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The price of poor-quality product information

The dramatic rise in eCommerce means that everyone relies on product information when shopping online. It doesn’t matter if we are an individual consumer wanting a gift, or a B2B purchaser sourcing a complex part for industry. We expect product information to be accurate, reliable, up-to-date, and consistent across all touchpoints, wherever, whenever and however we need it. After all, we can’t physically interact with the product, so it’s the only way we can make an informed decision.

It stands to reason that if the product information you provide is poor quality, your business will inevitably pay a price, and not just in financial terms. Below, we look at the consequences of using poor-quality product data, ranging from inconvenient to lethal.

Inefficiency of managing an increasing volume of product data

Firstly, context. As you grow, the amount of available information for a bigger and bigger range of products is massive. Complications include: 

  • managing information connected to different sales channels
  • dealing with many distributed vendors and suppliers
  • ensuring compliance with a range of marketplaces


The more categories and catalogs managed, the greater the volume of product data so internal processes are slowed by needing to find data which may be stored in a number of locations. Two uncertainties emerge:

  1.   Is the data correct?
  2.   Is it the unique version?

Lack of supplier communication

In retailing and industry alike, a supplier communication platform optimises your capacity to update suppliers on new product launches, existing products, or changes in onboarding requirements. Otherwise, product data can be delivered in an incomplete form and in the wrong format. That leads to inadequate and incorrect product listing without using resources to put it right. That takes considerable time and effort, and the price is lost time and opportunity costs.

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Slower time to market means delays in product launch cycles

For large numbers of businesses, launching new products or product variants happens daily. In this competitive, omni-channel landscape, onboarding that data needs speed and agility. That process becomes increasingly complicated without a dedicated PIM system to optimise time to market – moving that product data through processing and preparation to your sales channels.

The risks associated with the ‘need for speed’ include;

  •         Badly organised product catalogs
  •         cluttered information
  •         multiple versions
  •         versions hidden in legacy systems
  •         no definitive ‘source of truth’

There’s a price list for the business; 

  •         product launch life cycles
  •         poor control over the product life cycle
  •         misdirected ‘productivity’
  •         inconsistent omnichannel feeds
  •         missed market opportunities

Non existent product search results

As a potential customer of a clothing retailer, I want a certain style of top with specific trim and long sleeves. I’ll be unimpressed if my search turns out to be inaccurate because the product information provided isn’t correct. Like many product-centric businesses, this retailer needs to manage many SKUs and product catalogs, so ticking the boxes for high quality data is a no-brainer. In this case, you can put a price on substandard preparation of attributes, names or terms referring to the SKU – the time wasted creating that information, and consequent failure to influence the customer favourably. On the contrary. The third price is the strong likelihood that customers will not come back.

Potential sales revenue disappear in a puff of smoke

So, what happens when that information turns out to be inaccurate or inconsistent (what you have ordered on your phone doesn’t have the same specs as what you collect in store)? Inaccuracy also makes it unreliable. Certain information is out of date and, frankly, there seems to be a fair amount of irrelevant information. Finally, you surrender – you abandon your shopping cart, give the job up as a bad one, return to your search and select another seller.

Poor customer experience

The bad customer experience and product experience caused by poor-quality product information is a lost sale. Multiply that bad customer experience exponentially, and you are throwing away a lot of potential revenue.

  •  poor self-service options online to search, select, bundle, and buy products
  •  no attempt to cross-sell or upsell
  •  limited ability to add and manage categories and attributes such as sale items, styles, themed collection, sub-brands)
  •  confusion caused by product titles due to inadequate taxonomy planning
  • multiple returns due to lack of communication between eCommerce team and warehousing

Poor product information is not only a drain on your resources, but a threat to your very existence.

Failure to future-proof

While you continue entering and formatting product data manually, it will simply be unfeasible to consider scaling up your operations – your staff simply wouldn’t keep up with the incoming data feeds, so not only is time to market sluggish, but key members of staff are spending incrementally more time on tasks taking them away from their primary focus. Add to that the various versions they are basing their information on, and you have a recipe for customer confusion. Your business is left standing as target consumers choose better-prepared competitors.

How to avoid paying these high prices

Start with Data uses its tried and tested three-stage approach to PIM and MDM implementation to provide expert analysis, implementation, and support. We work with manufacturers, retailers, and distributors to ensure their PIM solution drives efficiency and provides a competitive edge in what is a fiercely competitive market.

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A custom PIM solution allows you to to manipulate and handle data at infinitely scalable volumes, with far less effort and time than previously needed. For business users, an easy-to-use interface, tracking data to provide a consolidated picture and offering you holistic oversight of the status of all product data.

Get in touch and let’s have a more detailed conversation about how we can help you with a tailored PIM solution to help you stay competitive, thrive and grow.

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