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The Role of Product Information in Driving Audience Connections That Count

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Graphic with a black background and a starburst of dots on the right. Then the words "2021 Widen Connectivity Report: Connecting the dots between marketing, information, and customer experience" on the left. With a call to action to get the report under that.


The e-commerce space is overflowing with revenue potential for brands, but that’s no surprise. Online shopping has been on the rise for quite some time, affording brands with what’s projected to be a $5.4 trillion opportunity in 2022. But just because there’s opportunity, doesn’t mean every brand will find success on the digital shelf. 

In our 2021 Widen Connectivity Report, we explore the role of product information in helping brands achieve e-commerce success. We learn that while every brand is different, there are best practices that brands must follow in order to get the most out of their product information, strengthen audience connections, and ultimately deliver customer experiences that count. 

What is product information?

Before we dive into our research findings, let’s take a moment to talk about product information. This overarching term or category includes three types of information: product data, product marketing content, and product digital assets. Brands use these three types of product information to describe and market their products. The following graphic illustrates their relationship and what makes each of them unique. 

Graphic with three circles containing product data, product marketing content, and product digital assets in individual circles along with examples of each. The circles are encompassed in a rectangle that connects to the words "Product information" at the top. The Widen logo is in the bottom left corner.

 

Product information and e-commerce success

Product information helps brands communicate what they’re selling, so buyers can make more confident, informed purchasing decisions. Product content also helps brands improve their customer experience, position themselves as a go-to resource, and establish deeper audience connections.

However, the mere presence of product information is not enough — brands must be strategic in their use of this content to positively impact their e-commerce success. Based on the surveys and interviews we conducted as part of this year’s connectivity research, we’ve identified five guiding principles that can help brands get the most out of their product information.

1. Product data is critical in building customer trust, but it cannot act alone

Nearly 50% of the marketers we surveyed say that product data is the information type that has the biggest impact on building customer trust. But that doesn’t mean product data is all that’s needed. When it comes to actually driving sales, 72% of respondents say that product marketing content or digital assets have the biggest impact. Therefore, it’s the brands that leverage all three product information types that have the advantage and can better move the shopper through the trust-building stages to conversion. For more on this topic, head over to our connectivity page and get the full report.

2. Complete and utter accuracy is table stakes for the digital shelf

Over 87% of survey respondents agree that it’s important to know whether customers trust their marketing efforts. But, more importantly, how can they earn this trust? Our survey shows that (more than any other activities we asked about) brands must provide accurate product information. To do this, brands are prioritizing technologies, processes, and safeguards that allow them to control their product information and ensure it’s up to date and consistent across channels. Here’s how one brand is doing just that. 

3. Objective information is the backbone of a strong marketing story

According to our survey, 57% of respondents use product information to tell stories about their brands, and 71% use it to tell stories about their products. And there’s a reason for this. Any brand can tell a marketing story. But for stories to be authentic and believable, they must be rooted in facts. Product information provides brands with a bevy of factual information that they can pull from to support, deepen, and reinforce their marketing stories — giving them a sure-fire way to boost the credibility of any storytelling efforts.

Graphic with a quote from a Connectivity interviewee that says "It's hard to fake your way through things digitally that you could years ago and get away with it if you're not authentic."


4. Personalization takes a back seat to lending a helpful hand

Our past connectivity research tells us that personalization was the most important marketing technology and/or business trend that organizations were focused on in 2018. Fast forward to today and personalizing customer experiences is still important; many brands are just achieving it in less traditional ways. Before spending time and money segmenting audiences and tailoring ads, brands want to ensure that they are — first and foremost — helpful. One way brands achieve this is by publishing accurate and relevant product information. This way, when a shopper types a query into a search box or visits a brand’s website, they’re instantly connected with the personalized results and information they’re after.  

5. Technology is needed to translate information into engaging customer experiences

E-commerce shoppers need accurate, detailed product information to understand what they’re buying and why it’s the best option for them. But to actually turn this information into engaging customer experiences, brands need technology. Some brands leverage advanced technologies, such as virtual or augmented reality tools, to deliver truly immersive product experiences. Others, however, are focused on the tools that will help them engage customers with accurate and timely product information across each and every touchpoint — a growing challenge in today’s omnichannel world.
 

Get the 2021 Widen Connectivity Report

Like what you’re reading? There’s more where that came from. The 2021 Widen Connectivity Report is a deep dive into the minds of leading brands. Learn from their stories, access more insightful survey data, and get inspired to leverage your product information in new ways to drive deeper audience connections and greater e-commerce success. Get the full report today.

 

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Topics: Featured, Content, e-commerce

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