If you want to sell your product, you need to present it well. Missing images and poor-quality product information are the main reasons for consumers not to buy a product in an online shop. The same applies to other channels, where incomplete information will often result in missed sales opportunities. Omnichannel commerce has become part of our life. Browse through a print catalogue and then order online; purchase online and collect your items in a store down the street (click & collect service); find a local retail store on your mobile; place an order for the right size from a retailer’s e-commerce site after getting some advice at that merchant’s store – nowadays, customers expect a seamless shopping experience across all channels (touchpoints).
The introduction of PIM offers many benefits for companies:
• Consistent, up-to-date and channel-specific customer approach
• Targeted communication
• Shorter time-to-market and more efficient processes
• Higher conversion rate and revenue
• Lower return rate through more reliable product descriptions
• Customer loyalty through excellent customer experience
• Effective (centralised) management of information
Consistent, up-to-date and channel-specific customer approach
Before buying, consumers want to obtain as much information as possible. “What is the right product for my needs?” “Who is the best supplier?” They consult websites, online forums, catalogues, magazines, or ask friends for advice. In the course of a customer journey, they might easily seek information from ten or more communication channels. It is, therefore, all the more important for channels to be interlinked and aligned. Consistent, detailed and useful product information is crucial for the purchase decision and indispensable for a positive customer experience.
The emergence of new sales channels has increased the complexity of data management for retailers and manufacturers. Nowadays, data has to be adapted to the specific needs of different target groups. This would be difficult to achieve without the support of technically advanced systems. The aim of Product Information Management and PIM software is to simplify and harmonise data management and data distribution processes.
Shorter time-to-market and more efficient processes
Quite often, different distribution channels are maintained separately for historical reasons. The same data may be managed separately in several departments, e.g. in marketing, sales and inventory management. As a result, product information is often created and maintained in different ways, and possible synergies are not exploited.
PIM systems are used to manage all product-related data centrally, in a structured and media-independent way – be it marketing texts, images and videos, technical product data or master data such as price, size and article numbers. Collecting and updating product data centrally, in a media-neutral way, i.e. only once, significantly increases the efficiency of business processes, as it avoids having to maintain the same data twice in different departments. Furthermore, this accurate and consistent data can be used for all output channels. Users can easily edit and use specific product information for different output channels. PIM systems ensure that all product data is coordinated across the enterprise and hence enable efficient data management and data handling processes.
PIM systems also facilitate the translation and review processes, thus saving valuable time when creating print and online media in multiple languages and contributing to a company’s internationalisation.
Moreover, a centrally managed PIM system allows users to define exact validation rules in order to further improve data quality, hence preventing inappropriate or wrong entries, such as “blue” when specifying the size of an item. Validation rules can also optimise time-consuming tasks such as data export and distribution.
By managing data in a central repository, a PIM system will automatically and significantly improve the quality, timeliness and consistency of product information in your online shop, your catalogue and your sales documentation. In a nutshell: PIM significantly reduces your effort, production times of advertising media and the time-to-market of your products.
Higher conversion rate and revenue
Accurate and complete product information facilitates buying decisions – your conversion rates will increase. A customer is more likely to choose your product if he sees compelling images and finds helpful information. Moreover, you generate more revenue with improved upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
Lower return rate
Your return rate will decrease! There will be no nasty surprises when unpacking the goods, such as colours or sizes that are different than expected, because your customers receive accurate product information during the purchasing process. The positive effect: customer satisfaction increases if your product data are helpful, up-to-date and consistent across all channels.
You will also enhance customer loyalty. Consumers appreciate a retailer’s or brand’s reliability and competence. Consumers who experience a positive shopping experience are far more likely to resist the competitive pressures on the market and instead rely on past experience for future purchases. A centralised PIM system will help improve the customer experience and thus increase revenue.
Central management of information
Another plus: A PIM system can be seamlessly integrated into a company’s existing IT infrastructure. Master data, such as stock and article numbers, can still be maintained in an ERP system. The CRM system provides important analytical data on a customer’s purchasing behaviour. A PIM system consolidates existing data from different sources with your marketing information and other contextual data and makes it available to your communication channels. Changes and updates, e.g. to technical information, are automatically distributed to all concerned systems/channels (push back functionality). Thus, the system ensures that all your product data are always up-to-date and automatically available on all channels.