7 Signs Your E-Commerce Business Needs a PIM System

How to meet the growing needs of channels and marketplaces today? A PIM solution might be your answer.

30 Sep 2019


The growth of e-commerce today is challenging businesses and teams to think about commerce and the solutions that run them differently. In the next couple of years, e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion. And even though that only accounts for about 10% of total retail sales, one thing is abundantly clear—the opportunities for e-commerce businesses will only continue to grow.

 

But as your business grows, conventional tools like Excel, ERP systems, and standard e-commerce platforms start to show their weaknesses when it comes to managing product data. Home-grown systems and on-prem solutions can’t scale or deliver the power, security, and performance you need.

 

That’s why product information management (PIM) systems have become so important to e-commerce. If you’ve been weighing the pros and cons of an investment in PIM, consider these seven signs that your e-commerce business could benefit from a dedicated PIM solution.

 

1. You’re Looking to Improve Data Quality

Data quality is an essential pillar for any successful e-commerce business. This isn’t news, but it’s certainly not getting any easier to maintain data quality as e-commerce portfolios grow more complex. And because there’s so much data to manage, there are bound to be errors within your traditional e-commerce systems.

 

Any issues with data quality will impact both SEO, customer experience, and regulatory compliance. But with a dedicated PIM system, you can centralize product data feeds from ERP, PLM, and other third-party systems to maximize quality across your the enterprise.

 

2. More Channels Are Causing More Problems

We’re firmly entrenched in the era of multichannel and omnichannel e-commerce. While omnichannel experiences often gain the most attention from a leadership standpoint, trying to support multichannel e-commerce is no small task as the digital shelf should never be empty.

 

As your product portfolio spreads across your website, catalogs, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and more, you can’t afford to have data inconsistencies on each platform. A PIM system gives you a single point of control and visibility to publish product data across all of your e-commerce channels. Wherever your customers seek product information, they’ll be met with consistent and accurate entries ensuring trust and a positive experience.

Commerce across the digital shelf

 

3. Go-To-Market Execution Is Too Slow

When it comes time to bring a new product to market, speed is everything. Especially in a hyper-competitive e-commerce space. One misstep in your channel or marketplace can result in you missing out on a significant opportunity and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. And while there are many different reasons why go-to-market lead time can be delayed, complex product information often plays a significant role.

 

Implementing a dedicated PIM system can help you reduce go-to-market time by streamlining product data across channels. Because your team gets a central platform to manage and edit all product information, you can ensure data entry is never a reason for missed market opportunities and that channel-specific needs and requirements are met. Inaccurate product data or insufficient information can get products pulled from the digital shelf or incur fines. Don’t let this impact your revenue stream.

 

4. Conversion Rates Are Lower Than Expected

For e-commerce businesses, there’s a direct correlation between customer experience and conversion rate. That’s why so many e-commerce managers are constantly analyzing on-site behavior and checkout workflows in an effort to find any opportunities to streamline the conversion process. But what often goes overlooked is the role of product data in customer experience.

 

When product data is mismanaged or disorganization, inconsistencies will hurt customer experiences and potentially lead to abandoned sessions during the buying process. Using a PIM system to manage product layouts, data inputs, contextual experiences, and category organization will ensure customers always have a smooth, friction-less experience.

 

5. You’re Processing Too Many Product Returns

High return rates hurt your bottom line by increasing restocking fees, shipping costs, and reducing the chances of repeat purchases. It can be difficult to track exactly why customers are returning your products. But one of the main problems is often that customers aren’t getting what they expected based on the product information provided. And those expectations are changing as more transparency in the supply chain and sustainabilityy data is gaining traction. Product information and details matter to your buyers.

Implementing a PIM system gives you greater control over product data quality, making it easier to publish comprehensive descriptions and sourcing information that are always up to date. This can cut down on product returns, keep customers happy, and improve your profit margins.

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6. Large Numbers of SKUs Are Becoming Unmanageable

Every SKU comes with its own unique set of data covering everything from price, color, and style, to sizes, form factor, brand, and beyond. The more SKUs you have, the harder it is to maintain their consistency and quality. We’ve called it “content spaghetti” before but today, it is really just chaos.

 

PIM systems alleviate the pressure of managing high-volume SKUs, giving you a comprehensive, dedicated platform for keeping track of every piece of information organized, updated, translated, and streamlined for syndication and distribution. It’s never set it and forget it with product content.

 

7. It’s Time to Go Further with Personalization

Personalization is the new frontier for consumer engagement. It’s about being adaptive in your merchandising of content and experiences. Your customers have more choices than ever, and you need unique ways to cut through the noise to get your products the attention they need. However, product personalization introduces layers of additional information that have to be managed alongside typical entry data. Traditional e-commerce management tools aren’t equipped to handle this kind of product data. A data asset management (DAM) solution can only go so far. Delivering the right experiences is more than just the right asset today.

 

Dedicated PIM solutions are highly customizable, making it easy to integrate customer data in realtime into product entries and distribute personalized descriptions and experiences in context that boost engagement.

 

If you’ve ever struggled with any of the points listed here, it might be time to invest in a dedicated, multitenant PIM solution for your business. Keep in mind not all solutions are the same, so choose wisely.

 

Still wondering if a PIM system is right for your needs? Check out this Product Information Management primer to learn more about how it can help you improve customer experiences and become a more adaptive merchandiser.
Redefine commerce with inRiver PIM.

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Written by

Erika Goldwater, CIPP


Erika Goldwater is the director of global communications for inRiver. An industry veteran, Erika lives and breathes B2B marketing, content, public relations, and data privacy. She's a Boston marketer who hails from Baltimore.