What comes to your mind when I say “Product Awareness”? Today, that term largely refers to being aware about a particular product. While that may still be, the connotation of the idea is getting completely redefined. There is much speculation going on about how shopping and commerce as we know is going through a paradigm shift. So what is Product Awareness and how does it play into these changes?
Let’s compare it to something that is seamlessly woven into the fabric of our lives today – location awareness. By definition, location awareness refers to the ability of a device to determine its location, based on GPS coordinates transmitted via satellites or other factors. Consider the most ubiquitous device in all our lives – the smartphone. The device shares location data with what are known as location-aware apps and websites, which in turn serve us relevant information. So when you’re shopping downtown and get a hankering for a banh mi, you pull up Yelp! and based on your location, Yelp! guides you to the nearest Vietnamese restaurant.
How does this idea apply when we talk about Product Awareness? What does it mean for an app or website to be Product-Aware? Simply put, it means that just like location data, apps and websites will have access to comprehensive product information in real time that will then be used to serve up relevant offers to the end user. When conflated with location data and other data like a user’s shopping history or browsing history, it will serve up increasingly relevant and personalized experiences.
For instance, if you checked out a particular pair of jeans on the Macy’s and then a few days later, you are walking by a store, your shopping app will remind you that the particular pair of jeans is available at the store in your size if you want to try it on. The app can do this because it has comprehensive information about the product in terms of availability, price, etc. This is just one of the many applications of Product Awareness in a retail scenarios. In future posts, we will illustrate more examples of Product Awareness and its power to get the right product to the right person. Image recognition apps – apps that let you snap a picture of a product and then find it or similar products online – are also great examples of Product-Aware apps.
Where does location data come from? There is a lot of it out there but somebody needs to structure it so that innovative businesses can build useful applications on top of it. A company like Factual structures tons and tons of location data to help mobile apps perform better and provide a comprehensive experience to the end user. In much the same way, businesses building experiences relying on product data need a source of structured data that they can tap into in real time. What does structured product data mean and what does it entail? Watch this space for more on that. In the meanwhile, what kind of Product-Aware scenarios would you like to see enabled?