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Is It Time You Adopted a PIM Solution – How To Find Out?

Unlike eCommerce systems that are widely recognized and adopted globally, awareness about product information management solutions (PIM), and how a best-of-breed PIM solution can help small and mid-sized companies was still growing till about a year ago. That gap in awareness has exploded today, with physical channels practically evaporating more and more companies (including small and medium-sized businesses) are looking for affordable PIMs for eCommerce to stay relevant in the market.

According to an AT Kearney study, poorly maintained and synchronized product information can cause companies to lose about 3.5% of their sales each year, spend 25 minutes per SKU per year manually cleansing out-of-sync product information, and spend between $40 to $400 per erroneous invoice to reconcile more than half of the invoices they generate each year. 

The pandemic forced many businesses to slow down or shut operations altogether. On the other hand, digitized retailers were prepared to move fast, from remote working to scaling multichannel efforts they scaled operations quickly. Ecommerce for everything is the new normal and for retail businesses still plagued with bad data and legacy systems, this is nothing short of a rude wakeup call.

B2B manufacturers and B2C brands that relied solely on retail channel partners find themselves with almost no visibility and control over the product life cycle. Businesses that previously did not have their own eCommerce site or direct-to-consumer models are rushing to develop digital shelf capabilities to stay relevant and competitive with their customer base. PepsiCo launched not one but two direct-to-consumer websites in May where shoppers can order an assortment of PepsiCo’s trusted and loved food and beverage brands. The best part? They offer a two-day delivery time. This example is a clear sign of the times; 

  • Investment in technology and data management tools will differentiate brands online
  • Syndication to eCommerce platforms and digital channels is key to immersive commerce and contextual customer experience
  • More and more consumers are using eCommerce, and they need online alternatives to find and purchase the products they love quickly and easily 

To meet rising demand and to put your product in front of the consumer where they shop, companies have to execute a watertight digital commerce strategy. PIM is a solid foundational building block to achieve this future.  Let’s delve deeper into the reasons why successful eCommerce companies are already using PIM: 

Poor product data management 

Manual management of product information is counterproductive for retailers and costs a fortune in internal costs. Between sales, marketing, product management, manufacturing and other stakeholders accessing siloed spreadsheets, collaboration and productivity are far-away dreams. Other problems like high product returns, manual errors, customer complaints, marketplaces not hesitating to pull your entire product catalog from shelves if they aren’t optimized to their custom feed specifications, cart abandonment,  incorrect prices, missing images, wrong dimensions to name a few. Now imagine launching a new product in a new channel using a legacy model. Legacy systems create data chaos within your organization, they make it difficult to create, manage, and distribute product data, especially if the catalog is large and if there are multiple suppliers who provide data. A modern PIM solution is purpose-built to offer you a single source of truth for product data automating time consuming and redundant tasks so you get internal productivity, data accuracy, and high-quality product information. The tangible benefits of these are cost savings and revenue gains.

To achieve an ‘eCommerce everything’ model retailers need to eliminate data inconsistencies and poor data syndication, they should be able to scale SKU assortments, expand digital channels easily and provide exceptional customer experiences, all with low operating costs. A PIM solution does all this and more.  

Delay in time to market

We’re living in a time when online sales are surging, creating a ripe opportunity for businesses to turnaround rapidly to put products in front of a consumer. This is a crucial competitive advantage for eCommerce success today. Relying on manual or custom-built apps to manage high volumes can lead to a quick death. Customers want real-time product information, detailed titles and descriptions, rich media in the form of multiple images and video, stock availability, color options, size information, reviews and they want to consume this information seamlessly on at least three different touchpoints.

A PIM solution can drastically cut time wasted on duplicating efforts and processes each time you have to launch a new product or enter a new market. Imagine what this means for a growing eCommerce business; an expanding catalog is a key component of growing revenue and increasing market share. PIMs facilitate this transformation by streamlining data management processes and creating agile workflows that feed clean data into marketplaces and other sales channels. A PIM can easily be integrated with a company’s ERP system and simplify product data publishing to eCommerce platforms like BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, Salesforce and to other digital channels like Amazon, ebay, Walmart, Google, Facebook, etc.

Poor digital presence, poor customer experience, drop in conversions

Shifts in customer buying behavior have happened overnight, leaving no option for businesses but to create a strong online presence. Add to this the pressure of beating competition that is more often than not just a click away. 

PIM and optimized product data feeds are essential to both; creating immersive eCommerce environments and improving operational excellence. Retailers need to think about how these two components are crucial to customer retention and boosting sales.

Is it worth the effort and investment to explore PIM further? To make this decision simpler, we created a list of questions to help you understand the features and advantages of PIM better. If you answered yes to the questions below, we can help you close the gaps in your product data management, create a scalable eCommerce and grow sales.

Are you looking to:

  • Improve how product data is organized, managed, and shared to grow eCommerce sales?
  • Eliminate duplicate product data efforts?
  • Lower cost & complexity of managing product data?
  • Enable faster product updates and syndication to eCommerce platforms and digital channels?
  • Generate reliable data feeds to internal enterprise systems?
  • Enhance product content by adding categories, tech specs, features, benefits, digital assets, SEO info, etc.?
  • Achieve consistency acrossn sales channels – products, content, prices, and inventory?
  • Eliminate the hassles of managing product data in tens of excel spreadsheets, or in clunky legacy systems?

Try smallPIM, our affordable, fully managed SaaS based PIM solution today.

You already have an ERP, do you really need to invest in PIM software?

This is the most commonly asked question when it comes to eCommerce players considering implementing PIM for digital shelf success and transformation. We decided to unpack this question in the simplest way possible. By working backwards from your business goals, we can get a clearer understanding of what it takes to achieve those goals in a multi-channel, always connected, SaaS PIM environment.

If these are your top 5 business goals for 2020, implementing PIM is the only way to stay competitive in the coming years.

  • Manage and distribute product content for thousands of  SKUs
  • Offer your products across channels in multiple languages
  • Have a low rate of product returns
  • Value add to strategic areas of business especially employee productivity
  • Raise the ante on customer experience

Manage and distribute product content for thousands of SKUs

Handling 500 – 1000 SKUs is an easily managed task with a detailed excel carrying product information and associated digital asset references. But what happens when you have to manage thousands of  products with their descriptions and rich media with an aim to offer extensive product depth & breadth to end customers? A traditional ERP is simply not designed to manage the pace and complexity of consumer demand for data today. Inflexibility is only one of the reasons why an ERP model can prove crippling to your brand. Digital commerce in 2020 demands flexible and transparent workflow capabilities, rich digital assets, the agility to add an ever increasing number of data attributes and consumer facing data that is dynamic. On an ERP, this is impossible – due to lack of flexibility and extensibility, audit and digital asset management capabilities; teams inevitably end up with disparate databases of product data that don’t speak to each other leading to inconsistencies and additional costs. A lot of the marketing data ends up living on spreadsheets, so the lack of visibility into a growing number of SKUs can blindside product managers and turn off buyers. This means lost sales and bad reviews. That’s where a modern PIM comes in. A cloud based PIM lets you centralize all your product information in a single repository,  making sure your brand tells consistent product stories across every channel.

“A few years ago, it could take weeks for us to onboard a new SKU. Now, thanks to Akeneo PIM it typically takes a day.”- Petra Industries

Offer your products across channels in multiple languages

The modern day shopper is channel agnostic, they want to be able to shift from one channel/device to another seamlessly and get access to current, accurate information on every search. Studies show that omnichannel campaigns earned a 250% higher purchase rate than single-channel campaigns. Meaning that customers were not only more receptive to engagement through multiple digital & offline touch-points but it also impacted their purchase decision positively. Similarly, when it comes to international expansion – localization & translation is key to making sure your customers are able to find, evaluate and purchase your product very easily. An ERP does not allow management of multi lingual data. Managing and enriching product information can be a pain every time you are entering a new market. With Akeneo2GlobalLink, a translation connector tool by StrikeTru that connects Akeneo PIM users to Translations.com’s GlobalLink, this process is highly simplified. From organized workflows to integrated translation tools, your business is equipped to grow quickly and capture larger market share in every location.  

“Our people are spending an enormous amount of time translating product data and managing that data in multiple spreadsheets. Leveraging the Akeneo2GlobalLink solution will drive significant value for our content and commerce teams, and for our customers.” – Pierce Global

Lower rate of product returns

Have you ever had a situation where your eCommerce platform displayed an image that caused a return because warehouse repeatedly shipped the wrong product as they were looking at an older image on another product lookup tool? You can only imagine how damaging this can be to your brand image. 57% of retailers said that dealing with returns has a negative impact on the day-to-day running of their business. When working with inflexible legacy tools including an ERP, 20-25 people and 8 different systems are involved in servicing a retailer or customer request for product data – the total time this would take and high chances of manual error is mind boggling. With a good PIM, you can dramatically enhance your data quality. Excellent data quality means customers searching for your products get intelligent results every single time on any device.This is crucial to product searchability, conversions and customer satisfaction.You gain content control, visibility, flexibility, and dissemination capabilities that result in personalized customer experiences leading to higher satisfaction levels making them come back for repeated purchases.

“PIM users have reported a 40% decrease in product returns, thanks to features such as automated enrichment rules, product completeness monitoring, and validation, which each work to ensure that shoppers are more informed prior to purchase.” – Akeneo

Value add to strategic areas of business especially employee productivity

Increased employee productivity is a top priority for management. In the above points we examined how a modern PIM solution can significantly enhance business and customer oriented goals. However, internal employee-productivity related goals can also be addressed by gaining control over and centralizing your product data by automating 30-50% of redundant manual operations, increased efficiency, doing away with silo headaches, transparent workflows, more focus on customer innovation, greater collaboration between teams, easier goal mapping and performance measurement and streamlined operations resulting in next generation CX.

“Updating product content in Akeneo PIM takes 10 minutes compared with the 30 minutes it took in the old system.” – SHOP.COM

Raise the ante on customer experience

Meaningful customer experiences are everything; it is the leading differentiator today, with customers putting even more emphasis on rich product information. According to a study by Gartner, 89% businesses are expected to compete mainly on customer experience in 2020. On the other hand a bad customer experience can cost you heavily – 95% of customers tell others about a bad experience. To compete with giants like Amazon, you need to raise the ante on customer innovation by implementing a cloud based PIM to anticipate customer needs, understand preferences through buying patterns & seasonality resulting in a highly responsive and seamless experience.

In conclusion, an ERP system may be able to manage small amounts of product data but as your product and attribute counts increase only a PIM solution can create compelling product content for next-gen customer experience.

A PIM solution can help brands & retailers rank their products highly on the digital shelf – going beyond a basic keyword search. It is a great tool in the hands of product managers and merchants to accelerate time-to-market and an asset to always-connected consumers for intuitive shopping.

If you are interested in exploring further but don’t know where to start, get in touch with to speak to a PIM expert today. 

StrikeTru rolled out a Nuxeo based PIM and DAM system

We recently wrapped up the implementation of a Nuxeo ECM (Enterprise Content Management) platform based Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) system for PTS America, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated manufacturer of ceramic tableware. StrikeTru managed a vendor selection process and helped choose Nuxeo based on a number of criteria that were relevant for this specific client’s needs.

Phase 1 of the project enabled the client to start migrating and enriching existing products and digital assets. Phase 2 of the project rolled out functionality to orchestrate new product development processes by configuring appropriate workflows and reporting.