The second blog in our ebook series looks at the digital shelf and how structured product data is critical in ensuring shoppers see all the products available to them. Imagine walking through a brick-and-mortar store, you go to your favorite aisle to grab your favorite item and quickly realize….it’s gone! In fact, the whole shelf is empty! Since you can’t find what you’re looking for, and the store isn’t offering a suitable alternative, you’re forced to head somewhere else. When it comes to online shopping, it’s a similar tale: a shopper searches for the perfect dress, can’t find it after exhaustive search and navigation, so she heads off to Google to search for another store that carries the product. It’s not an ideal customer journey, right? So, how can retailers avoid hiding products on their digital shelf? Simple: structured product data.
It’s a fairly known fact that many e-commerce sites suffer from hidden inventory. What may not be so obvious is that it’s not a product problem, it’s a fundamental data problem. When structured attributes are missing products, they won’t show up in search and filtered navigation results. Not to mention, if shoppers are using filters to streamline results and still not able to find the perfect product, indirectly, they’re learning to not to trust filters. We call it “Filter FOMO”, or, the fear that if they use filters, product they know a retailer sells will be hidden.
Obviously a retailer’s digital shelf is mission critical to running a strong e-commerce business; inventory should be shown in it’s entirety (whether a shopper uses filters or not) and shoppers should be able to find what they’re looking for. We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: it all starts with structured, enriched product attribution. If the underlying data is complete and accurate it will fuel a truly inspiring shopping experience.