Contrary to some beliefs, Product Information Management solutions are not complex and resource-consuming platforms. They are designed to reduce compexity and help you drive your online sales. Following best practices for managing product information is key to a successful implementation. Below we discuss the 7 top recommendations for using PIM, based on our experience and insights from ‘The next generation of PIM’ report created by Ventana Research...According to Ventana, by 2021, 50% of organizations will use a modern dedicated PIM to manage product content processes and provide high-quality product experiences. Click To Tweet
- #1 Define roles and responsibilities
- #2 Standardize your product information
- #3 Don’t use multiple systems
- #4 Use PIM to improve customer experience
- #5 Forget about the spreadsheet nightmare
- #6 Data integration is crucial
- #7 Establish your requirements and implementation plans
#1 Define roles and responsibilities
Collaborating on product content directly within the PIM system uncovers the potential to significantly speed up your workflows and eliminate content errors. Depending on your business needs, it can be beneficial to include the marketing team, e-commerce managers or even external collaborators in the process of producing product content.
For this reason, it’s vital that you choose a PIM in which you can create various roles with different access levels, but without introducing unnecessary risks. These can include access level of admin, read-only, product manager, or publisher, with each of these typically consisting of a set of default permissions. Bluestone PIM lets you be even more granular, so that you can enable users to perform only certain actions.
These granular permissions primarily allow users to:
- Create product attributes
- Read product attributes
- Update product attributes
- Delete product attributes
Other permissions are:
- Update products
- Sync products
- Publish products
- Request approval for products
You can also invite suppliers to collaborate on the product content and thus, ensure they will provide you with the right data in the right format. It’s up to you how much access you provide to a particular user or external party. You should also be able to keep a history of every action performed in the PIM system and revoke permissions if needed.
#2 Standardize your product information
Having one central repository for all product information gives you a single view, where you can search, update, and publish product content across various channels. Just as importantly, it allows you to establish validation rules to impose a common standard format on product attributes and categories. Proper data validation is paramount so that you can ensure the consistency of your catalog and safeguard your product content from costly but completely preventable mistakes.
The benefits of standardization apply not just to the format of product data, but also to e-commerce relations between products. A quality PIM platform will help you gain a competitive advantage by improving the cross-sell and upsell potential of products and securing faster time-to-market.
#3 Don’t use multiple systems
According to Ventana Research, 56 percent of all companies have more than 5 systems containing product data. Using too many tools means your product information is scattered across different systems which are usually incompatible. Also, there are too many disparate forms of data and there is no centralized information repository; instead, there are multiple unsynchronized metadata repositories. At this point, managing product information is frustrating and time-consuming, and mistakes are inevitable.
#4 Use PIM to improve customer experience
According to a B2B Marketing/Earnest survey, 96 percent of respondents said CX would influence whether they purchase from you again, and 83 percent would give a referral as a result of a positive experience. What does it mean? That a PIM platform can add significant value to B2B and B2C efforts.
PIM lets you create and manage a whole body of content for any product with multiple versions that relate to the relevant stage of the customer journey. By removing the hurdles to multichannel sales, it also allows you to be present where your customers are, increasing the likelihood of a purchase. Finally, it keeps errors and mistakes in product content at bay, empowering your team to focus on creating relatable product stories that will engage your customers.
Without a doubt, PIM is a critical component of a CX strategy for companies that sell products. Learn more about the ties between PIM and CX in our ebook, The Art and Science of Customer Experience.
#5 Forget about the spreadsheet nightmare
One thing is for sure, when your SKUs come in hundreds, spreadsheets are no longer up to the task. Develop a path to eliminate countless spreadsheets battles in your company and save the time required to manage product information in Excel.
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#6 Data integration is crucial
Most companies use more than 5 systems that contain product data. All of them need to be integrated to produce a single, consistent set of information. In such circumstances, it is not surprising that data integration is among the top reasons for managing product content in a central PIM system. Today, there are dozens of integrations readily available for Bluestone PIM.
Incoming data sources can include:
- ERP system
- Excel files/Spreadsheets
- Custom-built systems and platforms
Businesses that use Bluestone PIM can take advantage of straight-forward distribution to external sales channels, including:
- Google Shopping
and many more. To see a full landscape, check out Bluestone PIM Marketplace.
Other channels and platforms can be efficiently integrated using the industry’s best, ultra-fast REST APIs.
#7 Establish your requirements and implementation plans
If you’re planning to change the way you manage your product information, be sure to build a strong business case for it, promote awareness of the need for improvement, and find resources and a budget to make it happen.
When considering PIM software, draw up a checklist of PIM requirements, such as
- running in the cloud
- enabling true collaboration
- offering bulk editing
- having a powerful Digital Asset Management
- harnessing machine learning and AI
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Product Information Management in the Retail Space
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been revamped and updated in October 2020.