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Ignite Recipient Panel: Featuring Ahold Delhaize, Best Buy, and PFG

Ignite Recipient Panel: Featuring Ahold Delhaize, Best Buy, and PFG

Were you able to attend our Ignite: Experiences virtual event, Whatever it Takes? If not, no worries, because we’re recapping the highlights! The event showcased thought leadership on product content management through multiple panel, one-on-one, and group sessions.

Our recipient panel, How to Get Your Product Found Online and Optimize Your eCommerce Product Content, tapped into perspectives from the hardlines, foodservice, and grocery industries—and how streamlining processes for product content management is a top priority for all of them. The panelists also discussed the effects of rapid digital transformation and how their businesses have pivoted, especially in the chaos of COVID-19, to keep up with growing consumer demand and specific needs.

Continue reading for the top takeaways and observations from the speakers, as well as a recording of the session itself.

Setting up your product to be found

Syndigo’s SVP of Retail Client Development Trevor Martin took the virtual stage with retail leaders from Best Buy, Performance Food Group (PFG), and Ahold Delhaize for this panel discussion. Martin posed questions such as: What has changed most about shopper behavior? Are there certain types of PDPs that have been most successful in the past year? What innovations should consumers expect in the future of commerce? The most common themes in the conversation were the importance of complete and accurate product content, meeting customers where they are, and the impact of imagery on product pages.

Lisa Naughton, Sr. Manager for Enterprise Product Management for Best Buy, introduced her perspective by noting the two primary ways Best Buy has set itself apart in this online-heavy time: 1. boosting fulfillment options, and 2. expanding the quality and quantity of product assortment data. She explained that maintaining and—and improving—the ability to provide curbside pick-up and fast shipping, as well as detailed product specifications that enable more meaningful product pages, has been crucial to the business throughout the busy eCommerce season of the pandemic.

Holiday traffic is here every day.”

— Lisa Naughton, Sr. Manager for Enterprise Product Management for Best Buy

A need for even smoother vendor onboarding

The recent growth seen in the grocery industry in particular should come as no surprise to anyone, and Shannon Fuller, Director of Data Governance for Ahold, Retail Business Services reinforced this very point in our conversation. He reflected on the various product outages that occurred as a result of increased demand, and how finding alternative suppliers quickly became a top priority—one that was greatly supported by digitization.

Fuller suggested that this need could be very likely to continue past the pandemic, as more and more consumers are searching for a higher variety of brands. The increase in these searches is due to a number of factors, including the growing desire to find organic products, sustainable products, gluten-free products, and so on. Being able to communicate those product details is crucial, which Fuller attested to as he talked about the overarching theme of having complete and accurate product content.

The impact data has had on our industry is tremendous.”

— Shannon Fuller, Director of Data Governance for Ahold, Retail Business Services

Finding alternative suppliers is something that Brad Best, VP of Enterprise Data and Process Automation for PFG, said he was no stranger to either. In the panel discussion, he reinforced this idea by explaining that with PFG’s customers being restaurant businesses, the significant pivot from indoor dining to takeout led to a strong change in the SKU mix. New and more materials were needed for this adapted business model, on top of additional cleaning supplies to ensure public health and safety. This meant racing to find more items and different items—quickly.

The ability to ensure simplified processes for onboarding new vendors, in critical times like these when retailers need them, is one of the areas in which Syndigo is a trusted partner. Vendor onboarding data is one of three critical data types that the Syndigo platform supported these retailers with throughout these challenges and more.

Transparency, transparency, and more transparency

The entire panel expressed the importance of engaging consumers with as much information as possible. For PFG and Ahold Delhaize, this especially meant addressing the population’s growing desire to know exactly what’s in their food and where it came from (whether from a store or on a menu). When asked about what effects from the pandemic—as it relates to consumer/shopping behavior—might revert back to “normal” with more people getting vaccinated, Fuller noted that although some foot traffic in stores is coming back, online and delivery options are still measurably popular. With the latter still being present, this means transparency in fulfilled product content will remain essential.

All three retail leaders reported seeing extreme success using rich imagery to display product information online. Naughton specifically called out why the ability for Best Buy customers to easily compare products and see how they’d fit in with their lives is so influential to a purchase decision. Comparison charts are just one of the many Enhanced Content features enabled through Syndigo’s Content Experience Hub (CXH), along with other aspects that provide such transparency for more impactful consumer shopping.

The power of partnership

Ultimately, the discussion concluded with alignment on the importance of high-quality product content and the need to continue adapting to the rapid growth of eCommerce. By partnering with Syndigo and having suppliers use CXH, these retailers are staying ahead of the game with seamless connections to vendors, compelling product detail pages, and rich product information to engage customers where needed.

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