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5 PIM best practices to win on the digital shelf

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5 PIM best practices to win on the digital shelf

As online shopping continues to rise, the digital shelf has become a critical battleground for brands striving to capture consumer attention and drive sales. With global retail ecommerce sales set to surpass eight trillion USD by 2027, optimizing this digital space is more important than ever. But to win buyers over, your product information must stand out across all potential digital touchpoints.

In today’s increasingly complex shopping journey, Product Information Management (PIM) emerges as a vital tool to help you organize and present product data across all your channels. Today, 85% of shoppers say that product information and pictures are important in their decision-making process, highlighting the role of comprehensive data in influencing consumer behavior. To meet this expectation, you must support consumers’ digital shopping experience by consistently providing as much valuable information as you can.

How consumers purchase your products is also a crucial aspect of the digital shelf. With new channels emerging and social media taking center stage in consumer discovery across all demographics, especially Gen Z (46%) and Millennials (44%), organizations must adapt their strategies to meet consumers where they are most engaged. By implementing effective PIM practices, brands can ensure they deliver the right message to the right audience, building trust and loyalty along the way.

While you’re here, let’s look at the top 5 PIM best practices to win on the digital shelf. But first, do you know what the digital shelf actually is?

What is the digital shelf?

The digital shelf refers to the virtual space within the ecommerce ecosystem where products are displayed, marketed, and sold to consumers. It’s the online counterpart to a shelf in a physical store. But unlike the constraints of physical retail shelves, this online space is expansive and continually evolving, accommodating various touchpoints such as ecommerce websites, mobile apps, social media commerce channels, and third-party marketplaces.

From the moment a shopper enters a search query to the final click of the checkout button, every step of the online shopping journey contributes to the digital shelf experience. Since buyers can’t pick up a product and inspect it, numerous functionalities have evolved around enhancing the customer experience on the digital shelf, including customer reviews, virtual try-on, personalized recommendations, seamless checkout processes, and responsive customer support.

How to win on the digital shelf

In an ever-growing global ecommerce market, standing out on the digital shelf is essential. It’s not easy to predict or control how shoppers will move from shelf to shelf in this omnichannel landscape. To succeed, you must provide a better online shopping experience than your competitors by understanding your customers’ needs and optimizing your channels accordingly. The first step is to focus on what you can control: product content.

That’s why winning brands are providing:

Enhanced product content: Enhanced product content is essential for online shopping, as 40% of consumers have returned items due to inaccurate product descriptions. Detailed and engaging information not only empowers customers but also builds trust and drives sales. From captivating visuals to insightful reviews, every detail contributes to a seamless shopping experience.

Personalized recommendations: Tailoring product suggestions based on customer preferences and browsing history is a key strategy for driving sales and enhancing customer satisfaction. Studies show that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations.

Omnichannel experiences: Omnichannel experiences are crucial, with 42% of consumers expecting a seamless journey across devices and channels. Brands are meeting this expectation by distributing enriched product content across all touchpoints. Ecommerce syndication expands a business's reach across online platforms, enhancing visibility and accessibility for consumers.

And with a little help from a powerful tool like a Product Information Management (PIM) system, you can seamlessly integrate and optimize these elements across your digital ecosystem — and captivate your audience from the first click.

PIM’s impact on the digital shelf today

In today's digital marketplace, where consumers are inundated with options and experiences, Product Information Management (PIM) serves a crucial role in crafting product content that truly engages and converts. Beyond mere data management, PIM fuels the digital shelf with vibrant, accurate, and engaging product stories, ensuring that every click and scroll is met with delight rather than disappointment.

With 37% of global consumers agreeing that companies prioritize profits over customer experience, PIM becomes a critical solution for brands to rise above the noise, putting customer experience at the forefront of their digital strategy. With a unified source of truth at their fingertips, teams can collaborate seamlessly to craft compelling narratives that resonate with consumers. Thus, embracing PIM best practices is critical for brands striving to secure a prominent position on the digital shelf.

5 PIM best practices to win on the digital shelf

Looking to set your products apart in the vast online marketplace? Picture this: your products displayed front and center, captivating customers with compelling content and smooth experiences. Achieving this level of digital excellence is possible with the right approach to PIM solutions.

Dive into five PIM best practices to conquer the digital shelf and elevate your brand presence:

  1. Centralize product content

    Centralizing product data is crucial for ensuring consistency and accuracy across all touchpoints. With 47% of marketers citing data silos as a major obstacle, a centralized, cloud-hosted PIM platform becomes invaluable. It promotes internal data sharing, enforces standardization, streamlines workflows, and integrates seamlessly with essential systems like ERP and ecommerce platforms. By having a single source of truth, you can streamline workflows and eliminate data silos that often lead to inconsistencies and errors.

  2. Oversee data governance

    Effective data governance is essential for the integrity, security, and compliance of product information. By implementing workflows and validation rules within the PIM system to enforce data governance standards and prevent errors or discrepancies, you can establish accountability and ownership over data management processes. Automated data validation checks can flag inconsistencies, ensuring that customers receive reliable information regardless of where they encounter your products online. Regular compliance checks help organizations stay aligned with industry standards and regulations, mitigating risks and enhancing trust among customers and partners.

  3. Collect insights through advanced digital shelf analytics

    Organizations are increasingly investing in data management (65%), data governance (63%), and advanced analytics (60%). With greater ability to track and monitor product performance, customer behavior, and market trends in real-time, you can optimize your operations and identify valuable patterns for effective marketing. PIM enables a seamless integration with analytics tools, allowing you to analyze customer behaviors and preferences. By accessing key metrics and insights, you can make data-driven decision-making and quickly adapt to changing market conditions.

  4. Optimize SEO for greater visibility

    By leveraging PIM functionalities, you can optimize product data for search engines. Seamlessly incorporate relevant keywords, meta tags, and structured data to improve visibility and search rankings. By structuring product information systematically within the PIM system, you can ensure that search engines accurately interpret and index your offerings, driving organic traffic to your digital storefront. Additionally, PIM allows for the creation of dynamic and personalized content, which can further enhance SEO efforts.

  5. Increase Return on Experience (ROX)

    Boosting Return on Experience (ROX) is crucial in today's market, with 86% of customers willing to pay more for better experiences. ROX evaluates the value organizations get on investments in customer experience (CX), which often involves technical data and content. Through data governance, seamless integrations, and advanced analytics, PIM not only minimizes returns and cart abandonment rates but also enhances transparency, scalability, and the overall buying journey. That’s where the foundation of excellent CX and higher ROX is laid.

What makes a PIM project successful?

With digital retail channels and product content influencing more than half of all retail sales, a successful PIM initiative begins with clear objectives. For manufacturers, success often lies in establishing control by centralizing product information, bidding farewell to intermediaries, and ensuring seamless communication across channels. Meanwhile, retailers thrive by syndicating rich information and harnessing the power of data to captivate consumers.

According to Forrester, as highlighted in our latest joint webinar, organizations are aligning their PIM projects with three major factors that contribute to growing top-line revenue: time to market, data quality, and product onboarding. Let's delve into each:

Time to market: Streamlined workflows and efficient processes enable quicker product launches, allowing businesses to respond promptly to market demands. By reducing time-to-market, organizations can capitalize on emerging trends and consumer preferences swiftly, ultimately leading to increased revenue.

Data quality: Emphasis on accuracy, completeness, and consistency ensures reliable product information. High-quality data enables businesses to provide rich and compelling product information to customers, leading to increased confidence in purchasing decisions and decreased product returns.

Product onboarding: An effective product onboarding process saves businesses valuable time by automating as much of the workflow as possible. Intuitive user interfaces, automation tools for bulk import and data mapping, robust data governance features, and seamless integration capabilities allow teams to focus on other essential activities.

By focusing on these factors and implementing robust change management strategies, organizations can navigate the dynamic landscape of channel volatility, driving success in their PIM and digital shelf initiatives.

Are you aware that PIM is now considered a core capability for any enterprise that sells products in the market?

Watch our webinar with Forrester and Specialized to explore how businesses are leveraging PIM to amplify their top-line revenue and drive sustainable growth. 

Level up your digital shelf strategy with Contentserv

Did you know that 73% of consumers say that detailed product content is a key factor when searching through the digital shelf?

In the digital marketplace, where every detail matters, product information takes center stage. By recognizing its role, the need for a dedicated data management solution becomes evident. That’s where Contentserv's AI-fueled PIM solution comes in — a dynamic tool that enables manufacturers, brand owners, and specialized retailers to manage and optimize product content more easily.

Harnessing the power of AI, Contentserv seamlessly integrates into your existing IT landscape and ecommerce ecosystem, connecting all data points to provide a single source of truth and a holistic view of your target audience.

Contentserv takes your digital shelf strategy to the next level by:

  • Boosting SEO rankings through the review and enrichment of product information with relevant search terms.
  • Ensuring all teams within the organization always have up-to-date product information at their fingertips.
  • Integrating seamlessly into your existing IT landscape and ecommerce ecosystem, connecting all data points to provide a single source of truth and a holistic view of your target audience.

The result? The different channels that lead to the digital shelf are consistently served with enriched data – and customers feel a genuine connection to your brand, fostering loyalty and satisfaction.

Get started with digital shelf optimization

Winning on the digital shelf boils down to consistently offering a better experience than your competitors. The brands that show up at the top of search results don’t get there by accident. With tools like PIM and a laser focus on data quality, you can make your products outshine the rest. By centralizing product content, enforcing data governance, harnessing valuable insights, optimizing SEO, and boosting ROX, you can solidify your brand's position as a leader on the digital shelf.

Contentserv: Next-level PIM in the cloud

Elevate your brand's presence on the digital shelf with Contentserv's all-in-one Product Experience Cloud powered by AI.