In today’s competitive online shopping environment, retailers need to focus on making the shopping experience as easy, personal, and relevant as possible. Here we look...
Why business productivity is key to success
For any business, driving productivity will always be front of mind. The effective use of time and resources ultimately contributes to lower operating costs and better business performance on the whole. A productive employee creates tangible results that contribute to the growth and success of a business.
In the context of eCommerce, this will be underpinned by ensuring your customers can easily find and buy your products. So, you’d want your employees to focus on delivering amazing online experiences with enriched product data to drive online revenues. This is where PIM plays a pivotal role in increasing your company’s productivity.
Let’s start by looking at what PIM is and how it will enhance productivity.
What is PIM?
In eCommerce, PIM is fast becoming an essential tool as it streamlines large parts of product data management processes. Product Information Management (PIM) tools enable you to gather, store, manage, enrich, and distribute product data to all your sales channels.
Often, the different elements of your product data will be stored across disparate systems. With PIM, you can easily import all product information and digital assets from unlimited internal and external data sources. This might include spreadsheets, ERP systems, PLM systems, or supplier data feeds. You can then work from a central hub to enrich it and get it eCommerce-ready.
PIM also has powerful scoping and localization tools. Therefore, you can differentiate the product data you list on your eCommerce site, on marketplaces, or on social media platforms. This means you’ll always meet the different requirements of your sales channels. In turn, this increases your chances of your products getting listed above your competitors.
Moreover, if you sell across several geographies, you can serve your customers with product data in the language and format that’s familiar to them. In turn, this will further increase your chances of making more online sales.
How Product Information Management (PIM) boosts productivity
A sure-fire way to boost productivity is to invest in new technologies that will streamline processes and promote collaborative work. That’s why there are many ways in which PIM boosts productivity. It totally streamlines your product data management processes and facilitates collaboration across departments. As a result, you have more time and resources to focus on growing and scaling your eCommerce operations.
Let’s look at the detail:
A central hub for all product data
You waste a lot of time if you have to search across a bunch of different systems to find data. But this is no longer the case when you have everything stored in one place. Say so long to the days of checking through multiple spreadsheets to find that product description you need to update.
To add to that, working on several different spreadsheets increases the risk of human error and duplicated workloads. It’s harder to keep track of changes that have been made, and when they were made. This is where PIM will significantly improve productivity.
PIM workflows enable you to determine certain criteria your product data must meet before going live. You can also create approval workflows so you can check everything before it goes online. Version control also makes it super quick and easy to identify when changes were made, who made them, and when they were made. As a result, you know you’ll always be working with the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Lastly, anyone working on spreadsheets will understand the challenge of associating the right digital assets with the right products. Well, any good PIM system will also have Digital Asset Management (DAM) capabilities. As such, all product information and digital assets live under the same roof, against the correct SKU.
Reduce manual tasks with automation
We all know reduced manual work will inevitably lead to better productivity, which is another reason PIM aids productivity. There’s a ton of automation you can benefit from, which can lead to as much as an 80% reduction in manual tasks relating to product data management processes. Here’s a breakdown of the key factors:
Unlimited data feeds in and out
You’re dealing with vast amounts of product data on a daily basis, collecting it from various different sources. With PIM, you can import data from unlimited internal and external data sources. With a few simple clicks, you will populate your PIM with all the information you need to start crafting amazing online experiences.
To guarantee the best possible results, you’ll also want different product data variants for your different channels. The scoping functionality within your PIM gives you the ability to specify what data you want to publish to your different outlets. In other words, you’ll no longer have to manually populate everything – your PIM will do it for you!
Bulk updates and auto-tagging of assets
You need to make an update to an entire product range. you might want to make an amend to a product description for instance. Or you might be introducing a new pricing strategy. Doing this manually will be a huge task, especially if you have a large product range and a ton of SKUs.
With bulk updates, you can amend large volumes of data in one go. Once these changes are uploaded to your PIM system, they’re then reflected in real-time across all sales channels. As a result, you’ll always be displaying the correct information which will go a long way in boosting customer satisfaction.
You’re likely also handling 100+ digital assets, which play a vital role in the online buyer journey. PIM systems like Pimberly will give you the ability to automate the process of allocating assets to the relevant products. You do this by setting specific rules and defining naming conventions.
Workflows in PIM are a huge game changer, especially for larger teams working on different areas of product enrichment. it’s also a great way to ensure you never list products with missing or inaccurate information. There are two types of workflows: automation, and approval.
Example of an automation workflow: If you receive product data in several different formats from your suppliers, you can set a rule to create a single source of truth. This may be changing BLK to Black for instance. Or, if an image isn’t present, the studio team will be notified. The product won’t go live until the digital assets have been included.
Example of an approval workflow: You might have an eCommerce executive working on the copy for a product description. Once it’s been written, the eCommerce manager would receive an automated notification to check over it. Again, the product won’t move to the next stage until the copy has been approved. This will improve both collaboration and productivity, so it’s a double win!
Automated Product Data Sheets and sizing charts
In-depth product information is paramount to giving customers that extra layer of confidence they need to hit “buy now”. Product Data Sheets (PDS) and sizing charts are a great way of offering additional information in a different format to engage and inform your customers. The process of creating these is totally automated with PIM.
You have the choice of using your own templates that you create and upload. Alternatively, you can use the existing templated within your PIM. They’re then populated using the information stored in your PIM.
Need to make a change? No worries! Any updates you make to your product data will be instantly reflected across all your documentation. Result? No more manual updates!
Collaboration across internal and external teams
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
In eCommerce, a lot of different departments are involved in the product data enrichment process. You may also be working with third parties, such as suppliers, digital agencies, or distributors. You’ll then have your internal teams – product managers, eCommerce, sales, marketing, and SEO. All will intervene at different stages of the product’s lifecycle, which can be tricky when working across multiple disparate systems.
A key way PIM increases productivity is by giving your internal and external teams one place to work from. This also goes beyond the product enrichment phase. Once products are listed, and customers are browsing your site, they might have a query before they commit to buying. If this is the case, your customer service team can access all product data to provide an answer.
Overall, this makes for a much more joined-up way of working that enables you to deliver great product experiences.
Full visibility over all products
To truly harness the power of your data, you need to see how a product looks from start to finish. From image updates to SEO titles, a PIM system guides you through every stage of a product’s lifecycle. Intuitive dashboards will clearly show you where there are any gaps in your product data so you can quickly action changes that need to be made. Likewise, you’ll have full visibility over the products that are ready to get listed online.
Having this complete visibility means you can focus on the important tasks as a priority. It also means data quality will be at its peak as team members can quickly identify where improvements need to be made.
PIM and productivity – what you can gain?
PIM technology offers eCommerce businesses a ton of business benefits, productivity being one of the main ones. When you boost productivity with PIM, you’ll have more time to focus on creating stand-out online experiences with quality product data.
This quality product data will also aid in driving product discoverability from an SEO standpoint. Streamlined processes and collaboration will make optimizing all product data and digital assets a total breeze. Another advantage of having this quality product data is a knock-on effect on your conversion rates and Average Order Values (AOV), which all translate to higher online revenues.
From an employee perspective, you know they’ll be working on a system that’s fit-for-purpose. Even if they’re not from a technical background, the user-friendly interface will make it easy for them to complete their day-to-day tasks with ease and efficiency. They’ll also just be concentrating on their respective areas of expertise, so they can really shine!
In short, more efficient processes will remove the need for you to increase headcount, even if you’re scaling or growing!