Product Information Management (PIM) systems are a driving force behind a good customer experience. A 2023 survey entitled “Elevating customer experiences with product experiences”, sheds light on how product information can greatly enhance CX. Virginie Blot, Product Experience Management evangelist at Akeneo, gave us her point of view and analysis on that survey.
Place a Product Information Management System at the heart of your Customer Experience
Web-rooming/Showrooming: What are the trends?
Akeneo’s 2023 B2C study (see methodological note at the end) shows that about 90% of consumers research products online before buying, especially, in-store. Webrooming has been a strong trend for many years and continues to grow.
On the other hand, Showrooming is less common than Webrooming: only 77% of consumers have been to the store to complete their online The B2B purchasing process is the result of a long life cycle often linked to a contract as there are many people to convince.. Eighty-five percent carry on to do their research online before making their final decisions.
Worthy of note: 71% of consumers order online first and then pick up their product from the store, this is what is called click and collect.
Customers love this ability to switch from one channel to another.
Is Showrooming a risk or an opportunity for brands?
The strongest brands are distributed on many channels, both physical and digital. This reinforces their brand image. Consumers will see and try out products in one physical store, but then purchase them online. Either way, the brand wins.
For retailers, it’s a different story. If they haven’t opted for an omnichannel strategy (online, in-store, and on social networks), it will become more complicated for them as time goes by.
How is physical retail holding up in the ROBO/ROPO era?
In recent times, we have heard a lot about store closures, the reason behind this is that humans are more attracted to bad news. Nonetheless, there is good news too.
For example, DNVBs (Digital Native Virtual Brands), are brands that were directly created as digital, usually on Instagram. Once they have been successful, they will tend to open a pop-up store.
Physical locations are best for building relationships with consumers and sharing more than just products, as well as offering an experience.
On the Champs-Élysées in Paris, I noticed that L’Occitane en Provence had opened at the same time as Pierre Hermé (macaroons, chocolates, and pastry shop). Now consumers are able to come to the store and have a great time tasting macaroons while shopping. It’s a unique experience and a perfect example of how physical stores are reinventing themselves.
L’Occitane has 3,500 points of sale worldwide, it only makes 16% of its sales through digital channels. Therefore, we must not forget that not everything is digital. It’s a great image booster as it attracts people to the store, but stores remain essential.
Retail: will laggards disappear?
The sooner retailers jump on the customer experience bandwagon, the better. It’s never too late to do it the right way. That’s why it’s crucial for distributors to manage their product information to better deploy their omnichannel strategy. By the way, working on one’s data quality is most time-consuming. This is what makes it possible to add new channels. It’s not about technicality, it’s about strategy.
Product Information Management and CX expectations?
We’ve been talking about CRM for over 30 years. Today, customer experience is the priority. PIMs have followed the same route. The PIM trend only began ten years ago.
These days, the hot topic is product experience, because marketers have clearly understood that while technical product information is mandatory, it’s not sufficient.
Beyond product features, there is a requirement to display information about the content and all other information enhancing the product experience depending on the customers’ preferred channels.
This requires data engineering.
Even though around 80% of your product’s data is already available, you will still need to adapt the data to each channel so that it meets your customers’ expectations. To that end, the teams in charge of the marketplace, social networks, or W eb channels will need a hand.
What do consumers expect from the customer experience?
CX begins with the customer’s first interaction with the brand and ends with customer support. Consumers expect more than just a good product.
Our survey asked the question, “Are you sensitive to environmentally friendly values in brands?” The answer from consumers was loud and clear. Over 70% of them answered that they are sensitive to these values, while 40% are willing to pay up to 10% more for environmentally friendly products.
70% of consumers are sensitive to environmentally friendly brands and 40% are willing to pay up to 10% more for them
Nowadays, an “about us” page on your website is no longer sufficient. Many of our corporate customers are already putting their money into “behind the scenes” product information. Real-time calculation of its carbon impact, researching the factories where it was made, and its traceability, to name a few.
If you buy coffee from some of our customers, you’ll be informed about the history of the producer in the coffee’s country of origin and how direct-to-consumer distribution channels work.
Transparency and traceability are on the agenda. They are what’s going to make a product experience successful and the customer engaged with the brand.
What does product transparency entail?
In Europe, an application like Yuka, has had a big impact on how and what consumers buy. Without extensive and up-to-date product information, one cannot meet new consumer demands.
Transparency is a big issue in the cosmetics and food industries as they must follow standards and regulations, and must provide vital information. For such industries, transparency is a big part of the customer experience.
PIMs are changing to offer our customers’ customers better experiences as well as better product experiences, with a focus on transparency.
What’s the current state of Product Information Management use in B2B?
We work a lot with B2B businesses. They aren’t like B2C retailers and brands. B2B companies are highly innovative and are eager to provide their distributors with customised digital catalogues. They are very demanding when it comes to new products, and are keen to provide a unique product experience.
Regarding the study
The study by Akeneo (an international PIM publisher) named “Elevating customer experiences with products experiences” was performed by 3Gem Research. This is the third study of its kind since 2021. Akeneo surveyed 1,800 consumers in eight different countries in 2023. From Australia to Canada, through China, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the USA. The sample was for people over the age of 18, representative of the populations of these countries.