Pain points for Fashion Retailers and gains from PIM
A recent report from Shopify highlighted that worldwide revenue from online fashion retailing is likely to rise from just under $500 billion in 2018 to over $700 billion by 2022. The fashion sector is one of the biggest in online retailing and customers certainly have plenty of choice. Simply having a brief product description with a photo no longer cuts the mustard. Discerning consumers want a seamless, omnichannel shopping experience with rich visuals and in-depth product information. That can cause a lot of headaches for unprepared fashion retailers. So, where are the pain points and how can a PIM solution remove the headaches?
Time to market
Fashion retailing, by its very nature, is ephemeral. What’s ‘in’ one minute is ‘so yesterday’ the next. When you are launching new products on a regular basis, onboarding the data associated with those products has traditionally been a labour-intensive and cumbersome process. With the demand for omni-channel consistency nowadays, that process is greatly complicated.
A PIM system has a flexible and automated onboarding process for new products. This frees up staff from unwanted manual onboarding, saves a lot of time and allows you to launch products that much more quickly – after all, time to market is a key differentiator for customers in online fashion retailing.
Clothing and accessories are very tactile – materials matter and eCommerce is clearly a platform where you cannot touch.
A PIM lets you replace simple product descriptions with an in-depth content strategy, creating meaningful and rich content. It can integrate sophisticated data assets and repurpose content to stay relevant and up-to-date. The advanced functionalities of a PIM will allow you to embed videos, descriptions, blog posts, multi-angle photos, zoom functionalities, customer ratings, and whatever types of enriched data will become available in the future. Managing all this product information through various channels
Product search results
A customer (or potential customer) might be looking for a particular top with specific trimmings and short sleeves. Fashion retailing means product variants abound and if the customer’s search is inaccurate because the data is not sufficiently precise, they will leave you. Retailers need to optimise the data in their product catalogs so that it can cover all the names and terms for a SKU.
PIM functionalities allows you to target the description of other data, containing keywords that describe the objects of an image. These keywords need to be correct, as they are here to provide context and to educate about the brand’s products. Using AI algorithms, the PIM system can use the product metadata and link it to the customer interface using APIs. In other words, when someone is searching for a product, the e-commerce platform instantly receives the required product data stored in the PIM system, allowing the customer to explore the product.
A fashion retailer involves many teams working to provide accurate product information for web platforms (their own or marketplaces) whose characteristics are ever more sophisticated. Manually entering and formatting product data to make it channel-ready is labour-intensive. There’s also the risk of human error or simply using the wrong data. Other factors like compliance with different markets, complicate matter further.
Technological advances in PIM functionalities have led to greater automisation of business processes, leading to much more efficient workflows. Machine-based learning is opening up a range of opportunities for enhancement of product data. Open standards and interoperability support the principle of dynamic data sharing, which fashion retailers can apply across the entire product data cycle. PIM system providers now provide these capabilities and the more fashion retailers can leverage this ‘cognitive’ computing, the greater value it has in terms of resource deployment, time to market, consistency and versatility.
Furthermore, customisable connectors with all sales channels ensure fashion retailers offer easy and trouble-free customer experiences, enhancing a key metric for fashion retailers – the relationship with the brand.
Start with data uses its three-stage approach to PIM and MDM implementation to provide expert analysis, implementation and support. We work with fashion retailers to ensure their PIM solution drives efficiency and provides a competitive edge in what is a fiercely competitive market. Read more about how we help retailers here.