Studies indicate that the global PIM market is expected to see a growth rate of 25.2% by 2027 – with an increased market adoption stemming mainly from the eCommerce sector.
Today’s PIM involves collecting, managing, enriching, and distributing product data right from the eCommerce storefront to social sales channels, marketplaces, and even advertising networks.
PIM is a central hub for all product content management needs, serving as the single source of product truth. It can sync product content across an organization’s tech stack, including digital trade platforms, enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, order management systems (OMS), and other third-party integrations.
Product data is key to superior customer experience
Customer-driven product data is the key differentiator between visitors and buyers. Product data needs to be accurate and up-to-date to drive both customer confidence and brand loyalty. This, in turn, makes customers feel that they are purchasing the right product at the right price and at the right time. In the past, PIM was mainly used to fix product data problems. However, this trend has evolved into PIM being identified as a need prior to businesses executing their multi-channel strategies in recent years. Here are a few key challenges that modern-day e-commerce businesses face, which PIM can resolve:
- Endless aisles, long-tail: PIM automates workflow processes (front- and back-end) and synchronizes manual procedures and systematic updates to external systems such as payment gateway integrations, ERP, CRM systems, and more. This helps businesses keep their merchandised assortment customer-ready and saleable.
- Multiple systems: PIM can minimize the complexity of multiple systems, data stores, and interfaces by providing a common management point for product information. This includes departmental systems, wherein PIM can offer a way to simplify the merchandising environment through product data consolidation.
- Multiple classifications:PIM helps maintain a company’s base classification or taxonomy with alternatives, allowing it to supersede standard nomenclature and address specific customer or product classification needs. It also allows re-factored assortments to be published in a customized manner.
- ROI components:PIM allows for reduced spending on multiple third-party data management systems, low rate of inventory stock mismanagement, and reduction in cycle time for product-to-publication business processes, and more.
From enabling companies to deliver an engaging buying experience across multiple sales channels to providing customer-centric scenarios through direct commerce, PIM and e-commerce complement each other in every possible way. Moreover, PIM delivers more than rich product content; it also comes in handy when creating differentiated experiences. So, let us delve deeper into how PIM and e-commerce can work in harmony to create a unified experience.
Acquire and prepare
Scaling is a challenge anyone embarking on an eCommerce journey needs to tackle. While scaling, product information often sets off to be incorrect, outdated, non-standardized, or gets stored in disparate places. Item numbers, catalogues, SKUs, images and videos, translations, localizations, customer attributes, and more become impossible to manage. To communicate the value of products to customers effectively, accuracy and consistency across channels need to be in place.
With PIM, e-commerce businesses can easily collect and organize product data, regardless of its volume, velocity, structure, or origin. Further, product data can be analyzed, cleansed, and transformed to enable newer sales channels.
Integrate and syndicate
The e-commerce landscape is constantly evolving, making it necessary to integrate accurate publication and synchronization of product content across sell-side partners and customers. Besides, delivering product content in many formats within a multi-channel universe is a much more complex process than just exporting a file and loading it onto a website. As a result, there is a need for trusted master product data and product-specific behavioral assets that can be syndicated across different customer touch-points, third-party sellers, and other systems as per the required format and rules, further amplifying sales opportunities. PIM enables businesses with a steady diet of highly reliable, quality data that significantly reduces any redundancies that can result in costly delays or merchandise returns.
Get a holistic view of products
PIM can empower e-commerce businesses with relevant information for micro-segments and help derive product insights for improved customer loyalty. Relevant teams can derive and apply actionable insights by applying various analytical methods such as simulation, text analysis, machine learning (ML) approaches, and graph analysis to product data assets. Organizations can also achieve strategic agility by using insights to drive revenue through customer-oriented product innovation and connecting to other modern data domains without affecting governance and standardization processes. Timelines for new product introductions (NPIs) can also be reduced to achieve a quicker time-to-market with a competitive edge.
Gain deeper product insights
It is a known fact that customer expectation delivery is critical to buyers, with many taking their business to a competitor the moment they experience poor customer service; or vowing never to do repeat business once they have switched. Hence, the need for insights.
But, if the product data is stored across multiple e-commerce platforms or even local drives, the ability to discern any relevant data from products is next to impossible.
Ideally, PIM allows businesses to apply effective analytics to derive product intelligence and reliable insights within a single roof of coherent product data, further enabling quick and seamless business decisions based on these insights. It provides a 360-degree view from where the products are stored physically, mapping through to a sale or shipment of an item.
Automate processes for operational excellence and beyond
The fastest way to achieve operational excellence is through automation. Powered by PIM, businesses can implement an automation process to enhance operations and accelerate product speed-to-market coupled with order fulfilment accuracy for an increased return on investment (ROI). Moreover, repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can attract human error and impede the delivery of product information can be eliminated with automated access and pushing precise information to potential buyers. For instance, PIM allows for seamless, automated dispatch of newsletters, product catalogs, e-mailers, digital brochures, and more to regular and prospective buyers with easy access to high-value content and target-specific information.
Build a deeper relationship with suppliers
When it comes to eCommerce, business is done in different directions across different suppliers. This means product information will need to be synchronized across all partners promptly with quality, accuracy, and enriched data measures.
PIM helps build an extended value chain between the organization and partners by enabling them to add and edit their product descriptions and digital assets, eliminating the need for businesses to participate in tedious retyping. Furthermore, it allows for consistent content standards across the supplier community. It enables true supplier collaboration – from establishing user-specific views for partners to importing product content directly from CSVs or spreadsheets sourced from smaller or less technically mature suppliers.
ITechnology Interview with Scott Toborg, Director of Product Management Data Science and Advanced Analytics at Teradata
PIM is now a prerequisite for successful E-Commerce initiatives
Modern social behavior has shown how eCommerce has become increasingly significant, with consumers choosing to use multiple channels while researching or purchasing products. While businesses must represent themselves across multiple channels, it is just as, if not more, imperative to lay the right kind of foundational layer to take e-commerce forward – with centralized and categorized product information.
By integrating PIM with e-commerce platforms, businesses can streamline various tedious processes into a scalable, unified system that makes the everyday lives of internal teams and customers alike much easier.