Exceed The Expectations Of B2b Ecommerce Customers By Mastering Product Data Management


Exceed The Expectations Of B2b Ecommerce Customers By Mastering Product Data Management

Mastering Product Data Management will help exceed the expectations of B2b ecommerce customers. Learn how in this blog

“The way a customer or prospect interacts with your website is more important than how attractive it is. Among the factors considered are how easy it is to navigate and find the information they require in order to travel with the shopping or purchasing process.”

This year’s State of eCommerce in Distribution survey, conducted by the Distribution Strategy Group, provides valuable insight into the thoughts and feelings of the 68 percent of companies that responded, who ranked “improve ease of use and customer experience” first or second on their list of Operational Priorities for eCommerce.

It is especially demanding to act on this priority now because “post-COVID electronic purchasing is not expected to retract to pre-COVID or even during-COVID rates,” with electronic purchases increasing by approximately 20% during COVID compared to pre-COVID, it is critical to act now.

The findings of the DSG report will be translated into actionable strategies that will assist you in overcoming the challenges of today’s eCommerce environment in this series of blog posts. Specifically, I’ll discuss how you can meet the expectations of today’s B2B eCommerce shopper in this blog post.

The number of customers who shop on your site is increasing, and they are bringing with them their earlier shopping experiences and expectations from some of the world’s largest consumer eCommerce platforms. So, what can you do to make a measurable difference in the ease of use and customer experience on your eCommerce website? Here are some ideas. Product information presented in four different dimensions.

Improving Product Data by Including Dimensions

Customers’ interactions with your eCommerce site are influenced by the product data that you provide them and the way that data is organised on your eCommerce site. For many businesses, a catalog or a basic ERP system that is used for invoicing deliver as the source of eCommerce product data for their customers. As a result, some limitations in their online product data have been passed down from its original application.

When it comes to product information, catalog users are generally forgiving. They don’t care if the attribute values on different pages differ because there are other contextual cues that will assist them in finding the information they require. Data from the print world is formatted differently than data from the digital world.

Because it all falls under the “description” header in print, the core product specifications can be stored in a single attribute that is not differentiated from the other attributes. As a result, when all of your specifications are gathered in a single field, you are unable to filter or sort products based on those characteristics. That information is only truly useful when it is printed out and read aloud.

It is for this reason that 2-dimensional data is referred to. It is flat and static, only providing the information necessary for a customer to make a purchase when they are browsing through a print catalog, and it is not customizable. Customer interaction with it in a digital environment, on the other hand, is not consistently structured in this way.

The third dimension is data that can be interacted with.

Product data is expected to be dynamic rather than flat and static when it is displayed online. Customers combine with it by clicking on it, and the dataset responds in a timely manner to their actions. However, for the product data to be interactive, it must be consistent across all platforms and devices. This underlines the critical importance of discoverability, which is considered the Holy Grail of eCommerce. When a customer’s desired product is difficult to locate on your website, brand loyalty may take a backseat to the convenience of the transaction.

For your customers, inconsistent product data can be a real source of frustration and annoyance. Whenever a colour field contains multiple variations, they must choose between “Black” and “BLK” in order to narrow their search. Consequently, what was once a simple one-click experience has now become a two-click experience, and if they are not aware of how to facet for both options, they may not even see all of your inventory that meets their requirements.

Finally, the search experience on your site should be centred on relevance, allowing customers to quickly narrow down the results to what they are most interested in viewing. Product attributes with high quality will have an impact on the filters and facets that are commonly displayed on the left side of a search page to allow users to quickly refine their results based on their criteria. In addition, focusing on attributes allows you to provide customers with product comparisons, which is a high-value promotion that can backfire if it reveals discrepancies or inconsistencies in product attribution.

It is also possible for relevant products to be removed from search results even if they meet the criteria set, if the data is not properly structured—for example, a product may be coded as Black under Color for some products and Black under Finish for other products within the same category. Remember: If customers can’t see everything you have to offer, this indicates that you’re underselling your product line.

Successful filtering and faceting of your product data, as well as a well-structured taxonomy, are essential for findability and browsing. Taxonomy is a hierarchical structure of categories and subcategories that you use to organise and categorise your products.

All of the products on your website should be classified according to the taxonomy you’ve established for them. A website with uncategorized products is never a good idea because customers will never be able to find those products when they browse through the product categories on your site.

Beyond the frustration of making products difficult to find, a product that returns “Uncategorized” in search does not instill confidence in the customer about your company as a supplier. The question is, “How am I supposed to buy something from someone who doesn’t even know what it is?”

It is important to assign products to a taxonomy category based on their characteristics, whether you create your own or integrate product data obtained from third-party service providers. Even though it appears to be a no-brainer, this point is far too frequently overlooked. You can use a well-designed taxonomy to allow critical attributes to a product category, and then use those attributes as facets and filters on your website as needed.

A straightforward, attribute-first shopper is catered to by this brand. Some customers, on the other hand, may consider a product in terms of how they intend to use it rather than what it is. Your products can be organised in a variety of ways to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for when they browse or search your site. For example, you can categorise your products by solution or industry.

Thinking about your products in a variety of ways and providing shoppers with a variety of ways to find them helps your company come across as an expert, thereby fostering trust that can give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Voice and visual search are the fourth dimension of search.

eCommerce and search engine optimization are constantly changing. You can prepare your product data for emerging technologies such as voice and visual search by concentrating on the fourth dimension.

Customer search engines deliver relevant results in traditional eCommerce interactions, but they are still viewing the data returned on a screen and have plenty of information to consider before making a decision. A single request generates a plethora of responses.

Examine the experience of someone who relies on a virtual assistant, such as Siri or Alexa, to search for and order a product on their behalf: In most cases, a single request results in a single response. Including attributes such as rating, review count, and availability status makes it easier for the algorithms, SEO, and artificial intelligence (AI) that power voice search to return an answer to a question such as “which raincoat has the highest number of reviews?”


When a customer can take a picture of the part they need to reorder with their phone and use that image as the basis of a search, product images become even more essential. Visual search eliminates the need for the customer to know the best keyword or attribute to use in order to find what they’re looking for.

High-resolution images taken from a variety of perspectives will increase the likelihood of a product match based on a photograph. It is also beneficial to visually impaired people to fill in image titles, descriptions, and alt text with likely keyword phrases. Include captions to assist the audience in understanding the context of their image or to draw attention to specific aspects.

Product Information: Your Online Sales Team

Perhaps the most important factor influencing your customers’ digital interactions with you is the availability of complete, consistent, and well-organized product information. Extending the scope of your data beyond the second dimension will protect that it is discoverable, relevant, and not-ready for the next generation of eCommerce.

A Product Information Management (PIM) system may be appropriate for your company, if it prioritises making your eCommerce site easier to navigate and providing a better customer experience, as indicated by the 68 percent of those polled by DSG. 

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