The Business Case for Better Data: Translating “Merchant Speak”

Communication isn’t easy.  We all have our own way of talking about things, unique vocabulary that allows us to express our interests, preferences, and feelings.  Similarly, every retailer has their own vocabulary, a version of product language that describes products and their intended uses.  Unfortunately, that language tends to be more attune to how a manufacturer thinks about a product rather than how a shopper might talk about it.

Despite being so close to the products, merchant teams do not have the luxury of being able to keep pace with ever-changing shopper preferences and product sentiment.  Merchant speak, or, “spec speak” is so unique that shoppers may find a retailer approved product attribute totally meaningless because it’s not how they would describe it.  The end result is shoppers who can’t find what they’re looking for, likely preparing to bounce to Google for another store to browse.

It’s simple in theory: retailers have to translate “spec speak” into “shopper speak”.  Making it happen is a little more challenging.  Almost all e-commerce sites present the standard product attributes: ‘size’, ‘color’, and ‘price’.  They are important, yes, but only scratch the surface of all the combinations of attributes a shopper might search by. Think about your favorite retailer and then imagine searching for “decorative basket”.  Do you think you would find a wealth of relevant options?  Probably not. Staying in tune with constantly changing vocabulary is no easy feat, and updating product attribution is difficult, not to mention time consuming.  The key is being able to focus on the data that matters, curate and enrich product data, and then use that new shopper-centric data to fuel a differentiated e-commerce experience.

The bottom line here is that by taking a “shopper speak” approach to product data, retailers will not only create a powerful shopper experience fueled by rich, accurate product data, but they will cultivate loyal, happy customers who come back again and again!

kristen lisa

Kristen leads Marketing Communications for Edgecase. Prior to joining Edgecase, she was a Marketing and PR manager for AMD. Having spent over 5 years dedicated to the art of communications, Kristen is passionate about finding creative ways to tell stories that engage people, inspire conversation, and build unique differentiation for our brand.

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