Automated Product Descriptions: More Conversions, lower Costs, higher Productivity – an Experience Report from Schäfer Shop

Automated Product Descriptions: Save Costs & Increase Productivity

Customer Story and interview with Schäfershop

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Schäfer Shop is an online retailer for office supplies and office equipment with over 250,000 customers in 10 countries. For several years the online store has been using AX Semantics’ software. We talked to Harry Olfert, Head of Content Management, about the successes achieved with the software and were able to gather exciting facts.

Meanwhile Schäfer Shop creates descriptions for more than 85,000 products in their e-commerce store with AX Semantics´ software.

This has shown the enormous cost savings achieved by using AX Semantics: Instead of 26€ for a manually created product description before, Schäfer Shop now has reduced costs of only 3€ per description. That is only 13% of the previous costs!

In addition to the reduced costs, many other benefits of automated content creation have been noted:

  • Higher productivity: instead of manually creating 2,000 descriptions per year, editors now create 30,000 descriptions per year – that’s 15 times more!
  • Higher shopping carts: the average value of a shopping cart has increased by 10%
  • Satisfied copywriters: editors are grateful for the work relief AX Semantics provides them with for repetitive writing tasks

Harry Olfert tells us in an interview how it all came about:

What topics do you deal with at Schäfer Shop?

As Head of Content Management I am responsible for the process from product data onboarding to refinement and output to a wide variety of channels. Of course, this also includes the strategic development of content.

Good content, i.e. writing information about a product in a unique way (unique content) and this under SEO aspects, is incredibly important. Not only for successful marketing. What other goals are you pursuing with automated product descriptions?

We know that the retail industry is constantly changing and that we have to adapt to the needs of our customers, especially when it comes to choosing our product range and products. As a result, fast response times are an absolute must.

We asked ourselves how we can manage to significantly reduce the “time to market” for a product and at the same time improve the quality of our product data so that the customer enjoys ordering from Schäfer Shop.

We place high demands on our texts, so that it can take up to an hour to write a new text. Too long to meet our demands. Thus, the original goal was to drastically increase the speed by means of automated product descriptions.

Furthermore, we pursue the goal of using the competence of our copywriters in the content team for the content work on our descriptions. Automation frees people from constant, monotonous tasks: writing the same texts over and over again. This frees up the copywriter to focus on product features and to include information and answers to questions that the customer will ask when making a purchase.

In addition to speed and quality, we naturally also pursue economic goals. Due to lower costs, we find it easy to optimize and update product descriptions more frequently. Thus, our product descriptions and texts are always up to date.

Copy paper product description - generated with AX Semantics

How were you able to convince the company to use automated product descriptions in the beginning?

That was easy. First of all, here at Schäfer Shop we address topics that we believe will still be relevant and useful to us in 5 years and beyond. This means that there is a healthy curiosity to get involved with new things and try them out anyway. In addition, there were promising arguments on the part of AX Semantics regarding the advantages of the software, which convinced us. Since there was then practically no barrier to entry due to the modern price concept, we simply started.

A product from the range of Schäfer Shop

What has happened at Schäfer Shop since the introduction of AX Semantics?

I think the most important development is that we are discovering more and more potential. In the future large quantities of new items will no longer be a problem when creating new product descriptions.

When we “pressed the button” for the first time for a category with about 600 articles and 10 minutes later top product descriptions were online as a result for exactly these 600 articles, we were amazed. This silenced even the last skeptics.

Our editors work more closely with the product managers. They are building product expertise, learning what really matters and advising our customers increasingly better thanks to the optimized descriptions.

What are your plans for the near future?

First of all, it’s now a matter of completing the templates for the entire product range. At the same time, we are working on integrating other languages so that we can also offer perfect automated product descriptions to our numerous customers abroad.

Thank you for the interview and the wonderful insights into your work at Schäfer Shop.

Watch this video to learn more about Schäfer Shop's work with AX Semantics:

Harry Olfert, Head of Content Management, has been involved with the topic of product information management (PIM) since 2005. Initially in the context of a purchasing and marketing cooperation, where he participated in the development of a PIM system and set up and managed the corresponding department. Then later in the development of the sales activities of a mobile device management (MDM) provider. Harry Olfert has now been employed at Schäfer Shop in Betzdorf since the beginning of 2017.

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