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While online purchasing rates have been steadily increasing over the past two decades, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a significant shift in consumers opting to buy their products – particularly food and beverages – via digital channels.

As lockdowns and social distancing made visiting supermarkets and shopping centres at worst impossible, at best undesirable, the way we shop began to change. According to data from Australia Post, sales of Food and Liquor items more than doubled in April 2020, with this category becoming one of only two to experience triple-digit growth twice in 2020 (Home and Garden being the other).

With the rise in online shopping looking likely to continue even after the effects of the pandemic begin to subside, what does this shift in consumer behaviour mean for traditional and omnichannel businesses?

Taking the in-store experience online through quality product data

To compensate for the obvious limitations of online shopping – not being able to see or interact with the product – retailers need to find efficient ways to provide consumers with accurate, high-quality product information. Aside from visual data such as images, this includes nutritional information and any other relevant details to assist with the purchasing decision.

Retailers require their suppliers’ product information to be consistent and aligned across all B2B and B2C channels. This extends to the adoption of GS1 supply chain standards and National Product Catalogue (NPC) data quality compliance, as well as alignment with the specific requirements of the online shopping platform and that of any other software and technology involved ‘behind the scenes’.

For supply chain businesses, this requires a streamlined approach to uploading and maintaining standardised, accurate and standards-compliant product data across existing product ranges and for all new products in the future.

The importance of timely logistics information

 An additional challenge of online retail is the need for up-to-date logistics information. Inaccurate or incomplete logistics data can result in a range of customer frustrations, from obsolete products appearing online, to orders not being delivered within the specified timeframe.

Maintaining current logistics data for all products helps to facilitate a smooth process across every stage of the online retail journey, from browsing and purchasing to order fulfilment.

End-to-end content support is key to online success

Ensuring streamlined and effective online content management goes far beyond uploading product information to an online platform; it requires the development of watertight processes at every stage in order to eliminate gaps that lead to inaccurate or incomplete data. From process guidelines to checklists for New Product Introductions (NPIs), the key is to make it as simple as possible for everyone – from current staff members to new starters – to maintain consistency and accuracy.

Bizcaps’ end-to-end online content support services facilitate a streamlined and simplified process for online content management, combining our expertise in NPC/GDSN datapool publishing with proven experience in product data management.

To find out more about outsourcing your product data management and digital content maintenance with Bizcaps Online Content Support (OCS), you can get in touch with our team here.