Why Your Company Needs a PIM System: 8 Key Reasons
If you sell into the increasingly crowded eCommerce ecosystem, it’s time to use a PIM system or face being left behind the pack. Companies which don’t perform to the standards expected by the omnichannel shopper are most likely using poor-quality product information. This stems from antiquated product data management, and some of the tell-tale signs are;
- Multiple versions of product data scattered throughout various parts of the business
- Excessive reliance on manual processing of product data
- Incoherent, siloed and inconsistent product data management across the organisation
- Inconsistent product and customer experiences across all channels, with a resulting impact on revenue, returns, conversion rate and brand reputation
If any of these rings a discordant bell, carry on reading to get eight good reasons why the right choice of PIM solution is the remedy.
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1. You’ll speed up onboarding, processing and syndication
You need a more unified approach if you’re still manually processing the avalanche of incoming supplier data feeds. That means suppliers and distributors or retailers working hand-in-hand to collaborate in streamlining and simplifying the onboarding process by leveraging technological innovations.
Retailers and distributors require a great deal of information about each product they onboard from a range of sources, primarily suppliers. You want to unify all these file formats under one single acquisition platform. With a PIM, it is feasible to streamline product data verification and standardisation processes, where external partners and retailers both understand the requirements and functionalities of the platform used.
2. You’ll be able to guarantee high-quality product data across the board
If you’re constantly dealing with product data issues in a piecemeal and reactive fashion, you need a way of eradicating errors and consolidating multiple versions into a single source of truth – The definitive source in one centralised hub.
You can measure the degree of quality for your product data against seven dimensions:
- Accuracy – the data is correct
- Completeness – the whole picture rather than missing or incorrect data
- Consistency – the right formats according to different systems
- Timeliness –up to date, consequently reducing the risk of returns
- Uniqueness –the only complete and accurate data set
- Validity – a guarantee that the information exceeds a predetermined quality threshold
- Relevance – it is genuinely useful for the customer
Information Quality must underpin any purchasing experience – if it is good, the customer will convert and, most probably return.
3. You’ll streamline your omnichannel offer and ensure consistency of content
Customer touchpoints have increased in range. Search engines, social media platforms and marketplaces like Amazon, Google, Etsy or Shopify have gained the lion’s share of the early stages of a customer journey. Add to that an exponential growth in the volume and variety of product information, and you need to be able to manage diverse formats of enriched media elements for many sales channels.
A PIM offers automated processing functions to onboard, enrich, prepare and syndicate high-quality product information to any channel. This frees up marketing teams to concentrate on adding value to those data and planning campaigns strategically rather than on the hop.
4. You’ll improve efficiency in processes and workflow management
A PIM which allows users to create templates uniquely tailored to fit whatever the requirements are takes away the need to manually tailor each catalog in line with a given buyer’s requirements, the platform will map your existing data automatically and funnel it into a specific catalog for the target buyer. It’s also much easier to change discrete individual elements or create rules to automatically change them.
- Eliminate cumbersome, time-consuming manual processing
- Free up time for more creative and revenue-focused activity
- Generate cross-department / organisation-wide consistency of data management
- Develop an organisation-wide collaborative mindset and coherent product data management operations
5. You’ll get products to marketplace faster
eCommerce marketing needs to be agile. Sluggish product launch means slow time to market and being uncompetitive. The rapid onboarding, processing, enrichment and syndication capabilities of a PIM makes ‘first to market’ viable and sustainable. That, alongside effective SEO, dramatically increases the chances of your products being discovered. A PIM solution optimises workflow and multi-team collaboration, making it straightforward to shorten the life cycle of incoming and outgoing data.
6. You can tailor product information
The baseline expectation of B2C consumers and B2B purchasers have raised the bar in terms of demanding product information adjusted to their precise needs. We can add that different departments need to get information from marketing colleagues to customise their prices, target advertising and give the consumer purchaser confidence in the brand. Data sets in a PIM are unique, of excellent quality and secure. This allows marketers to respond to the drive towards targeted CX with a variety of personalised communication options.
Using the frequently bundled DAM functionalities of a PIM solution also opens up opportunities for marketing teams to tailor campaigns for different market segments. That speed of response is critical in a fiercely competitive and fast-changing marketplace, when correct, relevant and attractive information about new products will drive sales, if it reaches the market before others.
7. You can manage digital assets better
Regarding digital asset management (DAM), modern PIMs can unify the interface between PIM-DAM functions, so you can link a product’s data with its digital assets. Brands will need to deliver engaging, fresh, and personalized content on the right channel at the right time. Using DAM as an integrated part of a PIM will keep you up to pace with developments in technology and evolving market conditions.
Now, just one or a few product images suffice – PIM configuration can automatically alter them in line with a given channel’s requirements. That means PIM automatically generates a version of a product image, (along with its metadata, to make the information more searchable and findable) which is in compliance with regulations on each platform.
8. You’ll grow faster – scalability is built in
It is increasingly feasible to grow your business by extending your reach to international markets – they offer enormous opportunities for eCommerce operators who are equipped to take advantage of a PIM solution’s capabilities. You can expand to an infinite number of channels, so scaling your operations becomes far more straightforward and rapid. But this also means tailoring your ecommerce business for growth so that, no matter how far away, tapping into global markets can match your growth ambitions.
Using a PIM, you can simplify how you:
- Adapt to different search engine results patterns, such as translating units and prices, or commonly used descriptive terminology
- Apply multi-currency conversion
- Reflect a target market’s expectations: social patterns, culture and consumer behaviour
- Create a multilingual customer experience
PIMs operate using a notification-driven workflow system, a PIM gives you full oversight. Moreover, you can also ease localisation tasks by identifying the specific fields which need to be altered for that market. There are always common attributes, and these can be transferred and then exported to whatever overseas marketplaces and platforms
So, why not future proof your product data management?
Companies relying on manual processing and working in silos are running as fast as they can, but still falling behind the pack. eCommerce is a dynamic and fluid environment, and nothing stands still on the cutting edge of digital technology.
If you are serious about long-term growth and an enduring high-quality customer experience, PIM is the powerful product data management system to drive sales, efficiency and cost effectiveness for all companies operating across multiple channels.
With the proviso of a robust and actively managed data governance policy, all modern PIMs have the technological capacity to do the following (and more):
- Establish and maintain a ‘single source of truth’ for all product data, thus ensuring high-quality product data
- Be agile in managing product variants, bundles, relationships, hierarchies (and more)
- Work smart (not manually) in processes and workflow
- Develop engaging product stories across sales channels, be they on- or offline
- Meet and exceed the demands of omnichannel customers
- Hone SEO strategy to ease search and find, generating more conversion opportunities
We’ve outlined eight reasons. There are more. At Start with Data, we use our experience and expertise to provide targeted consultancy services to a wide range of clients including PIM platform selection. Contact us so we can have an in-depth conversation about just how we can help you with your journey towards implementation of a PIM solution.
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