The Importance of Product Data within The Electrical Industry

April 23, 2021
“In the last Issue of Click & Connect we saw Javier Garcia (Data and Onboarding Manager at EDA Data Services) share his ‘Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Product Data in Order’. As an EDA Data Services Board Member and eCommerce Director at Schneider Electric UK&I, I would like to extend on his advice to emphasise The Importance of Product Data within the Electrical Industry.”

The Past, Present and Future of Product Data

After the internet went mainstream in 1991, the ability to share and access information at the click of a button was made a reality. The creator of the world-changing platform Mr Tim Berners-Lee’s aim was to provide a solution for the collation of academic research. However, the potential was soon put to use with the first secure retail transaction over the internet (of a Sting CD) occurring just three years later.

Therefore, the days where businesses only had the opportunity to position and promote their products/services through shop windows, printed posters/catalogues/leaflets and even via word of mouth of a sales representative, were soon over. Organisations now had the ability to utilise the emerging technology to display an unlimited amount and better quality of information.

The world of B2C eCommerce has set the bar for ‘expected’ product information a consumer seeks when purchasing. However, it could be argued that B2B buyers demand more details on the products they desire, for example, a tradesperson would benefit from having a 360 degree view of the item they intend to purchase, as well as the specific dimensions and technical specifications, to ensure a successful application of that product.

“The world of B2C eCommerce has set the bar for ‘expected’ product information a consumer seeks when purchasing.”

The quality of product data serving the B2B market is therefore crucial and not only does the positioning of an offer online break down the barrier to be bound to a printed publication, but enables the facility to ensure the offering of the most up to date information. This increases the ability to self-serve, driving higher conversion and decreasing rates of returns.

Currently, the vast number of electrical manufacturers/wholesalers offer the core details for the positioning of their offers online i.e. image, description, price, and technical specifications. And yes, as mentioned by Javier Garcia on the previous Click and Connect issue it’s always better to have something rather than nothing.”

Nevertheless, the industry now needs to strive towards providing high standard product data to serve customer needs and wants, this could include examples such as:

– Enhanced Images – High-quality multiple image sets with 360 rotation.

Videos – Emphasising the benefits and application of the product.

– Long Description – Addressing the main features of the product to support a “right-first-time” buying decision.

– Features and Benefits – Highlighting the unique selling points of the product.

– Technical Specification – Information on technical design of the product to ensure correct selection and application.

– Volumetrics – Dimensions and weight of the product.

“…having a consistent approach to accurate product data is mission-critical and a clear game-changer in a very competitive industry”

As this is what B2B buyers are increasingly expecting, consequently, the electrical industry needs to start putting processes, technology, and people in place to ensure this is achieved.

Likewise, the benefit of ensuring accuracy of product data is not just relevant to eCommerce. As the industry becomes more automated in areas such as supply-chain and logistics, having reliable data is critical to enabling those processes to be successful. This is highlighted in the move to automated storage and picking/packing solutions, where the volumetrics are critical for efficiency, optimisation of space and packaging, and onward logistics of those products.

Businesses looking for sustainable growth are embracing these processes, which continue to evolve through the years. Therefore, having a consistent approach to accurate product data is mission-critical and a clear game-changer in a very competitive industry.

George Brickwood
eCommerce Director at Schneider Electric UK&I

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