The eCommerce Content Team’s Guide to Product Data Cleansing & Enrichment

Here are a few interesting facts that paint a complete picture of the importance of good product descriptions:

  • 70% of all customers start their shopping journey by doing online research.
  • 20% of unsuccessful purchases are due to a lack of product information.
  • 30% of company data becomes outdated each year, which can again become an issue since customers start their shopping journey online by researching the product.

Safe to say: An eCommerce transaction (in a way) starts and ends with excellent product data, which is why it’s important to ensure your eCommerce product data is always cleaned, refined, and enriched.

On that note, if you’re already on this gravy train with us and want to begin enriching your product descriptions, then Describely will be able to help you out: Sign up for free here!

What is the difference between data enrichment and data cleansing?

Just to ensure we’re all on the same page, here’s our explanation on the difference between data enrichment and data cleansing:

Data cleansing basically means getting rid of all errors or inconsistencies in your product or customer data. For example, if you have duplicate product copies, un-updated product listings, or missing information, data cleansing ensures your product is up-to-date.

In the same vein, if you want to update your product listings but don’t know what key information to add, you can rely on data enrichment to find new info that you can enrich your product listings with.

Just for reference, here’s how you can enrich product details in Describely:

Why it matters? Importance of eCommerce data cleansing and enrichment

Here’s the thing: Incomplete or incorrect product information can lead to increased operational costs and resource requirements for businesses.

Just for a thought experiment, put yourself into the customer’s shoes: Imagine you want to shop for some home furniture, so you go onto the second or the third site that the search engine shows you.

You click on a closet that you’re interested in buying, but there’s no information about the product material, warranty, or size dimensions. You also don’t know if they offer shipping services, what the customer reviews look like, or who the manufacturer is.

However, they do include a bunch of jargon about product manufacturing, a lot of superlative words and non-descriptive adjectives, and unrelated product history.

Do you:

  1. Buy the product?
  2. Not buy the product?

If your answer is B, there’s proof right there that you don’t need product information to sell your products; you need the right product information.

So, even though data cleansing and data enriching may feel like unwarranted tasks (especially if you see decent eCommerce sales), the ROI they bring in is well worth it. Once you begin investing in data cleansing and enriching, you might also:

  • Mitigate unsuccessful purchases. Incomplete purchases that were previously stopped due to missing pricing, warranty, or specifications, can now be completed with product data on hand.
  • Improve internal and external communication. With consistent data across the board, it becomes easier for customer-facing teams to interact with customers (e.g., marketing and sales teams would be able to create campaigns and sales scripts, respectively).
  • Increase product visibility and conversions. Once you clean the clutter in your product descriptions and add useful keywords, your products not only become more findable by the search engines, but you, too, can easily look them up with the help of keywords, tags, or product attributes.
  • Grow sales and conversions. Due to improved experiences and customers having critical product information on hand, they’ll be able to move on to the next steps in their buying journey and make a purchase.
  • Create better compliance regulations. Once you have a standardized process and eliminate all errors and outdated information from your customer and product database, you can begin keeping accurate records.
  • Increase trust amongst customers. Better product data also translates to increased company trust and longer-lasting goodwill. I.e., your customers don’t feel duped when they buy products from you.

Not to mention, better product descriptions will also result in happier customers. Case in point:

Customers happy with product descriptions

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Overview of the current state of product data quality in eCommerce

We previously discussed that 20% of all unsuccessful purchases are due to unhelpful product descriptions, and 30% of all company data becomes outdated after a year — however, these are not the only studies that show just how bad the current state of product data in eCommerce is.

In fact, other studies too, such as by Salsify, report that 31% of customers list incomplete product information as the biggest reason why they haven’t made a purchase.

Salsify report on product descriptions

In fact, in recent years, customers have become more and more upset with underwhelming product descriptions, and have been taking onto social media to voice their frustrations about inaccurate or incomplete product descriptions.

Tweet on inaccurate product descriptions #1

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Tweet on inaccurate product descriptions #2

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Tweet on inaccurate product descriptions #3

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Techniques for eCommerce data cleansing and enrichment

Now that we’re done with understanding the what and the whys, let’s get to the meatier bits and learn about some techniques we can implement for data cleansing and enriching.

1. Enrich products with missing attributes

If your products are not easily findable on the internet, if your supplier has provided you with sparse product information, or if you don’t know which keywords to integrate your product descriptions with, there’s only one solution: Enrich the product with missing attributes.

How to undertake this task?

If you use a solution like Describely, you’ll be able to enrich the products in your catalog by providing the tool with your product title, SKU, or keyword. Additionally, it’s also recommended to provide a link to the supplier’s website so it can pull product details from there as well as the web.

Just for reference, here’s what enriched data looks like on our platform:

Example of enriched content on Describely

You can also go one step further and ask Describely to create product descriptions based on this enriched data, and it’ll include all the details in the “enriched content” section.

The alternative to an AI tool like Describely is to hire a data enrichment agency or to do it yourself; however, the former will cost you anywhere between $35-$75/hour, and the latter will result in $15/hourly spending, even if you pay yourself a minimum wage.

Instead, our recommendation would be to try the 7-day free trial of Describley and then opt for its paid plan (beginning at only $9/month)!

2. Remove duplicated content

Another way to ensure your product data is up to your standards is to remove any type of duplicated content, such as duplicated SKUs, images, or even so much as entire product descriptions.

We say this because duplicated content could tank SERP rankings because search engines want to prioritize unique content. You might also run into the risk of splitting page authority and link equity, as well as impacting user experience (it’s always confusing to find two pages with the same information).

One way to get around this is to audit your site or content management systems (CMS) to ensure there’s no duplicated content, either in part or in full.

Experts suggest comparing product attributes, long-tail keywords, titles, and SKUs to ensure there’s no repetition in content.

Side Note: It’s possible to rank for the same keywords multiple times on a search engine, but your content formats most likely would need to be different (e.g., video vs. blog) or they’d need to fulfill different search intents (i.e., although keywords can be the same, the content has to be unique).

3. Monitor inaccurate product information

As we mentioned, regular content audits will help you monitor inaccurate product information. You can also create a feedback loop system with your most loyal customers wherein they share what missing product attributes they’d like to see or inaccurate details they’d like changed.

Alternatively, you can also monitor product reviews and find the overarching patterns amongst customer reviews, and keep an eye out for the features customers have called out for inaccurate information (e.g., your sizing dimensions could be wrong).

You can also create a data assurance team (or hire an agency for eCommerce product data cleansing services) that reviews product descriptions before they’re published. This team can also regularly monitor data sources as well as customer reviews on product descriptions.

4. Maintain data standardization

Data standardization translates to having brand rules when writing eCommerce product data —- that’s to say, these brand rules will keep formatting, structure, language, tone, accuracy, and everything else in mind before creating or editing product descriptions for your brand.

This will help both, search engines and customers, navigate your site better.

You can easily hire writers and editors to undertake this task for you, or you can implement the use of Describely’s AI Rules (this feature considers your unique brand guidelines before creating and editing product descriptions).

Custom AI Rule Set on Describely

How can Describely help you with data enrichment

Describely, as a tool, is designed for eCommerce businesses —- we can not only help you develop product descriptions from scratch, but also help you enrich these descriptions whilst keeping your preferred brand rules in mind.

In addition,our AI can even:

  • Account for restricted keywords (you can provide your own keywords or use the pre-built Amazon restricted keyword list)
  • Develop SEO content (i.e., meta titles and descriptions)
  • Add in SEO-friendly keywords (you can provide your own keywords, or our tool can do the researching bit for you)
  • Connect with your eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify (so it becomes easier to source and update content directly instead of copy-pasting)
  • Manage all your product catalogs from a centralized location

If these features sound like they’re designed to help your eCommerce store, here’s where you can sign up for Describely: Sign up for a free 7-day trial!