Hook, line and sinker. Are your e-commerce marketing efforts capturing the attention of consumers and enticing them to shop your digital shelf? It might be for the wrong reasons.
Your product may have strong search engine optimization (SEO) or rank well on heavily researched platforms like Amazon. Your engagement rates could be off the charts. You may see strong sales for a while until eventually the bad reviews and returns begin to flood in.
In fact, it may be the product content itself that you thought was so appealing to consumers. If it’s not consistent across your channels, displays outdated images or data, or is just plain wrong, you could be product fishing.
Learn more about this unfortunate phenomenon and how to fix it before it ruins your sales and your reputation.
What is product fishing?
Similar to various types of human catfishing, product phishing is when a product page, whether intentionally or unintentionally, offers inaccurate information and content that can mislead its audience. Inaccurate content types can include a variety of product features, as well as images, videos or other assets that do not represent the true nature of the product.
Deceiving customers is probably no one’s problem, especially when it comes to mistakes like misreporting ingredients, allergens, or other errors that can lead to costly recalls.
There are ways to protect consumers from these pitfalls and hold corporations accountable, but of course you would never want these laws to apply to your brand.
Agreed United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), online consumer protection legislation exists in 115 of the 142 countries for which data are available. This share varies from 78% in Europe to 52% in Africa and 71% in the Americas. Check out the list below to alleviate some of your potential product concerns.
What product is Catfishing not?
The following are actually considered best practices when it comes to creating compelling product experiences.
Therefore, product fishing is not:
- Showcase your product in the best light with high-quality content, images and videos.
- Present your products out of the box or in unique ways with other creative assets.
- Using questions and answers or tutorials that reveal different (real-world) uses or applications of your product; or
- Using user-generated content (UGC) or reviews to show how real customers interact with your product.
In other words, if you’re selling a Camry-caliber stroller (and there’s nothing wrong with that), the right visuals and copy can make consumers feel like they’re getting a Carrera. What you can’t do, however, is sell the Carrera and roll it to the customer’s door as a baby stroller.
How Product Fishing Can Hurt Your Ecommerce Marketing Efforts
No matter how provocative your eCommerce marketing strategy is, product phishing can kill it quickly. There can be various reasons why buyers don’t buy your products, but the main reason is most likely inconsistent or inaccurate product content, which is the basis of product fishing. This can lead to other issues beyond lost sales that can cause an avalanche and cause a persistent performance lag;
Not enough customers
If customers learn not to trust your product information, they are likely to abandon your brand eventually.
After all, the top page feature is helps consumers decide what to buy In the US (72%), UK (68%), France (67%), Australia (65%) and Germany (62%), the product description according to Salsify is “2023 Buyer Survey,” in a survey of more than 6,000 global consumers.
A close second to product description is customer reviews, as reported by 72% of respondents in the US, 65% in the UK, 57% in Germany, 51% in France and 62% in Australia.
This doesn’t mean that a few negative reviews (for legitimate questions of taste, etc.) will weigh your brand down. Maintaining transparency is incredibly important to today’s consumers, and the lack of negative reviews is a red flag.
As noted Search Engine Journal (SEJ)2021 PowerReviews survey found that 96% of consumers are looking for negative reviews rather than completely ignoring your brand. Instead, negative reviews help consumers understand your potential weaknesses and how you address them. After all, what is a weakness for one consumer may not matter to another.
A possible (and costly) consequence of product fishing is a product recall. Although sometimes a necessary measure to ensure consumer safety, they can seriously undermine positive eCommerce marketing efforts.
“Between lost sales, replacement costs, government sanctions and lawsuits, a significant recall could turn into a multi-billion dollar ordeal.” Investopedia — and this is characteristic of large corporations. And unfortunately, smaller companies may not be able to recover from recalls due to low cash flow or brand recognition.
However, recovery is not impossible, nor is maintaining a good reputation if the matter is resolved quickly and transparently.
High return rates
In addition to having your product forcibly removed from the market, product fishing and inconsistent product content can also lead to frequent rejections and high return rates.
Revenues have increased dramatically both in frequency and per price in the US Internal intelligence. Europe’s “happiest to return” countries are Germany and the UK, according to Supply Chain and Logistics Point, Logistics Finger:.
According to Salsify’s 2023 consumer survey.
- More than half of consumers (54%) have returned a product due to the wrong size, clothing fit or product dimensions; and:
- 39% of consumers returned a product because the product did not match the images presented.
Consumers’ inclination toward online shopping isn’t stopping anytime soon, which makes it even more imperative that your product content be comprehensive and leave as little to the imagination as possible.
Use a central source of truth to consistently display your product assets
Any inconsistencies or inconsistencies in the content of your products are likely (primarily) due to the information stored on your systems. Or, the correct or updated information may not be reaching its destination.
Ask yourself if your systems are congested and out of proportion. Or are you just unable to keep up with updates on your endpoints and retailers?
Countless spreadsheets and one-off folders championed by different teams are not what a commodity fishing reputation is for creating a consistent or winning presence on digital shelves and putting you on the fast track.
Likewise, a lack of clarity about your retailers’ requirements, or a lack of time for your teams to oversee updates to your own direct-to-consumer (DTC) site, can also lead to the same demise.
The solution lies in efficiency product experience management (PXM) and creating a central source of truth for your product content.
Achieve alignment and deep understanding between your teams
Having one central source of truth and a repository for all your product content, images, images will help your teams achieve alignment and a deep understanding of what your brand is and isn’t.
Finding a solution that enhances cross-functional collaboration and limits confusion about the actual “final version” of content will save your teams significant time and effort, from legal to marketing.
Better yet, finding ways to automate your content updates and related processes will allow your teams to focus on critical improvements or leave room for seasonal creativity.
See your best in every channel and retailer
Not so ugly truth. Consumers want to see your products in their most natural, authentic light, as if they were holding them in their hands or viewing them in their own space.
This is not only achieved through consistent product content, but also through it below, enhanced content or A+ content for example, 3D images, augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) on connected channels.
It may not always be possible to appear exactly the same on every channel, and offering contextual experiences for different audiences can only work in your favor. For example, you’ll likely reach a different demographic of shoppers looking at your average model brass lamp at Lowe’s and Instagram.
Attract new prospects
The greater the degree (and volume) of truth that exists in your product content, the more you can push it out into new channels and attract new prospects.
These days, you can woo the shopper almost anywhere online, whether it’s social media or the wider retail landscape, when you scale. According to Salsify research, the top two ways shoppers discover new products are through social media and shopping apps.
E-commerce marketing and accurate product content. a perfect match
Don’t let poor content quality leave your product gathering dust on your digital shelf, or worse, earn a bad rap. What’s a provocative e-commerce marketing strategy without consistent content to promote the product? Keep it consistent and you’ll start rolling in sales and increasing customer loyalty.