Pitfalls of Poor Product Data: Missing & Inconsistent Product Attributes

Posted by Matt Sartor at 12:00 pm in Product Data, Retail Painpoints
pitfalls of poor product data: the top pains that under-optimized product data is causing retailers today

Poor product data is like a dirty storefront window

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.

1) Inconsistent and Inadequate Product Data

This challenge is greatest for retailers selling other company’s products, given that the product data coming from the various manufacturers is not cohesive. Manufacturers are not incented to sell to the consumer given that their path ends when the item is sold to the retailer.

The retail category managers are forced to build one-off product data strategies and fill in the holes, which often leads to a lack of cohesion in how products are presented across the site.

bow missing arrowAside from the pain to the Merchant team, the downstream effect on shoppers can be negative in many ways. Basically, products just won’t show up when the shopper expects them to, whether navigating, searching or using filters. Like a bow without an arrow… inadequate product data leads to an inability to connect a product with a target shopper.

Edgecase recommends:

Trying to determine how to rein in the problem of incomplete and inadequate product data can feel daunting. It starts with a great product data strategy that is socialized throughout the business. This strategy becomes the blueprint for being able to attribute each and every product accurately and consistently within all channels.

At Edgecase, we work with our clients to develop the right product data strategy. We then use a combination of human + machine curation to make sure each and every product is best represented and ready to be discovered by shoppers. We utilize proven QA methods to make sure all product data is accurate, complete and consistent. Solving these seemingly unsolvable problems results in an excited and often relieved Merchant team and an Ecommerce team poised to begin selling more online.

Retailer results:

• Upon kick-off with a home goods retail client, the Edgecase team quickly realized that a large percentage of data was missing across all of their products. The team was able to quickly fill in the gaps, which resulted in a 150% increase on standardized product attribute values. This is even before our team added a rich new layer of product data that better represented “shopper speak”!

• The downstream effect has been a 132% higher revenue per visit (RPV) for shoppers who leverage the Adaptive Navigation that’s fueled by this higher quality product data.

This post is part of our blog series, ‘Pitfalls of Poor Product Data: The Top Pains That Under-Optimized Product Data Is Causing Retailers Today’. Stay tuned for our next post in the series!


Download the “The Pains of Poor Product Data: How to Evolve the Data That’s at the Heart of Your Business” whitepaper for a collection of tactics that can cure your product data pains.

Matt Sartor

Matt has spent the past decade working extensively with account management, sales, product, and engineering teams to deliver exceptional client experiences for Fortune 500, and IR 500 clients. As the VP of Client Services, Matt ensures that our clients are set up to experience the full benefit and value of our platform. His teams work to integrate, analyze, and iterate on our solutions to continually improve the ROI we deliver to our clients.

Follow Matt Sartor on Twitter @mattsartor

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