By Nate Holmes, Product Marketing Manager at Widen
Boohoo announced in February 2021 that it would be streamlining its product management ahead of purchasing Arcadia’s last-remaining high-street brands: Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, and Burton. With an expanding product range that brings along with it thousands of new digital assets, Boohoo is now challenged with determining how to help its internal teams and suppliers manage its product experience and creative content effectively and consistently across its new and existing sales channels. With a rapidly evolving online retail landscape, this issue is not unique to Boohoo, but it is a great example of the struggle many retailers face when it comes to strategic product information management.
Rapidly expanding content
Digital commerce has many benefits and enables retailers to reach a wider audience than physical stores. On the high street, a retailer relies on brand awareness and shoppers passing by. But online, a retailer’s marketing team can reach into the depths of social media channels, inboxes, and website advertisements to target would-be customers.
A successful e-commerce site will also ease the purchasing process: from identifying a product, and checking it’s in stock, through to buying it and having it delivered to your home at a convenient time. But with a growing number of customer touchpoints, and expanding banks of digital information, marketers have to be increasingly sophisticated in the way they engage and serve content to their audiences.
And the savviest marketers are prioritising strategies, tools, and tactics that support a data-first approach centered around technology.
The role of technology
In October, it was announced that on average, brands in North America and the UK are spending 26% of their budgets on marketing technology. This equates to a spend of around $120 billion (£97 billion) and is driven by marketers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for tools to support and simplify their work.
As banks of digital assets, product information, and the number of consumer touchpoints on a purchasing journey continue to grow – so, too, does the customer data available to retailers. Using this information intelligently and effectively has become business critical for not only the customer experience, but also internal workflows. And leveraging software tools that provide a central source of truth for that information is no longer a “nice to have,” it’s essential.
Technology plays a pivotal role in creating this central source of truth for content and product data, ensuring that information is consistent, no matter where it’s being used along the customer journey. Providing the same information to all teams at every point in their workflow allows them to create meaningful consumer interactions by confidently connecting the right content, with the right customer, at the right time.
Create a content hub
To deliver on this promise, the whole team, from the C-suite to shop floor, must have access to the accurate information, data, and assets required to deliver a unified brand experience to customers. Digital asset management (DAM) software helps a company by providing a hub for its brand photos, product images, videos, marketing materials, and other assets.
Alongside this asset hub, product information management (PIM) solutions provide a single location to collect, manage, and distribute all the information that is crucial for communicating product attributes such as descriptions, colour options, or product dimensions. By capturing everything in one source, integrated product information is able to be displayed consistently in all locations, keeping everyone and every channel on the same page.
Optimising the customer experience
Today’s retail marketers are operating in a progressively digital world. Multichannel is expanding at a rapid pace and brand consistency has become increasingly important to success, yet more challenging to deliver.
What hasn’t changed is the need to serve the customer at every point of the purchasing journey, no matter the platform on which they choose to engage with your brand, nor the time of day or device they use. To cut through the noise, build relationships, and nurture loyalty, marketers today must put strategic product information management at the core of their strategy to help their teams deliver superior customer experiences in this quick-paced digital world.