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PIM 2.0: The AI revolution in data management

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PIM 2.0: The AI revolution in data management

The total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed globally is expected to skyrocket from 64.2 zettabytes in 2020 to over 180 zettabytes by 2025. Driving this exponential growth is Artificial Intelligence (AI), reshaping the very foundation of data management processes. As data requirements evolve, AI-driven solutions are becoming indispensable. From optimizing operations to ensuring relevance and personalization, AI is driving efficiency and effectiveness like never before.

If you use the internet nowadays, you're likely engaging with some form of AI. Whether through AI-generated content, personalized recommendations, or chatbots, AI is transforming how businesses engage with consumers and present their products or services — and it’s only the beginning. Recently, ChatGPT, Bard, and generative AI at large have taken the internet by storm, raising questions about the future of human-AI collaboration and the evolution of online engagement. 

However, while content creation garners much attention, it’s only the tip of the iceberg when creating a successful content marketing strategy. The real depth of AI's impact lies in the strategic management and enhancement of product information, particularly within the realm of Product Information Management (PIM). Here, AI assumes a key role in refining data organization, ensuring accuracy, and optimizing presentation to deliver consistent, high-quality product content across diverse channels.

What is AI?

Before we dive in, let’s start with the basics. AI, or Artificial Intelligence, refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems. It encompasses a wide range of techniques and approaches enabling machines to perform tasks such as learning from data, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, and natural language understanding. A recent IBM study estimates that 35% of businesses have already adopted AI — and even more (44%) are working to integrate it into their current applications and processes.

Within the vast landscape of AI lies an especially captivating subset: generative AI. This facet of AI epitomizes innovation in content creation. Deep learning, an integral component of generative AI, allows machines to learn from data and produce highly realistic outputs. Platforms like ChatGPT, Bard, and DALL-E demonstrate generative AI’s proficiency in producing lifelike text, realistic speech, and even photorealistic images. According to Goldman Sachs, generative AI could drive a 7% (or almost $7 trillion) increase in global GDP.

The challenges of data management

Navigating the complexities of data management in today's digital world is no small feat. The sheer volume of data generated daily strains storage, processing, and analysis capabilities. Adding to the challenge is the need to craft compelling product content, particularly when 85% of shoppers prioritize product information and pictures when deciding which brand to buy from.

One of the most pressing issues in many companies is data silos — information stored in various places and often duplicated. Compiling and maintaining product information manually across different systems poses a considerable risk of errors. For businesses with extensive inventories, lacking the right technology exacerbates the problem, making the process both costly and inefficient.

Despite the growing adoption of AI tools by marketers, with over 60% leveraging AI and 25% specifically using it to create product descriptions, AI introduces its own unique set of challenges. Overreliance on AI can lead to lower-quality product listings, as sellers may inadvertently overlook errors, resulting in peculiar product titles like “I'm sorry, but I cannot fulfill this request,” as evidenced by ChatGPT error messages on platforms like Amazon.

Striking the right balance between human creativity and AI automation is key to overcoming these challenges and delivering compelling product content that resonates with customers.

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How AI is reshaping Product Information Management (PIM)

With more than half of consumers relying on search as their top source for pre-purchase information, brands are challenged to ensure their product information stands out amidst a sea of options. The solution lies in leveraging advanced technologies to make product data easily searchable, relevant, personalized, and consistent across all touchpoints. This is where AI-powered PIM systems come into play, revolutionizing traditional approaches to data management. 

Traditionally, managing product data involved time-consuming manual tasks prone to errors, hindering brands' quest for relevance and accuracy. However, with AI integration, PIM systems are undergoing a profound revolution. By automating routine tasks and enhancing data analysis capabilities, AI enables organizations to achieve unprecedented efficiency and precision in managing their product information. As AI technology continues to evolve, its role in shaping the future of PIM becomes increasingly integral, enabling brands to stay agile and responsive to evolving consumer preferences and market trends.

To understand AI's impact on product information management, it's vital to consider the routine tasks involved in preparing and organizing your product data. Let’s look at how these tasks can be accomplished with and without AI.

Product information management without AI

In a traditional setup without AI, the company might rely on manual data entry and basic database management systems. They may use a PIM system, but it operates primarily as a repository without advanced analytical capabilities. 

Let's explore how various aspects of product information management are handled in such traditional setups:

Data entry: Without AI, employees manually input product information into the PIM system, including details such as product names, descriptions, prices, and specifications. This process is time-consuming and prone to errors. Even with mass imports, significant manual effort is often needed for configuration, mapping, merging, and ensuring data accuracy.

Data cleansing: Regular data cleansing routines entail manual inspection and correction of inaccuracies or disparities. For example, employees may need to address misspellings, incorrect pricing, or outdated specifications. 

Data quality assurance: Quality assurance efforts hinge on manual scrutiny to verify the accuracy and consistency of product listings. Employees review product information, relying on manual checks to uphold adherence to company standards. 

Product categorization: Product categorization without AI involves manually assigning products to predefined categories based on established criteria. This subjective process relies on human judgment and understanding of the products, potentially leading to inconsistencies. 

Reporting and analysis: Reporting and analysis tasks without AI are typically manual, involving the extraction and manipulation of data from the PIM system. However, this manual process often limits the depth of insights and may cause delays in decision-making due to the time required for data handling. 

Data syndication: Without automated tools to streamline tasks like data formatting, validation, and synchronization across channels, the manual syndication process becomes daunting. This also requires manual dissemination of any updates or changes to product information across platforms. 

Product information management with AI

Incorporating AI into PIM systems transforms data management, providing unmatched efficiency and insights. Here are some of the primary ways AI is currently applied in PIM:

Data integration: Through AI-powered mechanisms, organizations can synchronize and harmonize data from disparate sources, breaking down silos and delivering cross-system accuracy. AI assistants offer tailored recommendations, pre-written content, and task automation, augmenting decision-making capabilities. But while AI optimizes processes, humans maintain control, ensuring alignment with strategic objectives.

Data extraction: AI algorithms automatically extract product information from various sources such as supplier websites, documents, spreadsheets, and images. This reduces the need for manual data entry and improves efficiency.

Data cleansing: The extracted data is then cleansed and standardized with AI algorithms that identify and correct errors in product information, improving data quality and consistency.

AI-powered categorization: Machine learning algorithms automatically assign products to relevant categories and subcategories within the PIM system. Over time, the system identifies patterns and relationships among products and categories and can accurately predict the categories to which new products belong.

AI-powered recommendations: An AI-powered PIM system can analyze vast amounts of customer data, including browsing history, purchase patterns, demographics, and preferences, to generate highly personalized product recommendations.

Advanced analytics: AI enables more sophisticated analysis of product data, including demand forecasting, trend analysis, and personalized recommendations. This provides valuable insights for decision-making and strategy formulation.

Automated syndication, translation, and localization: AI algorithms automatically prepare and distribute product information across channels, translating and localizing content for different markets. This streamlines the process, ensuring accuracy and consistency while saving time and effort.

Continuous learning: AI systems can continuously learn from data patterns and user feedback, improving data quality assurance processes over time.

5 benefits of AI-powered PIM

Introducing AI to your PIM system can save you hundreds of hours of dull work and, at the same time, have a positive impact on your business’s bottom line. Here are five advantages of deploying AI into product information management:

  1. Enhanced customer experience

    With 57% of executives citing meeting customer demands for personalized experiences as their main reason for adopting AI, it's clear that AI-powered solutions are aimed at enhancing customer interactions. AI-driven PIM systems analyze customer behavior and streamline the creation of tailored, high-quality content that resonates with buyers. Such systems, guided by customer preferences, can also provide personalized recommendations. Notably, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations, highlighting the importance of AI-powered PIM for retail success.

  2. Advanced analytics and insights 

    Given that 79% of corporate strategists emphasize the critical role of AI and analytics in driving success, it's clear that advanced analytics are essential. AI-powered PIM systems excel in digital shelf analytics, analyzing various data streams like product descriptions, customer reviews, and market trends. This analysis provides invaluable insights into product performance, customer preferences, market opportunities, and competitive positioning, empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions and optimize their strategies.

  3. Time and cost efficiency

    By automating various tasks related to product information management, AI-driven PIM systems reduce manual effort and minimize errors, leading to significant time and cost savings. In fact, IBM reports that 30% of IT professionals are already leveraging AI and automation tools to save time. Businesses can allocate resources more efficiently, focusing on core activities that drive growth and innovation rather than cumbersome data management tasks. This efficiency not only enhances productivity but also improves overall profitability.

  4. Scalability and operational efficiency

    Only 22% of new businesses launched in the past ten years have successfully scaled. Without the right solutions and execution, businesses may find it difficult to navigate the complexities of scaling and fail to realize their full potential in the market. But with AI-driven PIM systems businesses can scale and adapt to handle increasing data volumes and complexity associated with business growth. It ensures effective management of product information, regardless of the size of the company or the diversity of the product portfolio.
  5. Competitive advantage

    In an era where differentiation is key, PIM systems enhanced by AI are pivotal in helping businesses stand out amidst fierce competition. By harnessing AI capabilities to craft precise and captivating product descriptions, companies can effectively engage with consumers and distinguish themselves in crowded marketplaces. With 90% of companies acknowledging AI as a source of their competitive advantage over rivals, integrating AI-powered PIM systems becomes not just advantageous but essential for maintaining relevance and market leadership.

Contentserv + AI: Stirring up ecommerce success with a dash of PIM'agination

By offering AI-fueled technology, Contentserv transforms PIM from a product data backend into a top-line-driving Product Experience Management. Our solution uses AI end-to-end — from onboarding and enrichment to syndication and closing the loop using channel insights/digital shelf analytics to improve content and distribute it to channels in real time.

Contentserv’s Product Experience Cloud harnesses AI for these crucial capabilities:

  • Data-based text automation: Contentserv seamlessly integrates with connectors like AX Semantics, ChatGPT, and Retresco to enhance content creation, translation, and automation capabilities.
  • Automated workflows: Contentserv enables efficient collaboration among teams with automated workflows and approval mechanisms, ensuring a thorough review of data modifications before integration into AI models. 
  • AI-driven data onboarding and consolidation: Contentserv shines with AI support during the onboarding of product data, streamlining processes and enhancing efficiency. Contentserv's ChatGPT connector provides advanced assistance in organizing and categorizing product data by analyzing product descriptions or other text data and automatically suggesting relevant categories or tags.
  • Product content syndication: Contentserv’s AI-fueled Product Experience Cloud, integrated with Shoppingfeed's powerful feed management, simplifies product content syndication. This seamless integration accelerates time-to-market and enables personalized customer experiences across over 1000 channels.
  • Channel Insights: AI-driven channel insights, comprising digital shelf analytics, customer reviews, and sales data, are directly fed into the PIM system. These insights are readily available through intuitive dashboards, facilitating informed decision-making and closing the loop between data analysis and actionable insights.
  • Translation and localization capabilities: Contentserv simplifies the integration with powerful connectors like DeepL, Across, and Google Translate to streamline translation and localization processes.
  • Artificial Recommendation Agent - Cara: Cara serves as a versatile interface to various AI applications, offering unparalleled flexibility without vendor restrictions. Cara automates content enrichment based on customer preferences, recommending and compiling dynamic content for enhanced customer engagement.
  • Structured data sets: Contentserv’s robust data modeling capabilities enable the creation of structured datasets. These datasets are crucial for machine learning tasks, enabling you to harness the full potential of AI in optimizing your operations. 
  • Microservices for operational efficiency: Contentserv's microservices automate tasks such as creating product descriptions, data mapping, enhancing operational efficiency, and reducing manual efforts.

Incorporating AI-fueled PIM solutions not only enhances operational efficiency but also unlocks unlimited opportunities. By embracing the latest trends, technologies, and future strategies in PIM and AI, companies can position themselves as leaders in innovation and adaptability. This potent duo can yield significant competitive advantages, driving improved data management, personalized customer experiences, and increased revenue.

Contentserv’s all-in-one Product Experience Cloud – fueled by AI

Use our AI-driven capabilities to effortlessly create, optimize, and distribute product content that resonates with your audience.