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Winning in the Digital Divide by Harnessing the Power of High-Quality Product Data

The pressure is on for B2B distributors to up their online game as millennials, who are digital natives, are increasingly becoming their buyers and only want to do things online.  This next generation of buyers have much higher expectations for online experiences after a lifetime of doing everything online – from retail, to music, to research, if it isn’t online it simply must not exist.

In previous eras, salespeople or customer service filled the void to explain, answer questions or simply help you find the right product.  Historically, it was these people’s job to know customer preferences, and could make recommendations to help get the right product with minimal hassle -- service was the differentiator. 

Today, buyers want their entire experience to be online – with minimal human interaction, if any at all.  Buyers was to do their research online.  Buyers want to do their purchase online.  Buyers want their support online – all available 24x7, on any platform and preferably mobile-first since they are never without their smartphone.  So being online now is table stakes. 

So, the new challenge is how to differentiate in a digital first movement?  “Plain Vanilla” isn’t going to cut it.  We believe the opportunity is to harness technology by organizing your Product data so that your customer experience is better than the competition – easier to find, easier to navigate, better priced, with a better overall and fast experience.   

So how do you deliver in this fast-moving, digital-first market? 

For starters, you get there by making sure that:

  • Products are easily found using relevant filters
  • Product details are in clear, easy to understand language
  • Product specs are complete across the board for easy comparison
  • Photos are clear and consistent
  • Help is available and relevant

While this might seem daunting, it is quite achievable when you work with skilled professionals that have the know-how, real-world eCommerce experience, and are “data junkies” that transform the difficult into the “doable”.  When product data is treated like an asset it opens the door to more revenue, more customers, more market share, and better (and repeatable) customer experiences.

 "A significant opportunity to create differentiation and competitive advantage awaits the distributor that builds on high-quality product content to deliver a great online experience."

If you’re new to an organization and need to deliver into the world of digital, there are few things you need to do:

  1. Establish a digital strategy based on continuous improvement.  Digital excellence isn’t a one-and-done kind of project.  As soon as you raise the bar, a competitor will raise it again.  If you commit to continuous improvement you won’t get scooped by your competitors.
  2. Develop a “Rulebook” for product data.  First you must define what “good” content is before you can start applying rules to your data.
  3. Evaluate technology investments.  By design, any talk of technology is third on the list.  The role of technology tools is to allow you to scale (and automate, where possible) enforcement of the product data “rulebook”.  Choose the tech that will allow you to achieve your goals, not adjust your goals to fit the technology.

If you need a partner, who can deliver high impact in short-order, why not reach out to EIS is and find out why leading Global 2000 organizations turn to us to help them organize, operationalize and optimize their product information.

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Seth Earley
Seth Earley
Seth Earley is the Founder & CEO of Earley Information Science and the author of the award winning book The AI-Powered Enterprise: Harness the Power of Ontologies to Make Your Business Smarter, Faster, and More Profitable. An expert with 20+ years experience in Knowledge Strategy, Data and Information Architecture, Search-based Applications and Information Findability solutions. He has worked with a diverse roster of Fortune 1000 companies helping them to achieve higher levels of operating performance.

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