By Thomas Kasemir, Chief Product Officer, Productsup
More and more companies are dipping their toes into the metaverse: JPMorgan, Forever21, and most recently, Manchester City football club. These new entrants illustrate the excitement from businesses looking for fertile ground for commerce success. With a predicted market size of $800 billion by 2024, the metaverse is slated to become the next big thing in technology. But as an abundance of companies start entering this space, the challenges of managing a viable commerce offering in the metaverse are becoming more apparent by the day.
One determinant of success in a metaverse future will be how well companies manage their product information value chains (PIVCs). PIVCs are the paths that product data takes as it moves between sellers and buyers and across channels. Product data can include anything from product sizing and descriptions, to pricing and sourcing information.
In today’s fast-paced commerce world, having complete control over product data is more important than ever. Consumers make decisions in a split second as to whether to buy a product or not, so the information they see needs to be consistent and accurate. Managing product data in the metaverse will require a holistic strategy fueled by the right technological solutions.
Metaverse presents mega-problems
The complexity of managing multidimensional product information flows across different marketing and selling channels can leave companies scratching their heads as they struggle to adapt to new commerce territory. The rise of social commerce and marketplace expansion makes managing product data almost impossible. The metaverse adds even more complexity to the equation.
Those trying to succeed in this environment with outdated approaches will fail to overcome “commerce anarchy” as companies struggle to keep up with emerging channels. Mis-management of product data creates instances where pricing is incorrect, product descriptions are incomplete, or out-of-stock items are listed as available. As a result, companies lose sales and customers’ trust.
An example of commerce anarchy at play is when Walmart had to pay fines for having inconsistent pricing information online and in-store. An inspection of one of Walmart’s stores found 33 overcharges out of a 200-product lot – an 11% pricing error rate. As a result of this pricing mishap, shoppers were misled and mischarged, causing significant damage to brand reputation and loyalty. These instances of inaccurate product data can also have a huge financial impact. In fact, companies can lose a staggering 6-10% in revenue and between 3-7% in profit due to misleading product information.
Brands can’t expect to dominate commerce in the virtual world if they fail to properly manage their product data in the physical or digital world.
Succeeding in the current commerce landscape
The main reason companies are struggling to keep up with the current commerce ecosystem is that the technology organisations have been using to control their PIVCs is becoming outdated. For brands to engage in the metaverse, they need a radical rethink.
The key to success is to craft a strategy that reliably ensures that robust product data – such as the who, what, where, when, and why of a product – will always be presented accurately and in a timely manner across all customer touchpoints.
Identified by Constellation Research, product-to-consumer (P2C) management does just that.
P2C management provides an entirely new approach to effectively managing PIVCs. There are several software platforms that can help facilitate this new strategy, but businesses need to ensure the solution is manageable and scalable to aid brand growth, build market share, and maintain customer loyalty. A strong P2C strategy can enable businesses to update data in real-time that is personalised for specific channels.
P2C, the key to a successful metaverse future
P2C management will provide a single and consistent way to carry out functional operations of product marketing and sales across hundreds of virtual consumer touchpoints. More importantly, it will effectively optimise and maximise the commerce outcomes in all of these different combinations.
The most successful brands in the metaverse will come armed with the technology to succeed, exporting consistent offerings via any channel, anywhere, while creating unique customer experiences within every journey. Only then can they take advantage of the metaverse’s immense potential.