3 Ways Custom Product Data Views Help Retailers Stand Out
Retailers have been quick to react to consumers’ increasing demand for product data transparency and have been somewhat successful in providing more product information. This is most evident in the shelf tag health-and-wellness programs we’ve seen in stores for the past several years (think: those small tags on store shelves that call out claims like organic, gluten free or heart healthy). While these initiatives have been limited to a set number of health attributes, they have provided retailers with a first glimpse into the challenges and opportunities surrounding product data transparency.
Now, it is generally accepted that going from a limited set of health-and-wellness attributes maintained for a shelf tag program to addressing full product data transparency is a significant leap of capability. But retailers that take this leap will be able to leverage product data in nearly infinite ways. They can slice and dice it to learn why certain products are performing well, or use it to optimize search functionality on e-commerce sites.
We know this because we’ve been helping retailers of all sizes do just this for more than five years. What we’ve learned is that the more “custom views” of product data that we can provide retailers, the more fuel we add to their innovation fires. Generally, these custom data views are powered by custom attributes like ingredient avoidance attributes, retailer specific health attributes and dietitians pick attributes, but they also can extend to custom categorization of inventory, or even custom taxonomy work. Whatever form the customization takes, enabling retailers to spin up custom data views quickly and at scale is a leading enabler of innovation.
At Label Insight, we use our SmartSPEC solution to provide retailers with these custom data views. Our technology enables the instant transformation of product data against custom views -- or, as we call them, SmartSPECs -- to enable retailers to uncover insights, optimize and innovate.
Here are some of our most popular custom SmartSPECs and the benefits they create for retailers.
Health and Wellness SmartSPEC
Many retailers seek to improve their health-and-wellness (H&W) initiatives and create better shopping experiences for people seeking specific foods like gluten free or heart healthy. They can do this by creating a custom health-and-wellness data view, or SmartSPEC. Typically, these SmartSPECs focus on a specific set of H&W attributes, and sometimes social and sustainability attributes, that will be rolled out across the shopper experience with the aim of simplifying a cacophony of possible messages into easier-to-digest information points.
Once a retailer’s H&W SmartSPEC is established, this custom data view can be distributed across the in-store, mobile and digital shopping experience, as well shared internally so stakeholders understand how shoppers see the data. Here are some sample use cases:
- Offer health-conscious consumers an easy way to identify products that meet their lifestyles
- Create a more connected omni-channel experience providing consistent H&W info across all channels - in-store, mobile, online.
- Analyze inventory to identify which products meet specific H&W standards
- Empower internal H&W experts to provide a better customer experience - at their fingertips
- Easily meet retailers’ custom H&W definitions, such as lists of unacceptable ingredients or dietitians’ pick specifications
Category Management SmartSPEC
In contrast to H&W SmartSPECs, category management SmartSPECs are detailed custom product data views of a specific category. These views give retailers a granular understanding of the specific attributes that are relevant to a given category (e.g., low sodium in the frozen foods category). With this intel, retailers can make data-driven decisions that optimize product mix, help align price, promotion and assortment with customer needs, and maximize category growth potential. Here’s a quick look at what retailers can do with this data.
- Better understand the performance of their SKUs and determine the common thread around high or underperforming products
- Identify which factors are driving sales in order make smarter decisions around share of shelf
- Make better blocking decisions, with the ability to easily lay out shelving based on product attributes, such as all paleo, all natural and organic
- Create category-specific attributes, such as calcium rich in the dairy category, or trans fat in the bakery and confectionery categories, to give a unique view into their inventory
- Analyzer inventory to bring in products that meet specific criteria
Both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retailers can use custom product data views to inform their digital strategies and increase site engagement. This is largely achieved through search. I’ve frequently blogged about how a lot of product information doesn’t make its way to consumers because it isn’t listed on the packaging. This isn’t a limiting factor online, in fact, it’s a big opportunity. Using an ecommerce or digital SmartSPEC can help retailers organize granular product data -- both on- and off-package -- in a searchable manner. So now when a shopper searches online for paleo desserts or high-fiber snacks, all products with these attributes are discoverable. The result is more traffic and engagement.
But an e-commerce SmartSPEC goes beyond improving online search functionality. Here are other use cases retailers are taking advantage of:
- Create a custom recommendation engine that helps online shoppers find more products with similar ingredient, nutritive and marketing attributes
- Alleviate digital “out of stock” search results by showcasing all products within a specific product attribute set, such as gluten-free cereals, high-fiber snack foods or preservative-free frozen foods
This is just a quick look at how custom product data views are giving retailers a leg up on their competitors, and creating better experiences for their customers. If you want to learn more about how a custom Label Insight SmartSPEC could help your business get ahead, let us know.
About Anton Xavier
Anton Xavier is a Co-Founder of Label Insight. With experience in management, operations and marketing, Anton has led the Label Insight team from its inception in Australia and subsequent move to the US, to its current position as a market leading, cloud-based product data engine. Completing postgraduate degrees in Australia, Anton gained invaluable management and marketing experience working with a variety of firms in Asia.