For companies today looking to expand their market presence and online revenue, one of their most valuable assets is the product information critical to converting prospects into buyers. So why do most companies still manage that product information in spreadsheets and maintain multiple versions of their product data? Implementing a Product Information Management (PIM) solution provides a single place to manage all of your product information. The result is significant ROI for your business through greater operational efficiency and higher conversion rates.
Why is PIM and Product Experience important?
Similar to the early days of CRM when most companies managed important customer information in spreadsheets, PIM is now viewed with equal importance and priority. Trends today supporting online transactions such as social shopping, marketplaces, and retail-chatbots, require product information that is more structured, complete, and always available. In addition, supporting a multi-channel strategy significantly increases the volume and complexity of product data that must be managed and maintained by marketing and product people. With thousands of products and hundreds of product attributes, companies cannot afford to have this information spread across multiple systems and managed by multiple teams. Doing so is inefficient and results in poor product data quality. For companies selling through multiple sales channels, the case is even stronger for centrally maintaining product information that is available at all times to any sales channel.
Reducing Product Management Overhead
The size and complexity of product data can grow very quickly, especially for companies selling to multiple locales and through multiple channels. Often the focus is on the number of products; however, that doesn't accurately represent the true number of product data values that need to be managed. For instance, a company with 30,000 product skus, and 70 product attributes (size, color, weight, etc.) has 2.1 million product values to manage. If they sell into another country with a different language, unit of measurement, and currency requirements, that number can grow to 2.7 million product values, and if they sell through multiple channels (eCommerce, Print, Point of Sales) the result could be as much as 3.9 million product values to manage. It is simply not possible to manage this effectively in spreadsheets or systems that were never intended to manage Product Information.
Improving operational efficiency is simply doing more with fewer resources in less time. Providing those that manage product information with a PIM solution allows them to do their job efficiently and collaborate with others so they can manage more products in less time. For instance, Akeneo PIM will automate the process of making sure a shoe listed as “Blue, Size 11” on an American eCommerce site gets listed as “Blau, Größe 44“ on the German localization without any manual data entry steps. Multiply that process by 30,000 and you can see how savings can quickly add up.
Enabling vendors and suppliers with self-service tools to provide their product information and ensure that it meets predefined quality and completeness standards helps offload much of the product information workload that companies are required to do themselves.
With Akeneo PIM, customers typically see a 50% improvement in operational efficiency which means that product managers can manage twice as many products as they currently do or they can spend much less time, allowing them to focus on higher value work such as merchandising and improving the overall quality of product information.
Increase Conversion - Reduce Returns
Customers purchasing anything online want to be well informed about what they are buying. Today’s educated buyer expects information that will help them make a smart buying decision and avoid making a poor decision. If they can't get that from your site, they will go someplace else that provides them with the confidence that they are getting what they want.
Maintaining a good user experience is vital but it’s often difficult if the same priority isn't placed on creating a good product experience. One only needs to think of their own online purchasing habits to know how important having good product information is to make you click on the "Add To Cart" button. And we also know how important it is to ensuring that customers receive what they expect which reduces product returns.
The result is that Akeneo PIM customers typically experience increased conversion rates of up to 50% because they can manage and support more products and ensure that those products have the highest quality of data so their customers have what they need to make a smart buy decision. Likewise, these same customers also experience reduced return rates because customers are not purchasing the wrong item.
ROI Impact to Your Business
High quality product information that can be managed and maintained efficiently is vital to a successful online sales strategy. The vast amount of product information and content that customers require to make a buying decision simply cannot be managed in spreadsheets or ERP systems that were never intended to perform this function.
Akeneo PIM provides a centralized, easy to use solution that enables your team to manage product information more efficiently and with higher quality. Since product information exists in one place, spreading that out to other sales channels is simple and quick.
With Akeneo PIM, customers often see a payback period of 3 to 6 months resulting from savings associated with managing and maintaining product information, increased revenue from higher conversion rates, and reduced costs associated with product returns.
Read our complete series of blog posts about PIM ROI.
Guest Author: Scott Dahlgren - VP Global Channel Development - Akeneo, Inc.