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Two seasons in and the cracks are starting to show

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Everything is different – gone are the big sales launches, the trade shows, face to face meetings and showroom visits. For now, the vast majority of B2B sales are taking place remotely. Brands have been challenged to find ways in which they can guide their customers through a new season’s ranges digitally and deliver compelling, relevant, and tailored offers to their buyers.

Stripping away the familiar go-to-market approaches meant looking for alternatives – fast.  Unlike before, when product ranges were presented in the same way season after season, there were no shortcuts – no artwork files for print catalogues that could be overwritten, or trade show set up that can be replicated. Instead, brands had to start afresh and consider the best way forward.

In doing so, a spotlight was shone on the cracks in the digital workflow. Decision-making around product ranges needs to be swift to reflect trading conditions, supply chain activity and a brand’s evolving strategic direction.  Sharing those decisions effectively across the business presents its own challenges.

Remote working highlighted the importance of merchandisers have easy access to seasonal products to plan assortments; category managers collaborating with marketers to capture key product features; sales managers getting their hands on the latest product images to build customer presentations; shipping of samples, getting hold of information about EAN codes or regional product selections and price lists in multiple currencies all became a whole lot tougher.

“If the information you are presenting is poor, the means of delivery becomes irrelevant.”

The solutions are out there for presenting product ranges online:  B2B websites, e-comm platforms, digital sales apps, flip-book catalogues, online marketplaces – even PDF and PowerPoint delivered over Zoom. But here’s the rub – the success of the chosen solution depends entirely on the quality of the product information it contains. If the information you are presenting is poor, the means of delivery becomes irrelevant.  This realisation has switched the focus from outward presentation of the offer to the importance of getting the foundations right first.

Making accurate product content easily accessible wherever it is needed is at the heart of all we do. aHub, our product information management platform, is built to simplify the whole process. Starting with basic product data held online in a well-structured, flexible format, each team makes their contribution, collaborating to enrich the information as they go.  No over-writes, no missing data, no wasted time hunting down product images. Just clean, well-presented product content ready to feed your chosen sales channels with the right information at the right time.

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