Experience is key and starts with something quite simple. Or in other words, it can’t start if the customer hasn’t found the product in the first place! So, product data is key in tackling increased competition.
Product data is a powerful tool, an argument to attract, reassure, convince and… sell. Information helps to maintain high-quality customer relations. But it can just as easily become a burden: over a brand’s life, data changes. It can become obsolete or inconsistent from one channel to the next. And watch out for the impact it can have on customer experience!
PIM, or Product Information Management, can come to the rescue. PIM is a product data management process that centralizes, enriches and delivers information to different sales channels to provide a successful and attractive product experience.
WHAT ARE PIM’S STRENGTHS?
PIM embodies a unique voice for all product information: it centralizes and manages data on a single platform on which everyone can collaborate. No more multiple tools and files featuring duplicated or - even worse - contradictory data! By reducing data error risks, PIM has a direct impact on customer satisfaction, and as a knock-on effect, reduces returned orders and negative reviews.
Its second advantage? PIM avoids repetitive, time-wasting tasks. In the world of e-commerce, time is money! PIM automates processes, facilitates rollouts, and speeds up time to market. For example, when a new product is released, information is automatically configured and verified, making the item easier to publish on different channels. Any good PIM solution includes its own workflow to allocate tasks and approvals, and, as a result, facilitates both follow-up and collaboration.
Process automation frees up teams to refocus on their core business and value-added tasks. PIM is also a useful tool for marketing teams: it links products, recognizes products linked to the main item, and pushes appropriate suggestions. The solution promotes cross-selling and up-selling, and the marketing department has the tools it needs to innovate, e.g. create packages or looks for ready-to-wear brands.
But in my mind PIM’s true strength comes from the information itself. PIM makes you certain of your product data, and sure of its consistency, exhaustiveness, and omnichannel compatibility. It will give customers the information they need to understand their purchase and enjoy the best possible experience, by finding the right information, irrespective of the sales channel. Maintaining data quality over time and over a wide range of channels quickly becomes a tiresome task, even a challenge. But with PIM you can keep control over your data, guarantee its consistency, and prevent it from becoming obsolete.
WHEN DOES PIM BECOME AN OPTION?
Let’s be frank: not all online businesses need PIM.
In my experience, PIM is mainly for brands with a wide range of products that they distribute via multiple sales channels (e-commerce site, mobile application, marketplace, etc.). PIM is also handy for managing specific requirements: if a product is technically complex or needs to meet regulations; or for a brand operating internationally, if products have to be tailored to specific distribution market requirements or be available in several languages.
PIM becomes an option when you start to accumulate complex information on a certain volume of products destined for multiple channels. At this point, collaborating using a jumble of Excel files, which everyone enriches more or less correctly and regularly, has its limits! Faced with a need to automate processes, plus data quality and even collaboration issues, you can legitimately ask yourself: am I dealing with issues that suggest I might want a PIM solution?
Data consistency, reliability and quality are the foundations of a successful customer experience. A good experience starts when your customer finds the right product, in the right place, at the right time. PIM is a precious ally to help achieve this aim, contribute to customer satisfaction, and, above all… innovate: by starting with a solid foundation of data, your marketing department holds the keys to taking the next step and enriching your customers’ experience.