IDC Spotlight Report: The Power of a PX Strategy in Omnichannel Commerce



Oct 26, 2023

5 min to read

Bad Product Experiences That Will Haunt You

While ghosts and goblins might give you a fright this Halloween, there's something even scarier lurking in the world of retail: bad product experiences. From missing product information to incorrect or inconsistent data, discover how these retail horrors can send shivers down your spine and what you can do to banish them, ensuring your product experience is more delightful than dreadful.


Customer Experience

Product Experience


Retail Trends

Halloween is right around the corner, and it’s not just goblins and ghouls that will be doing the scaring. While the traditional spirits of the season may bring a chill to the air, there’s something even more bone-chilling lurking in the world of retail: spooky product experiences. Every day, consumers venture into the digital aisles of online stores or the physical shelves of brick-and-mortar shops, only to encounter product experiences that send shivers down their spines.

These spine-tingling experiences can be more frightening than any ghostly apparition, and as the bustling holiday season follows closely on the heels of Halloween, there’s no better time to confront and vanquish these retail specters

Let’s take a look at just a few of the eerie and unsettling encounters that shoppers often face. But don’t worry, we’re not here to simply recount tales of retail horror. Instead, we aim to be your trusty guides through the labyrinth of these unsettling experiences, armed with our tried-and-true-methods to scare away lost sales and high return rates.



1. Missing product information in the description

What it means

We’ve all been there; we search for a product, click on the first one that pops up, but then realize the product doesn’t provide the dimensions of the product, what the return window is, or what’s included in the purchase.

These details are the building blocks of a customer’s understanding of what they’re considering purchasing. When key information is omitted, it leaves potential customers in the dark, unsure about the product’s features, specifications, or benefits.

What it looks like

You’re shopping for a new laptop, and you stumble upon a product listing with a description that barely provides any useful information. There might be no mention of the processor type, RAM capacity, storage specifications, or any special features. All you’re left with is a vague title and maybe a price. In this scenario, it’s akin to trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces – frustrating and futile.

How to resolve it

  • Create a central repository of product information that all your teams, suppliers, and manufacturers can easily access for up-to-date, accurate product information wherever the product is listed. This also makes it easier for teams to update product information is something changes
  • Create a checklist of essential information that needs to be present for each product type. For a laptop, this might include details like processor model, RAM capacity, storage type, screen size, and special features like a backlit keyboard or touchscreen functionality.
  • Use structured, consistent formatting across all your product descriptions to present this information clearly. Bulleted lists, tables, or section headings can make it easier for customers to scan and find the details they need, and when a consumer knows where to find specific information on your product pages, it enhances their shopping experience and trust.



2. Incorrect product information in the description

What it means

Misinformation can encompass various aspects, from erroneous specifications to false claims about a product’s features or benefits. Inaccurate information can mislead and disappoint customers, potentially leading to trust issues and, in the worst cases, returns and negative reviews.

What it looks like

Suppose you’re shopping for a winter coat from a popular fashion retailer. You find a coat that catches your eye due to its stylish design and a product description that promises it’s made of high-quality, warm materials suitable for extreme cold. The retailer’s website claims it’s perfect for harsh winters and even provides an image of the coat being worn in snowy conditions. But when the coat arrives, you discover that it’s not as warm as advertised; the materials used are thin, and the coat lacks proper insulation. This can result in a return, a negative review, an unsatisfied customer, and a lost of trust.

How to resolve it

  • If you source products from various suppliers or manufacturers, maintain a central source of truth for product information that can act as a clear line of communication to ensure that the information everyone has access to is accurate. Collaborate with your suppliers and manufacturers to get accurate and consistent details about the products you sell.
  • Implement a robust quality control process to ensure that all product information provided is accurate and up to date. Regularly verify the product details to catch any discrepancies, and ensure that your product descriptions stay current and reflect any changes, such as software updates or hardware improvements.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews and feedback about the products they purchase. This can help identify inaccuracies in product descriptions, allowing you to rectify them promptly.



3. Wrong units of measure or currency, or language displayed

What it means

In our globalized world, retailers must cater to diverse audiences. When we talk about wrong units of measure, currency, or language being displayed, we’re referring to a situation where the product information is presented in a manner that doesn’t align with the customer’s preferences or expectations. This mismatch can create confusion, hinder international sales, and damage the overall customer experience.

What it looks like

Imagine you’re shopping for sports shoes on an e-commerce website, and you find a pair that looks perfect. However, the price is displayed in a different currency, such as Japanese Yen, and the product dimensions are listed in centimeters. If you’re in the United States, where you typically use US dollars and inches, this can make it challenging to understand the product’s cost and size, leading to frustration.

How to resolve it

  • Implement geolocation detection to identify a customer’s location. Based on this information, you can automatically display the relevant currency and units of measure.
  • Provide currency conversion tools and language options for international customers. This allows them to view prices in their preferred currency, making it easier for them to understand and compare product costs. You should also provide product descriptions, specifications, and prices in a way that is culturally and regionally relevant, including references to local holidays, preferences, and nuances.



4. Inconsistent information across different channels

What it means

Today’s consumers often research products across various channels, including websites, mobile apps, and social media. Inconsistencies in product information between these channels can lead to confusion, mistrust, and hesitation. Ensure a seamless and coherent experience by maintaining consistency in product descriptions, prices, and availability.

What it looks like

Imagine you’re interested in buying a popular tablet from an electronics retailer. You first see it on their website, where it’s listed as available for immediate purchase with a certain price. However, when you visit the retailer’s physical store, you’re told that the tablet is out of stock. Furthermore, the price you were initially quoted online doesn’t match what’s displayed in-store, and the tablet is much smaller than it looks in the pictures online. This inconsistency between the online and offline shopping experience creates confusion and frustration for the customer.

How to resolve it

  • Use an integrated single source of record for product data to ensure that all sales and marketing channels have real-time access to the same availability data, pricing information, promotional deals, and product information. This prevents situations where items appear available online but are out of stock in physical stores, and creates cohesion between all your channels.
  • Develop an omnichannel retail strategy that unifies the customer experience across all platforms. This can include features like “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS), or “research online, buy offline” (ROBO) to provide a seamless, hybrid shopping experience.



5. Missing or misleading visual graphics

What it means

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be more accurate in the world of e-commerce. Visual elements, such as product images, videos, or diagrams, play a crucial role in helping customers understand what they are buying. When these elements are missing or deceptive, it can lead to confusion and dissatisfaction and can send potential customers fleeing.

What it looks like

You’re searching for a new dining table from a reputable furniture retailer’s website to match a few chairs you’ve already purchased. The product listing features a single image of the table, displayed from one angle, with no close-ups or alternative views. The product image is poorly lit, and the table appears in a plain, unappealing room setting that doesn’t provide any context for how it might fit into different home decor styles. The lack of detailed images makes it challenging to examine the table’s construction, finish, or the quality of the wood used, so you can’t tell if it will fit in the space you need it to, or match the chairs you already own.

How to resolve it

  • Provide high-quality images of the product from multiple angles. This allows customers to get a comprehensive view of what they are purchasing. If possible, include zoom-in features for a closer look. If applicable, offer 360-degree views or interactive images that allow customers to rotate and examine the product from all sides.
  • Consider including product videos that demonstrate how the product works or its features in action. You can also encourage customers to upload and share their own images or reviews of the product to provide social proof and authentic perspectives.
  • Including size charts or dimensions can help customers choose the right product size and reduce the likelihood of incorrect sizing and returns. You can also utilize technology like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to allow consumers to digitally place the product somewhere, or try the product on, before purchasing.


Scaring Off Bad Product Experiences

As the holiday season approaches, retailers need to ensure that their product experiences are more delightful than dreadful. Spooky product experiences can haunt your business and drive potential customers away. By addressing these issues and learning from real-life examples of successful strategies, you can create an inviting and trustworthy product experience.

Remember, the key to success lies in offering exceptional product experiences. Eliminating the spookiness from your product experiences can lead to increased customer trust, higher conversion rates, and a strong brand reputation. So, this Halloween, make sure your customers are thrilled, not chilled, by their shopping experiences by providing reliable, consistent, and accurate product information wherever they’re shopping.

Akeneo Product Cloud

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