2021 Widen Connectivity Report Explores the Role of Product Information in Building Trust and Driving Sales Online

Annual study from Widen finds a renewed focus on product information among marketers as they work to connect with customers online in the post-COVID economy

MADISON, Wisc. – May 11, 2021 – Widen, maker of digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) software, today published the 2021 Widen Connectivity Report: Connecting the dots between marketing, information, and customer experience. Widen’s research team explored how brands have reached their audiences despite lockdowns, social distancing, and other challenges of the COVID-19 economy. The report finds that although marketers consider product information critical to establishing trust and driving sales online, they struggle to use this information to its fullest potential.

“We felt that the role of product information in building customer connections was an important topic in the midst of a pandemic that left so many of us feeling disconnected,” said Leah Ujda, Senior Director of Research and Design at Widen. “We’ve learned that most brands have a rich trove of product information that could be used to rebuild or strengthen relationships with their audiences. The question for us was how? What works according to marketers from iconic brands?”

The Widen Connectivity Report is an ongoing study about the challenges marketers and creatives face when trying to balance technology with human touch. For the 2021 Connectivity Report, Widen surveyed 155 marketers and creatives from the US and UK between August and September 2020. The respondents represented 25 industries with employers ranging from Fortune 100 brands to local nonprofits. The questions focused on the role of product information—the product data, product marketing copy, and product digital assets that brands use to describe and market their products—in connecting with audiences online.

Key findings from the 2021 Connectivity Report include the following:

1. Product data establishes trust, while product marketing assets and content drives sales

Nearly 50% of respondents said product data is the information type that has the biggest impact on customer trust. However, 72% of respondents believe that digital assets like photography and videos, along with product marketing content like item descriptions, have the biggest impact on sales. These different types of product information appear to offer a superior buying experience when they are presented together rather than in isolation.

2. Inaccurate product information is likely – and risky

Just 36% of respondents claimed to have “very high” control over the product information their brand publishes on e-commerce sites. 55% say they have “very high” control over the information presented on their own website. These low numbers present a risk given that one in five US adults have returned an item bought online because the description was inaccurate.

3. Objective product information fuels brand and marketing stories

57% of respondents said they use objective product information (e.g., ingredients, manufacturing methods, third-party certifications) to tell stories about their brands, and 71% use it to tell stories about their products. This information enables marketers to highlight sustainability, local manufacturing, and other brand values.

4. Brands striving to personalize product marketing could find the answer in product information

Brands that dominate search engine optimization (SEO) on Google as well as e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Target reach the shoppers most interested in their goods. This form of “personalization,” built on quality product information, can reach new customers whereas most personalization technologies only target existing customers or consumers aware of the brand.

5. Marketers have ideas for translating product information into compelling experiences, but they struggle to scale them

When asked how they translate product information into engaging content, respondents mentioned everything from virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D imagery to photos, graphics, and promotions. The common thread is that respondents struggle to scale these experiences without marketing technology stacks that can assemble product information and then automate, organize, and control the process of delivering these experiences.

The 2021 Widen Connectivity Report is available at go.widen.com/2021-connectivity-report.


About Widen

Widen helps brands deliver content with confidence. Their cloud-based DAM and PIM software, the Widen Collective®, empowers marketers to bring content together, send it anywhere, and automate in-between. Trusted by more than 700 companies and one million users, Widen boasts a 73-year track record of innovation and customer success. Customers include Dyson, New Balance, Crayola, and Hootsuite.

Widen is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, USA and London, UK. For more information, visit www.widen.com.


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