The product is the centerpiece, ultimately outlining the structure of a company and how it is perceived. But at the end of the day, it is the customer that determines how the company performs - and that performance is measured by the degree of the customer experience around the products.
Every product tells a story - and in order to create that ultimate customer experience in a highly competitive, always online, fast-moving digital commerce world, a product always needs to tell the most compelling story – completely on its own. And the story must be told consistently, regardless of what channel the product is being promoted or sold in.
For several years now, product selling and product marketing organizations have been struggling with the daunting task of product information management; using whatever tools they have at hand. Today, organizations are enabled by PIM systems, optimizing the product storytelling process in every possible way.
There are many benefits of implementing and using a PIM system, and this paper will highlight some of the major advantages of having a PIM.
Great content creates great value, and contributes to a world-class customer experience. In order to generate valuable content, you need to have information that possesses a combination of the following:
Having a PIM in place for managing product information results in several benefits for the organization and the people working with it. The most powerful benefit of having a PIM is how you are able to make changes in one place and have these edits or changes applied everywhere, across all channels, with one click.
A sophisticated PIM system typically also provides a flexible data or marketing model where product information is stored. The degree of flexibility of this model determines how efficient you can be in utilizing the product information across different channels.
A marketing model must be easily customizable to the specific information requirements of the different industries, segments, channels and individual customers that you are targeting. If you have this flexibility of the marketing model in place, making changes in one place and then have it applied everywhere becomes easy and powerful.
The alternative is less attractive: to manage all product information in each channel respectively. This approach means manual and time-consuming work that easily becomes error-prone, leading to inconsistent information across channels, because it simply does not scale up when you are extending your assortment or boosting your market activities.
One of the true benefits of a PIM system is that it enables and encourages teams and individuals to collaborate around the product storytelling process. Many systems provide fixed workflow support - a fixed framework for people, guiding them in their work. These pre-defined workflows typically have a top-down structure that does not suit every organization, and provides little or no room for making customizations. However, there are PIM systems providing a more flexible approach.
The goal is to give the team, or the individual team member, the means to create a work structure and workflow that is specifically tailored to how the organization works and how particular individuals manage the personal workload. This approach makes product marketers more efficient, adding harmony to their workload.
Many organizations, especially manufacturers, promote and sell their products through various marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, etc. These sites require product information to be sent to them in specific formats that depend on the product category. It is not unusual that product marketers have to define and deliver more than 100 different product entities to get approved by a specific marketplace. Some of the marketplaces also require suppliers and manufacturers to provide unique product descriptions. Having a PIM system puts structure in place, radically reducing the workload for dealing with the information demands and the depth of information for the various marketplaces. With certain automation, you can also ensure that the new or updated information from the PIM is transferred both correctly and on time to the marketplace. This makes marketplace maintenance easier.
As a company, you sell products packaged in different attractive ways. At the core of it is all the product information: all the ways that the product must be described verbally, including various dimensions, material etc. On top of that, one must add the visual dimension with pictures, videos, documents, sketches, and other visual material, to make the customer experience richer.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Selling products through digital channels is highly dependent on digital assets for boosting the product offering and making it attractive. This is why organizations often seek to find a solution with the ability of utilizing the combined functionalities of PIM and DAM. Such a solution will automatically link product information with the right assets, and remove the need for moving between different systems when creating and optimizing product information for various contexts.
It is important that product information is consistent across all touch points where a customer might connect with the company. If not, the conflicting messages will lead to confusion. Some companies start their digital sales approach by using a single sales channel to dictate the product information taxonomy. However, this approach is not scalable to a multi-channel perspective, as the implemented taxonomy simply cannot apply to all channels, especially as new channels are added.
It is also important to understand that the product comes first. A PIM is built on the premise of providing a flexible data model that adjusts to any system. With all the product information solidly in place, you can easily implement any channel and any system that either feeds the PIM with data, or consumes product information from the PIM. All you need to do is implement your PIM first, and then integrate your eCommerce, mCommerce, print, ERP or any other system to the PIM. This way you can very quickly be up and running with perfect product information in any channel, as all you need to do is implement the channel, not start the product information work from scratch.
Deploying a PIM system provides numerous benefits to the product marketing organization. Adding to the ones stated above, there are several benefits that contribute to a fast ROI: