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How can retail brands ensure the product information their customers want is available, accurate, and consistent across all channels? How can they be confident that the product experience properly reflects the core values of the brand? Why is product information and product experience so important to the customer experience anyway?

These were just some of the issues discussed during The Drum’s recent webinar – ‘Omnichannel need not be ominous’ – hosted in partnership with Akeneo.

The Drum’s editor-in-chief Gordon Young spoke with Kristin Naragon, VP of strategy & growth at Akeneo, and Peter Sheldon, senior director of commerce strategy at Adobe, to learn more about Akeneo’s recent survey of 1,600 professionals involved in B2B commerce across the consumer goods, food and drink, retail, construction, manufacturing, automotive and health care industries.

Revealing key results from the survey, Naragon said: “The findings really highlighted the importance of product information in delivering a positive customer experience, no matter the sector — 41% of respondents named product information as a top priority in relation to brand experience, but whether that commitment is being converted into real-world action is questionable. There’s still a big disconnect between those good intentions and brands truly delivering on product content experience.”

Adobe’s Sheldon set the scene for the discussion, saying: “Brands have known for a long time that product content is key to succeeding with online conversions. The right information at the right time can remove any niggling doubt or anxiety that’s preventing a customer from hitting the ‘Add to Cart’ button. Now, as a result of the pandemic, product information is increasingly being recognised as critical to the entire omnichannel experience.

“Consumers are anxious about spending time in physical stores, in the shopping mall, or on the high street. The typical in-store consumer is doing a lot more of their research online via their laptop at home, on their mobile phone. More than ever before, investing in product-related content is essential, not just for the digital channel, but now for all channels.”

During the webinar, Naragon provides numerous examples of highly reputable brands falling short on product information in ways which risk damaging the reputation of both the product concerned and the entire brand.

She said: “An obvious case is where the product description doesn’t match the product image – for example, the copy reads ‘a top-loading dryer’ but the image clearly shows a front-loading dryer. Straight away, the customer begins to question the accuracy of the whole product listing. A brand’s credibility takes a big hit from that sort of mishap. In many sectors, inaccurate product information could even have legal ramifications for the brand, which might not work out well for them.”

Lasting just over 30 minutes, the webinar contains many actionable insights, including:

  • Real-world examples of poor or missing customer information and how this can ruin your chances of conversions and sales.
  • Lessons from brands who are getting Product Content right by providing layers of information for customers to access on-demand.
  • Insights into how to remove duplication of effort and provide consistency and accuracy in product information.
  • A guide to proper Product Information Management and how it can accelerate your ability to launch new product lines to new channels and new markets.
  • A how-to manual for using Adobe’s eCommerce platform and Akeneo’s Product Information Management tool in harmony to support and promote the brand story alongside accurate and consistent product data.

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