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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. 

MDM & Data Governance Summit Speaking Engagement – Akeneo PIM Case Study

StrikeTru will be speaking at a major IT industry conference, MDM and Data Governance Conference 2016, in New York City on Nov 9, 2016. StrikeTru and SHOP.com will present an Akeneo PIM case study on how SHOP.com used PIM to modernize its IT & digital commerce operations.

Below is a copy of the official session abstract.

CASE STUDY: Enterprise-Grade Open Source PIM – An Important Option for Modern IT

Vik Gundoju, Partner, StrikeTru
Kyle Christiansen, Applications Architect, Market America/SHOP.com

Legacy operations involve high cost and complexity in aggregating, managing, and sharing an ever increasing amount of product information with customers, trading partners, regulatory agencies, and consumers. A PIM solution makes it easy to manage and distribute product data. An enterprise-grade open source PIM solution has the best chance of helping IT reduce costs, operate more efficiently, and gain quick access to innovations in PIM. Despite the success of well-known commercial open source technologies, many IT leaders often do not fully understand the benefits and value of open source technologies.

This session will review key open source MDM capabilities including: master, reference and metadata management; digital asset management: data governance: marketplace connectors; and product data synchronization between ERP, PLM, sales, and marketing applications.  Specific attention will be given to Akeneo which is the market-leading open source enterprise PIM.

To further the understanding of open source PIM, a case study discussing Shop.Com’s leverage of Akeneo to modernize its IT landscape will be presented.  This enabled the enterprise to become more agile in managing its global, multi-site, multi-language, multi-currency, and multi-channel commerce operations.

To highlight how open source PIM can accelerate enterprise success, StrikeTru and Shop.Com will present these topics:

  • Understanding the business & technology benefits of enterprise-strength open source technologies for PIM
  • Overcoming the prejudices & misinformation that plague open source decision-making
  • Planning for the next generation of digital commerce

The 11th annual MDM and Data Governance Conference will be held Nov 8-10, 2016 at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown, New York City. It will attract an audience of over 500 Master Data Management (MDM) professionals at all experience levels looking to exchange ideas and build connections with the MDM community.

Vik Gundoju from StrikeTru will share the stage with Kyle Christiansen, an Enterprise Applications Architect at MarketAmerica/SHOP.com, a StrikeTru customer.

For more information including the full conference schedule, visit http://www.information-management.com/conferences/mdmnewyork/.