top of page

Why offline retailers need a PIM platform more than online retailers

In the early days of ecommerce, life was simple. Customers' expectations were low, and all the online retailers had to do to beat their competitors was to help their buyers overcome the fear of paying online. If, after the transaction, no one emptied their bank accounts, they were happy.

A decade or so later, online shoppers expect free shipping and returns, same-day delivery, satisfaction guarantees, price matching, the transparency of peer reviews, and many other conveniences unimaginable and unheard of a few years ago.

But there is another (r)evolution already underway. Shoppers require more and more integrated experiences and no longer see your website, mobile app, physical stores and customer support as four different channels. They want the ability to shop in all places and seamlessly navigate in between.

Omnichannel retailers

Omnichannel "seamlessness" requires providing straightforward and enjoyable journeys across the channels. Consistent product information is a crucial element of it.

If the prices and promotions differ, you cannibalise your channels and do not make all your customers happy either. But if the product information is inconsistent or contradictory, you downright confuse them and instil doubts about your brand's trustworthiness.

That's obvious, and if you are a multichannel retailer (ideally providing omnichannel experience), you simply must deliver high-quality product information consistently across all your channels, regardless of where it comes from or how you manage it.

But what about if you only sell through one of the channels? How important is quality product information there? Very, as it turns out.

The offline channels.

Today, more customers initiate their buying journey online than offline. They get inspired by a post on Instagram or an online advert and then continue researching it from home because it's far more comfortable and convenient than driving to a store.

Then they will either buy it online or get off the sofa and visit a store.

The problem is that if you don't have an ecommerce website, more often than not, the shoppers won't find good-enough information about your products to reach for their car keys. They will either stay at home and buy it from your competitor who provides it or postpone the decision and purchase indefinitely.

This means that even if you are an offline retailer, you still need better product information than your online competitors! Without it, your potential customers will simply buy it from someone else.

Call centres and bots.

In many sectors and markets, buying products and services over the phone is normal. And livechat, video chat and chatbots are becoming increasingly popular everywhere. Not only in customer support but also in many B2C and B2B shopping journeys.

Whether by a human or a bot, answering a question about a product, suggesting an alternative in stock, or helping a customer to choose, it all relies on the quality of information available. If it doesn't exist or can't be provided in real time, the customer is gone.

This means that even if you don't have a website or a store, you still need better product information than all your online and offline competitors combined.

How to fix it?

Ask your CX, marketing and sales teams for their honest inventory of your current situation.

  1. Do our product descriptions describe how the product looks, feels, works and needs to be looked after? Are they clear, unambiguous and written in a voice representing our brand?

  2. Is our product information categorised in a way that allows customers to find and compare it easily?

  3. Do our product descriptions answer the most frequently asked questions? Are they compliant with regulations, and do they include all legally required information?

  4. Are our product descriptions exciting? Do they tell the right story? After opening the package, will the customer find exactly what we've described? Will they be impressed enough to tell their friends all about it?

  5. Do our photographs and graphics help customers better understand the product and its features? Are the photos high resolution?

  6. Does our product information match the needs of the sales or marketing channel it is intended for?

  7. Is all our product information consistent across all channels?

You are a rarity if the answer is a resounding "yes" to all questions. If there are some "not quites", fix it. Your future depends on it.

We can help. Contact us.


bottom of page