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PIM masterclass: How to turn product data into sales

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PIM masterclass: Turning product data into sales

In today's competitive digital landscape, the significance of managing product information cannot be overstated. Accurate, consistent, and up-to-date product data is crucial for delivering exceptional customer experiences, maintaining operational efficiency, and driving sales growth. Without a robust system in place, businesses risk data inconsistencies, delayed product launches, and missed sales opportunities.

Contentserv's partnership with Ravensburger, a renowned manufacturer of games, puzzles, creative products, and books for children and young people, exemplifies the transformative power of effective product information management (PIM). During our masterclass, Ravensburger shared their firsthand experiences with Contentserv’s PIM solutions, providing valuable insights into the real-world impact on sales and operational efficiency. From managing thousands of SKUs across multiple channels to ensuring seamless data integration, Ravensburger's journey with Contentserv highlights how a well-implemented PIM system can streamline processes, improve data quality, and enhance sales performance.  

Maximizing efficiency and quality through centralized product information management

Centralized Product Information Management (PIM) is a cornerstone for businesses aiming to maintain control over their extensive product data. This approach involves consolidating all product information into a single, accessible repository. By centralizing data, businesses can manage it more efficiently across all channels and customer touchpoints, ensuring that every department and partner has access to the same up-to-date information.

Benefits of centralization

  1. Consistency 

    Centralized PIM ensures that all stakeholders, from sales teams to e-commerce platforms, access the same information. This uniformity is essential for upholding brand integrity and delivering a consistent customer experience. Additionally, with 80% of consumers conducting online research before actually purchasing a product, product information must remain consistent across both online and offline channels. This consistency of product information across all platforms and markets is key to successful multichannel marketing and sales strategies.

  2. Accuracy

    A Gartner study reveals that poor and inaccurate data quality results in average annual losses of $15 million for businesses. With all data consolidated in one place, the likelihood of errors diminishes significantly. Centralized systems reduce the risks associated with data duplication and discrepancies that often occur when multiple systems are used. For example, by implementing Contentserv's PIM, Ravensburger managed thousands of SKUs efficiently, significantly reducing the potential for data errors that could affect customer satisfaction and compliance.

  3. Streamlined operations

    Centralizing product information simplifies processes by reducing the need for cross-referencing between different systems and departments. This streamlining leads to quicker decision-making and more agile responses to market changes. A PIM system facilitates quick adaptation of product information to align with trends and events, enhancing the ability to meet market demands promptly.

  4. Enhanced collaboration

    Collaboration across different teams and geographical locations becomes more manageable and effective when all product information is housed in a central location. This integration fosters better communication and coordination, essential for accurately and on-schedule launching products.

  5. Scalability

    As businesses grow, so does the complexity of their product data. A centralized PIM system can scale to accommodate increasing products, languages, and channels without sacrificing performance, ensuring the business can expand smoothly and efficiently.

What is product data?

Product data encompasses all the information related to products that businesses sell. This includes basic details like names, prices, descriptions, and more complex attributes such as SKU numbers, dimensions, packaging info, and multilingual support for global markets. The richness and accuracy of this data directly influence marketing strategies and sales success, as it powers everything from e-commerce websites to digital marketing campaigns and customer service interactions. Consequently, product data is vast and needs to be read, measured, and structured effectively to make it easier to manage, search, and analyze.

The complex state of managing product data

Managing product data effectively presents significant challenges, particularly for companies like Ravensburger, which deal with a wide array of products. During the masterclass, Ravensburger highlighted the complexities they faced in managing thousands of SKUs across multiple channels, including physical products like puzzles, games, and digital platforms.

Challenges highlighted by Ravensburger

  1. Volume and variety 

    Ravensburger produces 3,000 to 4,000 new products each year, each requiring accurate and timely data across various channels. This immense volume increases the complexity of data management, necessitating robust systems to handle the diversity of product types and the sheer scale of data. 

  2. Multichannel distribution 

    Managing consistent product data across diverse platforms is increasingly challenging with the proliferation of digital marketplaces and marketing channels. Ravensburger’s experience underlines the need for a PIM system that can adapt product information to suit the unique requirements of different channels—from major e-commerce platforms to specialized B2B channels and social media. 

  3. Internationalization 

    Operating on a global scale means managing product data in multiple languages and adhering to varied regional compliance requirements. For Ravensburger, this includes translating product descriptions, adapting to local market needs, and managing regional variations of product offerings

  4. Data accuracy and compliance 

    Ensuring data accuracy is crucial for maintaining brand integrity and customer trust. Errors in product data can lead to compliance issues, customer dissatisfaction, and lost sales. Ravensburger’s reliance on a centralized PIM system helps mitigate these risks by ensuring that all product information is accurate and up to date across all points of sale and distribution. 

  5. Operational efficiency 

    The need for efficient workflows in managing product data is critical, especially when dealing with high volumes of SKUs. A PIM system facilitates the automation of data entry and updates, reducing the likelihood of human error and improving operational efficiency. 

Key best practices for product information management

Product Information Management (PIM) systems ensure businesses manage and utilize their product data effectively. Companies can enhance data quality, streamline processes, and improve customer experiences by implementing best practices. Here, we explore three critical practices highlighted during the masterclass with Ravensburger and Contentserv.

Use only one system to store your data

A single-source PIM system is the central repository for all product-related information, simplifying management and access across an organization. Ravensburger's implementation of Contentserv's PIM system illustrates the transformative benefits of this approach.

Advantages of a single-source PIM system

  1. Consistency across channels 

    With a single-source system, Ravensburger ensures that all product information remains consistent across various sales and marketing channels, thereby reducing confusion among customers and enhancing brand reliability. 

  2. Efficiency in updates 

    Changes to product data are reflected across all platforms simultaneously, reducing the workload associated with manual updates and decreasing the opportunity for errors.
  3. Enhanced data security 

    Centralizing product data reduces the risks associated with data breaches or losses, as security measures are concentrated on a single system rather than dispersed across multiple platforms. 

  4. Improved regulatory compliance 

    Having a single source of truth makes ensuring all product information meets regional and global compliance standards easier, which is crucial if operating in multiple markets. 

Implement a data governance framework

Implementing a data governance framework is essential for preserving the integrity and usability of product data. By following this framework, organizations can improve operational efficiency and establish a solid foundation for making data-driven decisions.

Steps to establish a robust data governance framework

  1. Define data standards and policies

    Establish clear guidelines for collecting, storing, processing, and maintaining product data. This includes setting standards for data accuracy, completeness, and timeliness.

  2. Assign data stewards

    Allocate roles and responsibilities to ensure ongoing management of data quality. Data stewards oversee the adherence to governance policies and act as points of contact for data-related queries within the organization.

  3. Implement quality control processes

    Regular audits and validations should be conducted to ensure the integrity of product data. This could involve routine checks to verify the accuracy of product descriptions, specifications, and pricing.

  4. Develop a training program

    Educate all relevant employees on the importance of data governance and their specific roles in maintaining data quality. Continuous training helps adapt to new regulations and technologies.

  5. Monitor and report

    Regular monitoring of data governance practices is vital to ensure they are effectively implemented and adjusted, as necessary. Reporting mechanisms should also be in place to track compliance and the overall health of product data.

Leverage PIM capabilities

A PIM system offers various functionalities that significantly enhance product data management. Examples from the masterclass include:

  1. Tag-based channel management

    It allows products to be tagged with specific attributes that dictate which channels they appear on. This functionality ensures that products are only shown on appropriate platforms, enhancing targeted marketing efforts.

  2. Dynamic data syndication

    Automatically updates and syndicates product information across all channels whenever changes are made, ensuring all listings remain current without manual intervention.

  3. Advanced search and filtering

    Enhances the ability to quickly locate specific products or sets of data within the PIM system, which is especially beneficial for companies with large and diverse product ranges.

  4. Automated data enrichment

    Utilizes AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) to enhance product listings by automatically generating descriptive content, attributes, and tags based on the data entered, saving time, and reducing manual errors.

These PIM functionalities streamline data management processes and significantly boost the efficiency and effectiveness of product information management across large organizations.
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The role of PIM: A single source of truth

A Product Information Management (PIM) system acts as the central hub for all product data within an organization, serving as the definitive source of truth for all stakeholders. This centralization is crucial for businesses that manage extensive arrays of products across various channels and markets, as it ensures that everyone accesses the same, most current information. The role of PIM in maintaining reliable, accurate, and up-to-date product information must be balanced, particularly in the complex operational contexts of large enterprises.

Ensuring reliable and up-to-date product information

  1. Central repository

    A PIM system consolidates product data into a single repository, simplifying information management and dissemination across the organization. Ravensburger's use of Contentserv's PIM system was evident. They efficiently managed data for thousands of SKUs, ensuring that all product information was centrally accessible and uniformly accurate across all distribution channels.

  2. Consistency across touchpoints

    By serving as a single source of truth, a PIM ensures that the information is consistent and up to date whether a customer views a product on an e-commerce site, in a digital catalog, or on a social media platform. This consistency helps build brand trust and customer loyalty, as consumers receive reliable information regardless of the shopping channel.

  3. Data integrity and quality

    The centralized nature of a PIM system facilitates improved data quality through streamlined updates and edits. Any changes made to product data are instantly propagated throughout all connected systems and platforms, minimizing the risk of outdated or conflicting information. As discussed in the masterclass, Ravensburger utilized PIM capabilities to handle complex data sets across multiple channels, ensuring high data integrity and operational efficiency.

  4. Compliance and governance

    With regulations constantly evolving, especially in global markets, having a single source of truth helps ensure compliance with industry standards and legal requirements. PIM systems can be updated to incorporate changes in compliance requirements, and these updates are then uniformly applied across all product data, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties.

  5. Enhanced decision making

    When all product data is accurate, up-to-date, and easily accessible, decision-making becomes faster and more informed. Ravensburger demonstrated this, where strategic decisions regarding product launches and updates could be made swiftly, relying on the robust data available through their PIM system.

  6. Scalability

    As businesses grow and expand into new markets, the complexity of managing product information increases. A PIM system scales to accommodate growth in product lines, entry into new markets, and the addition of new sales channels. This scalability ensures that businesses can continue to rely on their PIM system to provide accurate and comprehensive product information, no matter how large the company grows or how diverse its markets become.

How can you maximize business results from PIM?

A robust PIM system is not just about maintaining data—it is a strategic tool that can significantly enhance business results through better data management, improved customer experiences, and faster market responsiveness.  

Here’s how businesses can leverage PIM to achieve these outcomes:

Leverage AI for efficient product information management

Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) within PIM systems dramatically enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of product information management. AI can automate mundane tasks such as data entry and quality checks, and more sophisticated applications include AI-driven text generation and attribute management. For instance, during the masterclass, it was noted that Ravensburger utilizes AI to automate the generation of product descriptions and tags, ensuring consistent and optimized product listings across all channels. This AI capability saves time and maintains a high standard of data quality and consistency.

Optimize product data for enhanced customer experience

Optimizing product data to meet the specific demands of different marketing channels is crucial. Each channel may have unique requirements regarding the format, detail, and type of product information that resonates best with its audience. For example, a PIM system can help tailor product descriptions for a professional audience on LinkedIn while simplifying the same for a more general audience on Facebook. This tailored approach ensures the product information is relevant and engaging across various customer touchpoints, enhancing the overall customer experience and boosting conversion rates.

Quickly adapt content to trends and events

PIM systems provide the agility to quickly adapt product content in response to current trends and real-time events. This is particularly useful for businesses that need to capitalize on fleeting market opportunities. For instance, if a specific product becomes popular due to a viral trend, a PIM system can quickly update and push relevant product information to the forefront across all channels, ensuring the business capitalizes on that trend. Similarly, PIM systems allow quick updates to product listings and promotions for seasonal demands or events like Black Friday sales, keeping offers fresh and timely.

Implement multichannel publishing

A PIM system's capacity for simultaneous multichannel publishing is a pivotal feature. This capability ensures that product information is consistent and current across various platforms, including e-commerce sites, social media, marketplaces, and physical catalogs. Integrating a shopping feed management with a PIM enhances this functionality by providing businesses with actionable insights that boost conversions and expedite time-to-market while minimizing manual labor. Such integration improves the PIM system's efficiency, simplifying product information management and enhancing responsiveness to market dynamics.

Achieve faster time-to-market for new products

Finally, PIM systems significantly shorten the time to market for new products through efficient data handling and automation. By centralizing product information management, businesses can quickly gather, approve, and disseminate new product data to all channels. This rapid data management capability reduces delays typically when coordinating across different departments or systems, allowing companies to launch new products faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Close the loop with Contentserv: From data to insights to actions

Contentserv’s Product Experience Cloud (PXC) solutions are designed to transform how businesses manage, utilize, and capitalize on their product data. By serving as a comprehensive platform for data management, PIM via PXC enables companies to convert complex product data into actionable insights and robust sales results, effectively closing the loop from data collection to market action.

Converting product data into actionable insights

Contentserv’s PIM solution acts as more than just a data repository; it provides tools that analyze and interpret data to reveal market trends, consumer preferences, and potential areas for product optimization. With advanced analytics features and headless integrations, businesses can understand how different segments of product data perform across various channels, allowing them to make informed decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and customer engagement. This data-driven approach ensures that businesses are not just reactive but proactive in their market strategies.

Driving robust sales results

By ensuring that all product information is accurate, consistent, and tailored to meet the specific requirements of each sales channel, Contentserv’s PIM helps businesses enhance their online presence and customer reach. Improved data quality leads to better customer experiences, fewer returns, and higher satisfaction, all of which contribute to increased sales. Additionally, the ability to quickly adapt and publish product information means businesses can respond swiftly to market changes, keeping them competitive and relevant. 

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