The case for brands and retailers to sell across digital channels has never been clearer. In a highly connected world where it’s possible to reach across borders more easily than ever, e-commerce enables businesses to:
- Drive sales by reaching out to consumers and meeting them wherever they are geographically and in the digital world.
- Gather granular information about these consumers, data that can be used to personalize the customer experience.
Brands and retailers of all kinds understand this business case for digital sales clearly. Nevertheless, the reality is that many companies are disappointed by their forays into e-commerce, especially when they’re starting out.
Why don’t brands and retailers enjoy e-commerce success?
All too often, problems with e-commerce begin not at the front end with the e-commerce platform, but because of a modern variation on one of computing’s oldest ideas: garbage in, garbage out – GIGO. More specifically, digital commerce mercilessly exposes any internal inconsistencies in product data when it comes to prices and specs.
The issues don’t necessarily stop there. If product imagery is poor, e-commerce becomes a way to advertise this to the widest possible audience. Worse, e-commerce initiatives may even actively damage a brand because consumers grow frustrated when they spot inconsistencies or see imagery that’s blurry or outdated, that often leads to cart and brand abandonment.
So how can brands and retailers make the most of e-commerce opportunities while protecting the reputation of the business?
The short answer is to sort this product data out. How should brands and retailers go about this? By using a PIM, or Product Information Management solution. This is a technology that enables businesses to collate, manage and enrich product information, including images, videos and detailed technical information, in one central repository.
From here, the product data can be fed out where it is needed. The key idea in this approach is that if, for example, a product or product bundle changes, the same data can feed company websites, social media promotions, apps – and be used in offline channels such as catalogs and stores too.
Rather than running the risk of putting a magnifying glass on bad data, using a PIM brands and retailers can send consistent messages and experiences to all their customers. This can be done more easily across multiple touchpoints too and using imagery and/or video that is optimized for all different channels. This builds confidence in the brand or retailer.
Does managing data in this way improve business processes?
Yes. The more product data a brand or retailer has, the more complex it becomes to manage this data. A manual and siloed approach to managing this data inevitably results in errors, operational inefficiency and a host of other issues, such as arguments over who within the business ‘owns’ data.
In contrast, implementing a PIM solution centralizes product data and establishes processes to ensure data is reliable. This in turn helps streamline the processes needed to get to market faster and across multiple channels, because staff can trust the product data they’re working with.
Businesses can then put the focus where it needs to be to make the most of sales opportunities offered by digital technologies and e-commerce: on enriching product content to create compelling and personalized customer experiences.
10 ways a PIM solution can help your e-commerce business scale to new heights
Drilling down into these ideas, here are 10 specific steps brands and retailers can take so that a PIM drives them to e-commerce success:
- Simplify operational processes: employees waste time managing multiple SKUs. 1 A PIM enables you to automate this work. Automated processes such as roles and rights management and real-time data-quality checks minimize errors, and help teams save time.
- Streamline tasks: a PIM solution with a powerful search function helps businesses to undertake more efficient task management.
- Create a single source of product truth: more than four-fifths of organizations reported that managing data at scale from multiple sources is both daunting and tedious. A centralized PIM solutions eliminates data silos.
- Get a 360° view of products: almost half of newly created data records have at least one work-impacting error. 2 Using a PIM, brands and retailers can view products from all angles to ensure consistency and accuracy across channels.
- Improve data quality: almost half of data inaccuracies are down to human error. 3 Automating data onboarding, harmonizing and enhancing data quality checks prevents such errors.
- Speed time to market: more than three-quarters of new products are delayed in getting to market. 4 A PIM helps improve processes and so reduces these delays.
- Strengthen omnichannel presence: businesses that talk to their customers across channels retain more of these customers. 5 Channel-optimized product data is key here.
- Amplify product pages: employees look for media 83 times a week, yet a third of the time don’t find what they need. 6 Storing, organizing distributing and retrieving digital assets using an integrated digital asset management solution within a PIM reduces that level of failure by 5%. When staff can access key assets more easily, it in turn becomes easier to amplify brand consistency.
- Orchestrate personalized and contextualized experiences: more than 70% of consumers feel frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences. 7 A PIM enables you to craft and create personalized content promotions and campaigns.
- Expand your reach: four-fifths of customers prefer to buy products after reading a description in their own language. 8 A PIM Translation Management module streamlines translation.