Corporate values have become the most important buying criterion apart from price, according to a survey conducted by Akeneo, a global leader in Product Experience Management (PXM) solutions.
The report finds that ethical and sustainable sourcing is now a top priority for corporate buyers, and a key driver of eCommerce and omnichannel commerce success.
The survey was conducted by 3GEM Research, 1,600 business leaders in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States
According to the report’s authors, buyers are increasingly relying on information about brands’ values and products’ sourcing, origins, organic materials, and carbon footprint is now the single biggest factor driving worldwide purchasing decisions.
In total, 61 per cent of buyers now pay close attention to such information when making procurement decisions.
The key findings include;
- Buyers are putting social responsibility first. In total, 61 per cent of vendors say product information relating to ethical manufacturing, sustainable or organic materials, for example, is a top priority for purchasing decisions. That puts social responsibility ahead of criteria such as speed, personalization, and localization as a critical driver of sales.
- Product experience drives customer satisfaction. Virtually all survey respondents (97 per cent) see product information as a key tool for enhancing customer experience. And product information isn’t just utilized at point of sale: most organizations use product information to drive marketing and/or social media campaigns, too.
- Omnichannel and online strategies are booming. Eighty-one percent of businesses now sell through more than one channel, and almost half see eCommerce, social media, and online ads as their top promotional channels. That creates a powerful need for customization, with a large majority of businesses now tailoring content to the different channels they sell through. Advanced content customization, such as via voice search, chatbots, and AR or VR tools, will only become more important in the future.
- Product Experience Management is a team sport. Product information must now be coordinated across multiple channel-specific teams, with almost two-thirds of eCommerce and multi- or omnichannel professionals reporting at least four separate teams involved in product information management. Almost half of those businesses say they struggle to ensure efficient collaboration across their teams.
- Teams face growing challenges. Forty percent of businesses struggle to meet deadlines for promotions, product launches, and new catalogs, and a similar number struggle to manage the increasing volume of images, videos, and content assets needed to merchandise products across multiple channels. Data standardization is a major headache for respondents, with more than a third of enterprises failing to collect product data into a central repository, leading to problems including information silos, errors and inaccuracies, and a slower time-to-market.
“Social responsibility is now an important criterion for buyers, so to succeed retailers and manufacturers need to communicate their values clearly and consistently,” says Fred de Gombert, Akeneo’s CEO. “We’re living in the golden age of multichannel distribution, and this survey shows that product information management, especially relating to ethical and environmental factors, is the key to enduring success for sellers across all their customer touchpoints.”