After-sales trends: How to capitalize with PIM


April 5, 2024

The hottest after-sales trends can be lucrative for businesses investing in PIM software.

After-sales services are an increasingly important part of the customer journey. They can have a huge impact on customer retention, loyalty, and overall brand reputation. However, executing an after-sales strategy in a way that generates profits rather than eats up resources, time, and money can be challenging. An effective after-sales strategy requires a reliable foundation of accurate, up-to-date product data and a robust management system to extract the most value from this data. 

The rewards of a well-executed after-sales strategy can be significant. After-sales strategies can extend product lifecycles, support sustainability efforts, and foster innovation – all while extending the lifetime value of your customers. Let’s look at the key trends shaping after-sales activities in 2024 and beyond to see how businesses excel in this exciting new space, and the role Product Information Management (PIM) software plays in advancing after-sales strategies through effective data governance.  

PIM for after-sales

See the difference PIM makes to your post-purchase profitability.

Full-service offerings for the entire customer journey 

To retain customers and ensure more stable predictable income, many businesses are shifting from one-time transactions to holistic service models. This change shows a better awareness of the customer’s needs beyond the first purchase, building more durable and lasting connections. 

For example, furniture giant IKEA operates a full-service approach that covers the entire customer journey, from design to delivery to disposal. Instead of selling standalone products, it offers integrated solutions that include consultation, customization, installation, maintenance, repair, and recycling services. For instance, a customer who needs a new sofa can consult with a design expert, choose from a range of fabrics, colors, and styles, have the sofa delivered and installed at their home, receive regular cleaning and repair services, and have the option to return the sofa for recycling or exchange when they want a new one.  

An advanced Product Information Management solution can play a huge role in helping furniture brands and manufacturers achieve full-service offerings. With PIM, they can create and update product and service descriptions, specifications, features, and benefits, as well as link them to relevant images, videos, catalogs, and other digital assets. By providing customers with useful, tailored, and engaging product information, brands can make sure that they are always first on the list when a customer decides to buy a new item. 

Maintenance subscription models 

Subscription-based after-sales maintenance services are gaining in popularity, particularly in those industries where complex products require regular repairs and maintenance. For example, a heavy equipment manufacturer offering monthly, or even quarterly, maintenance service immediately becomes a much more attractive proposition for customers who don’t want the hassle of arranging servicing themselves. This service is a great value-add for customers, providing them not only with predictable expenses they can account for but also peace of mind that their equipment will always be online. It can also be a great boost for the manufacturer, as it provides a steady income stream and regular contact with the customer, facilitating the further sale of products, parts, and services.  

Advanced PIM software can enable businesses to implement subscription-based services through the robust management of all product-related data. This includes the automated creation of product groupings, product-part-attribute relationships, and localized product information tailored to the needs of maintenance operatives working in the field. Only with an advanced PIM solution can these operatives access the reliable, SKU-level transparency needed to provide maintenance services for these complex pieces of equipment. 

technician maintaining domestic cooling unit

Repair services in new industries 

As consumers become more sustainability conscious, a growing number of B2C consumers are choosing to repair products that they might have previously thrown out. While repair is typically more common in industries like personal electronics and furniture, this push for sustainability has now reached the clothing and apparel market. Indeed, fashion aftercare, already well-established in markets such as South Korea and Japan, is a key trend for clothing brands looking to maximize their customer lifetime value. For example, fashion brand Patagonia allows customers to return any purchased item to a store to be repaired. In exchange for the return of quality Patagonia items, the brand offers consumers a voucher that can be used in-store or online. The eco-conscious company also offers its own guides to product repairs for those who would prefer to mend their items themselves. 

An advanced PIM solution is key to achieving success in the fashion aftercare market. With products being returned and passed onto partners for repair (and, in some cases, eventual resale), the ability to track and store fast-moving information is key. A PIM solution can assign unique identifiers to each item, store and update their attributes and statuses, and link them to relevant digital assets, such as care instructions, repair manuals, or recycling certificates. The brand can also use the PIM solution to create and publish engaging and informative content for its resale or repair platforms, as well as for sustainability communications and reports. 

The growth of the second-hand parts market 

For buyers looking to cut costs while boosting their sustainability credentials, the second-hand parts market is a great alternative to new parts. The second-hand car parts market has grown substantially in recent years as consumers seek more cost-effective ways to fix their motors. For forward-thinking car manufacturers, this has become a key new revenue source while also allowing them to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability for consumers and the market alike. 

To secure an effective strategy for second-hand spare parts resale, an advanced PIM solution is essential. Only with the right advanced PIM solution can brands achieve the SKU-level visibility needed to create product-part-attribute groupings and relationships. This is particularly true in industries with complex products supported by vast amounts of parts and attributes. Having a handle on this amount of data is a key challenge, and only possible with the right PIM solution in your tech stack.  

Consumer insights pushing innovation 

After-sales interactions can offer invaluable insights into product performance and customer preferences, driving innovation in product development and service offerings. Brands can analyze customer feedback and usage patterns to identify pain points, needs, and expectations. For instance, if an electronics brand sells smart speakers, it can collect data on how customers use voice commands, which features they use most often, and what issues they encounter.  

A PIM solution can help the brand collect, organize, and analyze this data in an efficient and scalable way and store all the relevant product information (such as specifications, features, manuals, warranty details, and customer reviews) in one centralized location. The brand can then use the PIM solution to enrich, validate, and distribute this information across different channels and touchpoints, ensuring consistency and accuracy. The PIM solution can also integrate with other systems, such as CRM, ERP, or analytics tools, to enable cross-functional collaboration and data-driven decision-making.  

inriver: The PIM for after-sales 

With the vast potential that after-sales can have on your revenue, ensuring you have the right software solution in place is essential. The advanced inriver PIM solution is key in enabling businesses to maximize the potential of their post-purchase operations. By providing a single source of truth for all external-facing product information, brands and manufacturers can be sure that all their channels have simple and secure access to complete, compelling, and compliant product information, whether for marketing emails or maintenance operatives in the field.  

However, the inriver platform provides much more than this. The inriver solution is the complete multi-tenant solution for all brands and manufacturers looking to operationalize their product data and turn it into a strategic, profit-driving asset for all stages of a product’s lifecycle. Built on a fully extensible data model and integrated with API-based data syndication and digital shelf analytics technology, the inriver platform has the capabilities you need to drive success on every channel. 

want to see the inriver PIM in action?

Schedule a personalized, guided demo with an inriver expert today to see how the inriver PIM can get more value from your product information.

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