The development of the e-commerce industry is undoubtedly a challenge for many entrepreneurs. Customers are increasingly demanding. They want to shop quickly and conveniently, with access to up-to-date and comprehensive product information. One tool that effectively supports this area of e-commerce is a PIM (Product Information Management) system.
Some time ago we wrote about how a PIM platform will transform your e-commerce marketing activities. Today we'll look at how PIM platforms can help you reduce the costs associated with operating an online store.
What is the PIM system?
The shortcut PIM stands for a system for managing product information. It contains all the content and information about company’s offered products - name, description, technical specification, photos, videos, prices and pricing policy, stock levels, delivery options, colour, or size data. However, these are only some of the information that PIM manages.
Collecting and processing all product data in one place makes it easier to control them. Especially if we use PIM in several online stores or other sales locations (marketplaces, social media stores, comparison sites, platforms offering company's traders, etc.).
PIM effectively improves the workflow of product information within the company’s structures and among business partners. It results in the automatic import of data from suppliers' systems, and also real-time export to various sales channels. By using this system, the seller can be sure that all information about products is consistent and up to date, regardless of the sales channel through which a customer encounters a product.
The PIM system supports three basic areas:
- Collection of data from multiple sources in one place and ensures their correct consolidation,
- Provision of the option to efficiently search, verify data and wholesale modify / update them,
- Publication and transmission of product-related information to systems such as e-commerce portals.
Who will benefit from PIM?
To put is simply, PIM is a great solution for those who want to make sure that product information is consistent and error-free. The implementation of this tool brings the most benefits:
- for large online stores,
- for owners of e-stores that sell omnichannel,
- for distributors and wholesalers, for whom the quantity and complexity of products is extensive.
It is also a particularly workable solution as the information about the selling assortment, such as product descriptions from numerous suppliers or copywriters, comes from external entities.
How important is product information?
Modern technologies more and more often facilitate online shopping. The AR and VR provide a possibility of creating shopping experiences which are similar to those in traditional stores, the difference is that customer cannot touch the products before the order is processed. Such a person bases mainly on photos, description, and specification provided on the product card. It makes us come to a simple conclusion, the better a product is described, the more certain it is that a Customer decides to purchase.
Product information is valuable not only for customers, but also for employees at every level of the company structure. It is essential both for the everyday work and for strategic decisions. The introduction of the PIM system facilitates processes and saves time and energy of employees.
How does PIM support the performance of e-commerce teams?
- Category manager – module that reduces the number of errors in the entered data. Thanks to their automatic detection, content verification becomes much easier. Storing data in one place increases their protection level and facilitates control over them. The system also makes it easier to distribute product information to multiple channels and update them in real time.
- Marketing manager – it provides convenient access to all product information. Also facilitates the analysis of information and accelerates its distribution to multiple channels. Integrations with advertising systems also allow for faster launch of new campaigns and more efficient management of existing ones. The product experience of consumers is also significantly improving, and thus the percentage returns because of inconsistency with a description is decreasing.
- IT manager – increases control over data and reduces the risk of data loss which influence the cost reduction process. The system assures scalability for growing online stores. It also allows for integrating with other platforms and modifying the system in order to adapt it to the needs of the company. An additional advantage is the possibility to add new functions to the system faster and cheaper. What is worth noting is the ease of integration of this type of platform with other systems used within the organization.
- Customer service specialist - with the reliable product information, the system reduces the number of inquiries and complaints. It is an access to a central source of product information for employees which increases the speed of responding to requests. The database of frequently asked questions also allows for automatic creating and updating product-specific FAQ. PIM also streamlines the information workflow and product awareness.
Areas requiring support in product information management.
Very often, manufacturers or distributors sell in many channels, and that is why they include information about their products in many places:
- Publications on the website, online stores, social media, and those in the form of newsletters sent directly to customers.
- In traditional, printed materials (catalogues, brochures, leaflets, and advertising magazines).
- Printed materials are also used during training for providers and distributors.
- Also, the price lists are places in which there appears product information.
However, regardless of the way and place of use of these data, organizations that have not yet implemented the PIM system most often encounter problems concerning the following areas:
- Maintaining up-to-date data – this problem applies especially to large e-commerce companies offering lots of products dispersed across many sales channels and/or those massively using printed materials. Manual introduction of modifications and updates is not only wasting of time but also a risk of making mistakes while entering product information. Moreover, it is increasingly difficult to find the most up-to-date version of a given product description among such a vast amount of data.
- Dispersion of product information and lack of consistency – in the traditional approach, changing product information in one place does not mean that there is no need to introduce changes in other ones. Furthermore, different forms of descriptions may appear in various places, and these descriptions change over the years, and sometimes even months. The files in which product information is stored take up a lot of space and often have different formats, which makes it difficult to combine them into the coherent whole.
- The human factor and need for automation – the human factor is an issue in the management of product information. Product information is based on the knowledge and competence of people who know the product and its data. Employees of other departments (e.g., marketing) have to base on cooperation with them, which significantly prolongs the process and increases the risk of making mistakes.
Product information management and expansion to foreign markets.
The PIM system is particularly important for large, international projects. It is an invaluable support while selling omnichannel and quickly entering new foreign markets. This solution provides new opportunities - the control on individual products in different markets.
Companies planning to expand on international markets, or those that already operate there should not underestimate the numerous benefits of a PIM system. It will be a huge support in adapting product information to the context of a specific market. It will improve the translation and localization of descriptions and attributes, adjust search options to a specific market, introduce separate filters (e.g., in Germany cars are searched by KBA, while in Poland by VIN number), or determine the visibility of products concerning a specific market.
After the tool is properly configured, most of these functions can be performed automatically, and the operation focuses only on the verification and acceptance of ready-made data.
Where will you save money with PIM?
- Time savings and cost reductions.
Entering data on products manually is time-consuming and requires a lot of commitment and focus. Extensive assortment, multiple information sources, and sales channels cause errors and gaps in descriptions.
By implementing the PIM system, there appears a possibility to automate such tasks. Its advantage is the option to enter content only once in order not to waste the time and energy. Providing detailed product information is also to reduce the number of inquiries.
Moreover, in many cases, there is an option to define a description template that, based on the PIM information imported from many sources, supplements the relevant data itself.
- Orderly communication, efficient management, and monitoring of product information.
The PIM system allows for modifying the information and adapting them to the sales requirements. While collecting data in one place, there appears the possibility to manage them easier. The coherent communication enhances the image of an online store, which will be perceived as professional and credible, and the positive shopping experiences make customers want to come back and purchase again.
- Sales growth, less returns, increased customer satisfaction.
With the use of PIM systems, the conversion rate increases by posting high-quality product descriptions on the store's website. Items sold online cannot be touched, therefore it is important to provide as comprehensive and accurate product information as it is possible.
A customer who receives all the necessary data is highly likely to make more purchases in the store. Also, a well-described product provides a lower risk of its return. The PIM system helps to significantly eliminate the occurrence of mistakes while entering information manually on different platforms, this is possible because of the automatic notification.
- Simple and fast introduction of new assortment.
New products and variants of goods often appear in online stores. There are products whose description should change seasonally. The PIM system facilitates the process of management of products, which the store already has in its offer and helps in the convenient implementation of the new assortment.
The standardisation and mapping functions are particularly useful in this respect. In addition, the system provides integration with external databases, thanks to which the introduction of new products is not so time-consuming.
Together we will analyze your needs and advise you on how to implement a PIM that will increase the efficiency of your e-commerce. Make an appointment for a free consultation.
A company that wants to undergo a digital transformation should focus on automation and synchronization of tasks. The implementation of the PIM system is a step towards business development.
A well-chosen and configured system (Check out our article: PimCore or Akeneo. Which PIM to choose and why?) can manage a large amount of data and product information which allows for organizing them in such a way as to be intuitively managed on each sales channel. This significantly reduces the amount of manual work and enhances the control over a company. It results in savings of time and costs, and positively affects product communication. This tool facilitates and automates a significant part of the work, reduces operating costs, and provides prospects for conquering new markets.
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