PIM For Ecommerce Success

Retail evolution

  • COVID-19 is going to have long term implications on shopping behavior and online sellers are still reeling from its initial impact
  • Mobile has emerged as the new shopping mall and reports indicate consumers risk–averse shopping preference will persist long after stay-at-home orders are lifted
  • Ecommerce has exploded over the last few months. For grocery and home leisure, pet supplies and electronics, digital channels may be a permanent replacement for physical stores

Online retailers’ in the US have already seen revenue growth of 68% as of mid-April. It’s evident at this stage that businesses can’t adopt eCommerce tech fast enough.  While early adopters of online shopping are buying even more than before, a large segment of first-time online shoppers have turned to eCommerce in the wake of the pandemic. They are realizing the convenience and flexibility of online shopping and are going to see this as the preferred way of buying products now and for the foreseeable future. Consumers especially want to engage with brands that will help them deal with the COVID-19 crisis with the least complexity. 

Retailers have to get four things right to achieve the eCommerce-first pivot, stay competitive, meet the rising demand head-on and boost revenue:

  • Modernize legacy systems
  • Adopt new tech tools
  • Implement agile data management
  • Automate manual operations

How PIM impacts productivity ?

Manually managing product data does not work. This is no more opinion but a hard truth and the quicker online sellers realize this, the faster they can streamline eCommerce operations, add SKUs, sell in markets where their audience is and increase revenue.

Easier said than done when the bulk of the operations are managed by product managers fighting with spreadsheets to import, export and update product data, searching for the right images for the right products, looking for and correcting errors, cleaning up redundant data entries and repeating all of these steps (and errors) to localize your product database when you want to enter a new market.

With such less control and visibility into product feeds, your employees spend too much time correcting too many listing errors and customers end up with an unpleasant experience, bad reviews, returned products. Moreover, business owners face sleepless nights over bad delays in getting products to market fast enough. All of this can prove very costly for the business.

It’s easy to imagine the inefficiency of inflexible legacy systems when you consider the complexity of product data management without a product information management software. For e.g. a brand has 10 products, each product SKU would contain atleast 50 attributes, i.e. flavors, colors, sizes, prices, packaging, availability, shipping etc.

“Akeneo helped me escape spreadsheet hell so I can focus on dominating my market. Its open source, easy to use, and great for product enrichment and channel exports. I was able to double my assortment without adding overhead!” – eCommerce Manager, StealASofa

“We like Akeneo PIM because is intuitive and user friendly. It helps centralize our product data and has a connector to our Magento eCommerce platform, which means a lot of effort saved when updating our eCommerce sites. We chose to work with StrikeTru because of their obvious mastery of the Akeneo product and their ability to give us a clear vision of how the fully implemented solution will meet our various requirements.” – Director of IT and Logistics, Five Ten

Don’t forget, this is a base assumption. What happens when the company grows? How can it adapt and scale in the face of disruption without carrying the burden of growing data challenges, silos and unproductivity leading to revenue loss?

A simple PIM solution is at the core of efficient data management best practices implemented by successful eCommerce brands world over.

A Product Information Management solution is a data management tool that helps:

  • Aggregate and establish a single source of truth for product data and related digital assets that typically exist in disparate systems
  • Structure and govern product data quality on an ongoing basis to keep it clean, consistent, and relevant
  • Deliver enriched, consistent, contextual product content to your eCommerce, marketplaces, and digital channels
  • Provide catalog/feed management capabilities including supplier data on-boarding, localization, managed translation, digital asset management, data pool and market place synchronization, and automated print/web publishing

Customers want to be able to instantly find the products they are looking for (or don’t know they are looking for yet), and easily make an informed purchase, anywhere at any time. This suggests that the shortest path to ‘buy now’ is one where the customer is compelled by rich, product information, detailed product descriptions and high-quality images and videos consistently at every digital touchpoint.   

“City Furniture doubled its SKU and product attributes counts within 12 months of launching PIM, significantly increased eCommerce’s share of its retail business, and saw a 150% increase in web sync frequency, ensuring that product data is consistently up-to-date and reflective of each online channel’s specific promotional goals so customers can always count on reliable and relevant product experiences.”

Legacy systems and insufficient automation are major roadblocks to a high-performing eCommerce channel, and a successful digital transformation. Retailers need to create a competitive advantage by implementing agile content management practices to centrally collect, store, and disseminate product catalog data and assets. COVID-19 forced retail stores to shut shop – a PIM solution can enable brands and retailers to continue operating and scaling digital channels.

In short, retailers can negate the costly and error-prone man-hours and invaluable time wasted relying on legacy systems to navigate eCommerce today by addressing the following pain points with PIM:

  • Integrating new data sources fast
  • Creating, managing high-quality data
  • Simplifying import and export of product information
  • Publishing  data to digital channels easily

A modern PIM solution boosts employee efficiency by saving time earlier wasted on managing scattered and outdated product databases among multiple stakeholders. We know that it equips brands with a centralized trusted product data set that leads to high employee productivity, uptick in conversions and increased sales. How does it do this?

  • Improved data structures
  • Improved data governance
  • Increased collaboration as all stakeholders gain a singular view of the complete product lifecycle
  • Real-time, high quality, SEO optimized product data
  • Better workflows and asset management
  • Automation of repetitive tasks, Localization capabilities
  • Cut down time-to-market drastically
  • Easy scale-up of product assortments and sales channels
  • Go multichannel, gain cross channel consistency
  • Significant drop in return rates

Some quantified results from our clients after successful eCommerce PIM implementations:

City Furniture doubled SKU and data attribute counts within 12 months of PIM launch and reduced product setup times by more than 25%

SHOP.com reduced product setup times by 66% and lowered product data errors by 40%.

Petra was able to enrich approx. 20,000 SKUs in about 10 weeks to help launch a stalled next-generation eCommerce website

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Putting products in front of the customer: What is PXM?

Isn’t it more likely for a customer to convert when brands and products meet them intuitively at a platform of their choosing? Today, nearly one in 10 purchases occurs on emerging digital purchase points, – social media, messaging apps, influencers and other channels. Channels that are completely separate from retailers’ and brands’ owned properties. What does this mean?

Retailers struggle to optimize their product catalog continuously according to each channel to increase discoverability and conversion, while consumers want to be served information that is contextual, consistent and accurate across every touchpoint. Product syndication tools make your brand omnichannel because your customer is! Optimized and automated product feeds are as crucial to online sellers as enriched product data.

The disruption caused by the pandemic has highlighted the drawbacks of manual syndication and single sales channel:

  • Confused shoppers put off by inconsistent product information between your ecommerce website and a third party platform
  • Disapproved product catalog from a channel for inconsistent formatting
  • Errors from manual operations, time consumed to update your product catalog to match the specifications for each channel
  • Lost revenue due to time taken for the product catalog to go-to-market

Product experience management (PXM) commonly known as Product Syndication has a big impact on product visibility and reach – the syndication tool standardizes, optimizes and distributes PIM enriched product content (channel-ready product catalog) simply and easily to all sales channels, eCommerce, marketplaces, social media, and other platforms of your choice including Google Shopping, Walmart, Amazon, Shopify, BigCommerce, Facebook, Instagram and more.

“We’ve tried several products and processes to manage our Magento e-Commerce website content. Akeneo has been by far the easiest to use, and the most powerful. It’s intuitive, fast and loaded with features to organize and utilize data. We’ve been especially pleased with the expertise StrikeTru has brought to the project. They have constructed the right PIM system for our needs, trained us, given great advice as we expand our offerings and made this project go smoothly.” – PIM Analyst & Creative Manager at Richmond Supply Company

It’s more than syncing rich product data from PIM to eCommerce, feed management tools makes sure your product catalog is optimized for every channel and marketplace. Suggesting that wherever your customers is browsing, your product listing will show up seamlessly, tailored to that platform’s requirements and best practices, real-time and accurate.

In conclusion, retail and shopping behavior have gone through an unprecedented evolution at the very same moment, making it imperative for brands and retailers to pivot to digitization, agile data management and technology adoption faster than ever before. If you answer yes to the questions below, we can help you choose the right solution to create a scalable eCommerce environment and boost sales:

  • Do you want to enable faster product updates and syndication?
  • Reliable data feeds to internal systems?
  • Enhance product content?
  • Eliminate duplicate efforts?
  • Enhance features & benefits, digital assets and SEO
  • Do you want to lower cost & complexity?
  • Centralize data & collaboration?
  • Improve how data is organized, managed, shared?
  • Easier management of data feeds to sales channels?
  • Enhanced product categories, tech specs, facets, images?

Looking for an affordable, fully managed, agile SaaS PIM solution powered by Akeneo PIM Community Edition? Try smallPIM now!