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What is an agile business strategy?
Having an agile business strategy means you can respond quickly and effectively to changes in your internal and external environments. Overall, the culture, the leadership, the governance, and the strategy as a whole will influence business agility.
These fundamental agile principles will affect how quickly you can respond to changes in uncertain and complex market conditions.
Agile in Business Meaning
‘Agile’ means being responsible for sudden market shifts. Ultimately, it means making snap adjustments to strategy, embracing change, and continually improving your online business to meet customer demand.
Having an agile digital strategy in eCommerce
Below are some critical agile business requirements to ensure your business stays ahead of the curve:
- Customer-centric approach: Prioritize customer needs and preferences. Gather customer feedback and actively seek feedback to ensure shopping experiences align with the expectations of your target customer.
- Flexible tech stack: Leverage scalable and adaptable tech solutions, such as PIM for business agility or product feed management solutions (e.g., Feedonomics).
- Data-driven decision-making: Ecommerce businesses should leverage analytics tools to gain an understanding of customer behavior. This allows you to make informed business decisions for maximum impact.
- Adaptive strategy: Routine strategy reviews ensure key goals align with changing customer preferences. When it comes to strategy, setting an agile mindset will create a more reactive business environment.
- Marketing sensitivity: You must ensure your finger is on the pulse. Stay tuned to industry trends and shifts to stay ahead of the curve.
PIM & Business Agility
In eCommerce, agile product information management will help you be proactive and reactive in all areas. From purchasing and new product promotion to pricing and marketing, PIM promotes an agile digital strategy that gives your business a competitive edge.
For instance, these are some scenarios where agility is crucial:
- Weather conditions: If there’s a torrential downpour, you’d want to set up a flash sale on umbrellas quickly.
- Specific events: You might want to create a promotion for certain products ahead of a big event.
- New trends: You may need to tweak a product vision to reflect upcoming trends.
- New product releases: Getting products to market quickly to gain vital extra selling days and an enhanced competitive advantage.
- Up-to-date technology stacks: Put digital transformation at the heart of your strategy.
With an agile business methodology, you’ll sell more products, increase ROI, and build brand loyalty. However, to make the shift towards being proactive, you need to examine what affects business agility from a product perspective.
Common challenges eCommerce businesses need to overcome
Outdated technology stacks
It’s worth thinking about how you manage product information within your current technology stack. Are you relying on a legacy platform like an Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) to manage product data? While ERPs are a great tool to manage stock levels, they’re not designed to manage enriched product data.
To guarantee the best possible customer experience, you need rich, high-quality product data that you can publish quickly. An ERP won’t be suitable because you’d likely store and manage enriched product data in a different system. Having disparate systems doesn’t promote an agile way of working as it considerably impacts productivity and slows time to market.
Alternatively, you might store and manage all your product information in Excel, which is super time-consuming and labor-intensive. Again, this will slow your time to market and will present challenges when handling large volumes of complex product data. Automation in business massively contributes to business agility, so having the right technologies in place puts you in a strong position.
A lack of understanding of customer buying behavior
Slow reactivity around a product strategy is disastrous in a quick-paced eCommerce environment. Multiple factors affect customer buying decisions every day and in real-time. Events, weather conditions, and key seasonal dates are examples.
To be a truly agile organization and get ahead of the curve, you must pre-empt these events. Once you know which products they’ll be looking for or what solutions they’ll need, you can tweak your product roadmap accordingly. Gaining insights into customer behavior well ahead of time will give you more time to craft winning product promotions that will resonate with your customers.
For example, an outdoor retailer could run a discount sale on tents when tickets for a festival are released. They know customers will need camping gear, and they could tailor the messaging specifically for festival goers. If you have all promotional assets ready to launch immediately, you can position yourself as the go-to eCommerce business for everything your customers need – just when they need it.
Lack of business automation
Another common challenge is a lack of automation in the product management process. Agile product management runs right from sourcing components to doorstep delivery. In other words, ensuring each process step runs smoothly is key to ensuring you’re as agile as possible. This is where technology management tools play a crucial role in helping you automate as many of these processes as possible.
The right technologies will help you save valuable time every step of the way, and the benefits of this will be two-fold. Firstly, you’ll save tons of time automating what would have been manual processes. Secondly, you’ll have more time to focus on delivering tailored online experiences that truly resonate with your customers.
Overall, having an agile strategy will require an investment in new technologies, but this will soon pay off. You’ll gain complete control over the journey of your products and the quality of the online experience you deliver. This is where Product Information Management (PIM) will help.
PIM for business agility
From a business agility perspective, there are several advantages to using PIM:
Easy to access cloud-based software
Cloud-based solutions are gaining popularity because they can be accessed anytime and anywhere with an internet connection. Some PIM solutions are hosted in the cloud, meaning team members can access product information quickly. Any changes made reflect in real-time so you can stay on top of unexpected shifts in the market.
If your product data is stored in disparate systems, making changes or taking action will be much more complex. Knowing the most accurate and up-to-date version of your product data is challenging without the right integrations. As a result, your customers and internal departments may receive incorrect information.
PIM systems integrate seamlessly with internal and external systems like ERPs and eCommerce platforms. This means you’ll be able to achieve operational excellence with totally streamlined data management processes.
How does business process automation enhance business agility?
Within the eCommerce industry, there are specific changes you can anticipate, such as:
- The change of seasons
- Price fluctuations
- Key events
- Stock availability
These automated workflows enable you to set up rules for when certain product data should be published. For instance, you can specify when a certain product promotion goes live and determine how long it should run well ahead of time. As a result, your products are automatically published, and you can drastically speed up your time to market.
Increasing sales for old stock
In addition to increasing sales for new products, you can use your PIM to clear old stock. In the context of business agility, it enables agile teams to identify which items aren’t selling well. You could then look at your top-performing sales channels to sell the maximum volume.
Then, you can set rules for the prices at which your items should be sold depending on stock levels. This will mean you sell every item at the optimal price, all while clearing any potential product backlogs.
PIM allows you to be flexible with your product data. This flexibility means you can tailor the information to various audiences and channels. For example, a personalized gift retailer could use PIM to create a product offering for Mother’s Day.
They could also generate a weekend offer based on an event in the local area. If they’re selling across different sales channels (such as Amazon), they can also ensure the product data is unique and specific to the requirements of each sales channel. This way, retailers can sell across multiple channels seamlessly.
PIM for business agility
To be truly agile in business, you need to have the right data at your fingertips. Ongoing analysis ensures your team can respond to unforeseen circumstances. Access to detailed product information and customer insights allows you to create online experiences that meet and exceed customer demands, no matter the occasion.
Product Information Management (PIM) systems are becoming an increasingly important tool for eCommerce businesses. Powerful automation and in-depth insights into your products’ performance across sales channels enable you to level up your agile methodology.
With PIM, manual tasks are significantly reduced, allowing you to quickly make real-time decisions, bolster online performance, and drive business agility.