4 Keys to boosting the back-to-school and holiday shopping experience

The last portion of the calendar is a busy time for retailers. It starts with the end of summer and the back-to-school rush, as kids and parents alike get ready for another year in the (perhaps virtual) classroom, and continues through Halloween and into the holiday season.

All these seasonal events and changes mean that brands and retailers need to work double-time to adapt their product catalogs and keep up with the changing seasons. After all, most consumers won’t be buying new backpacks in October, nor Halloween costumes in November, and most families get their holiday shopping done long before the New Year is rung in. That means you only have a precious few days to make your seasonal catalogs and promotions count. 

But making these seasonal changes in your product catalog isn’t as simple as flipping the calendar to the next month. It means onboarding new products from manufacturers and suppliers, adding new photos and other digital assets, and updating hundreds or thousands of SKUs on multiple sales channels in time for the new season, all without succumbing to errors and inaccuracies in your product information. Add it all up, and adapting your product catalog can be a monumental undertaking.

Here are four keys that you can adopt to help make the holiday shopping season more successful for you, and deliver a better shopping experience to your customers.

Automate and adapt with ease

Adapting your product catalog for each new season can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. Manually managing photos, videos, and other digital product assets can quickly become a nightmare, but getting products to market on time is critical to meet shoppers’ expectations.  That means you need to rapidly update your assortment, and take advantage of anything you can use to help your product managers take control of your product catalog and adapt information on a timely basis.

Akeneo PIM can help your team automate processes, easily model new categories, offer bulk editing, and centrally manage product data and digital assets like photos and videos. Just our customer Turner Price, a foodservice wholesaler that turned to Akeneo when it pivoted their business, modifying their product catalog with additional information required to facilitate selling directly to consumers in just one week.

Get more sales days

When it comes to seasonal sales, time is of the essence, and organizations can’t afford to miss their seasonal window. A long catalog enrichment process could doom your holiday sales plans if the catalog isn’t available during peak buying times. What your team needs is a way to help them significantly increase productivity and keep up with changing seasons — all without making careless errors or providing inaccurate product information to customers. 

Akeneo PIM can help foster collaboration across the teams involved in onboarding new products, streamline the catalog update process, eliminate errors, and inconsistencies in product information. It can also help ensure that any updates made within the system are distributed to all of the appropriate channels. Akeneo customer Petra, for instance, has already seen the benefit of using PIM to accelerate time-to-market. 

Communicate with customers

Accelerating your time-to-market can also help you make sure customers can rest assured any gifts they purchase will arrive by Christmas, Hanukkah, a birthday, or any other special occasion. But around the holiday season, customers could always use some extra reassurance before they complete their purchase.

The key is keeping your customers informed and aware of what’s happening with their purchase. That way, their expectations stay realistic, and your relationship with them remains intact. Keep your customers in the know by trusting Akeneo PIM as part of your buy online pick-up in-store offer, just like Akeneo customer Rural King. By efficiently collecting and enriching the right product data to support the program, the company’s BOPIS program increased online sales and in-store foot traffic.

Broadcast your values

Modern shoppers don’t just want to know about your brand’s products, and when they can expect them to arrive — they also want to know your values. In recent years, brand values have emerged as an important buying criterion. Buyers and shoppers want to know where products are made, are they ethically produced or sourced, sustainable, cruelty-free, and so on. 

Let them know what you stand for by easily and efficiently adding new attributes and rewriting descriptions in one central system and rapidly populating them to all sales channels in context. Akeneo customers like Made.com, for instance, have attracted attention and acclaim for using PIM to make information about brand values the centerpiece of their brand strategy. 

Improving product enrichment and management processes can benefit every part of your business, from your team to your customers, and even your bottom line. Try out these tips to make sure your team is ready to conquer the Christmas rush, beat the summer heat, get back to school, and bloom with spring flowers. 

Check out more insights and recommendations from new Akeneo research in our Akeneo Global B2B Survey 2020: 5 Takeaways on the Rising Importance of Product Experience eBook, or learn from Akeneo success stories by checking out some customer stories!

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