Tag: pim

PIM + DAM: A Perfect Combo for Branding Success

PIM + DAM: A Perfect Combo for Branding Success

In the age of disruption where loyalty is a slippery slope, where can your brand turn to for not just survival, but success? According to the 2018 Yotpo study, you can still look to product innovation, as brand loyalty continues to rise and fall on the product:

  • 55% are loyal to brands because they love the product
  • 51% say they lose this loyalty due to poor product quality

However, the reign of a product as a key differentiator for brands ends in 2020 – to be replaced by customer experience. Products will not stop being a top priority for businesses, but they will need to evolve and incorporate “experiences” to its development.

For example, product development should be based on customer development, or learning about its target audience and what they need before designing a solution, rather than creating a product first and then launching it to the market – only for it to fail.

In e-commerce, customer experience translates to product experience. Ensuring that when consumers first encounter your product while researching they a) only see accurate, complete and consistent information, b) are offered added value, such as loyalty rewards, free and quick shipping, upsell and cross-sell and so on, c) see products with descriptions that are relevant to their persona or interests.

For marketing and branding, it means having an emotional connection with your target audience and deliberately eliciting a positive response via rich product content.

When Consumers Equate Brands with Experiences

Wherever consumers encounter your product (e.g., website, social media, marketplaces, etc.), ensure that you at least leave a good impression – if not a remarkable one -, because as Carl W. Buehner says, “They may forget what you said – but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

There’s so much truth to that quote; it’s even backed by science. According to Peter Noel Murray Ph.D.:

  • “When evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences), rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).”
  • “Studies show that positive emotions toward a brand have a far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.”

So, how does branding and product experience work on your product page?

Here’s an example:

A typical product page has generic information that consumers expect, such as image, title, short description, price, checkout button and possibly a social media share button – just like the competition.

If you want to stand out, you have to offer visitors to your site something different and extra – rich and descriptive storytelling, benefits gained or where the materials/ingredients are sourced. You can even show a short video on how best to use it. You can even market your product with influencers or celebrity endorsements.

Whatever your creative strategy may be, the question is, “Do you have the tools to execute such bold ideas on your product page?”

Why Brands Needs Both PIM and DAM

A product information management (PIM) solution allows brands to automate the process of onboarding, validating, managing and publishing product data to gain a single source of truth. In short, brands can share complete, consistent and accurate product information across all sales channels and to their distribution network or retail partners.

How about digital assets? How important are they for branding? Studies say that:

  • 65% of information will be recalled by people if paired with a relevant image
  • 94% more views are registered by content with great images

But the clincher is, according to data attributed to the National Retail Federation (NRF):

  • 67% of consumers admit that product image quality influences their purchasing decision more than:
  • Product-specific information (63%)
  • Long-descriptions (54%)
  • Ratings and reviews (53%)

So, if you have an increasing need to manage high volumes of digital assets, then just like a PIM, a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution becomes an essential tool for your brand.

A DAM will serve as a central repository for all your image, audio and video files, as well as documents and other materials used by sales and marketing. It’s a simple and straightforward solution that centralizes digital assets for discoverability, consistency and control.

  • Seamless upload and management of all digital assets
  • Track when and where an asset is used
  • Eliminates the storage needed for duplicate assets used across different channels
  • Link products and digital assets for a 360-degree view of your products

A PIM+DAM combo is foundational to a phenomenal product experience. In the age of disruption, it gives brands the agility needed to create groundbreaking product experiences that consumers expect.

Are you ready to take your brand to the next level?

A Brief History of Commerce and Why It Matters

Online Shopping with Credit Card

A Brief History of Commerce and Why It Matters

There’s no better advice than being present in the here and now.  You shouldn’t dwell on the past and you can’t live in the future.  That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t learn from the past and that you shouldn’t prepare for the future.  That’s especially true in the digital world where the past and the future collide, partly because the past is relatively recent and the industry prides itself on solving current challenges.  While the digital sphere is big, commerce plays a part in pretty much every person’s life who has any sort of connectivity to the internet.  Even people who have no inclination of making purchases online still share valuable information and are marketed to, one way or another.  The data we collect and how we’re able to use it is possible only because past challenges have led us to solutions that allow for this.  So, let’s take a brief journey down commerce memory lane.

When It All Began

Long before we began carrying portals to our online lives everywhere we went, the internet was in its infancy.  What was built to exchange information soon became the wild west of commerce.  People knew they could monotonize the online experience, but how to do so wasn’t quite clear.

The practical answer, to use the internet as a marketplace was still fraught with perils as security protocols had not been engineered or were still being developed.  Scammers saw the internet as much of an opportunity (as they still do) as legitimate merchants which made any online transaction a gamble.

On top of scammers from half a world away, the internet became a bubble thanks to prospectors which meant that while the technology was advancing rapidly, the company that you were hoping to do business with was likely to be short lived.

All of this was happening in a matter of only about six years.  It was after the dotcom crash of the early 2000s that people took a step back and realized that to have a successful online business you have to take strides to becoming an actual company with infrastructure, a business plan, a safe means of doing business and the ability to scale as more and more people began living life daily online.

It All Started with Amazon and eBay

While many came before him, Jeff Bezos created one of the first successful e-commerce businesses.  Amazon, founded in 1994, is an exception to the above in many ways.  First, its inception wasn’t long after the internet went mainstream when even in 1995 only roughly 40 million people had online access (compared to 2 billion people today), second they survived the dotcom bust when such stellar companies as Pets.com and many of their other brethren that were among the 457 dotcoms to go public in 1999 didn’t.  While Amazon didn’t come out completely unscathed, they invested wisely enough and had the foresight to move past their bookstore beginnings by concentrating on the customer experience (before that was even a thing) and expanding into online services for B2B, such as AWS, they have catapulted to the stratosphere as far as companies are concerned.

eBay is another online marketplace that both started it all and has made it to present day.  eBay began as an online auction place in 1995 and by allowing the public to both sell and buy on the site, making prices affordable and a place for rare items to be found, the site has continued to prove successful for almost 25 years now.

These are just two famous examples of the innovation and the differentiators that it took to be successful in e-commerce during its beginning.  While certainly these giants are not alone, they are the easiest to demonstrate success.

Brick and Mortar Moves Online    

Walmart opened their first online store in 1996.  In 1999 Target opened up target.com for business.  What both of these brick and mortar giants have in common is that their digital strategies have been reactionary to Amazon’s monumental growth.  It didn’t take a true visionary, even in the early days of the internet to see that people would like the convenience of purchasing online.  It did take a visionary to understand the reality to come.  Both Walmart and Target have invested heavily to catch up in the digital space and now with their already robust presence of physical locations might end up with an edge over Amazon who is now investing in a physical presence.

Unfortunately, while there are more stores with similar stories like Target and Walmart, there are also many that can’t claim success as the world has become more digitized.  Beloved stores such as Toys R’ Us, Radio Shack, and on another level, Blockbuster Video were unable to make the turn and are therefore no longer.

The Fine Line Between Digital and Physical

Just as it took visionaries to understand the importance of investing in digital infrastructure, it would have taken the same vision to see the blurred lines between digital and physical that are currently developing.  While certainly augmented and virtual reality are soon to become mainstream, which will only blur the lines more, the current situation is that the consumers see their experience as one and the same, whether they are online or at a store or at a store comparing products online on their phone.

The physical world is a place that can make a digital purchase extraordinarily annoying in that returning a product to a digital location is onerous, to say the least.  Companies are doing the best they can to overcome this challenge and this is why stores with an already large physical presence might have an advantage over a company that started purely digital.  Amazon has invested in Whole Foods and Kohl’s, where you can return any Amazon purchase, but most digitally born companies cannot buy high-end grocery stores or partner with a large big box retailer to compete.

The ability to reduce the number of returns is going to separate the coming generations of online retailers as convenience is weighed along with cost.  With an industry wide return rate of between 15 and 40 percent that amounts to over $400 Billion of returned inventory it’s apparent that digital and physical will remain eternally blurred and that there’s no such thing as a digital presence without a physical one.

Why It’s Important

While we never really know what’s going to happen, learning from the past and present is critical to future success.  Anyone who lives in an urban area today can look at every street corner and see what Segway did wrong.  The electric scooter industry learned that people will rent cheaply if they’re convenient and don’t want to look silly.  The ownership criteria and the stigma kept people away from virtually the same product as the scooters that we now see lining our streets and sifting through traffic every day.

So, what will commerce professionals learn for the future?  What’s already apparent and trending is the need to harness data for the sake of personalization.  But, doing that is easier said than done.  Much like a physical store, people who work in commerce are finding that online stores need as much of an infrastructure as a store at a strip mall.  Instead of steel and concrete, the infrastructure has fancy names like Product Information Management (PIM), Master Data Management (MDM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM).

Companies who have the vision and ability to invest in data management, personalization, a physical presence, and be agile (since tomorrow buyers might become robots and everything we learned in the past will become obsolete) will be the ones who join the likes of Amazon on the other side of the next bubble and continue to push commerce into the next frontier.

5 Practical Tips to Improve Your Data Quality

People looking at mountains

5 Practical Tips to Improve Your Data Quality

Data quality describes how well your data is able to serve its defined purpose, generally measured in terms of validity, accuracy, consistency, completeness and relevance. In other words, businesses know they have high-quality data when they are able to use it effectively to determine key business decisions. Data is considered “bad” or of “poor quality” when it’s inaccurate, which, unfortunately, is the norm rather than the exception in various industries.

The state of data quality report reveals:

  • 33% of organizations believe they have a lot of bad data
  • 49% point to human error as the main cause of data inaccuracies
  • 89% of the C-suite admit bad data hurt their ability to provide excellent CX

In the United States, bad data cost the economy a whopping $3.1 trillion a year, while organizations’ annual loss on average is at $15 million.

If you’re also experiencing losses due to bad data, here are five tried-and-true tips to help you improve it:

Streamline your approach

Look at how data is collected, processed, stored, consumed and distributed to come up with a streamlined approach. You can choose to work with your existing setups, get completely new ones or create a hybrid solution. The idea is to come up with one that provides visibility into your data, the level of quality, its processes and ownership of said data.

Break down data silos

Having different and separate data silos discourages collaboration between internal and external stakeholders. This can be solved by having a central data repository where users and workflows are defined, and processes and progress are visible. This ensures you’re working with a single source of truth and not multiple sets of the same data.

Automate data onboarding

Building on the previous point, having vast amounts of data in different silos can lead to inaccuracy of published content, which leads to a poor customer experience. To bridge the gap among these silos, companies need to automatically onboard product information from legacy systems, data pools, suppliers, third-party content aggregators and other sources quickly and efficiently. This eliminates errors caused by manual entry and maintenance.

Enforce product data quality checks

Manual quality checks and maintenance is not efficient for large volumes of data. You need to set up data cleansing, standardization, normalization, classification and categorization rules to transform your data so that it is accurate, complete, consistent and up-to-date.

Utilize a version control system

Track and manage all versions of a dataset to create a seamless audit trail for full traceability. With this, you can get rid of redundancies and duplicates to ensure up-to-date, audit-compliant information at all times.

3 Practical Tips to Reduce Your Translation Costs

3 Practical Tips to Reduce Your Translation Costs

A quarter of the worldwide web population uses the English language. Nevertheless, according to statistics, China and India have the highest number of online users. It is projected that by 2021, nine out of 10 new internet users from India would prefer to use their local language when surfing the web.

(Source: Statista, “Most common languages used on the internet as of December 2017, by share of internet users”)

So what about the Spanish and Arabic-speaking population or the 22.8% of online users using other languages? It has become crucial for global companies to be able to communicate in a variety of languages.

Why is translation important for your business?

It’s all about winning over consumers in new markets. New business organizations in India are taking on the challenge of providing a convenient way to translate the manufacturers’ default language to the users’ first language with just a swipe. Tech giant, WhatsApp (India’s most used app with 200 million users) has also taken notice and is now supporting 11 Indian dialects.

In the Arabic-speaking world, 88% of consumers prefer to shop or buy products in their parent language, but less than 1% of online content is in Arabic. Why is this significant? Because this market is young, has economic power and competition is low. Tech behemoth Google enjoys an almost perfect 97% market share and doesn’t have competition in the Middle East.

There’s a growing demand for content translation, but a common mistake businesses make is assuming that it’s as simple as running marketing materials through software. There are nuances to language; some words may have different meanings in different parts of the same country. English-speaking countries like the U.S., Australia and the U.K. – for example, have very different ways of using the English language. These subtle differences necessitate translation experts to ensure that your message is read and understood clearly, regardless of where (and how).

Translation can be quite expensive, but it’s possible to reduce the cost. Here are three tips to help your business along:

Curate easy-to-translate content

Translation agencies have different pricing standards, but the easier the material to translate, the cheaper it will cost. Furthermore, a lot of modern translation companies are using translation management tools, which remember words, terminologies and style guides which speed up the process by efficiently translating and localizing product content for multiple markets, only once, which reduces unnecessary repeat translations and associated costs.

Produce local content

Creating product advertisements in local languages, for example, rather than translating everything from the main piece, would save you on translation costs and ensure that you don’t make any cultural faux pas, such as KFC’s “Finger-Lickin’ Good” tag line translating to “Eat Your Fingers Off” in Chinese.

Centralize the translation process

Investing in translation management software is not enough to cater to a global market – you need an elevated approach. A PIM (Product Information Management) solution can support your translation initiative. A PIM is a central repository, where your global team can access a single source of product truth, in all languages, ensuring the accuracy, consistency and completeness of your product data.

Considering variations in languages, there is no way to eliminate translation costs. However, by allocating resources and streamlining processes, you can reduce your translation costs and use the savings to invest in other areas.

5 Ways PIM Ensures Faster Time-to-Market

woman at the finish line

5 Ways PIM Ensures Faster Time-to-Market

It’s common knowledge that the later you launch your new product, the more opportunities, revenue and profits you squander to your competitors. If you’re struggling to get your product to market, you’re not alone. Approximately 79% of new products fail to make it to market on time.

Time-to-market (TTM), typically in commerce, refers to the length of time it takes a product — from inception to sale — to be available for market consumption.

With more than 25% of total revenue and profits across industries coming from successful new product launches, it is not enough that you launch on time. To remain competitive, you must do so faster and more frequently.

So, where does the problem lie? Why does it take so long to launch a new product?

A major stumbling block to launching products on time is inefficiency, due to:

  • Decentralized processes and systems
  • Siloed product information and digital assets
  • Incapacity to curate or receive consumer-facing information
  • Inability to collaborate between business teams and partners

When your business operates in silos and takes a manual approach to onboarding, validating, managing and publishing product information; lengthy, redundant and error-prone processes, as well as file duplication, are bound to happen. Not only that, collaboration between business units is stunted, causing frustration on all fronts.

Satisfying the Need for Speed

“The early bird catches the worm,” so the adage says. To avoid being late to market and handing competitors the opportunity to command premium prices and capture the lion’s share of the market, you can utilize a product information management (PIM) solution.

Ensure faster time-to-market with PIM

  1. Quickly onboard products from multiple suppliers and systems
  2. Remove process and system inefficiency with automated workflows and tasks
  3. Gain insight on completeness and quality level of data
  4. View which stages your products are in your go-to-market process (i.e., incomplete, in review, ready for publishing)
  5. Publish/Syndicate to all online and offline sales channels with a click of a button

The results are real

Numerous businesses have touted one of the main benefits received after implementing a PIM solution is a faster time-to-market, going from months to weeks or weeks to days.  One of our clients – a very well-known fashion brand from France that has a strong global presence reduced their TTM from 4 weeks to 1 week.  Also, another client – a leading importer and distributor of fine spirits reduced time spent by 1,100 hrs./month.

Nevertheless, buyers should beware that not all PIM solutions are the same. With the right one, you can launch products faster, increase assortments, improve the quality of your data and even personalize consumer experiences.

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

How to Meet Consumer Expectations

Meeting Consumer Expectations – How Prepared Are You?

What consumers want [and don’t want] and how prepared are you to meet their demands?

Contrary to reports of retail’s eventual death, the National Retail Federation’s “The State of Retailing Online 2018” study reveals that:

  • More and more stores open than close
  • Investments in omnichannel optimization remains high
  • Mobile retail success continues to climb

In terms of value chain innovation, Deloitte’s “2018 Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Industry Trends Outlook” gives retailers ideas on which technology trends to invest on:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) to provide consumers with online access to their store inventories and reserve orders for purchase or pickup.
  • Digital supply and demand networks for time frame reduction and cost-efficient deliveries.
  • Augmented, virtual, and mixed realities (AR, VR, and MR) for the creation and provision of highly immersive and engaging experiences.

A lot of doors are opening in the retail industry and it could only mean more new products in the market and a much tougher competition ahead for businesses. But no one is complaining; not even the consumers. In fact, with eCommerce sales projected to reach $4 trillion USD by 2020, it’s as if consumers are telling businesses that they’re willing to spend… on one condition: give them what they want.

But before giving them what they want, it’s best to first identify their pain points.

What Consumers Don’t Want

Branding expert, Helen Edwards, shares that there are seven distinct emotions visible in the human face and five of those are negative: anger, fear, sadness, disgust and contempt. And you definitely don’t want any of those to be associated with your brand when they visit your site.

According to Corra, consumers’ biggest pet peeves on ecommerce sites are:

  • 41.2% Poorly designed menu; lack of subcategories for key merchandise
  • 29.8% Too-basic search; no filters for advanced searches
  • 26.4% Products are buried behind too much branding

So, if you can eliminate these pain points, you’re on track to excellent customer experience provision.

What Consumers Want

According to MineWhat, consumers today perform the following online before making a purchase:

  • 81% research
  • 61% read product reviews
  • Check at least three ecommerce sites

What are they looking for? Information, information, information!

But of what sort? A National Retail Federation (NRF) study reveals that consumers don’t just aimlessly browse online; they actually look for something specific to buy and they want to find it quickly. That means before they type anything on the search bar, they already have an item in mind.

The same study also found out that 79% of consumers also factor in overall experience in determining whether or not they’ll buy from a brand or retailer – and how often. Central to that desired or expected experience are painless return policy, free shipping and credit card security.

So, how to cater to today’s consumers? The Nielsen Norman Group recommends to design for 5 types of e-commerce shoppers:

  • Product-focused.This group know what they want and are ready to buy once they locate the product. Speed is this group’s primary focus.
  • Browsers.They have time to kill and they’re spending it on your site. The key to this group is to be presented with what’s hot and what’s new.
  • Researchers. These guys have been to at least two sites before yours or even if you’re their first visit, they will definitely go elsewhere to gather more information. The key to this group is trust.
  • Bargain hunters. Definitely price conscious, this group are on the lookout for sale, promos and best buys. So, if you have such offerings, display them prominently on your site.
  • One-time shoppers. More often holding gift cards, these guys have no intention of coming back to your site after the purchase. Ensure a good experience by not requiring account creation before purchase.

Quiz: How ready are you to give your consumers what they want?

Giving consumers what they want starts from within. The following are some questions you can ask yourself to determine your readiness in providing your consumers with information they need:

  1. Do you struggle with maintaining your products when your product data requirements increase (e.g. rapid and constant product description updates, price and document version edits, etc.)?
  2. Is it difficult to localize your product information for different markets?
  3. Do people in and out of your organization have a tough time sharing or accessing up-to-date product information?
  4. Are you using multiple spreadsheets to manage your product information?

Do you nod at many questions? Then it’s high time for your to consider using a product information management solution (PIM). A PIM is foundational to building great product experiences.

4 Essentials For The Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

Woman smiling because of great product experience

4 Essentials for the Delivery of an Excellent Product Experience

Excellent product experience delivery goes beyond ensuring core product satisfaction. Imagine buying one of the popular smartphones out there only to discover later on that it has poor customer support and an even worse return policy. The product itself may be good, as it’s popular after all, but if its ancillary services are a hit or a miss, what’s stopping you from switching to the better brand and leaving a bad review?

Product experience, then, is the customer’s emotional response to the product at every touch point. To excel in product experience, brands must elicit a positive emotional response from consumers each time they interact with a product at every touch point.

How to Get Started:

1. Identify your target’s pain points. To manage experiences, you must first manage expectations. And what consumers expect from ecommerce sites boils down to:

  • UI/UX optimized
  • Accurate and complete product information
  • Unlimited selections or assortment of products
  • Personalized offerings
  • Availability of reviews and ratings
  • Shopping convenience, including flexible payment schemes
  • Discounts and promos with loyalty reward offers
  • Free delivery and pick up options
  • Painless return policy

2. Build a technology infrastructure that can support your content creation and distribution strategy. Top brands implement the concept of product experience management (PXM) to distribute relevant and targeted content at the best times and to the precise targets in order to: deliver the desired experiences and elicit positive emotions, build a relationship with customers and eventually inspire loyalty and expand market share.

According to Gartner, a PXM adds the following capabilities to a product information management solution (PIM):

  • Product content analytics
  • Personalization
  • Contextualization
  • Automation and optimization using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)

3. Create Compelling Content. As with customer experience, the great differentiator for brands in ecommerce is content. Top brands not only address shopper pain points, but work to exceed their expectations. So, through rich and contextual content, you could communicate, engage and build a relationship with consumers, hoping it eventually leads to not just sales, but even endorsement and loyalty. Note, though, that what’s compelling for one may not be the same for another, hence the rise of personalization. By doing a demographics and psychographics deep dive, you could create content that anticipates and addresses a consumer’s particular need, and then position yourself as the credible solution provider.

For more inspired content, you can checkout Warby Parker’s and Airbnb’s websites.

4. Use Analytics for Insights. Brands need insights into their product content performance to come up with tweaks and improvements that could drive consumers deeper into the sales funnel. With analytics, you could also see associations and affinities between your products and customers.

Not only that, by leveraging your operational and transactional data, you could make better business decisions, such as how to:

  • Best respond to rapid changes in market conditions
  • Adjust pricing
  • Improve market segmentation
  • Address seasonal demands

Now You Know the Essentials, Do You Have the Tools to Start?

By using a combination of features and advanced technologies that facilitate not only the on-boarding, enrichment and management of data, but one that can also help you create targeted, contextual and emotionally-engaging product communication.

  • PIM – It’s the foundational piece to a PXP. With a PIM, you can collect, maintain and distribute accurate, complete and consistent product information across all channels. This is important because when it comes to e-commerce sites, consumers expect accurate and in-depth product information.
  • Master Data Management (MDM) – This solution allows you to accelerate business processes by connecting all data in your product information supply chain. An MDM also helps you ensure data quality and security, create golden records, and control versions.
  • Marketing Experience Management (MxM) – The perfect complement to your PIM and MDM, an MxM enables you to exceed consumer expectations through timely delivery of personalized product experiences across channels. With an MxM, you can offer dynamic promotions and adjust them in real-time based on insights gathered from analytics.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a PIM

Reasons why you need pim

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a PIM

The vastness of the martech landscape makes the process of software procurement rather unintuitive. It might be obvious that your company needs to refine its digital strategy, but since all the software vendors you speak with have a logical reason to invest in their product or platform, a sound strategy and direction are needed before you listen to your first pitch.

So how do you begin to build your strategy?

The architect of the building you’re sitting in didn’t begin with the top floor and work his or her way down. Buildings begin with infrastructure. Any digital architect will also tell you to begin with infrastructure and work your way up.

That being said, even digital infrastructure comes in different flavors depending on your business or industry.

If your business is reliant on catalog production, for example, a DAM might be a good foundational building block. If your business is centered around selling inventory online or even offline, then a PIM is a likely candidate to build upon.

Whichever direction you choose to go, it’s vital that you invest wisely, because starting from scratch is rarely an option, as platforms are time-consuming to research and not inexpensive to implement.

By understanding the functionality and limitations of different platforms you can rest easy knowing that you made the correct decision. Below are five reasons why your business needs a PIM.

1. You’re Still Using a Web Content Management (WCM) Solution to Manage Your Products

This is perhaps the most common reason that businesses end up with a PIM. Running your online shop with an e-commerce platform or WCM before you have a PIM is a little like building your first floor before you dig your basement.

E-commerce can technically be used without a Product Information Management, but it’s very hard to scale upward without the strict taxonomy and structure that a PIM inherently solves for.

Because of a PIM’s rule-based classification, matching and linking capabilities, for example, you can ensure high-quality data no matter the volume of data you onboard.

2. You Need a Shorter Time to Market

Having your house in order, so to speak, allows you to go to market quicker with any new products and variations of previous products. About now a light might be going off in your head.

The more SKUs you have, the more important it is to have them organized in a way that can quickly be added, maintained, searched and disseminated. Improving time to market speed requires collaboration from at least three entities: manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

With a PIM’s integrated workflow management capability, processes are automated and smooth collaboration and orchestration are enabled, effectively eliminating elements that slow down time to market.

3. You Want Your Business to be Data-Driven

With 47% of customers saying they would immediately take their business to a competitor the moment they experience poor customer service and 68% more vowing to never do a repeat business once they’ve switched, no wonder customer expectation delivery is critical to 81% of decision-makers.

Hence, the importance of customer insights. But if your product information and digital assets are stored across multiple ecommerce platforms or even local drives, your ability to discern any relevant data from your products is next to impossible.

A PIM allows you to have a 360-degree view from where your products are stored, physically, all the way through the sale and shipment of an item.

Of course, the all-important sales process, which channel is most successful, who is purchasing your products, and even help to refine your target messaging based on user habits and history, is front and center when it comes to PIM development.

4. You Take Personalization Seriously

A mere online presence isn’t good enough anymore. Now consumers expect a tailored experience no matter where they visit on the Internet. In fact, 74% of online consumers don’t appreciate content that has nothing to do with them.

If you can’t place relevant products in front of your target audience then they will simply purchase elsewhere, or not at all, as proper product placement can entice even a passive looker to make an impulsive buying decision.

With a PIM’s analytics and digital asset management capability, you can create remarkable content based on personas, campaigns and insights from product information and digital asset association.

5. You Value Happy Customers

It’s common knowledge that it costs much more to attain a customer than to retain a customer.

By having control of your SKUs from the warehouse through the buying cycle and to the front door, you can ensure that your customers aren’t getting the wrong size or color and that they’ll be as satisfied with the buying experience as they are with the end product.

Why the emphasis on experience? Because more than price and product, customer experience will be the key brand differentiator come 2020.

You know your business better than any software vendor ever could. To build your digital presence properly, having an idea of where to begin is the first step to a successful procurement process.

Once your foundation is in place, you can scale with the knowledge that the assets that your business needs to succeed are fully functional and carrying out a strategy designed for your business.

How Product Data Can Increase Your ROI

How Product Data Can Increase Your ROI

Data is the new gold.  We all know this.  But how can you use data to fully optimize your business? 

You have data on customers, employees, processes and especially your products. We’ve already talked about how you can use your customer data for personalization and to increase sales in an earlier blog post in this series. But what if we told you that your product data could help you just as much, and maybe even more? That you could use it to reduce costs, speed time-to-market and future-proof your business model?

Getting a Grip on Your Product Data

Before you can start harnessing the power of your product data, you have to first organize it. When we talk to a company about their data, we notice that it’s often scattered throughout the whole organization. Person A, for example, has an Excel file, Department B has built something in their ERP, while person C has yet another Excel file… But which system contains the latest versions?

That’s where Product Information Management systems or PIM will save the day. Simply put, these databases are designed to hold, manage and distribute product data across all channels and departments. Most connect to a CMS and publish data in your web shop. Some also connect to a print plugin that makes generating catalogues much easier.  All ensuring that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your product specifications.

Shortening Your Time-To-Market with a PIM

Robust PIM systems come with a portal that is built specifically for your suppliers to onboard their data. If you’re a retailer or wholesaler, this will be a familiar scenario: One of the brands that you offer releases a new product and you plan on selling it through your online store. How long does this process currently take you?

With a PIM system, the supplier could already fill in most of their specifications in the system themselves. Once one of your employees verifies the data and, if needed, makes some adjustments, it’s uploaded, then you’re good to go. Of course, you don’t have to worry about suppliers seeing things they shouldn’t see. Their view is restricted to the data of their own products.

This means that you will only have to spend a few minutes to make sure that a product is ready to be published on your store. Additionally, edits can be done so much faster than before. In roughly eight minutes a product can be updated, processed and published online, which is roughly 30% shorter than it is for most companies. In a time where speed is of utmost importance, this could give you a significant advantage against your competitors.

Catching the Wave of the Long Tail

However, an increased speed isn’t the only advantage. You can finally make use of what’s called “the long tail of the Internet”. In essence, companies that adopt a long tail strategy dramatically increase their product assortment through niche products. These products then come with higher margins. Since the cost of adding them to your online  store is much lower than they used to be, it’s a good investment – even if you don’t sell a lot.

Since these niche items often don’t get a lot of traffic, they don’t tend to receive much love and care from the product data teams. Other products that drive more traffic will always be a priority. However, now that the suppliers can do a part of that work for you, it’s far easier to manage the quality of the data and imagery that’s being displayed.

Saving Money on Returns

Returns are an enormous source of cost for many companies. According to Trusted Shops, fashion has to deal with a return rate of up to 30%. The logistical costs and man-hours that have to be invested to handle the entire return process can quickly start to eat into your revenue.

The best solution for your problems with returns would be to offer higher-quality data on your product pages. Through a PIM system, your data would be more consistent, complete and contain less errors. These three factors would immensely decrease your amount of returns.

Are you curious as to what else product data and PIM can do for your business? Then sign up for the joint webinar between Osudio and Contentserv! Contentserv is a worldwide leading software provider for PIM solutions

In our webinar “Embrace product experience to win in Fast Moving Consumer Goods”, we will talk about how you can leverage your product data, not only to drive more revenue, but also to provide tailored experiences for your customers.

 

This blog was written by Brecht Beertens from our partner Osudio and is part of a four-part series of blogs focusing on the FMCG market in 2019.

E-commerce’s Growth Skyrockets. Are You Ready for Change?

E-Commerce’s Growth Skyrockets. Are You Ready for Change?

“By 2037 e-commerce will overtake traditional commerce.” That’s the harsh reality according to Nielsen in their report “Future Opportunities in FMCG Ecommerce”. The year 2037 might seem like it’s still far off, but it’s a reality that will surely come. E-commerce is everyone’s highest priority and this report tells us that it will dominate even further in the years to come. That’s why it’s time to start evaluating and reinvesting in your e-commerce solution now, so that you’ve done your fair share of optimizing by 2037. Where should you start? There are a few tools you’ll need to look at to make yourself ready for the changes to come.

What will change?

Quite a lot, actually. At the moment, there are plenty of new technologies that are worming their way into the consumer’s daily life. An example would be voice technology. As Google, Amazon and Alibaba continue to improve their speech recognition algorithms, which has pushed past an impressive 95% word accuracy rate for the English language, more languages will follow soon enough.

This technology combined with home devices and modern smartphones open so many possibilities when it comes to commerce. And we haven’t even touched upon the other new kids on the block such as VR, AI, and mobile payments…

All of these advancements are predicted to give e-commerce that final push to overthrow brick-and-mortar stores. However, this also means that there’ll be more and more channels to distribute your product through, so keeping your messaging consistent across all channels is incredibly important. How are customers supposed to trust a brand that says one thing on Facebook and another on their website? This makes omnichannel commerce an enormous challenge for many companies today. What more once even more channels are added?

Even today, 80% of the citizens of Western Europe are actively buying online every month according to the Ecommerce Foundation. But before you learn how to run, you have to learn how to walk. By improving your e-commerce now, you can make sure that your omnichannel strategy is up to speed and sustainable for growth going into 2037. That way, you can offer a complete and consistent experience to your customers as soon as possible.

Preparing for e-commerce growth

Many organizations have already made great strides in the digital world. On the flip side, there are also companies that haven’t. Let’s assume your organization is part of the latter group. What do you do? How do you make sure that you are ready for 2037? No worries, we’ll break it down into some easy-to-digest steps. That way, you’ll know where you have to start your journey to omnichannel success.

1. Make sure your data is under control

First of all, you’ll want to make sure that your data is fully under control. If you make mistakes here, you’re sure to hit a brick wall in your e-commerce growth. A customer needs to be able to trust your store, which is why you need to make sure you provide a fitting and consistent experience for them. Supplying them with incorrect or outdated information will definitely throw a wrench into your relationship with your customers.

Let’s say your business sells furniture. If the sizes of a cupboard are wrong on your website, you can rest assured that you’ll receive quite a large amount of complaints. How would you feel if you ordered your dream cupboard online, only to find out that it’s one centimeter too high to fit into your room while assembling it? If you invest in a good PIM solution, you can rest assured that this won’t happen to your customers. At least, for the things they buy from your store.

2. Choose your e-commerce solution

Once your data has been whipped into shape, it’s time to take a look at your ecommerce solution. This one’s a hard choice to make. Do you want to settle for one big monolithic solution that takes care of everything out-of-the-box? Or would you prefer the flexibility of an API-based approach? There are differences for you as a company and the way you’ll work with it. If we’re going to continue with the furniture store example, this is just where a customer would buy your furniture online.

Of course, there are more nuances to picking the right platform. Depending on the needs of your business, the chosen system can be completely different. In the end, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly. If you still want to learn more about this, I recommend checking out our whitepaper “The Ecommerce Selection Handbook”, as this is not the main focus of this article.

3. Connect 1 and 2, then start personalizing

You might think you’re finished now, but no. You’ve only got your basics covered, and there’s still much work to be done. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be proud of where you are now! You can sell your products online and you can be sure that all your information is standardized and correct. That’s quite a feat already! But there’s still work to be done. Now that the foundation has been laid, it’s time to start optimizing!

Take a good look at your website and e-commerce store. Is everything clear? To you, it might be. But what about that first-time visitor to your website? Do they know what to do? Try to look at it from their perspective. Try to gather as much data as you can. Check your preferred web analytics tool, look for market research and try to conduct your own interviews and A/B tests.  Once you know what people want and where it goes wrong, it’s time to start incorporating what you’ve learned.

Make sure you don’t lose track of your other channels, though! If you’ve noticed a softer tone-of-voice works better and update your website, update your other media, too! You could compare your brand to a person here. If a person treats you completely differently in certain situations, you probably won’t trust him or her. It’s the exact same for customers and brands. That’s why consistency is key across all of your channels.

Improving your store is a never-ending process. There’s always something to optimize or something to recheck. The sooner you get started, the more things will have been done by 2037.

Personalizing experiences for e-commerce growth

After all of this, we still haven’t touched upon personalizing content. Whether it’s an introductory message for a first-time visitor or even different content based on which website the visitor is coming from. It might sound like science-fiction to some, but a good omnichannel strategy that is focused on product experience makes it all possible. According to research by Sitecore, personalizing customer experience can lead to an increase of 19% in digital conversions.

Check out this video by Sitecore if you want more info:

Your store also has room for personalization if you want to get the most out of your e-commerce solution. The “product recommendations”, the “often bought togethers” or the “users also looked at” sections. They’re nothing to scoff at! Thirty-five percent of e-commerce giant Amazon’s sales comes from their perfectly optimized recommendation engine. That’s a rough 62.2 billion dollars’ worth of revenue, for those wondering.

Your connected PIM and the personas defined in your CMS make it easy to keep all your personalization efforts consistent across the board. Focus on product experiences and do the work that needs to be done to build the entire experience. Then push it to your system and present a potential customer with a total product experience. Doing so will cause him or her to start to trust your information and your company. What is part of that product experience? Is it only the sizes and technical details of the cupboard you provide? Or does it have more aspects? We’ll discuss the essential parts of product experience in our upcoming webinar.

 

This blog was written by Brecht Beertens from our partner Osudio and is part of a four-part series of blogs focusing on the FMCG market in 2019.