Retailers today are often managing through the intersection of hyper personalization and operational excellence. For the merchandising team, the goal is to deliver the well-crafted, perfect moment for customers that are in the right language, with the right product, at the right time to ensure the highest chance of a conversion.
On the operations side of the house, IT service groups want scalable systems, interconnected and interdependent systems that can manage any buyer, at any time, on any channel. The merchandiser question is value for the individual and the operator question is value for the system at large. This struggle to meet the dynamic demands of omnichannel is challenging, especially for businesses attempting to serve multiple geographic regions and marketplaces. The process is laborious, manual and expensive as it often requires the use of multiple, disparate systems.
Compound this with the challenge of each region often having its own stack of systems, front end software and unique market needs. Even the most basic updates of product descriptions have to be meticulously updated, often manually, in each individual system and instance.
Having worked with many large-scale brands including; Berlin, Avery Dennison, Delasco, Skullcandy, Me to We, Powell’s Books, Chuck Levin’s and Spinning.com, we’ve unearthed key signals as to when a company should assess their current technology suite architecture, revisit their operational workflows and evaluate how leveraging a Product Information Management (PIM) can scale the way they do business.
Scenario #1: Inefficiencies When Managing Product Data Across Multiple Stores, Regions and Marketplaces
The most common use case in which large-scale brands look to invest in a Product Information Management (PIM) solution are those working to expand globally or seeking ways to optimize the way they sell across multiple stores, geographic regions, physical retail and third party marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay.
Growing brands spend a considerable time and/or require an enormous staff to launch new or update their current product catalog. This include, but is not limit to; product images, inventory, product descriptions, personalizations, supplemental materials, languages, currencies, promotions, banners and landing pages across every sales channel and device type.
It’s challenging, often expensive, and makes it tough to expand and companies can quickly fall behind their competition. Even with a moderate number of products, Merchandising, Marketing and Sales teams struggle to handle the content required to sell globally.
Poorly attempting to balance product data also provides a trickle-down effect as good analytics require good data. If the information necessary for critical or strategic analysis is hard to obtain or requires time spent cleaning, the business as a whole is at risk from delayed deadlines of their go to market strategy.
What’s most concerning about this common scenario is that many companies feel that “lumbering workflows” and “manual processes” are simply part of becoming a large-scale retailer. This is entirely untrue, but rather a symptom that the company must evolve.
Scenario #2: Inconsistent Workflows for Product Data Sourcing
The best way to solve any issue is to address the source. So often we hear, “we have difficulty keeping data consistent from each of our suppliers.”
Product Data Sourcing Examples:
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Typically, each supplier provides product data via a specific system, tool, or email. These inputs produce a wide range of product data types, leading to a messy retrieval and management process which initiates the need to purchase more technologies, hire more staff and stand up more error-prone and inefficient workflows that negatively impact the entire business (e.g., cost, time, customer sentiment, poor data quality, etc.).
Scenario #3: Poor Technology Suite Architecture and Company-Wide Data Sharing
If scenario #1 and #2 did not resonate, product data residing in multiple databases and/or systems and critical information constantly being stored in spreadsheets is a clear sign your company should evaluate a PIM. If manual processes are in place, error prone data and inefficient workflows are likely running rampant across an organization (and you’re probably . suffering from scenario #1 and #2 or could at least use some heavy optimization).
By lacking a PIM system to govern and validate information, important data is easily outdated or lost. You’re also denying your organization the opportunity and benefits of maintaining and sharing product data your entire commerce technology suite.
A PIM not only centralizes and sanitizes product data, but a solid PIM solution will provide an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) enabling a two-way sync across all business applications including;
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Order Management Solutions (OMS)
Content Management System (CMS)
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
Master Data Management (MDM)
Business Intelligence (BI)
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
...and additional legacy systems
If you’re not sure where to start when evaluating a product information management (PIM) solution, you are in great hands with Americaneagle.com. They know and understand your business intimately and will be able to guide you in the right direction.
We’ll provide an:
- Evaluation of your current technology suite and architecture
- Assessment of workflows that starts at data sourcing and pushes through product merchandising, syndication and fulfillment
- In-depth review of our Product Information Management (PIM) features and functionality tied to your specific needs
- Overview of how our native Information Platform as a Service (iPaaS) will unify your technology suite, back office operations and front end shopping experiences
Thanks for reading!
Matt Irving serves Jasper PIM as the Director of Sales and Operations. Matt loves working with high growth companies to help them scale concepts into revenue drivers. Prior to Jasper, Matt spent over 10 years of experience in private equity, technology commercialization, and helping grow some work the world's biggest brands. Learn more about Jasper at https://www.jasperpim.com/product-information-management/what-is-a-pim/.