How Should eCommerce Adapt Product Data To The Changing COVID-19 Restrictions
High-quality product data is crucial for online shoppers, especially in the everchanging pandemic climate. It also should be adapted to the most relevant local news and support the tricky shopping experience.
But why is product data important and how can you facilitate this adaptation? Let’s find out in this article about the impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce and ways of adapting to the pandemic’s rapid changes using product data management software.
The Impact Of Covid Restrictions On Routine eCommerce
COVID-19 jump-started changes that were taking a while to gain momentum, spurring a 26% increase in the eCommerce market value. It’s true that the shift to online commerce was long in progress, but the restrictions forced even the more traditionally physical businesses like grocery shops to find their way on the web. In a matter of months at the start of the pandemic, 20-30% of such businesses moved online.
67% of consumers report changing their shopping habits due to COVID as well. One of such changes was wavering loyalty, as up to 80% of consumers would buy from a different brand based on the price (65% would go for a lower price), availability and a dozen other reasons.
Another change emerged in the increase of social media sales. Back in 2021, they comprised 4.3% of all eCommerce shopping. That is quite a lot compared to 2017, when social media sales were only 2.7%. Yet this change wasn’t surprising as 70% of global consumers consider online marketplaces as the most convenient place to shop.
But what does this all tell us?
The Importance Of eCommerce And Online Shopping During The Pandemic
The global pandemic has further highlighted the necessity of online commerce for most businesses. The result was that a lot of brick-and-mortar shops crumbled under the pressure of online orders and contactless delivery, but those who managed to shift flourished.
One of the biggest conclusions that the aforementioned stats can give us is that omnichannel commerce is moving forward. While customers enjoy shopping on marketplaces, a portion of them use social media tools, and about 25% of shoppers are unaccounted for.They might prefer an in-shop experience or use home delivery services.
This means that the more channels you use to sell your goods, the more coverage and conversions you can get. You can sell on several marketplaces, keep up social profiles, open a physical store and set up delivery service. Depending on the type of goods you sell, local rules and business goals, there’s a winning combination for you.
Recent Fluctuations In COVID Restrictions Worldwide
The key factor that affects how you can do business is your local plans and restrictions. For example, Great Britain decided to end mandatory face coverings and vaccination passports in public thanks to its booster shot program. Consequently, you’re likely to see people returning to offices and shopping at physical locations in GB.
But what’s the situation like in other countries? Well, Norway now allows private gatherings of more than ten people and has scrapped most measures that have prevented its citizens from leading a normal social life. Denmark has also lifted most of the restrictions, though Danes prefer to still wear a mask just in case.
Further south, Switzerland doesn’t require working from home anymore and is looking to lift other measures. Austria is just looking to scrap some of the quarantine measures in February, while Germany is nowhere near that point yet, with cases of COVID going up.
On the other side of the Atlantic, cases of the disease are shrinking in most US states. Most of them have lifted the restrictions or, at least, the mask mandate. Yet some of the states had to extend or tighten the restrictions, like in California and Illinois.
Top Ideas To Improve Customer Experience And Adapt To Rapid Changes
As you can see, the situation varies from one country to another, and even the North American states don’t agree on one course of action. This is because the rules and regulations are all tied to the vaccination statistics and COVID cases. But how does this relate to eCommerce?
These ever-changing restrictions affect buying behavior, but you can adopt certain techniques and adjust your business to these changes.
#1. Keep Up With Your Customers
COVID-related rules vary regionally and even neighboring cities could have different restrictions. Thus, you will benefit from monitoring local news and finding ways around the changes. This could go both ways, actually. You might have to prepare for tighter restrictions and more online orders. Or, if you have a physical store, do more offline visits.
You can use social listening to find out what customers think of the changes. This may help you gauge what they expect from eCommerce.
#2. Personalize Product Data To Support The Changes
Looking for the right goods mostly from the comfort of home can be challenging for your customers, especially if there’s no way of inspecting a product before the delivery driver rolls by. That’s why your product content might need some tweaking.
Analyze customer behavior and their mood toward online shopping to identify what kind of information they might be lacking to make an informed decision. This can be product size parameters, use directions or simply more pictures.
This is also something you can A/B test. For example, use three different product descriptions, let each one do its work for two weeks and measure how your sales change — which description gauges more conversions.
#3. Be More Creative: Don’t Limit Product Guides To Christmas
Shopping isn’t limited to holidays and special occasions, so let your creativity run wild. Although, do mind the current conditions.
Let’s say your local COVID restrictions have been lifted enough for most people to return to work. How could they make the transition less hectic? Maybe they need an umbrella, a trendy set of masks or a new suit to replace the PJ set they were wearing to work for however many months of quarantine limitations.
On the other hand, restrictions may be reimplemented, and there’s a whole slew of items that can make working from home more bearable. This may include and not limited to: unique stationery, home office electronics or decorations to distinguish the workspace from the rest of the living space.
#4. Run Ad-Hoc Ad Campaigns
Ad-hoc refers to a task, purpose or problem-based solution. In terms of advertising, it is usually dedicated to a holiday event. But going into or out of lockdown is also an occasion that could spur an ad-hoc campaign.
You can celebrate returning to offices along with your clients or, on the contrary, cheer them up with a bonus or sale. Again, it all depends on the mood and attitude of your audience toward the local quarantine rules or freedom.
#5. Ask Customers For Feedback Frequently
How did you find customers shopping with you, talking to your customer support and sales or the very product experience? There are many opportunities to ask for feedback.
You could integrate feedback forms as the last step of shopping after a customer pays for the product. Another option is to send a message via a chat app of their choice or as part of an email.
Ask customers to rate your services and the purchased items. Along with the rating, you can also send a list of questions to help with the evaluation or ask something specific, like “Was the product description sufficient for you?”
#6. Think Of Opening An Offline Showroom
We won’t be locked up forever, even though it seems like it, so consumers will want to venture into physical stores. So why not open a small one?
A showroom doesn’t require the same commitment as a regular store. It usually offers a small selection of what’s in stock or some of your bestsellers. A showroom also can function on the basis of booking hours, so you don’t get a small overcrowded room all of a sudden.
How Can PIM Software Help eCommerce Businesses Keep Up With Any Fluctuations?
Product information management software — PIM for short — is a tool for creating a catalog of goods, syndicating it to multiple marketplaces and editing it when needed. Essentially, it acts as a single source of consistent and accurate product data.
But how can this kind of system help you adjust to the ever-changing market and pandemic conditions? Let’s get into details about the top benefits.
Product Data Enrichment
Enriching data refers to the features, like the one you can find in Gepard PIM, that allow you to improve the quality of your product descriptions. Once you import new data into the system, you can automatically optimize it to certain requirements.
You can then integrate third-party data sheets like the ones offered by Icecat and optimize your catalog’s searchability and categorization.
Rapid Updates And Product Data Syndication
The PIM system acts as a single source of truth, right? This means that all the product data updates happen here — adding new positions, testing new descriptions and so on. Using only one place to manage information ensures that all the websites and marketplaces you use get the most up-to-date information.
How? Through data syndication — automatic distribution of the catalog to all your eCommerce channels.
Seamless Data Transformation
Gepard PIM allows handling data in whichever way possible, from transforming and improving to syndicating it to your various shops. While syndication means distributing product data, transformation can entail the following processes:
- Aggregation – gathering your resources
- Cleansing – scanning for inaccuracies and improving on them
- Deduplication – removing duplicate information
- Validating – ensuring the quality of data
This is about a third of the actions that can be done to improve experience with your catalog.
Successful Data Enrichment With Gepard PIM
If you want your customers to have a fantastic shopping experience despite COVID, make sure that they can get the most up-to-date and accurate information about your products and how you work.
Such experience is what you get by monitoring the changes in local quarantine regulations, upgrading your campaigns and being more creative in terms of your special offers. This helps enrich product data and provide A+ content.
It’s possible with a product data management system like Gepard. It offers a single source of relevant data about your goods, helps with data enrichment and automates the process of syndicating all this information to various sales channels. If you want to keep up with the pandemic-regulated eCommerce world, book a demo and try out our PIM system.
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