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Why objective product data is the driver for trust and storytelling
Online retail has evolved from a simple virtual counterpart of ‘bricks and mortar’ to an ecosystem of omnichannel shopping that involves multiple devices and store concepts.

According to data by Statista, in the UK alone over 86% of people currently shop online and even more (nearly 90%) are expected to shop online in the future (resulting in projected online sales in the UK in excess of £100bn by 2025).

Online retail has disrupted numerous different markets – particularly with the growth of shopping on mobile devices. But the constant cycle of new entrants and innovation mean that online retail is a challenging space for brands that are having to adopt smarter ways of marketing like using augmented reality, online showreels, virtual catwalks and 360 degrees videos.

A new survey highlights how product data can help drive online sales – whether you are selling B2B or B2C. The study reaffirms that objective product data is the driver for customer trust and brand storytelling, with 81% of the brands participating in the survey citing that they ‘always’ use product information in their e-commerce marketing efforts.

The research published in the 2021 Widen Connectivity Report reveals the challenges that marketers and creatives face when trying to balance technology with a ‘human touch’ and provides a new perspective on brand trust. The survey, covering more than 155 marketers from 25 industries, found that product data is critical in helping customers make decisions.

Product data such as specification, dimensions, weight, component materials as well as digital assets – such as images, video testimonials or augmented reality – can significantly boost customer confidence.

Why is product data important?
When you think that an online shopper can’t take a product off the shelf, feel the quality of it nor experience it in the same way than they would be able to if they were to shop around physically in store, digital product information – and the way that it’s marketed – replaces the information that the shopper would usually collect personally by handling it or directly talking to a salesperson.
Furthermore, in terms of search engine optimisation, brands with detailed product data are likely to show more prominently in search results.

The research found that product data is underutilised in ‘brand storytelling’ with only half of the brands surveyed using product data to tell stories about what they stand for and the values their share with their customers. The survey also found that there is often a mismatch between the product data holds on their own site versus what’s published on 3rd party platforms like Amazon, Ebay or Facebook Marketplace.

What are the necessities for using product data?
Our advice is to be consistent across all channels, help customers make sense of all product data and, most importantly, be precise. As the old saying goes, ‘retail is detail’!

Further Reading:
Widen Connectivity Report Widen
How M1’s Customer Experience has Evolved Over the Past 2 Decades The Drum
Objective Product Data: An Underrated Driver of Trust and Storytelling MarketingProfs