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How businesses can benefit from a PIM

Our PIM partner, Sales Layer, has asked other experts about what makes a good PIM system. Here’s a summary of the responses to some frequently asked questions, given by Jordan Jewell, IDC Digital Commerce Research Manager.

Measurements of success that the PIM is benefitting your business

In the past, a PIM has been the domain of the IT department. And yes, while you may need the IT department to help you set up your PIM, it is now, most definitely, a sales and marketing tool.

The new metrics of a good PIM include:

  • Conversions – you should be seeing an uptake in sales if your product information quality is improved
  • Returns – you should be seeing a reduction in items returned because less inaccurate or wrong product information is being published
  • SEO – you should be moving up the rankings in search engines because your product data is more relevant and targeted

PIM facilitates workflow management and collaboration

Before using a PIM, companies may typically have used spreadsheets to manage product information. Product data is extracted from the ERP system (MYOB, CRM etc), then put into a spreadsheet to model data or make bulk edits, before uploading back into the ERP. This creates potential for errors, is hard to encourage collaboration, and workflows cannot be developed.

A PIM system is the “single source of truth” for product data – the fount of wisdom, so to speak. It allows for workflows and collaboration (both unmanageable in spreadsheets).

  • Workflows – a PIM can automate what happens when a product has errors that need fixing, or can streamline the process to add new products.
  • Collaboration – the more people using the PIM, the more benefits in regards to the quality of the data (inputs and outputs), because the users of the PIM understand the products, deal regularly with your customers, and benefit from having valuable product information easily on hand. Users of a PIM should include:
    • Merchandisers
    • Category managers
    • Marketers
    • Sales
    • Customer service

Customising the PIM to suit your role

Depending on what role you fulfil in your company – sales, customer service, product management – your PIM dashboard can/should be configured to display reports that are relevant to your day-to-day work.

You can receive reports that show the overall health of your product data:

  • Incomplete fields
  • Products ready to be published
  • (Integrated) sales data

Integrating DAM (Digital Asset Management) with a PIM

It is recommended that your DAM (also referred to Media Asset Management, this is how you manage your digital assets like images, video, documents related to products, categories and families) should definitely be integrated with your PIM. The role of a PIM is to make sure your product information and content is optimal so you can:

  • Show off your products
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Make sales

Images and digital assets are one of the best ways to show off your products. A PIM can help automate:

  • Auto cropping
  • Staying consistent with brand guidelines and style sheets
  • Management of different content types such as:
    • CAD files
    • Vector graphics
    • 3D images
    • 360o spin
  • The many varied requirements of external outputs (ecommerce sites, supplier sites etc.)

Also, footnote, your PIM can be integrated with many other systems including:

  • ERP
  • Digital commerce platform
  • Product life cycle management system
  • Personalisation systems

Gathering channel behavioural data and digital shelf analytics

Finding good analytics is very particular to your role, your business, and your industry – you’ll need to find a solution that suits you. Consider tracking competitors’ prices, demand and pricing, inventory, and search engine optimisation. It all contributes to the quality of your product information.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning – WHAT???

Yep AI and ML (machine learning) are probably not on your radar right now, nor delivering you any value, but that‘s not to say it’s not already in the future plans of you or someone in your company. It’s all part of the big digital transformation!

Don’t stress too much about it now, but just be aware that AI and ML will provide value to PIMs in the future through:

  • Data quality ratings
  • Data completion
  • Content adjustment and tagging attributes
  • Cross-selling and up-selling of products

The secret is to have high quality data in the first place, so the best outcomes can be achieved.

Ask Ascend 7 about any of these PIM features, or how we can help transform your business.