The Completed Product

What defines a completed product for any business?

Images?

Text?

Dimensions?

Features?

Cross References?

Too often we make every attribute optional to save time.  We turn off the completeness checkers and let the data become what it will.

We want to save $5 in labour or 5 minutes in build time but are we saving now only to lose later?

Are we really doing the right thing for the final customer?  Are we even thinking about the end user and how they will look at the product?

It doesn’t matter if the final customer is someone reading about a product on a website or a person in the shipping department looking for dimensions, in the end you need to ask if you are giving them what they need.

Too often we have great intentions about the content that we are going to put out to market and we fail on everything when we begin the product build.

Building content is hard work.  Every field made mandatory is another few seconds of data entry that has to be completed before it is allowed to move forward.

There is always pressure to get the product ready for market and the demand to get it out as fast as possible is very real.

The ramifications are hard to quantify.  Maybe there are lost sales, wasted labour or splintered data because it was too much work to build it the right way.

In the end you sold one less widget because there were no alternate images or maybe you spend $8 in labour for every time a shipper has to measure the box before sending it out to the field.  You are spending for the life of that product because you wanted to save a bit of time in building it.  The loss can’t be truly quantified, but it can be justified.

When you put in a new system this is your one and only chance to really ensure the quality of your data.  As good as it sounds that the team will revisit the content once it is approved, experience has taught me that you will never revisit 98% of those items again.

As a retailer, manufacturer or business of any type you are only as good as the quality of the product with the most minimal version of its attributes completed.

Use your compliance and quality standards to build best in class content on day one and you will discover that after a few months the complaints about how hard it is will stop.  Your data stewards will build the content following what is right instead of what is easy and your customers will prove that the extra investment up front was more than worth it.

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