The retail industry is in the midst of a revolution – one impacting both customer expectations and commerce. There will be 2.7 billion internet users by the end of this year, and that number will continue to grow at a rapid pace. This is an enormous opportunity for brand owners and retailers of all sizes to promote, display, sell, and fulfill. It also offers consumers new opportunities to search, discover, order, and receive goods on their own terms and in their own language.
The consumer need for product data
The consumers are interacting with their products and brands very differently than in the past. The convergence of online search and social media engagement has made consumers more connected than ever, and entirely comfortable interacting digitally with brands and retailers.
Today’s consumers don’t care if they shop in a store, via a phone, or online. They want easy-to-use solutions that satisfy their lifestyle needs and preferences. As a result, industry has focused on providing them with a seamless shopping experience.
Moreover consumers have a more holistic view of retail options as a result of online reviews and social media – and they are quickly learning whom to trust. Therefore, Consumers are demanding more digital product information from a trusted source to be linked to the physical products they use and consume across multiple channels – anytime and anywhere. In addition, regulators are becoming advocates for the consumer – demanding greater disclosure and data accuracy.
A deluge of digital data
Data has never been easier to find. At the same time, it has never been as challenging to find accurate data consumers can trust. With this in mind, consumer trust and brand recognition is of utmost importance to businesses today.
To meet consumer expectations and help to connect them with the information that they are looking for, product data must be presented online in a consistent, searchable way that both humans – and machines – can understand and use. This in turn, will enable Retailers and brand owners to comply with emerging regulations for online information sharing.
Leveraging the power of data
If Retail community is to fully utilize the power of the Web and deliver value to their consumers, they must first agree on a standardised way to represent product data using global standards. Without this, brand owners and retailers will not be able to reap the benefits of optimized product visibility and searchability. Worse, search engines will continue struggling to understand and navigate the mountains of unstructured information that companies publish online every day.
To reach a global audience, retailers and brand owners need to agree that accurate and trusted data is essential. Questionable data will turn off potential customers and undermine brands.