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Want to unlock that competitive advantage? Master your content management
27 January 2021 9:23am
Review, repair and recover will be the priority for most companies across 2021 as economies encounter further challenging conditions in the midst of the continued pandemic. It may be some time before what most of us recognize as full normality returns.
Despite the efforts to adapt and rebuild, however, companies must also continue looking to the future to grow and develop their businesses. They must make sure they stay on top of innovation and consumer trends so as not to be left behind.
As ever, efficient and effective content, information and digital asset management will be at the heart of creating and maintaining competitive advantage. It will be a key support to companies wanting to stay a step ahead of the game, ensuring that they can deliver against or even exceed in meeting consumer expectation.
But how? We explore three trends for 2021 in which integrated content management plays an enabling role, and as a result will shape the content strategies of companies going forward.
1. Supply chain transparency
Customers have long been interested in the idea of ‘provenance’ at the luxury end of many sectors. Traceability of food and high end fashion materials such as Argentinian beef or Italian leather, are an integral part of some brands’ propositions.
Today, this is moving to the mainstream as consumers take a greater interest in the sustainability and ethics behind their favorite brands. Issues such as modern slavery and garment pollution are lead news items, and shoppers want an easy way to know that they’re making the right choices.
Fashion retailer, H&M, has taken a proactive stance on the transparency of its supply chain, including details about country of origin, supplier details including the address and number of workers, as well as the range of materials used.
The company is only able to provide customers with such a high level of information with a robust and integrated approach to content management – one that unifies all the supply chain data, attaches it to product information and makes sure it stays connected through the whole marketing, merchandising, and ecommerce process.
2. Greater process automation
The lessons of COVID-19 have been that consumers are both willing and able to self-serve for a wide range of needs, from product discovery to customer service. This has given rise to an increase in the use of chatbots and virtual assistants able to respond to all but the most complex customer query. This has not only reduced the pressure on stretched staff, working remotely, but has increased efficiency and improved brand reputation.
However, the ability of these systems to work smoothly across channels depends on integrated systems in the back end. Companies with disjointed product information and media asset management systems struggle to unify information in a way that can be automated for distribution. Customer demand for immediate visibility of product information in real time across a range of channels – being able to view live, instore stock levels via an online channel, for example – is only going to grow and marketers will need to keep pace.
3. Personalization and AI discovery engines
Ecommerce has largely been a pragmatic channel. Its main USP is to provide a wide range of products, easily delivered at the right price. Even with companies using more creative, innovative approaches to styling products on their sites, it has not featured highly on the ‘shopping as leisure activity’ scale.
But this is beginning to change as social media platforms drive the trend towards social commerce, and brands recognize the value of curated content. It is moving online to a ‘Shopping, not buying’ paradigm. On social media, influencers continue to feature companies’ products, either via a promotional agreement or pure serendipity, but their feeds are now shoppable. The success of social commerce has also changed how brands themselves and their retail partners merchandise and promote products.
Product information, digital assets, and content have to work together to help create such curated shopping experiences. This is especially important as companies look to AI to further reinforce the spirit of discovery by creating personalization engines. These recommendations go much further than simply surfacing similar or complimentary products. Instead, they delve deeper, using Augmented Reality (AR) to help the customer visualize homewares or fashion ‘in situ’. It goes without saying that successfully using AI and AR leans heavily on robust connections between the systems housing your content, such as Product Information Management, Digital Asset Management, Content Management Systems. But of course, those systems can only provide the contextualized and up to date content which is needed if they are integrated with each other, and in the best case, together form one central content source.
These three major trends for 2021 may appear quite separate in scope and focus, but they share a common thread – they are all critically dependent on robust, integrated content management (or as we call it, Universal Content Management).
Without product information, digital assets and content management systems all working seamlessly together, content and collateral cannot travel seamlessly across workflows, departments, platforms and channels. It cannot be contextualized, it cannot be easily maintained, sourced, or delivered, and it cannot accurately be used to support companies in creating the customer experiences they dream of, or exceeding those expectations they aspire to.
But, integrating your content, product data and digital asset management systems into one unified source is not as intimidating as it may at first seem. We have a wealth of insight and resources as to why and how you could get started with it in the censhare Knowledge Base.
If you prefer to hear from the team at Perrigo Co., a leading US provider of over the counter self care products, on their PIM implementation and its role in forming a central and integrated content hub, then some time to watch The Content Hub Revolution, an on demand webinar with host and industry analyst, Theresa Regli.