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What is time to market?
Time to market definition: The time required for a business to take a product idea, develop it and have it available to buy in the market.
In the context of eCommerce, this may be the time it takes to get a new product available to buy online. Alternatively, it may be the time it takes you to get an existing product available to buy on new sales channels or markets.
Why is time to market important?
Speed to market is a competitive advantage, especially in eCommerce. When you reduce time to market, you gain vital extra selling days all while positioning yourself as the go-to online retailer for the latest products. Faster time to market is also a key product development metric, so it’s always going to be a priority in terms of tracking the success of your business.
In addition, if you’re getting new products out ahead of your competitors, customers are more likely to return to shop with you in the future. They’ll be safe in the knowledge that they can go to you for the latest products on the market. All in all, when you reduce time to market and have a sleek product launch, you’re on the path to success.
To learn more about customer retention, we have a downloadable checklist designed to audit your current process.
How to improve speed to market
In 2023, eCommerce sales are expected to account for 20.8% of retail sales across the globe. So, getting your products to market quickly and efficiently is essential if you want to benefit from the popularity of eCommerce.
With that in mind, to ensure a short time to market (TTM), there are several things you should do to facilitate the process.
Whether you’re working on a new product launch, restocking a previous bestseller, or updating an existing product, these methods are tried and tested across industry.
Of course, the average time to market will vary by industry. However, there are some things everyone can do to ensure products are released ahead of the competition. Firstly, streamlining and automating manual processes is a sure-fire way to increase your speed to market. To achieve that, you need to:
- Clearly define your product launch objectives with the relevant stakeholder
- Have eCommerce-ready product data and all promotional materials ready ahead of the launch
- Ensure you have a robust eCommerce tech stack in place
- Work collaboratively across different department with streamlined, automated systems
The benefits of speed to market
So, a quick time to market makes your business more competitive and increases your online sales and market share. But, improving time to market also means you take advantage of the following:
Reduced stock-holding times
The longer your products sit in the warehouse, the more time (and money) is wasted. A massive 43% of retailers rank inventory as a day-to-day challenge.
With that in mind, reducing time to market efficient processes goes a long way in preventing wasted stock-holding time!
Dropshipping is becoming an ever more profitable and popular way of selling. In fact, the dropshipping market is set to surpass $372.47 billion by 2025.
Well, how does it work?
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.
Increased selling days
Reducing your time to market through improved, streamlined product information management will ultimately give you more time to sell your products. As we know, more selling days mean increased sales revenues!
Improved marketing operations
Creating launch schedules and having better processes in place means your marketing teams can plan more efficiently.
Having quality product data and promotional assets readily available and on a more predictable schedule, they’ll have everything they need to create amazing product launch campaigns.
A great way to gain your customers’ loyalty is to have the newest product first on your eCommerce site.
Whether it’s a big brand release, or the latest fashion trend, being ahead of others in the market will help you gain new customers.
Keep customers happy, gain their trust, and they’ll come back to you time and time again. The stats speak for themselves. After-all, it’s 5-25x more expensive to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one.
What are the common pain points with getting products to market?
There are a number of factors that affect how quickly you get your products to market. These include problems in the development stages, to logistical operations, such as delivery dates.
Ultimately, the creation, availability, and distribution of product information will 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, several questions come up:
- Where’s the data coming from?
- What format is it coming in?
- Can you easily process that data?
- Does it need to be converted or translated?
- How will the data map onto the structure for storing and processing it internally?
Sourcing product data is significantly simplified due the powerful automation tools with a PIM platform like Pimberly.
For instance, 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 accelerating time to market.
The optimization process 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: Digital assets play a vital role in the buyer journey and will often facilitate processes like copywriting, 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 if you want to offer intuitive filter and search features to help 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
- Shopify/BigCommerce connectors: Our connectors instantly update your Shopify/BigCommerce eCommerce site, allowing you to make product updates at a moment’s notice.
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.
With PIM, you’ll know which areas you still need to work on to move things forward. Moreover, Pimberly comes fully-loaded with product lifecycles to automatically move your products to the next stage in the approval journey. This proactive approach prevents hold-ups and bottlenecks, which means no wasted time or work.
Distribution of data to sales channels
Once you’ve created and optimized your product information, you then need to publish to your various sales channels. Without the right tools and technologies, which will slow your time to market. Therefore, you need to consider:
- How product information is being published on your eCommerce site
- Differentiating data for different selling platforms like online, mobile, and in-store
- Sharing data with other retailers and across other distribution channels
- How you update published product information (should any changes occur)
The problem here is that businesses often have different people, teams, and agencies all working 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.
Enhance your time to market strategy with PIM
Efficient Product Information Management will be key in improving your time to market metrics. PIM platforms offer powerful automation, enabling you to streamline processes and reduce manual tasks relating to product data management by up to 80%.
PIM’s powerful workflows mean if any product data is 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 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 will ensure your different team members only see what’s relevant to them and their job roles.
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 these factors will contribute to you having quality product data you know is accurate. Massive storage capabilities mean you lock and load everything well ahead of time so you can launch at a moment’s notice.
By automating your processes and increasing efficiency, you will massively speed your time to market.
Overall, you will cut the time it takes to get your new products to market by as much as half using a PIM like Pimberly.
Benefit from faster product onboarding, the ability to adapt to seasonal changes and the growing needs of your customers, and the opportunity to expand your market reach.