The COVID-19 crisis is forcing businesses to create urgent strategies for survival. Social distancing, while critical to mitigating the spread of the virus, has forced the closure of countless brick and mortar operations across the globe. The result is intense pressure for businesses to bolster their online strategies. Increased competition amidst a looming recession means that no checkout can be taken for granted. Further, this relatively instantaneous shift in consumer lifestyle demands that companies rapidly adjust their product mix in response to this new “normal”. After all, when’s the last time toilet paper was considered a “hot item”?
Consider what this “age of isolation” has done for other unassuming items, such as, say, Vitamin D supplements, new or expanded subscriptions for streaming services, food delivery services, in-home fitness equipment, toys, books, and games. Conversely, what might this continued need to shelter in place do to sales of items like sunscreen, outdoor apparel, and team sports athletic equipment? Beauty products? In other words, can retailers really count on their legacy product assortment to survive in these uncharted waters? If so, for how long?
As expected, these shifts in demand are already creating ripple effects throughout the global economy.
COVID19 has significantly accelerated the existing trend towards digital marketplaces for the foreseeable future. Our traditional way of doing business—whether you are in retail, manufacturing, CPG, medical, or any other industry—has changed, and the companies that can be nimble, and can adjust their approach accordingly, will be the ones who come out on top in the recovery.
The key question that differentiates leaders from laggards in the current situation is:
Is your business is digitally enabled?
- Is your product data trusted, rich, and relevant, or does it frustrate potential buyers?
- Are your teams spending too much time manually creating product information?
- Is your company taking too much time to adjust the product assortment to the market’s changing needs?
- Is your organization unable to embrace the digital marketplace?
- Is your product data and content properly formatted so that it can support:
- ecommerce sites and web shops?
- partner websites?
- digital marketplaces?
- social media?
- mobile apps?
- data pools?
Here are five reasons why companies need to change the way they manage their product information in order to enable digital commerce capabilities, and increase agility and flexibility during times of crisis and in preparation for recovery:
- Changes in Buying Behavior
The way we buy things and do business has changed. Social distancing standards may change, but it will continue to impact how people do business and interact in sales cycles going forward. As a result, a digital commerce capabilities and presence are a requirement to drive business.
- Companies Must Engage in The Digital Marketplace
The digital marketplace for customers has become more important than ever before to organizations. Large team meetings will be less common, with more and more business being done virtually. This includes ecommerce, where consumers as well as B2B clients will expect the same level of quality and accessibility.
- Accurate Product Data Is Critical
When customers go online to search for your products, parts, or services they expect to easily find what they are looking for in terms of product descriptions, attributes, item numbers, digital assets—and they expect all of it to be formatted for whatever device or site they are currently using! Customers who cannot easily make an informed purchase online will quickly start looking for alternatives.
- Competition Is A Simple Click Away
When your customers cannot find what they are looking for, they’ll find alternatives, as the competition is always a simple click away. Poor data, a bad online experience, or an inability to properly deal with digital requirements all pose risk to market share and customer loyalty.
- Digital Sales Drives Revenue and Customer Retention
When the current downturn lifts, digital will still be the primary channel. Look at the companies that are thriving right now—Zoom, Teladoc, Amazon, Uber Eats, and more! This trend will continue as we recover economically from this pandemic: the companies that are properly positioned with online commerce will benefit in the recovery.
A Product Information Management (PIM) solution helps organization to effectively manage and collaborate on product content and feed sales and marketing channels with trusted, rich and relevant product data. With a PIM solution, retailers, manufacturers and distributions can implement key strategies to create market resilience during this tumultuous time:
- Increased agility in adjusting product assortment
- Efficient creation of trusted, rich and relevant product information
- Feeding digital channels with the right data and in the right format
Key metrics that Informatica customers have realized with MDM – Product 360:
Now is the time for your organization to take market share by significantly differentiating in the online marketplace. Accurate and complete attribution including digital assets are table stakes to competing in the digital market today. Companies that are digitally enabled, that have trusted insights into their data and that are able to fast and efficiently market their products and services across digital touchpoints will be more successful as the economy transitions to a more virtual model.
Want to learn more about digital commerce platforms and supplier relationship management? Then register for our Digital Commerce and Supply Chain Summit.