Is managing product documentation in your store starting to feel like that nightmare from which you just can’t wake up?
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Yes, you try to make it work. You keep detailed notes about what manual or product leaflet you’ve uploaded to the CMS. You use clever (but unfortunately very user unfriendly) filenames to know which is the most up-to-date version of the file. You manually track the data for every asset.
But it’s all in vain anyway. Sooner or later, you lose control of it again.
- Mistakes begin to happen.
- You can no longer keep track of which file version is currently online.
- Not to mention that you have absolutely no idea whether people even download your documents.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – Your problem isn’t as complex as it may seem right now. Sure, the manual process isn’t working out for you, but it never could. Nor does any of it mean that it always has to be that way.
However, to change it, you need to shift how you manage product documentation on your website.
Below, you will learn all about it.
The Growing Challenge of Manually Managing Product Documentation
FACT – You have to provide technical documents around your products on your site.
You have no choice. Your customers and resellers must be able to download product leaflets, instruction manuals, and other product documentation as they need it.
Doing so is never a problem when you do it for a handful of products.
You upload them to relevant product pages, and that’s pretty much it. Since you have only a handful of products, even if documents change and you need to replace them, you can do it in a jiffy.
But try to manually manage product documentation for hundreds of products in different languages, and things are bound to get incredibly and frustratingly complex, and do so fast.
Not to mention that, at such a scale, the whole process often feels like trying to juggle a dozen balls at once.
It just doesn’t work. Not manually, at least.
You have hundreds of download links to maintain. It doesn’t matter how much you try to manage them manually, sooner or later, you always fail to update your spreadsheet and things get out of hand.
You lack any means to do version control. Eventually, you can no longer tell which versions of files are currently available to download. Nor can you tell with absolute certainty that they are all the latest versions.
As a result, sooner or later you begin to include outdated product documentation for customers and resellers to download.
You have no way to structure your ever-expanding library of product documentation. A set of folders scattered across shared drives just simply doesn’t cut it.
You try to patch it all by using complex but very user-unfriendly file names. Unfortunately, “Product-Leaflet_MyProduct_ID20333_04-08-2023-Web_EN_US” is not a name you’d like customers and resellers to see. Nor does it tell them what the file really is.
You have no means to analyse document usage. You can’t tell whether people download your documents, and how many times each file has been accessed.
Finally, you can’t restrict access to your folders and documents. Anyone within your organisation could access them, change those files, or move them elsewhere and you’d be none the wiser about it.
In short, when done manually, managing product documentation looks a lot like this.
But it could look more like this.
Unfortunately, until you organise and structure the process, it will have a negative impact on your brand beyond just providing poor user experience on the website.
For one, it affects customer experience too
And it does so in several ways:
- When you provide outdated product information you basically mislead customers into making the wrong purchase decisions, which, in turn, could lead to frustration and disappointment.
- The situation gets even worse when you’re providing information to resellers. In this case, the misinformation affects their businesses also, and that can lead to serious issues in your business relationship.
- Your brand can get damaged too. Customers may begin to perceive your company as untrustworthy and unprofessional.
- Outdated information may force customers to spend time and resources returning or exchanging products, leading to additional costs for both the customer and the company.
- They might also spend time trying to work those issues out with your support. (This also means that your support will be receiving unnecessary requests that will block them from resolving more serious issues to customers.)
- Not to mention that they might refrain from buying from you, resulting in lost sales.
Issues with product documentation might also affect customer loyalty
Receiving wrong or outdated information might result in a decrease in customer trust. Sure, it might seem like a too severe reaction but such documentation might have misled them, after all. It’s only expected that some customers might feel cheated and less likely to purchase your products in the future.
What’s more, such customers might start generating a negative word-of-mouth about your company or post negative reviews about you online.
If you consider that 91% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, such potential impact of wrong product documentation on your business becomes even more significant.
Finally, we can’t overlook the competition…
It’s fair to say that faced with two choices, one with potentially challenging, misleading, or outdated information and the other with better-managed one, customers might be more likely to choose the latter.
To customers, seeing a well managed product documentation suggests:
- They’ll receive up to date and relevant information about the product they’re considering.
- In case of issues, they’ll be able to access solutions and manuals fast, and it’s going to deliver the information they need.
- They won’t have to invest time and effort, not to mention ending up frustrated, to solve their issues.
Even those three reasons would be enough to choose a competitor.
How you can overcome those issues (and more)
You already know what the problem is – Manually managing product documentation just doesn’t work.
You know the consequences of the problem too – They range from poor UX, negative customer experience, to losing sales to competition.
But what’s the solution?
It’s technology that can completely transform how you manage product assets.
With the right tool, you can replace manual processes with automation that will allow all stakeholders to easily access, search for, select, and download the content you curated for them.
Such tools (note – we will show you how it all works in practice in just a moment) will help you organise anything to do with selling your product – presentations, documentation, legal notices, images, video, and more. It’ll all be in one place, from where you can distribute it to whomever needs the access.
Before we show you how it works in practice, let’s compare your process now, and how it could look like when managed properly with relevant tools.
Hundreds of URLs to manage
One URL to use on all pages
Manual version control through user-unfriendly file names
Ability to use metadata to describe each asset
Manual upload of all assets to the CMS
A single portal to store all assets and easy customization of download area
No data to analyse asset performance
Complete analytics to see how people are using your docs
No access control
The ability to define rights and permissions and additional access to logged-in users
So, what could allow you to do all this and more?
Introducing Portals - The Complete Solution to Managing Product Information and Documentation
CELUM’s Portals allow you to easily manage and showcase your product documentation to specific users or target groups. Whether you need to provide product manuals or documentation to customers, product images and marketing collateral to resellers, vendors, or partners, Portals has you covered.
With Portals, you can:
- Create product portals to feature all assets relating to selling your products.
- Set up retail portals to help resellers and retailers find the product content they need to sell it for you.
- Create media portals to empower the media to find the information they need to cover your brand.
- Embed your portals or components of it in your website
Here’s how it works in practice
Once you’ve created a Portal, you can upload digital assets to it directly from your content hub. And this happens in an instant. All you need to do is specify filters to describe what content to include in the portal.
You can then decide to make the Portal public or protect access to it by inviting others to join.
Once you are done setting it up, you just need to publish it and you’re done. You can give customers or resellers access to the Portal but you can also easily embed portals into your website so they could access it from there.
Other ways Portals help you manage product documentation better
Customise Portals to match your brand. Never have your target groups wondering if they’re in the right place. Change the background, add your logo, welcome text, and style the overall presentation to resemble your brand and website.
Organise your assets with categories to help the audience quickly find what they’re looking for. Thanks to categories and filters, your target groups will never see a blank search result. Ever.
Let the audience specify formats and sizes they need. Once again, this will only make accessing relevant files faster for them, and boost their experience and satisfaction.
Access usage analytics and content performance insights. See who’s visited your portals, what assets get downloaded the most, how customers search for items, and more.
Incredible, isn’t it?
And yet, that’s still not all…
Learn more about using CELUM Portals for embedding documents in websites and shops.