Optimizing an End-to-End eCommerce Strategy for Retailers

Having an active product content strategy is essential to winning in today’s consumer-first marketplace. While many organizations are entering the world of digital transformation, shoppers are already there. One single online entity controls more than $230 billion in sales, across most every consumer product or service – and it’s expanding rapidly. But it’s not enough to take the basic PIM/DAM data that fuels in-store planograms and merchandising programs. Today’s content must work in the way shoppers do – integrated interactively, across mobile, desktop, TV, tablet, and into the physical store (when there is one). Although consumer product images and label content are critical – they provide the bare minimum when it comes to presenting content online.

Syndigo has compiled the playbook below to help you better understand the key areas of importance when it comes to eCommerce digital product content from a retailer perspective, with suggestions on how to begin (or improve) your organization’s product content strategy. We have divided the process into four key areas:

1. Build & Organize

To build an effective eCommerce program for promoting consumer products, you need to start with Core product content – table stakes for both brands and retailers, and the foundation of supply chain efficiency and eCommerce. Here are a few checklist items to consider as you build your Core content requirements:

  • Content Creation / Collection – In order to deliver the most complete, robust and up-to-date content to your shoppers online, it is important to institute requirements that include a repeatable, sustainable approach for suppliers to deliver content for new items or package changes quickly. It is equally important to have your retail systems able to implement these changes in real time as well. Using a content provider like Syndigo can help ensure a brand’s eCommerce content strategy includes updating any changes that occur to the final approved product, including weight and dimensions, across individual items, packing sleeves and cases. Syndigo provides tools which enable brands to manage their content real-time, leveraging the same platform which Syndigo retailer clients can utilize for accessing content across eCommerce, planogram, marketing, advertising and other content-driven programs. Syndigo also provides services to support private brand content creation and collection to help you bring your own differentiated products online
  • Validation – Every retailer’s data requirements and formats are unique. Things as simple as measurement units, the order of attributes listed in a description, or even how words are capitalized can all be unique, making validation of the brand’s content essential to ensure it is both complete and correct. Syndigo’s data creation processes, dedicated taxonomy data scientists and validation engine together ensure that brands can align their content to each retailer’s needs, so retailers receive higher data quality to increase conversion. The fact that Syndigo works closely with retailers as clients also ensures the best coordination of content for eCommerce sites.
  • Nutrition / Off-label attributes – Shoppers today crave information, and some seek specific product information that influences their purchase. Some eCommerce retailers require additional content that is not specifically provided on the label to be included on their site, such as country of origin, bioengineering status, or compliance with certain diets. What may seem like a minor detail can make or break a purchase. Again, being able to add this additional information helps Syndigo optimize the product page for better search and listing results. Many of these derived claims can be compiled by a full-service provider like Syndigo to enhance both a retailer’s website and a shopper’s ability to search and sort based on dietary preferences or guidelines.

Taxonomy – In order to make the most of the data collected in the above examples, it is crucial to employ a taxonomy strategy. A taxonomy is simply a hierarchical system of categories to organize product information to make it easier for customers to find and buy. For example, different consumers might search for “cold medicine” or “decongestant”, or search for flavored waters under “soft drinks” or “sports drinks” rather than “water”. Understanding that different people need different terms and information to make a purchase decision is at the heart of taxonomy, which is why Syndigo has invested in this capability. Having the tools to research and categorize these terms can help build long-term shopper engagement. While the concept is simple, having a formalized process and tools for item taxonomies is complex.

  • Network – Finally, the network is as important as the content. The more easily a retailer can gain access to a large, consistent source of content for their categories, the more efficient a retailer can be in providing the best shopping experience for their customers. Simply collecting product images or descriptive text is a start, but to ensure the best possible accuracy and completeness, it is best to work with a partner with a large network of brand clients that have real-time access to product updates and syndication.

GDSN and Core Content – What’s the difference?

While both types of product content may contain similar attributes, their uses are different. Core content is the information that can be captured from a product’s label or by inspection, including product brand names, descriptions, images, feature sets, specifications, weight and dimensions, ingredients or nutrition labels (for food items), etc. Core content is used in many applications within a retail organization, and consistency and ease in obtaining product information is key to success.

In contrast, GDSN content is an agreed-upon descriptive framework from the participating members of GS1 – an international standards association. Use of GDSN content can help fuel new item set up, plus logistics data to feed shipping, warehouse systems and stores.

Learn more about both below.

2. Enhance

Once you have a solid process and requirements for obtaining Core content, the next thing to consider is Enhanced content. While the depth and quality of Core information helps shoppers make their purchase decisions, Enhanced content – through rich media or interactive applications – lets shoppers engage more. And greater engagement leads to more sales. Our own client case studies have shown a lift of as much as 36% when shoppers are exposed to high quality content. Here are a few items for consideration when building out site to enable Enhanced content:

  • Use Mixed Media – Core content includes a set number of product images (usually up to six). But what about the additional creative assets that can extend the visual aspect of the products you carry? Consider incorporating a brand’s advertising “glamour” shots and descriptors that go beyond basic descriptions. Image galleries that show uses for the product can also be helpful, as well as short (1-2 minute) product videos or commercials. With Syndigo capabilities, you can also incorporate 360 product spins, key call outs or comparison charts published by brands. Syndigo also provides the tools for a retailer to assemble enhanced content for a retailer’s private brand items.
  • Complete the story – Put yourself in the position of the shopper. What would you want to know about the product? What is an engaging part of the product that may be a differentiator? Consider your product page as a digital showroom that helps to tell the product story while answering the questions or ideas for use that a shopper may have. By optimizing your product pages with rich media and other enhanced content in this manner, you can drive even higher levels of add to cart rates.
  • Above and inline – Typical layouts will show a product image with basic Core content at the top, with inline Enhanced content to follow. However, with the increasing use of mobile to access product content, as much as 57% of consumer time is spent above the fold – on the first screen or swipe. That means if you can engage shoppers in selecting products with Enhanced content above the fold, there is an even greater potential for conversion and success. With Syndigo’s capabilities, you can create interactive content experiences directly on your websites through expanded thumbnail images and interactive hot spots, in the prime first-screen area.

What is Story Points, and how does it work?

Story Points helps with product page optimization, by creating interactive “hotspots” on a main hero image, placing essential product information on the part of the product it describes. These interactive elements entice shoppers to engage above the fold, quickly. They also pack a lot of information in a small space – these hot spots open up different windows that can contain rich media content including product videos, 360 views, feature/benefit captions, and much more, all above the fold.

Story Points is one of several interactive tools to build greater engagement through telling the product story. Research shows that product pages with Story Points generate an average of 13% more in add-to-cart rates.

3. Syndicate

Syndigo provides a single platform, Content Experience Hub (CXH) that enables brands to easily and efficiently syndicate their core and enhanced product content to retailers, while adhering to retailer-specific formats and specifications. This single platform also enables a retailer to use a single source for multiple program needs that all rely on accurate, complete and consistent product content. Syndigo’s CXH platform makes it all work, together. Consider:

Single Hosting platform – CXH is Syndigo’s data connection platform, designed to be the single source of truth for any and all digital product content related to a brand’s or retailer’s items and sites. By integrating all content inputs into a single entity, including Core, Enhanced, GDSN, nutrition, and auditing / analytical reporting capabilities, both retailers and supplier brands gain significant efficiencies.

7 Ways to Streamline Your Content Management Process
  • Integration / Syndication – By working with both brand and retailer clients, Syndigo ensures proper inputs are provided by the brands, which ensures data delivery in the formats required by the retailer. In addition, Syndigo’s audit capabilities compare what is presented on the eCommerce site to what was delivered, in order to track and document the areas where content could be improved for better interactivity.

4. Optimize

Much like content management, content optimization is a continual process. As consumer behaviors change and become more demanding for complete and rich content, it is important to monitor the content you are providing to your shoppers on your sites, to ensure you are providing the richest content experience.

Depending on your current content acquisition strategy (using a single source such as Syndigo or pulling from multiple content providers), there can be gaps in the product content over time – either within your site or compared to other competitive sites. By accessing analytical tools to understand product or content gaps, your digital content can be more accurate, complete and effective. Syndigo can also work with you to fill the gaps in product assortment across national brands, regional items, private brands and even perishables.

Building Your Success

Understanding these four key elements of a successful approach to digital product content – Build & Organize, Enhance, Syndicate and Optimize – will help to create online product content that meets your shopper’s expectations, enables more efficient sharing and updating of information, and increases engagement, conversion and sales lift.

Syndigo provides many tools and capabilities for our clients to optimize their product content across the ecosystem. If you are looking to implement or improve your eCommerce content strategy, consider Syndigo’s free content health checkup. It will provide a no-obligation look into the areas your content is succeeding and where there are gaps. To schedule your free content health checkup, just click the button below and we will have one of our account representatives connect with you.

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Syndigo is the global leader for validated core and enhanced digital product content including deep nutritional data, and GDSN data across the largest network of 1,500+ retailers, distributors and trading partners, including over 10,000+ manufacturers and suppliers.