Everyone talks about product experience - but what is it actually?
After multi- and omnichannel, product experience seems to be the latest must-have in e-commerce strategy. One trend follows the next, and if you look at the worldwide figures for online trade, it's not surprising: in 2020, more than two billion people will have already purchased products or services online, and the number is growing every year. For many companies, online business has become the most important sales market and the associated optimisation potential, processes and systems in the digital strategy are correspondingly important.
Basically, product experience is about optimising the experience consumers have when interacting with a product through different measures. These measures thus aim to increase the attractiveness of a product for the target market in order to increase the likelihood of purchase.
What makes a product presentation attractive?
Consumers' expectations of the way companies present and advertise their products have risen sharply in recent years. Before making a purchase decision, consumers today want to be fully informed. They expect details about the product, testimonials from other consumers, product descriptions and, above all, visual elements such as pictures and videos. Many online retailers in the fashion sector have recognised that digital touchpoints such as the online store or Instagram now offer great opportunities for this and are taking full advantage of them with the right tools.
The aim is to mimic the physical shopping experience digitally as much as possible. In the case of clothing, for example, short videos are often used to give a feeling of how the fabric falls when you walk. The visual product presentation is completed by a whole series of photos that give the impression that you are actually looking at the garment from all sides. 360° and 3D visualisations for all kinds of products have also long since become established, and some even rely on augmented reality applications to simulate, for example, furniture in the living room at home or the latest eyeshadow collection in one's own face.
The more such impulses a product presentation provides, the more comprehensively consumers feel informed about the product and the more convinced they can make a purchase decision - or not.
Content Hub - the best prerequisite for product experience
In order to offer such a shopping experience - and to do so consistently and simultaneously in all channels - the right technological basis is needed. Due to the complexity of the information on a product, all communication-relevant systems must work hand in hand and bring together product data, digital assets and editorial content centrally. This includes, for example, product information management, digital asset management and content management. While there are some providers who try to cover all these areas with a single solution, the best-of-breed approach has proven itself especially for more complex requirements. Companies look for a dedicated system for each area that covers their requirements in the best possible way and rely on the integration capabilities of modern software solutions.
API-first: bringing together what belongs together
Modern digital asset management systems can be recognised by the fact that they see themselves as part of a whole. With a consistent API-first approach, they integrate into any existing digital ecosystem and thus enable an efficient design of creative processes. On the one hand, this means the connection to neighbouring systems such as product information management and content management solutions. Here, digital content such as images, videos or graphics are brought together with the corresponding product information and supplemented with editorial content - for a comprehensive overall view of the products. But this also includes the connection to creative programmes such as Adobe InDesign and Photoshop as well as to external image and video databases such as Shutterstock or Getty Images - because product images are one thing, but the visual support and optimisation of editorial content is also a central task of digital asset management systems.
On the other hand, the ability to integrate also includes the output channels that are to be used with the respective content. For a long time now, this has included more than just the company's own website and perhaps a print catalogue. Online marketplaces and social commerce are growing rapidly and are now the dominant platforms for many consumers to find out about products and brands. The consequence for retailers and manufacturers is that the relevant channel landscape is becoming increasingly diversified and that any platform that goes unused means unrealised sales. This means that companies must closely monitor emerging new trends and incorporate them into their own communication strategy at an early stage in order to exploit the full potential.
Here, too, modern digital asset management systems support a fast go-to-market, as the API-first approach allows new channels to be connected quickly and effectively and filled with content accordingly. It is important to note that each platform has its own requirements for the presentation of information and that both digital asset management and product information management systems must be able to map these requirements. Suitable DAM systems can, for example, already provide appropriate image derivatives for all channels when uploading product images and also automatically carry out retouching or provide clipping, which considerably shortens the go-to-market.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Visual content has been the guarantor for a successful product experience not only since the fast-moving world of social media. It has only become more difficult to assert oneself against the competition in the flood of information and images. That's why companies are increasingly relying on high-quality digital content and showing the utmost care in building new touchpoints with potential customers. Product information and descriptions are and remain important support for the purchase decision - but without expressive images, videos and animations, many of these purchase decision processes would not even be triggered.
Therefore, a powerful digital asset management system with its intelligent functions that significantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of creative processes, with its integration capability that enables all cross-system processes around the creation, delivery and publication of high-calibre content, and with many other central functions such as the management of licences, roles and permissions, is the necessary basis for creating the best product experience.