Data Management for Your Business: How to Harness the Potential (Part 1)
“Structured data is the fuel of e-commerce. It encourages conversions and creates satisfied customers who like to come back because they can easily find what they are looking for.”
– Data Expert & uNaice Managing Director Rosella Wenninger
SEO, navigation, search, product details – everything is based on data. And often the operators of an online shop are not even aware that they are missing the opportunity to provide their customers with the best input. Last but not least, this can lead to an enormous competitive advantage.
That’s why we put a lot of effort into optimising data – and want to show you one possible way to improve your data management and integrate it into your e-business in a meaningful way.
It all starts with the right data strategy. But in order to work this out, we first need to know why we want to make this effort in the first place? What is the benefit of data optimisation? What data is necessary for this? Does data optimisation make sense at all? And what does the practice look like? We’ll get to the bottom of all these questions so that you can start your own data strategy and know exactly what structured data looks like.
- Why the effort? What are the advantages of good data management, i.e. data optimisation?
- What is the potential of your data?
- Step 1 – What is your goal?
- Step 2 – Must-Have-Data
- Step 3 – Place Data Correctly
- Step 4 – Is data optimization worthwhile?
- Step 5 – Cleaned data
If you have never dealt with data and Data management, the first few months of the programme will probably be a bit confusing and disorientating for anyone who has already dealt with the subject. But don’t worry! In this article, we will show you step by step what it is all about and where the data journey should lead. First of all, let’s do a preliminary analysis to familiarise ourselves with the terms and the possibilities.
Why the effort? What are the advantages of good data management, i.e. data optimisation?
Optimized product data is vital in e-commerce because it defines the buying behaviour of customers. For a long time now, people who are interested in buying have not relied on a single channel for shopping, but rather have explored the entire Internet, researching and consulting various sites before making a purchase. This is precisely why it is so important to have good product data available, so that meaningful information can both be displayed in detail and updated at any time. This is the only way to provide customers with effective added value, which ultimately enables them to decide between two products. A perfect conversion is always based on a good product description. It helps the buyer to understand whether the product meets all their expectations and if it is exactly the right product they were looking for. Buying the right product ultimately reduces the return rate, which is one of the biggest pain points in e-commerce.
Meaningful and detailed product and category information is crucial for the decision that customers make at the end of a shopping journey. So not only do they influence the visibility of products, give newsletters a personal touch or describe a product in a particularly appealing way – no, they can do much much more! And the basis for this is a well-organised data management.
What is the potential of your data?
Another advantage of the data management: You can use the text robot
With well thought-out data management, you can also enjoy another advantage: You can use the text robot for automated text generation.
Because instead of finished texts, such as those required by an AI (or GPT-3), the text robot needs structured data. It is a rule-based system that is fundamentally different from heuristic AIs, which are fed by complete texts and “learn” with each application.
Fixed rule systems and exact specifications ensure that the text robot maintains certain patterns that always remain within the desired framework. A text generated automatically by the text robot requires neither proofreading nor quality assurance and never steps out of line, as can be the case with “meaningless” AI texts.
In addition, texts by the Textrobot respect the in-house wording as well as the CI and always address your target groups optimally. Logically, they also include the right SEO keywords for greater reach.
Important: The potential of your data goes far beyond the content department! You should not let it go to waste, but use it to your advantage. Thoughtful data optimisation polishes your data and is extremely important in this sense.
Don’t let the potential of your data go unused any longer!
An optimised data basis also influences:
- The tonality of your content, which you will always decide yourself. This can be done by customising your data or selecting individual wordings for automated content creation, without having to rely on external copywriters.
- Easy translation into other languages (up to 110) with consistent quality.
- The playout of hyper-personalised content, (“https://unaice.com/personalized-commerce/”) that adapts to the customer journey of your clientele in real time.
- Total control over your data, because you always decide what is played and when.
Your data strategy (with or without uNaice)
The 5-step guide to a successful data strategy
Data management is a complex matter. With our 5-step guide, you can start strategically managing and optimising your data. First of all, our most important tip: Get an overview of your data and familiarise yourself with it.
Step 1 – What is your goal?
Step 1 of a successful data strategy:
Focus on your goal, not the data!
Therefore, you should first think about the problems, challenges and weaknesses of your e-Commerce shop.
Because one thing’s for sure: What we want is high conversion rates. That’s what our sole focus is on, not just on pretty data, engaging content or raised traffic.
Most online retailers want the exact same thing: They simply want to be more successful with their online shop. A well thought out data management is a good opportunity to reach precisely that higher selling goal and set yourself apart from the competition while you’re at it.
What does your input look like and how do you use it?
Sells improve through product data, for example. Category data on the other hand are able to raise the traffic to your site, which in turn will raise the conversion rate. Just as good for conversion is using data that optimize searches in your online shop.
In conclusion: Data is extremely important and can be used in a variety of ways But:
Where do you get your data from?
Manufacturers have a consistent data base to begin with – provided they run an e-commerce shop that sells products by various manufacturers. Most of the time, those manufacturers provide a lot of product data and are therefore a comprehensive source of the same. On the other hand, this is exactly why you don’t have any control over the quality and number of data.
What can you do? Ideally, you use the standardized data,meaning all data that have the same data structure and therefore lead to a unification. This way, you can reach a sensible (meaning uniform) data collection which you can easily use for category pages etc. For example: You know how many colors are included in a category? Great! Use this info for your category page!
Step 2 – Must-Have-Data
Keep your final goal in mind at each step – raising the conversion rate.
Always create an interim balance sheet and question exactly which data sources you have, which sets of data you need to reach your goal, and how you can use them in a clever and profitable way.
Here’s a little extra tip: Consult data experts – there’s no harm in that and it can oftentimes be done internally in your company. Because clarity is key! The more information you have about your data, the better you can act strategically and place your next move skillfully.
Here is a list of all the data you absolutely need to reach your goal asap:
Among others, the following are Must-Haves when it comes to your data collection.
- Product name
- USP data (e.g. material)
Or put differently: Structured data, so data that is unified across all products. Because data like this can be used not only once but in many different places, allowing you to create significant variance.
Aside from this Must-Have-Data, there is Nice-to-Have-Data, which is not mandatory but just a nice addition because it adds to the content here and there and can make product texts more appealing.
If this kind of data is not available, that’s not the end of the world as it is usually not worthwile to add them to an already existing data set.
If the price is not enough information, you need more information to reach a buying decision. To this end, enter the UPs of the products or categories.
You should always figure out which decisions your potential buyers have to make and which questions they are asking themselves before deciding for your product ahead of time. This way, you’ll find the information that’s actually relevant and decisive.
Semantic search engine
Customer satisfaction is also increased by the inclusion of a semantic search engine, which both simplifies and speeds up the search.
Users do not search for categories, but usually (more or less consciously) search directly for the desired products via a semantic search.
What are the benefits of providing your customers with a data-based search function, i.e. a semantic search engine?
Easy: They decide to buy a product from your shop faster and more easily.
A customer is looking for a cheap, transparent phone case.
So her search request is clear: She wants a cheap, transparent phone case.
What she doesn’t want is:
- a phone
- expensive offers
- opaque colors
You’d be surprised at the number of online shops without a properly working search function – meaning a search function that would (unnecessarily) also show other products. The thing is: If customers can’t immediately find what they are looking for in an online shop, they are quick to switch to another to look around there. Boom! Without further ado.
Extra tip: Integrate a semantic search engine that decodes the semantic meaning of a search request into your online shop. In turn, it will play out exactly those products that customers were actually looking for.
You want to learn more about semantic search? Then talk to one of our experts now!
Step 3 – Place Data Correctly
Once you have the right data inventory, next up is the right data set. Because information wants to be transferred comprehensively.
While it is relatively easy and catchy with cell phone cases, as these are terms that are used every day, it is not quite so self-explanatory in other cases.
Take the term “MDF”, for example. The abbreviation MDF stands for the German term “Mitteldichte Faserplatte” or “Mitteldichte Holzfaserplatte”. Or in English, Medium Density Fiberboard. But who knows something like that? Most likely, only experts will know it is a specific material.
Everyone else who isn’t as knowledgeable in the field will first have to leave the page in order to find out about the material MDF.
It is highly probabale that users will find a different online shop that explains the material MDF in more detail during their search.
Don’t worry, the text robot is here to help
Thanks to the text robot, technical can be enriched by adding explanations that will either be played out with the term or instead of it (whichever you prefer) and always appear in the desired place for each product. That is exactly what the text robot specializes in: Creating clear, simple, and comprehensive texts. This way, you will always have texts in your online shop that are easy to understand and clear, so your customers are informed thoroughly and effectively.
Step 4 - Is data optimization worthwhile?
Data optimization – Is it useful for your business? What can you gain from it? What will data optimization cost now and in the forseeable future? It is best to calculate when your ROI will be reached and always keep an eye on your competition. Have your competitors already optimized their data?
One thing is clear: Data optimization can become expensive quickly. But if you can foresee that your ROI will begin half a year after your data optimization already, the whole thing does prove to be worthwhile! It is always better to focus on a medium long to long timespan.
Consider also that data might already be optimized. If not, you should definitely think about where to have them pimped quickly and cheaply. Moreover, remember you can optimize your data yourself, i.e., entirely without outsourcing.
Why optimize your data anyway?
Data optimizationis a quick and easy way to enhance your online shop that will open many new doors.
Once your data is optimized and enhanced (meaning in a structured format), valuable, high-quality, unique and error-free content can be generated from it.
Further down below, we will tell you more about the topic of structured data. It should be noted that the semantic search engine we already talked about prefers this kind of content in order to show targeted results.
Step 5 - Cleaned data
Data optimization is simply an improvement of already existent data.
How it happens? Well, data can be improved (or corrected) in various ways. For example, the separation of data fields can be optimized.
Here is an example with two different data fields, namely [Material] and [Material_adjektiv]. These are two so-called attributes, the separation of which serves to play out the same attributes very precisely later in the text.
In order to achieve that, a consistent regularity is required, which is not the case with the value [metal, painted]. If the following sentence is played out:
The product is made from [Material] and is…
there is a break with the value [metal, painted], because if you were to use it, the sentence would sound unnatural and wrong, e.g. like this:
The product is made from metal, painted and is…
This is why we need to intervene here. A separation must take place. The second data field [Material_adjektiv] enables new linguistic-semantic combinations.
The aim of successful data management is to guarantee online store operators optimal use of data at all levels and in all fields of activity. Consistently structured digital data preparation, which is of fundamental importance especially – but not only – for the automatic generation of texts, also includes uniform data optimization and its display in the right place and at the right time.
In this article, we have made it clear that data management is an important component of success for every company. With the right strategy, data can be managed and used effectively, but only a good understanding of data and how it appears in a structured form makes it possible to take advantage of its full potential. In our next article, we will therefore go into detail about structured data so that you can get a feel for whether your data meets your company’s requirements and whether it may need to be optimized.