It was clear that in the first quarter of 2020, driving a culture of data management would be critical for all online sales. Enter an unprecedented disruption and the dynamics change forever. The events of 2020 propelled digital commerce to new heights, ushering organizations towards digitalization and vendors towards new approaches and models. Going by online holiday sales in the US so far, digital selling is bound to reach historic levels.
In 2021, over 2.14 billion buyers are likely to buy online globally
As the lines blur between physical and digital and selling becomes ubiquitous with consistent experiences across customer touchpoints, eCommerce merchants have realized the indispensability of Product Information Management (PIM). The need to store, structure, and visualize the right product information is increasing by the day – be it for campaign engagement, channel traffic control, catalog development, audience segmentation, or analytics. Moreover, 74% of the new-age customers lean towards well-researched inspiration before showing loyalty to any brand. This progressive demographic expects information at their fingertips while using traditional and digital media to rigorously compare products.
By backing eCommerce systems, platforms, and strategies with a capable PIM solution, vendors can enrich product experiences and cater to the demands of the ‘new normal’ while reducing the time, expense, and difficulty of doing so. This union can unify product data and remove existing complexity, improve product attribution, and maintain product data in a single place. Here’s how the magic happens:
A single, trusted source of product information for accuracy
PIM manages a master repository of product information enabling high set of variations and customizations. By consolidating all data sets pertaining to products from every system, it provides a complete view for every stakeholder in internal and external operations. The information can range from raw product specifications to marketing copies to references and catalogs to SKU data to any other creative assets. With integrations possible with legacy, disparate platforms, PIM can supply eCommerce with authentic, reliable, real-time data. This way all eCommerce websites, channels, social media shops, apps, and marketplaces receive unified and accurate information.
Publishing information to multiple touchpoints quickly
With eCommerce there’s always a possibility to expand to different regions and marketplaces by constantly adapting to selling on emerging customer touchpoints from smart devices to AR/VR and beyond.. Gartner has predicted that organizations operating in enterprise marketplaces for more than one year will see at least a 10% increase in their digital revenue by 2023. But the benefit comes with its own cost of complexities and managing the load of synchronizing information across digital touchpoints. Merging PIM with eCommerce can help face this challenge with simple automation. By eliminating the need for manual entries, corrections, updates, or adjustments, changes can be applied across the board for all product lines on all sales channels. It reduces the time to publish with efficient updates, easy access to documents for different parties, and flexible data modeling while supporting multi-currency and multilingual capabilities for different geographies and time zones.
Managing workflow publishing and approvals efficiently
PIM can act as a one-stop destination for different eCommerce workflows like information assortment, catalog development, and taxonomy management. It can help create interactive eCommerce portals with smart filtering to create enriched product experiences. As a result, teams no longer have to wait on requests for product information from the ERP. Additionally, the 5 min per SKU per year that is spent on manual item data cleaning can be automatically synchronized in only 4 minutes. The advanced workflow engine can define business processes and editorial workflows and eliminate the confusion of finding updated content. It even paves the way for further operational optimization by plugging information and assets into other martech systems and combining multi-device shopping frontends.
Synchronizing product information across digital and physical stores
Physical and digital stores can be cohesively and harmoniously managed by automating product data workflows. PIM can enable automated updating, maintaining, and publishing of product data across portals. Everything from product catalog navigation and product pages to recommendations and multi-region product displays can be synchronized. This ensures that stakeholders have timely access to the right information. The information can be SKUs, item numbers, references for suppliers and warehouse keepers or images, videos, and documentation for the marketing team regardless of what sales channel they are on. Furthermore, PIM can maintain different datasets, data sources, complex fields, metadata, and relationships between underlying information layers.
Reduced time-to-market for new product launches
Imagine that you have millions of products and tens of legacy systems. Now you want to add a new product line that is a variant of an existing product. You will have to update the information across multiple siloed data repositories to make a place for the new launch. You will have to remodify the catalog from scratch. And even worse, you will have to ensure that every eCommerce stakeholder is on the same page. All this has to be done super-fast or you’ll lose your competitor’s edge. And given the number of integrations and modifications, there is no place for errors. In such cases, PIM can come to your rescue. Its effective consolidation of product data can allow timesaving at every step across the launch process. It can maintain the quality of information by syndicating content on the basis of specifications, sharing it with the whole team in real-time. By allowing dynamic data feeds ubiquitously across locations and touchpoints, a robust PIM system can ensure a faster go-to-market.
PIM is an asset that can boost the performance of eCommerce in more than one way. When customers discover products they are seeking with adequate, comprehensive descriptions, they acknowledge the benefit of making informed decisions. This can lead to higher conversion rates, fewer cart abandonments, or even organic upsell/cross-selling opportunities. Moreover, the productivity of the entire organization can be augmented when operators are facilitated with user-friendly, easily accessible data manipulation interfaces. This way, growth is ensured in a streamlined way.
Shashin Shah is CEO of Pimcore Global Services (PGS) - A Happiest Minds Company. Pimcore is an open source platform for product information management (PIM/MDM), digital asset management (DAM), content management system (CMS) and eCommerce. In his over 20 years of experience, both globally and in the US, he has managed large enterprise clients through strategizing, operating, consulting and carrying out implementations worth USD 100M+ through global delivery models, across several industries. visit https://pimcore.com/en/partners/find-a-solution-partner/pimcore-global-s...