Time to Market is how long it takes a business to take a product idea, develop it and have it available to buy on their eCommerce site.
Fast speed to market is a competitive advantage as it enables you to gain vital extra selling days. Furthermore, time to market is one of the key product development metrics, so it will always be a priority for any business selling goods.
When it comes to accelerating your time to market, there are going to be several things that will be key in facilitating the process. This is what we’re going to be looking at in this blog. So, if you’re keen to learn the ins and outs of how to optimize your time to market, settle down and read on!
Reducing your time to market
Whether you’re working on a new product launch, restocking a previous bestseller, or updating an existing product, getting to market quickly is crucial to your business’s success. Of course, the average time to market will vary by industry. However, there are some things every you can do to ensure your products are released ahead of your competitors. You can increase your speed to market by:
- Streamlining and automating manual processes
- Working collaboratively across different departments
- Having eCommerce-ready product data ahead of the launch
You may be saying this is all well and good, but how do you achieve these things? Well, that’s where Product Information Management (PIM) comes into play! Let’s break it down:
Using PIM to improve speed to market
PIM platforms offer powerful automation, enabling you to streamline processes and reduce manual tasks relating to product data management by up to 80%. This will massively boost operational efficiency and productivity, as well as enabling you to be agile and react quickly.
Having all data in a central repository like your PIM means you always have full visibility over your product data. Easy-to-use dashboards give you the ability to easily identify gaps. You can then can use powerful workflows to set requirements for what the quality of the product data should look like before a product goes live. If any elements are missing, the relevant team member will be notified. In other words, this means you’ll never launch a product with missing information.
PIM systems also promote a super collaborative way of working. For instance, multiple team members can be working on different aspects of the product data at any given time. With access control, you can ensure your different team members only see what’s relevant to them and their job roles. As an example, the studio team would only oversee the Digital Asset Management side of things.
Version control also enables you to see what changes have been made over time, so you always know what team members have been working on. All of these factors will contribute toward you having quality product data that you know is accurate. Massive storage capabilities mean you can lock and load everything well ahead of time so you can launch at a moment’s notice.
The benefits of a faster time to market
As well as making your business more competitive, getting your products to market faster will also enable you to take advantage of the following:
Reduced stock-holding times
Do you often receive products that aren’t ready to be listed for sale online? The longer they sit there, the more time (and money) is wasted. Speeding up your time to market with more efficient product information management can go a long way in preventing wasted stock-holding time.
Dropshipping is becoming an ever more profitable and popular way of selling. Instead of keeping goods in stock, you simply transfer your customers’ orders and shipment details to a third party. After that, a manufacturer, wholesaler, or another retailer ships the goods out to your customer.
It’s a great way to reduce time to market, however, speedy product data processes are paramount for it to run smoothly.
Increased selling days
Reducing your time to market through improved, streamlined product information management will ultimately give you more time to sell your products. Overall, more selling days mean increased sales revenues. To add to that, you’re more likely to gain a significant advantage over your competitors.
Improved marketing operations
Creating launch schedules and having better processes in place will mean your marketing teams can plan more efficiently. This is because the availability of required information and assets will be much improved and more predictable. Because of better quality data being available sooner and on a more predictable schedule, they’ll have everything they need to create a killer marketing plan for your products.
A great way to gain your customers’ loyalty is to have the newest product first on your eCommerce site. Be one step ahead of your competitors. Whether it’s a big brand release, with crucial early tech adopters to capture, or the latest fashion trend, being ahead of others in the market will help you gain new customers. And their experience this time will affect more than just this first sale. Keep them happy, gain their trust and they’ll come back to you time and time again. Let them know you’ll be the first to meet their needs.
What affects your time to market?
There are a number of factors that affect how quickly you get your products to market. Starting with issues in the development stages, to logistical operations, such as delivery dates. The creation, availability, and distribution of information related to your products can also massively impact your time to market. Here are some of the potential hold-ups at each stage:
Sourcing product data
When getting data for a product, a number of questions will come up:
- Where’s the data coming from?
- What format is it coming in?
- Can your business process that data easily?
- Does it need converting?
- How will the data map onto the structure for storing and processing it internally?
Sourcing product data is simplified using a PIM platform like Pimberly to automate all processes related to data collection, processing, and distribution. Creating workflows means you can customize and automate any information you would usually process manually. You’ll save heaps of time, giving you more time to focus on product enrichment and ensuring your data is totally accurate.
The optimization process
Optimizing data for your eCommerce site can be a lengthy process. As such, it’s a key area to address in improving time to market. It involves gathering all product data (including digital assets like images and videos) and presenting it in a way that is useful to customers browsing your eCommerce site.
Product information must be accurate, detailed, and relevant. There are several parts of the process to consider including:
- Product onboarding: Creating technical details (size, weights, dimensions, etc.), product photography, copywriting for product descriptions, translations for sites in other languages, search engine optimization for greater visibility
- Digital asset management: Processing, and preparing digital assets can be complex but is essential to improving productivity for processes like copy-writing, marketing, and SEO
- Marketing optimization: Writing descriptions, optimizing content for search engines, performing quality checks, adding extra assets for A/B testing on site
- Data quality and standardization: These elements are vital for enabling eCommerce sites to enable intuitive filter and search features, helping customers find exactly what they’re looking for
- Category decisions and checks: Products need to be in the most relevant categories to offer a better customer experience
Visibility and Control over your product data
It’s key to know how far along your product data is in the optimization process. PIM software will help you to gain a clear picture of completeness. You’ll know which areas you still need to work on to move things forward. This proactive approach to PIM prevents hold-ups and bottlenecks, which means no wasted time or work.
Distribution of data to sales channels
Once you’ve created and formatted product information, you then need to publish to your various sales channels. Consequently, this can create a number of problems and hold-ups, which slows your time to market. You need to consider:
- How product information is being published on your eCommerce site
- Differentiating and formatting your data for different selling platforms like online, mobile, in-store
- How data is distributed to sales reps (both field sales and in-store)
- Sharing data with other retailers and across other distribution channels
- How you will update published product information (should any changes occur)
The problem here is that businesses often have different people, teams, and agencies all working manually with this information. If they’re not quickly communicating updates, they won’t be on the same page. As a result, there’ll be hold-ups, duplicated work, and crucial time wasted. The process is also continually impacted by changes to launch dates, stock receiving dates, and the availability of samples. You must factor all of this into workloads and prioritize within schedules.
Efficient Product Information Management is the key
Without a clear view of the entire product information journey, it’s really tough to determine if teams are making progress. For instance, imagine trying to manage the whole process in spreadsheets. It’s difficult to see what each team was working on. Overall, this can result in mistakes and duplication of work. Your teams need a clear path to follow, and an understanding of what work needs to be done in order to ensure product information is ready to go live on all your channels.
Those who operate across multiple channels also need to recognize the specific data needs of each individual sales channel and identify the tasks they need to perform in order to adhere to them.
This is where our intelligent PIM platform will greatly benefit your business. By automating your processes for increased efficiency, Pimberly will, in turn, help you speed up your time to market.
Optimize your time to market with Pimberly
Cut the time it takes to get your new products to market by as much as half using Pimberly. Benefit from faster product onboarding, the ability to adapt to seasonal changes and the growing needs of your customers, and the chance to expand your market reach.