In a previous blog, we mentioned the opportunity for distributors—who are new or newer to eCommerce—to ‘leapfrog’ over early adopters and learn from best practices in eCommerce. This is no time to tarry since Forrester recently reported that 74% of U.S. B2B buyers research at least half of their work purchases online. In addition, the percentage of U.S. B2B buyers who will execute online purchases will increase to 53% by 2017, a 32% increase in the past three years alone.
We at inRiver would like to suggest that, by implementing PIM first, or simultaneously with your eCommerce solution, distributors can more quickly and effectively leverage future investments in the online sales process.
Product Information Matters
Product information is a key component for succeeding at online sales for all B2B companies. Providing consistent, accurate, and comprehensive information is an essential part of creating a great customer experience, building trust with customers, and giving them the information they are looking for where and when they want to connect with vendors.
By researching product offerings online, customers can more rapidly detect differences in prices of commodity products and compare features and differentiated value between products. Therefore, your reputation for displaying accurate information and delivering perfect product shipments is increasingly on the hook. Customers will associate these activities with your company name and your brand. And you want customers to choose you each and every time.
A PIM (Product Information Management) solution supports enterprises with content creation and distribution by enabling the production and customization of content for any current and future sales channels—both online and offline. With PIM, distributors can build a robust foundation for high-quality content.
One Source for Your Product Information
Unlike other systems that are used in eCommerce, a PIM system enables the creation of product content in a generic way, without restricting the use of it for a specific channel. With PIM as the product information engine and single source of “truth,” information can be easily adapted to any requirement a channel might have. With PIM as the backbone, product information can be kept up-to-date and consistent across channels and can be used, re-used, and repurposed at any time—whether for your eCommerce website, your dealer collateral, or your offline catalog.
PIM in the System Landscape
PIM brings structure to the management of product information within an organization. By implementing PIM first and setting up an efficient PIM process, structure, and marketing model, distributors can gain more flexibility for accepting and supplying product information for their upstream suppliers and downstream channels. With all product information stored in a PIM, distributors can quickly populate new channels and systems with high-quality product information, make changes to the information in one place, and update all channels with the new information directly from the PIM system.
By implementing PIM first—before any other channel investments—distributors can more quickly leverage future eCommerce investments.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager North America, inRiver