August 25th, 2009 | 4 MIN READ

Manufacturers: Be Sure Your Product Information is Consumer Ready Webinar Recap

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Linda's note: Sally McKenzie was gracious enough to not only present our webinar this month, but also to provide this post -- an "excerpt" of the presentation (please view the webinar replay for the full meal deal). For more ecommerce expertise from Sally, you can check out her Ecommerce Consulting Blog or follow her on Twitter.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this month’s webinar: From Manufacturer to Retailer: Expanding Your Brand Online. Thanks to the great team at Elastic Path for hosting such a timely topic. (Note, the webinar replay will be available shortly at the link above).

In this webinar, we covered the 5 critical things that manufacturers must do to be successful online. My favorite among the bunch is #3 – Getting your product information and tools “consumer ready.”

For many online shoppers, manufacturer’s websites are the first place to go for product information – by default, the manufacturer is the authority, right?

Yet, a quick pass through the websites of many manufacturers shows that while the information might be there, it can be a bit of a chore for the consumer to wade through.
The problems tend to fall into a few camps:

1) The site looks beautiful, but the language reads like it was written by a programmer. See below. Does a returning customer really want to be referred to as an “existing user”? Or do they want to see that a required field is “mandatory”? And when the customer has done a search for one of your products, do they really want to see that “100 records” are being displayed?

2) The product offering is categorized in branded terms, not consumer terms. Here’s a great example on the Keen website. I’m looking for sandals, yet the choices in the women’s menu are clever names of product collections, so I really don’t know where to find the sandals.

Unfortunately, typing “sandals” into the search box yields only one pair of sandals, and I know that Keen carries a lot more.

Frustrated, I go back to the home page and click the “womens” header – and viola, I suddenly have robust navigational tool that allows me to choose sandals and other shoes in my language…..but why not just give me that from the get go?

3) There are rich, deep technical details about the product, but I have no idea what’s in it for me. See the below example from the Merrell website. About half of the bullets here have me stumped as to why I should care and what they will do for me.

Do you know why you need a Vibram Multi-Grip Sport Sole/Trek & TC5+ Rubber? I sure don’t.

Contrast that with Danner Boot, who does a great job of translating techno-speak in to consumer-ready features and benefits:

Moral of the story: your brand image doesn’t stop with the beautiful photo on the home page. It carries through in every aspect of the research and purchase experience. Be sure you’ve taken the time to get your product information consumer-ready.

Sally McKenzie is a retail and online industry veteran with over 20 years of leadership success spanning brick & mortar, catalog and e-commerce channels. She covers merchandising, marketing, product development, web site operations and strategic planning functions for the online world.

Next Webinar

An enterprise guide to lowering TCO for multi-store environments
Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PDT

As an enterprise ecosystem becomes more complex, their ecommerce is also maturing from single sites to multitenant environments. Enterprises find themselves running multiple online stores for different brands, geographical locations, sales channels, and so on. IT, operations, and marketing departments must scramble to coordinate their efforts as more stores are launched.

In this one-hour webinar, Elastic Path CTO Michael Vax will discuss how enterprises can leverage their ecommerce platform to minimize TCO and achieve greater efficiencies in a multi-store environment.

Sign up today!

Webinar takeaways:
• What online store components can be leveraged between multiple stores?
• What is a multitenant environment?
• What is important for lowering TCO?
• How should you deploy your ecommerce platform?

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