5 Product Content Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

by | Nov 3, 2021 | Data Management, Digital retail, eCommerce, Suppliers

Consumers have more choices than ever. Your brand might compete with hundreds of others in its category. Whether your product is sold online or on a store shelf, the right product content is critical to helping your product stand out. But managing your product content and sharing it with trading partners isn’t easy.

Here’s our take on 5 common product content challenges and how to solve them.

1. Disorganized product data lost in spreadsheets

We recently worked with a supplier that stored their product information in 35 separate spreadsheets! This supplier had over 1,000 SKUs, each with an average of 25 attributes.

This example may sound extreme, but managing product content in multiple spreadsheets is very common. And without exception, using spreadsheets for this purpose is painful.

In some companies, brand managers spend hours updating, cutting, copying and pasting product information in spreadsheets. Not surprisingly, these businesses have trouble keeping track of all of this information. 

The bottom line? Managing all of these spreadsheets takes valuable time away from more strategic tasks, such as selling existing products and finding opportunities for new products. In contrast, having data stored in one central location allows streamlined workflows and visibility across your business.

2. Tedious data transformation for each retailer’s specifications

Every trading partner you work with probably has a different preferred format for product content. They require different categories, which drive required attributes, such as SKU, price, weight, dimensions, color, category, count, MSRP, images, and more. The list of requirements can seem never-ending.

All of these requirements translate into a significant time commitment for your team. A new item takes approximately four to six hours to set up, and that doesn’t include time spent on updating information for existing products.

You need to provide the best data based on each retailer’s specs. When consumers compare your product with a competitor’s, having your attributes formatted perfectly will give you an edge.

3. Item data errors

Using multiple spreadsheets or internal systems inevitably leads to errors. And product content errors are an everyday occurrence for many businesses. These errors can be as simple as a required field that is missing, a field formatted incorrectly or a missing image.

Every time your product data generates an error, you need to troubleshoot the error with your trading partner. This not only takes up valuable time but can also damage your trading partnerships.

4. Lost sales opportunities

The quality and completeness of product content can significantly impact your sales. If your product description, photos, videos and testimonials are thorough, your product is more likely to appeal to retail buyers and consumers.

In contrast, if you don’t provide robust product content, you’re likely to lose sales. According to a survey of eCommerce consumers, 21 percent of abandoned purchases were from incomplete content, and 14 percent were due to incorrect content. 

5. Excessive returns

Approximately 40 percent of consumers have returned an online purchase due to poor product content. 

For example, returns can happen when the size the consumer ordered doesn’t fit. Or the picture in the product item description may display the colors differently. Some people may even order several sizes or colors of the same product, and then return the ones they don’t like.

The key to keeping online returns in check is providing detailed product content that helps consumers understand your product. For example, attributes about fit can show if an item is true to size. 

Want to streamline how you manage and share product content with trading partners? SPS Commerce Assortment includes everything needed for error-free product data automation across all of your channels and trading partners.

Scott Williams
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