The ways in which COVID-19 has impacted the retail sector are many and varied, affecting multinational chains, small independents and online only stores alike. What is true though, is that for the most part it has accelerated changes that were already underway before the pandemic had even started.
A good number of bricks and mortar stores had been struggling to keep pace with the speed of change and shifting consumer shopping habits. With the series of lockdowns meaning many consumers switched almost exclusively to Ecommerce, the need to respond and adapt to changing customer requirements got even more pressing.
Product content has assumed a new importance, both in delivering an engaging digital customer experience and in allowing retailers to adapt to new ways of working, especially around processes such as resource approval and packaging development, which now must be done digitally.
The on-going rise of Ecommerce
Ecommerce has been on an upward trajectory for decades now, but the pandemic truly steepened the curve. With people unable to visit bricks and mortar stores they turned to online shopping in greater numbers than ever.
This meant that digital customer experiences have become more important for retailers as they look to the future.
According to recent Nuxeo research, 54% of UK shoppers would change from a favoured retailer to a competitor if the overall digital experience did not meet their expectations. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of shoppers would be more loyal to retailers and brands that deliver an exceptional customer experience.
What exactly does this customer experience entail? In the absence of one-to-one engagement in a store, much of a retailer’s differentiation, innovation and value will come from the product content and information it offers online.
This includes accurate product descriptions and the latest pricing, but also video, photo and other interactive content that allow a consumer to replicate, or even improve on the physical shopping experience.
Consumers increasingly want to be able to view products from different angles, in different colours and with varying specifications. Key to delivering this lies within a brand’s content, and key to maximising the value from that content lies with Product Asset Management (PAM).
Adapting to new ways of working
With many workers still working from home, easy and speedy access to the right content has certainly been compromised for firms lacking the right PAM approach. In many cases, it can take brands and retailers many months to bring a new product to market, with all the positioning and promotional materials required to support the launch and subsequent sales.
Without these enticing visual experiences which help to contextualise or personalise content for target customers, it means retailers can be too slow to respond to consumers as their latest desires and demands are forming. Using PAM, a strategy to leverage enterprise Digital Asset Management (DAM) (a technology that helps with the storage and management of digital content) across the product lifecycle, makes this much easier.
PAM provides a common platform for critical product information (both assets and data) at key points in the product lifecycle (design, packaging, campaign development, etc.), with anyone that needs to access this, able to do so in real-time. It enables companies to bring new products to market more quickly by eliminating previous analogue dependencies and bottlenecks (e.g. physical samples) and enabling a true, digital supply chain.
Providing the right digital customer experience will be the single most important objective for any organisation involved in Ecommerce in 2021 and beyond. PAM allows any retailer or brand to bring new product innovations to market quickly, and respond in a timely way to new trends, taking content beyond the marketing department, connecting it to data and other assets across the entire organisation.
Source : InternetRetailing