Product data – a retailer’s product vocabulary – can become “inside baseball” and more attune to how a manufacturer thinks about a product rather than how a shopper would talk about it. Merchant teams are always very close to their product and their intended uses, but many do not have the luxury of always keeping up with evolving shopper vernacular and product sentiment.
The end result is shoppers on your site who simply cannot find the right products for their preferences and needs. Product attributes for ‘size,’ ‘color’ and ‘price’ are standard and important, but only scratch the surface of the typical shopper’s actual vocabulary.
Staying in touch with the evolving ways consumers’ vocabulary is changing product-by-product is tough and time-consuming. It means being able to quickly mine and curate structured and unstructured content, on and off a retailer’s website. There are a myriad of sources to find the most relevant product attributes – the product page, lookbooks, user guides, Pinterest, Facebook, customer reviews, and guidance from sales associates. The trick is being able to key in on the data that matters regularly and quickly, and be able to react before your competitors.
You could have an incredible product selection and the most beautifully designed ecommerce frontend in the world, but if they are not tied to great product data, your shoppers won’t be able to find anything they’re looking for.
This seems like a no-brainer fact, but even the most established retailers struggle to find ways to get their products live in a timely manner and in a way that their shoppers can find and connect with the best products for them. As product assortments continue to expand and sales channels become intertwined, most merchant teams are just trying to keep up by using archaic tools and product data from disparate sources.
Our clients and friends in the retail industry are no different. Each has their own challenges with optimally managing and representing the products within their business, but all recognize that doing it better will drive more sales. In this blog series, we’re breaking down the top problems we’re seeing under-optimized data cause for retailers – internally and with their shoppers.
Fall is officially upon us, which means the Shop.org Digital Summit is just around the corner! The Edgecase team is busy getting ready for the show and we look forward to seeing and catching up with our customers, colleagues, and peers in Philadelphia. As Shop.org says, “If you have an “Add to Cart” button (and want more customers to click it) you need to be there!” NRF executives expect more than 5,400 professionals to attend this year’s Shop.org Digital Summit, a 2-1/2 day event specifically designed for digital and multichannel retailers.
At Edgecase, we are especially excited about the Summit as we are gearing up for some exciting events and giveaways. Our theme this year, not surprisingly, is “Human-Curated Product Data That Powers Your Business.” You’ve likely picked up on this theme in several of our recent blogs and pretty much in every conversation you’ve likely had with our team. Shoppers don’t want to shop like a robot online. They want online shopping to be like shopping in the real world – personal, interactive, and fun. That’s the power that human curated product data can provide to online product discovery, and we believe it will change retail forever.
We all know that classic song “The Bare Necessities” from the 1967 Disney animated film, The Jungle Book, which reflects on the idea that all we need is the just the bare necessities of life in order to be happy. This life motto of getting back to the basics is meant to keep us all grounded, and has certainly been talked about as an important theme in the retail circuit over the last few years. Getting back to the roots of retail means really knowing your customers, anticipating what they really want, and helping them to find what they are looking for before it’s too late.
With that being said, however, retailers today still need to go the extra mile in order to achieve a roots-based, “mom and pop” retail reality. Focusing on evolving these core components of the shopping experience can be a real struggle for online retailers who must also develop new capabilities to meet new shopper expectations. Investment is often funneled to the tough priorities of the moment, creating scenarios where crucial shopper tools (like site search and navigation) are left under-optimized…often for years!
The next time you’re physically shopping in a store, stop for a moment and watch the people around you. Let’s say you’re in a home goods store. You’ll see people touch items to see how they feel, lift them up or walk around them to see them from various angles, maybe sit down to see how cushiony a chair is or hug a pillow to feel how fluffy it is.
There’s a lot of sensory stimulation throughout the in-store shopping experience, and it’s because of these visual and tactile cues that shoppers are able to make informed decisions on the best purchase for their intended needs. But we’re going digital – all of us! And it’s important for retailers to bring the advantages of in-store shopping to the online world in a way that not only gives shoppers comfort in knowing they’ve made the right choice for size, style and fit, but also that they aren’t missing out on “data” that they can only get in-stores.
It’s no secret that SXSW PanelPicker 2016 has overtaken the lives of many techies in town, and we’re in there with the best of ‘em! Edgecase is teaming up with Crate & Barrel, Urban Decay and Retail TouchPoints to bring SXSW attendees a session on the power of human+machine curation in retail ecommerce – and we need your votes! Our panel is vying for a spot in the Interactive conference’s final program, so if you’re interested in hearing from some of the retailers and brands that are pioneering this adaptive tech innovation, we’d appreciate your votes and comments on our panel page, found here.
Personal stylists, personal assistants, personal trainers. All of these handy aides help the average person bring unique enhancements to their lives, and human+machine ecommerce curation is no different. We’re all familiar with the powerful recommendation technology behind Netflix and Pandora that takes the tedious out of finding a new TV series or station – and now it’s retail’s time to shine in the personalization spotlight. Savvy online retailers have realized the power of human curation, married with machine learning, to make shopping online more like shopping in the real world – personal, exciting, and fun.