How to improve product information management through enrichment

Once you have successfully onboarded your product data from suppliers and other external partners, you now can shape and create the kind of high-quality data which transforms to compelling and engaging product information for customers of all types.

Despite these opportunities, there are still far too many retailers, distributors and manufacturers who aren’t grasping the opportunities offered by a PIM to enrich and enhance their product data.  Why’s that a big problem?

Failure to optimise enrichment

There are several drawbacks to inadequate enrichment of product data:

  1.  Sluggish response to market trends and opportunities
  2. Too much time taken up manually preparing enriched data, channel by channel
  3. A lack of complete specifications regarding key product attributes
  4. Inadequate information, leading to delays and difficulties in keyword searches by potential customers – dissatisfaction means better-prepared competitors take up your information slack.

 With the capabilities and power of a modern PIM solution, these are easily avoidable.

Cleansed, attributable product data – the single-source of truth

Therefore, before investing in a PIM solution you need to ask a number of key questions:

  1. Where do you use your product data?

  2. How and where do you get product data from?

  3. How complex is your product data?

  4. What benefits can a PIM software solution provide you with?

  5. Which PIM vendor is right for you?

  6. Do you want a PIM  software system on-site or on the cloud?

 

Completeness of the information brings reliability to the consumer and lets you enrich and control the quality of your product information. To complete this task, you need to bring together all relevant attributes, ensure all attribute fields are populated, classify products into categories, and add digital assets such as:

Clearly, the information required by a customer looking for top-end trainers will be vastly different to that required by a B2B purchaser of an industrial component, but the principle remains the same – high quality data allows for complete and correct information at the moment of sale, ensuring the purchaser can make a fully-informed decision without being concerned about information accuracy.

Enrichment processes

There is a much greater guarantee of using high quality data if you continuously control the enrichment process by applying validation steps for all product data users. This verifies that no data point or set is created without prior approval and ensures consistency across the range of channel types deployed, for a truly omnichannel approach to information and brand attributes.

Various teams (marketing, ecommerce, and sales, primarily) have access as users to input and alter the necessary data for:

Various territories and geographies: Translation and contextualisation for localised circumstances, cultural expectations and product variants or variations.

Accurate, updated, and appropriate product data for each segment across all channels

Customised descriptions for channels as diverse as voice-activated, mobile, e-commerce marketplaces, print-based, and so on.

Different product assortments and hierarchies can also be created for cross-border commerce

Optimising data asset deployment

Data Asset Management tools can be used alongside a PIM to deploy the widest range possible of information types according to the product and its target market. Some examples:

  • Design and aesthetics
  • Manufacturing methods
  •  Ingredients, components, and materials
  • Sourcing and supply chain transparency
  • Ethical practices (in subcontracting, labour sourcing)
  • Sustainability 
  •  Digital media (such as ‘How to…’ videos, 360° view, virtual ‘fitting room’)
  • User/Buyer input from social media postings, user reviews (written or visual)

The latest trends regarding enrichment

There is a rapidly developing trend towards template-based solutions to achieve accelerated implementations for enrichment. As the number of channels is likely to expand in coming years, being able to prepare multiple templates to apply to enrichment will greatly speed the time to market journey.

Further areas of interest in enrichment

3D printing: in the near future, 3D printing will become mass-market. To manage the design, description, preparation, and personalisation for the product 3D will require a greater array of additional product information.

Chain integration: suppliers who are interested in certain products will see their products displayed on the web with accurate and reliable content, which is leading them to put greater effort into feeding data pools with rich content.

Ecosystem vendors: more and more manufacturers are offering products themselves online, which is seeing an increase in direct sale to end customers (D2C).

Product Data in the cloud: as larger and larger amounts of product data come from data pools and dedicated content suppliers, availability of data no longer depends so much on a limited set of data suppliers.

Linked data: this allows for creation of more easily discoverable product websites by search engines. Linked data-language allows search engines to read and interpret product attributes in web pages.

Legislation: new laws and directives like the EU Food Labelling Law 1169/2011. will influence product information in the next few years. Additionally, sustainability and the rise of organic products will lead to new and expanded product information where data quality is crucial.

Ready to deliver your PIM implementation?​

For retailers and distributors

We have a highly experienced team of retail PIM consultants ready to support your implementation from supplier onboarding through to customer experience

Ben Adams, CEO

For brands and manufacturers

We can help get your products onto the digital shelf, with our accelerators

Beth Parker, PIM Consultant