Consumers want clearer, more consistent product information to facilitate omni-channel shopping

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/Gulcin Ragiboglu
Source: Getty/Gulcin Ragiboglu

Related tags: Iri, ecommerce, omnichannel, Sustainability

As more consumers adopt a “research-online-buy-offline” approach, providing accurate, consistent product information across channels and on packaging is essential for driving discovery, initial trial and repeat purchases – and yet, most manufacturers fall woefully short of shopper expectations on this front, according to insights from the product experience management firm Akeneo and consumer-research firm IRI.

A staggering 75% of the 3,500 adults globally surveyed by Akeneo between Feb. 3-10, 2021, are not fully satisfied with the quality of product information available to them, including a notable 7% who say the information generally is very bad or somewhat bad.

This shortcoming can have significant consequences for sellers, including lower conversion rates, fewer repeat customers, abandoned purchases and more, according to Akeneo’s survey​published this morning.

For example, Akeneo found, 72% of consumers would purchase another product due to bad product information and 74% would cease buying a brand due to bad product information.

In addition, four out of five consumers say they have abandoned a planned purchase because of bad product information, and more than half have returned a product due to bad product information, Akeneo found.

While 32% of consumers who have abandoned a product due to lack of information say they have bought the same product through another sales channel, where ostensibly they have access to better information, 36% have opted for a different product instead and 26% didn’t buy anything at all, the survey revealed.

As quick as consumers are to punish brands and retailers for providing insufficient or inaccurate product information, they are willing to reward those that meet or exceed their expectations. According to Akeneo, half of all consumers are ready to pay more for good product information.

Strategies to improve communication

One of the best ways to meet consumers’ information expectations is to start with claims, storytelling and key information shared on product packaging because this is foundational for how goods are portrayed not just in store, but online through retailer websites and search engines, says IRI executive vice president and practice leader of climate insights Sally Lyons Wyatt.

“Product labels are influencers,”​ she told attendees not once – but twice – late last week during a webinar ​on the state of snacking in 2021 and beyond.

“Your product package is the last billboard that you have online. It is the biggest billboard you have and you need to make sure that if you’re a retailer that your images can be turned around and you can see all sides. If you’re a manufacturer, work with that retailer, make sure that they have the right images and they have the right attributes aligned with your products,”​ she explained.

Repeatedly stressing “this is so important,”​ she noted IRI data found 55 of consumers are influenced by product labels and packaging, including 61% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 61% of 35 to 44-year-olds.

Clearly communicate company values

Beyond providing accurate information about products, companies also increasingly need to communicate their values through product information and across shopping channels to let consumers know where they stand, drive sales and potentially take higher price, suggests Akeneo’s survey results.

“The presence of brand values in product information would encourage more than one in two consumers to pay a higher price for a product that includes them,”​ Akeneo found, noting 10% of survey respondents would pay up to 50% more for products from a company that shared its values, while 82% would pay a premium of 30% or less.

At the top of the list of brand values that consumers told Akeneo they wanted to see on product information were certificates and quality labels (62%), followed by brand and product history (50%), respect for the environment and sustainability (49%) and product origin (46%).

When it comes to certificates and quality labels, Lyons Wyatt noted sustainably-minded ones are increasingly important to shoppers looking for snacks. For example, she said, 44% of consumers say they want reduced packaging to be more environmentally friendly – up 6 points from 2018, and 38% say they want snacks in biodegradable packaging – up 7 points from 2018.

To find products that meet these standards, consumers are relying on products with sustainable certifications, including recyclable (11%), sustainably certified (12%), post-consumer recycled material (7%) and Rainforest Alliance Certified (5%).

Beyond sustainability, IRI found 11% of consumers look for ethical certifications, 20% for Fair Trade, 26% for Cage Free, 25% for B Corporation and 104% for humane, Lyons Wyatt said.

Finally, with regards to product origin, IRI found domestic snacks are driving double digit interest with those bearing a “Made in the USA” label growing 10%.

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