Selling / distribution channels: the challenges of managing product information

Competitive Intelligence

Thursday 22 September 2022 
Elsa Benaiche Elsa Benaiche
3 minutes
Selling / distribution channels: the challenges of managing product information

Brands face numerous challenges while managing their product information across the various distribution channels: 74% of brands1 say they put a lot of energy into managing this information. Among the main challenges facing businesses: varied Information Systems (IS), multiple intermediaries, specific requirements of each channel…

This multiplication of challenges increases the risk of errors in product information: inconsistencies, input errors, incomplete and/or missing information… On distribution channels, 30 to 35%2 of product datasheets contain errors and 65% of products3 are returned after purchase due to these errors.

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Discover the main challenges facing brands when managing product information in the distribution channels.

The challenges of managing product information on selling channels

Sending the right product information

Very often, brands are presenting hundreds or thousands of product references on several different distribution channels: close to 50% of retailers4 present their product offer on a multitude of marketplaces and 74% of them4 have different product catalogs for each marketplace.

Each distribution channel has its own specifics (targets, brand image, positioning, website structure…), which means that the product information is presented differently on each of them: structure and organization of data, categorization, number of product photos, format of technical features…

For the brand this involves managing a large volume of product data and undergoing tedious and time-consuming processes to send the right product information according to the specifics of each channel: time spent searching for the right information, multiplication of files in different formats, multiple manual contributions…

When any product information needs to be changed it must be updated on each distribution channel. This update can take a long time and will be different according to the requirements of each channel.

Maintain the consistency of product information

As product data transits through the information systems of various intermediaries (partners, wholesalers, vendors, distributors…), it is extremely complicated to maintain the consistency of this information on all distribution channels.

consistency - product information

Each channel is equipped with its own specific systems meaning that product information goes through many transformations (data matching, transcodification, conversion of images, reformatting…). It can also be modified and completed manually by the different intermediaries using their own additional data (stocks, prices, descriptions, images…).

The result is that the product information presented on each selling channel is often very different to the information transmitted initially. To check that this product information is reliable, consistent, and up to date on every selling channel, brands must check each website regularly to identify new products/services or changes and to compare them with their own information…

The consequences on a brand's global consistency

Differences in information on several selling channels give brands a problem of overall consistency and can have a negative impact on their sales figures: 90% of shoppers5 expect to find a consistent product experience on all the shopping channels that they use.

One example is shoppers noticing a lower price from a retailer than the price shown on the brand's own website. This will give them a negative impression6 and they will have doubts about the quality of the products. Similarly, if the photos on several different distribution channels are very different (quality, angles, general appearance…) it could put shoppers off from buying: 50% of them7 fear that the product will be disappointing.

Negative impact on brand image

Far too often there are inconsistencies between the information fields in the same product datasheet: marketing descriptions, product photos, technical features, attributes…

distribution brand image

From a shopper's point of view these inconsistencies are unacceptable, they are seen as unprofessional and careless. For example, if a shopper notices that the color in the product description and the title is not the color shown in the photo, it can put them off from buying: 87% of them8 are less and/or very unlikely to repurchase from a brand that makes this sort of mistake.

This type of inconsistency can also result in shoppers losing interest in the brand and switching to the competition: 50% of shoppers9 will turn away if a brand doesn't meet their expectations.

PIM: guarantee the consistency of information on all selling channels

PIM (Product Information Management) solutions save you time in your everyday management of product information: 67% of brands10 implemented PIM for this reason. But PIM also reduces the occurrence of errors in product information and guarantees the quality and consistency of information across all selling channels: 74% of brands1 agree with this.

To rise to the challenges of product information management, brands must choose a PIM matching their specific constraints or industry requirements. The PIM that they chose must allow them to check that information is reliable, consistent, and up to date on all selling channels.

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1 Ventana Research. Building a Business Case for PIM. ventanaresearch.com.
2 Multi-channel distribution : securing product sheets in the food industry. (2022, April 14). Keendoo.
3 JP, S. (2022, Septembre 2). E-commerce Product Return Statistics and Trends [Infographic].
4 New Report from Mirakl Shows How Third-Party Sellers Are Accelerating Enterprise Marketplace Growth Among Top Retailers Worldwide. (2022, July 13). mirakl.com.
5 Ilyas, MI. (2022, January 4). Wholesale Distribution Trends For 2021. b2bwoo.com.
6 Calero-Holmes, B. (2022, June 29). Why Low Prices Can Scare Off Customers. businessnewsdaily.com.
7 Ferguson, S. 5 Stats That Prove Ecommerce Stores Need Video. wyzowl.com.
8 Study reveals poor product content's impact on digital sales. (2022, May 31). retaildive.com.
9 40 Amazing Customer Loyalty Statistics in 2022. (2022, February 4). smallbizgenius.net.
10 STIBO SYSTEMS. (2021, Septembre). PXM : L'expérience produit au service de l'expérience client. stibosystems.com.

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