the product content.
Product content that includes images, information, and data about the product is playing a larger role in brands’ omni-channel effectiveness. Today, consumers are leveraging product content across the path to purchase for informed data driven decision-making.
To satisfy a consumer’s quest for information, brands must ensure that the right product content is available across channels, including online, mobile, and in-store. To master omni-channel commerce, retailers must create and distribute product content across channels.
Product content includes:
- Product images (including a variety of formats, resolutions and angles)
- Packaging attributes (e.g., dimensions, weights)
- Product attributes (e.g., ingredients, nutritional values)
- Product highlights (romance copy, directions, warnings and marketing claims)
The role product content plays in a brand’s omni-channel effectiveness is rather straight-forward:
- Product images and information are necessary to engage with consumers across the path to purchase.
- Product content is essential to meet retailers’ requirements so they can market and sell products across channels.
- Product data is used to automate and feed internal systems (e.g. warehousing, transportation, ordering, etc.) to ensure operations can meet demand profitably.
The Struggle is Real for Omni-Channel Retailing
However, the struggle is real when it comes to success with omni-channel commerce. According to 1WorldSync’s report ‘Charting a Course for Global Commerce’ found that 80% of merchants struggle to aggregate and distribute complete, consistent and trusted product information across all channels.
The increasing detail required for product content is not the only factor adding to the complexity.
Brands owners’ challenge in providing this content – quickly and cost-effectively – is made more difficult by the internal silos in most companies. In any given organization, product images might be managed by Marketing, product dimensions by Category Management or Logistics, ingredients by R&D and other details by yet other departments.
To transform product content from an obstacle to an omni-channel advantage, brands can follow these best practices.
- Break Down Organizational Silos: In many companies, online stores are operated by a specific “digital” team, while physical stores are run by yet another operations team. Further, there may be another team responsible for GDSN data. This siloed structure inside an organization can result in a fragmented customer experience. Silos must be broken down. There is no longer such thing as in-store merchandise vs online merchandise. The channel is different, however the product content supporting the product remains the same. Thus it’s more important than ever to have a holistic strategy for consolidating and distributing product content across the organization.
- Leverage 1 Solution to Enable Omni-Channel Retailing: You cannot keep up with the ever increasing demand for product content, unless you have a holistic strategy that addresses the entire project. By enabling products to stand out in a crowded omni-channel world, 1WorldSync delivers rich and trusted product content, including digital assets and insights – to engage customers and consumers – regardless of location or medium. 1WorldSync’s Omni-Channel solutions helps leading retailers capitalize on product information to drive conversion. 1WorldSync works exclusively to feed companies like Amazon and Walmart GDSN and eCommerce data. Additionally, 1WorldSync customers can publish and make updates to their 1WorldSync data pool product information and enrich their product information for cross-channel commerce, enabling global content distribution and syndication for all your product information.
Watch our video below and learn how you can organize for cross-channel sales growth!