Today, ecommerce is more competitive than it has ever been. For businesses looking for more conversions and new revenue, it’s essential to provide a clear and consistent shopping experience. Consider the following hypothetical situation:
You are the shopper. You’re scrolling through social media, and a targeted ad interrupts your feed. After clicking through, you are presented with a product page. There is no picture. The description is short, or in a different language. How likely are you to buy something?
In this situation, a Product Information Management (PIM) system would enhance the online experience. The shopper is presented with inconsistent, incomplete data that deters purchases. The retailer is struggling to normalize data from a variety of sources to avoid alienating potential customers. For a positive product experience on both ends, shoppers need to be given clear, consistent product information and expectations. A PIM allows businesses to provide that clarity.
What is PIM?
A PIM solution is a custom system that allows businesses to manage their information and deliver a consistent, informative, and omnichannel product experience. PIM systems centralize product information to create a single authoritative source. PIMs are similar to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions or spreadsheets due to their sheer capacity for data storage, but surpass both of these software types in terms of product organization and communication with other platforms.
Basic Functions of a PIM
A PIM works in three stages to ensure the optimal expression of detailed product information. Or, put another way, a PIM system involves the standardization, optimization, and distribution of product data to every channel in a business’s portfolio. Here’s what PIM systems do:
- Collect. PIM systems collect data from existing sources, such as your ERP or a supplier’s database. It allows you to choose which sources to give priority and to select the information you want integrated into your system.
- Enrich. The PIM then enriches product descriptions with a variety of additional data. This includes emotional data (product stories), usage data (how-to), technical data (measurements) and media files (images). It will translate this data into multiple languages and classify the data as appropriate for one or several catalogs.
- Spread. Finally, PIMs take the collected, enriched data and distribute it into the proper sale channel(s). This enables you to upload product descriptions to ecommerce, print, mobile, social media networks, and more from a single centralized source. The enrichment stage also gives you control over what appears where. You may upload the same sofa to your ecommerce site and a social media platform, but a PIM can tailor the posts for each channel and audience.
Benefits of a PIM
A PIM ensures data is consistent, authoritative, and communicable. PIM systems:
- Streamline the onboarding process for suppliers and data providers, making it easier to communicate across different platforms.
- Establish a single authoritative source for product information. There are no miscellaneous, conflicting, or outdated copies. All data on the product is organized and accessible within a single system. This promotes organization and coherency.
- Maintain product consistency across different channels, whether your information is appearing in print or as a targeted social media ad. Price, materials, pictures, and descriptions will all be the same between mediums. The only reason products may differ across channels is if you choose to alter the information yourself to best suit the platform.
- Attract customers. Most buyers want to be provided with clear and accurate information before making a purchase. What does your product do? What does it look like? What is it made of? Consistent, enriched data answers these questions and can separate your company from the competition.
Data Maturity and PIM
Data maturity is essentially the extent to which organizations utilize their data to get the most out of it. The more data is utilized the more sophisticated the techniques to analyze the data are, generally, the more data-mature an organization is. Some factors influencing data maturity include how your business creates product information, your existing data organization, and overall data accessibility for both customers and suppliers.
PIM systems are a great way to build data maturity, leading to opportunities for in-depth data analysis and greater business insights. Wondering how mature your data is (and a where PIM can help)? Assess your data maturity with our PIM questionnaire. Discover how PIM solutions can help power your omnichannel initiatives and grow your business.
Americaneagle.com has vast experience assisting clients with system integration and application development services. We’ll optimize your site for positive product experiences and help ensure customer satisfaction. See our web application development services and contact us to join our list of successful clients today.