As the online shopping onboarding process gets close to launch, a somewhat surprising task falls on the shoulders of the retailer: gathering missing images for items that don’t already have a picture in the ecommerce provider’s system.
The ecommerce provider will have national CPG images, product descriptions and nutritional information imported from a number of international databases. The provider will also comb through your store’s data to match available images to items that don’t have an image because of how the items are labeled or abbreviated in your backend system.
Once that’s complete, a store will most likely be in the 80% image match range. (Most stores launch with an 80-90% match rate. It’ll never be 100%.) The retailer is given a missing image report and it’s usually overwhelming at first glance. It will probably have thousands of items listed, but you don’t need to get pictures for all of them. Many of the items in the list are things you no longer carry or rarely ever sell. You don’t need to worry about those. What’s the likelihood you’re going to sell white tube socks on your grocery website? You can get rid of any items you won’t be able to sell online such as greeting cards, cigarettes, magazines, and limit what kind of floral items you’ll offer online, if any. If you want to include Blackhawk gift cards, AWG has those images available for you.
After that cleanse, the focus needs to be on getting pictures of local specialty items and any of your top sellers that are missing images for one reason or another. If you have your own store-branded items, specialty prepared salads in the deli, or carry local beef jerky made down the street, you’ll have to take those pictures on your own and load them into the system.
Each provider will teach you the best practices for taking pictures of local items that aren’t in the database. They’ll also teach you how to attach an existing image from their database to an item that doesn’t have an image due to an incorrect label or abbreviation. You can also work with DSDs to get missing images and product information. This is a good opportunity for the store picker or program manager to get familiar with the backend of the online shopping system so you don’t have to go at it alone.
The three big takeaways from all this:
- Don’t stress when you first see the missing image report. It’s never as bad as it looks.
- Tackle missing images in chunks, focusing on your top sellers.
- Divide and conquer!