Uninformative Product Content Threatens E-Commerce

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Uninformative Product Content Threatens E-Commerce


Considering the low prices some online retailers offer that their brick-and-mortar counterparts cannot easily match, one would think consumers might be willing to put up with inefficiencies elsewhere if it means saving some cash via an online a purchase. However, this does not appear to be the case, at least when it comes to getting the product information they need. According to new research from content management solutions provider Salsify, a whopping 94 percent of would-be purchasers are willing to abandon an e-commerce site or give up the purchase altogether if the site’s product content is deficient and does not provide the information sought.

“In the distributed commerce world, they may still buy or pick it up in your store, but 90 percent of them are doing their shopping online,” Josh Mendelsohn, Salsify’s director of product marketing, tells Retail Leader. “For CPG retailers, this means that having accurate, complete, compelling product content on the web is critical. An investment in product content will deliver returns.”

Nearly nine in 10 consumers believe product content is either very or extremely important to their purchase decision, suggesting that the right content will drive sales. In fact, Mendelsohn notes that, according to a recent blog post published by Google, appliance company Bosch and shower and bath products provider Speakman both experienced a 4 to 8 percent conversion lift at their retailers by uploading detailed product content to the Google Manufacturing Center. Although these two companies don’t deal with consumer packaged goods (CPGs), Mendelsohn suggests that CPG manufacturers and retailers that do the same could experience similar returns.

“Devising the right process and technology around getting consistent, quality product content from brand manufacturers should be a priority for every retailer,” Mendelsohn explains. “The consumer is in charge, and they may not always be searching on your site to find what they’re looking for.”

But what information are they looking for? According to the report, 66 percent want to see at least three images of a product while shopping, and 82 percent want to see at least three reviews when considering a purchase. Since they are not shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, consumers need to get as close as possible to touching and feeling a product in order to make an informed purchase decision. This means knowing what it will look like from every angle, and getting endorsements from other purchasers and users. Mendelsohn recommends investing in quality product imagery across product lines, and linking to such ratings and review sites as Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews, as being critical in driving sales.

“There is a real opportunity for retailers to boost their success online,” Mendelsohn says. “Delivering quality product content can also change why the consumer chooses a retailer. Price becomes less important: Price ranked third with regards to impact on a consumer’s decision to make a purchase, after detailed product descriptions, and ratings and reviews. Confidence that the product they are going to receive will meet their expectations will have an impact on consumer loyalty and retention.”

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