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Clavis Technology recently conducted a study showing significant problems with the integrity of product information available on 17 of the largest online consumer goods stores in North America. The study found that over two-thirds of the product pages evaluated suffered from significant gaps in the quality of product information.
When choosing a product in a traditional store a consumer can pick it up and read the packaging before making a choice; but in the online domain they rely entirely on the product information and images available on the product page. Missing data represents the online equivalent of a product out-of-stock or the loss of a sales opportunity, but inaccurate or badly presented information can have even graver consequences for brand integrity.
68 percent of the 150 products surveyed across the 17 sites had one or more problems with missing, inaccurate or badly presented information. The results dramatically show the extent to which manufacturers could be missing out on sales or jeopardizing brand integrity because of poor quality information on their trading partners’ sites.
A breakdown of the results shows that 27 percent of the products analyzed were missing some expected piece of information – for example food products missing nutrition panels or ingredients information, or an incorrect manufacturer or brand name.
58 percent – over half – of products were missing directions or warnings. Alarmingly, this is one of the most common problems on product pages. With the growing prevalence of food allergies this is an area that is getting more attention than ever before. The US FDA, for example, requires food manufacturers to list the eight most common ingredients that trigger food allergies. Warnings such as these need to be clear and easily accessible wherever individuals shop.
Perhaps most worryingly five percent of products had an incorrect product name. This type of error renders the product invisible to people looking for it online; consumers cannot find the product when searching using free search or category menus.
In the bricks and mortar world sales teams invest a lot of time and effort into managing their shelf placement and the visibility of their products; similar effort needs to be invested by brand owners when it comes to managing product listings and information across online and mobile channels. As more consumer purchases are transacted online – and are influenced by online research – the effect of faulty online information can be devastating to brand integrity and conversion rates.
Do you think online store data deserves as much attention as in-store data? Why or why not?