Product information is a “telemetry signal” that indicates the strength or weakness of your business.
Telemetry is a technology for remotely measuring and reporting information. The word comes from the Greek roots tele (“remote”) and metron (“measure”).
Doctors and nurses use biotelemetry of heart rates and other vital signs to monitor the condition of multiple patients in an ICU.
Aerospace engineers use telemetry/telecommand systems to collect data from spacecraft to ensure everything is “A-OK.”*
In each case, telemetry data informs users of the status and condition of the system (or person) they’re monitoring. A complete collection of reliable data from all points lets them know that the system is in good condition. Missing data or sub-optimal results raise a red flag and indicate there’s a problem.
What does the condition of your product data communicate to your customers?
When they pull up your e-commerce catalog or retail app…
- …is the product information current, complete, and correct? Or are key features and benefits missing or inconsistent with information in other channels?
- …are there multiple images and rich media associated with every product? Or are digital assets a hit-and-miss affair?
- …are the products “findable” in a site search? Or does even a variety of search techniques fail to turn up relevant offerings?
These are critical “telemetry signals” that tell your customers either that everything’s fine or that something’s amiss with your business. Product information that’s missing or incomplete, that’s wrong or inconsistent wards off potential customers from doing business with you.
If this merchant can’t even get their basic product information right, they think, how can I trust that they have these items in stock? That they’ll deliver on time? That they’ll make things right if there’s a problem with my order?
Kimberly Struyk is vice president of client strategy for digital marketing research firm CRM Metrix. She uses detailed study findings to explain the vital importance of product information for successful e-commerce in a compelling blog post, “Product Information: A Relationship Builder”:
…sites who under-deliver on such information see visitors who create alternative plans to buy a competitive product… Ultimately, lack of or sparse product information results in overall brand impressions that plummet by an average of 19 percentage points. [emphasis added]
A product information management (PIM) initiativecan help you send your customers a strong and consistent signal about your business and your offerings. PIM integrates all data and information about your products in a central repository, ensures and enforces data quality standards, and makes the integrated content available to all print and digital media. PIM ensures that your product information is always complete, current and correct in all marketing channels.
Struyk concludes that “product information is the single most influential content for raising purchase intentions.” So don’t under-deliver on product information for your customers. And don’t send them the wrong signal about the reliability of your enterprise. Let your product information build their confidence in doing business with you.
* According to Wikipedia, author Tom Wolfe wrote in The Right Stuff that NASA engineers added the “A” to “OK” during radio transmission tests because the sharper sound of A cut through the static better than O.