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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. 

Is your product data optimized for omnichannel commerce?

Brands and retailers often face the consequence of lost revenue thanks to bad product data. In the last decade, there has been a revolution in the way we manage product content. Today, customers look beyond product features & shipping information. They respond to 360-degree immersive narratives that include multiple brand images and video, AR generated lifestyle images and rich product copy. Today, at the heart of a successful ecommerce strategy lays product content that can make or break a sale.

The key is to evolve to meet the demands of today’s connected shoppers. How can you do that? By making the shopper feel empowered with all the information they want, when they want it & on a platform of their choice. With a modern product information management (PIM) solution this is possible. From product discovery to syndication, a PIM solution collects, cleanses, enriches, and adapts your content to meet specific channel requirements for a seamless omnichannel experience. This is even more important in the Amazon-age, with nearly 66% shoppers (2/3 of US shoppers) beginning their search for products here; brands and retailers have to ensure they have the capability of updating their product data quickly to meet the ever changing and ever increasing product content guidelines.

Let’s look at some of the typical challenges faced by ecommerce players that are still managing product information on excel files and shared drives and legacy systems:

  • Product horror story – companies that don’t have access to a centralized repository of trusted product information struggle with easily finding and publishing content in a timely manner that ultimately lead to higher return rates. Never mind poor customer satisfaction levels.
  • Manual syndication – manually managing multiple versions of product data across different departments and channels over hundreds of spreadsheets is near impossible for brands that wish to stay competitive by continuously optimizing their products to capture a larger market share. When the customer expectation is to buy anything at any time, the last thing retailers & manufacturers need is to get stuck with troublesome errors and brand and cross-channel inconsistencies that are fully visible to customers.
  • Zero scalability & delays in launching new products – the ability to list and manage tens or hundreds of thousands of new SKUs is essential to executing an endless aisle strategy to compete with Amazon and other players. Manual methods and legacy systems often fail to accomplish this, hurting a business’s agility in the marketplace.
  • Damaged brand reputation – all of the above situations negatively impact purchase decisions and lead to an irreversibly damaged brand reputation.

So how can you ensure exceptional product data quality, i.e. completeness, timeliness, conformity, consistency and accuracy in collaboration with suppliers & partners? By integrating a cloud based PIM solution in your marketing technology stack. This core solution software aggregates content (including rich selling content) from all data sources, transforms it, creates a harmonized data set, and synchronizes all content to your eCommerce website and various 3rd party digital marketing and sales channels including search engines, social media, and marketplaces. It supports content syndication both in terms of product mix and completeness and format of data, including multilingual content adaptation, needed by the various digital commerce channels.

New platforms like PIM can ensure product content directly supports the KPIs that drive success across all sales channels and has an impact on increasing conversion rates, average order value, stickiness, SEO, & profitability while decreasing return and cart abandonment rates.

Get in touch to talk to a PIM expert today.