We have written often that product data has now become an integral part of the digital strategies of businesses. As products pass through various stages before they come to the market – from design to manufacturing to shipping and finally retail outlets and e-commerce websites, – a whole lot of product information gets created, shared, stored, and processed. The right product data is important not just to strengthen business decision-making but also to improve relationships with suppliers and distributors, and to help consumers buy.
For manufacturers, especially, acquiring, cleaning, maintaining, and processing product data is a substantial effort. This is especially so as the products keep evolving. But is this just an investment? Or could this product data be a potential goldmine of revenue possibilities?
Product data and its direct revenue impact
As organizations wake up to the importance of product data, and the new business opportunities it presents, they are also realizing that they can use product data to drive revenue. Although not all benefits are tangible, they do, in one way or another, impact the bottom line. Here’s how manufacturers can make product data a source of revenue:
1. Increased sales: One of the most obvious advantages of having accurate product data is increased sales. When consumers, through the product data, are able to understand exactly what a product can do, and how it can meet their needs, the time taken to make a purchase decision is drastically reduced. When consumers are able to make quick decisions, there is a direct impact on revenue for the manufacturer. Accurate product messaging and pricing information can also help improve brand loyalty while providing positive consumer experiences, and word of mouth. This directly impacts the total number of product purchases from existing as well as new customers.
2. New markets: Product data has a great role to play in opening new markets. By carrying out research on consumer behavior, and how they consume product information, manufacturers can collate useful data that can potentially be monetized. What information is important to consumers, how do they like to see data, what kind of information helps them in their purchasing decisions, what pictures or description of products strike a chord – can all be a great way to improve upon existing product information and enter new markets. Leveraging an understanding of the content and nature of product data that is relevant for the new market can help increase the chances of succeeding in that market.
3. Onboarding distributors: Distributors have it even tougher than manufacturers when it comes to the challenges of handling product data. They carry thousands of products from hundreds of manufacturer partners. All these manufacturer partners have their own systems and processes. They collate and share data at their own pace and cadence, in their own standards, and following their own nomenclature. It is a formidable task for distributors to onboard new manufacturer partners, new products from existing partners, and update information on existing products from existing partners.
In fact, distributors spend a lot of time, resources, and energy in cleaning up the product information they get from manufacturers. Now consider this. If they could save all that time, effort, and cost, then they may be willing to pay manufacturers more for the product information that fits into their systems. This would mean that manufacturers would have to provide information in the manner that they want, including standards, nomenclature, measures, etc.
4. Time to market: Product data, when clean, relevant, and apt, can allow manufacturers to reduce time to market, and launch products and product variants much before the competition does. This could help them derive the revenue benefits of a first-mover advantage.
5. Predictive insights: When combined with machine learning and analytics, product data can help companies move from reporting on past events to monitoring events in real-time and, eventually, towards predicting what events are likely to happen in the future. When analytics is applied to product data, manufacturers can get insight into a feature or specs buyers are seeking but not able to locate, or perhaps a specific accessory that is often being sought in addition the main product. Such insight, can, in turn, help manufacturers in re-strategizing their processes, offering products and features that meet new demands and focus more on tasks and activities that can bring in more revenue.
6. Increased productivity and improved decision-making: With so much data being generated in any organization, employees have a tough time getting the data they need to carry out important tasks. However, when product data is accurate and updated, employees can find the information they seek faster. This is also true of managers and decision-makers, who are in a better position to react to business events and make critical decisions faster. When basic data-centric tasks improve, there is a clear increase in employee productivity and data-driven decision-making– which in the long run – will impact the revenue.
Drive business excellence
In today’s highly competitive B2B environment, product data has a lot more significance than has been presumed. In addition to providing precise details about products including price, features, accessories, warranty information, service needs, and more, it can play a much bigger role in driving revenue for manufacturers.
While accurate product data has a direct bearing on sales, it is also a great enabler for manufacturers looking to enter new markets and tap new opportunities. Product data also plays a critical role in improving workforce productivity, reducing time to market, and meeting the demands of the new-age customer. It also opens up creative revenue opportunities by helping distributors onboard partners faster.
So, irrespective of the industry, having high-quality comprehensive, accurate, and updated product data could be a great way to drive revenue and business value.