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How Williams Commerce & Pimberly Facilitate Business Growth & Scalability

Williams Commerce is one of our valued partners, and we’ve worked side-by-side to help our customers take their eCommerce strategy to the next level. Williams Commerce is a leading digital services agency that builds and transforms their customers’ eCommerce businesses worldwide. Like the Pimberly team, they focus on creating incredible digital experiences. Williams Commerce offers a range of services spanning from eCommerce, digital marketing and sophisticated integration with third-party systems.

At Pimberly, we’re passionate about helping our customers leverage their product data and digital assets to create amazing online experiences. The synergy between Pimberly and Williams Commerce lies in what we’re both passionate about: Helping our customers create online experiences that surprise and delight, all whilst streamlining day-to-day operations. Here’s a little insight into the work we completed on one of our joint accounts – Gill Marine:

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Gill Marine is a leader in the marine apparel sector and was founded by avid sailor, Nick Gill, in 1975. They’ve seen rapid business growth and had to adopt a digital transformation strategy to scale and expand their technical clothing business.

Gill Marine is a prime example of how COVID has anchored its eCommerce strategy. They went from ‘safe and reliable’ to ‘new and exciting’ by working with both Williams Commerce and Pimberly. From scaling their brands and expanding into new markets, to improving SEO, AOV and conversion, the world is now their oyster.

During the height of the pandemic, they also launched Gill Fishing to capitalise on growing demand for fishing equipment in the US. Because they were able to do this so quickly with our powerful solutions, they saved loads of time and money. From the build of the Gill Fishing eCommerce site to launching, they were dealing with their first orders in as soon as one month.

The role of Pimberly

Creating new sales channels in Pimberly can literally be completed with a few simple clicks. You can also use the powerful scoping facilities to tailor the product data and digital assets you distribute to sales channels, in line with their specific requirements. This means, wherever you’re reaching your audience, they’ll always have the best possible customer experience.

Localisation features in Pimberly mean you can translate and store product data in the languages you need, convert prices into the currencies you need and use scoping features to make sure your audience will see the measurements in metrics that make sense to them. Use the scoping functionality to personalize the experience depending on region to really up your game.

Real-time, bulk updates mean that you can quickly diversify your product range, and any changes will be instantly reflected across all your sales channels. This gives you a super-fast route to market. Without the need to manually update your products, you’ll save loads of time, be more productive and increase sales.

Pimberly also has loads of other essential features and functionalities that give you the ability to create personalized and superior customer experiences.

The role of Williams Commerce

Increasing your online exposure is one of the things Williams Commerce is most passionate about. When you’re entering new markets or expanding your product range, you need to make sure you’re getting your products in front of the right people at the right time. Williams Commerce has a wide array of digital services that will achieve this for you, meaning you can grow your business with full confidence.

Website issues will always be fixed with a super-fast turnaround, so you’ll have minimal disruption. No problem is too big or small. Williams Commerce will often pick up historic code and bring it up to scratch so you can achieve your eCommerce goals. Williams Commerce will also work with you to determine your eCommerce goals, keep site development moving forward by adding enhancements and functionalities that will enable you to work with more efficiency.

Website builds can typically be completed in a week for .net and php sites, and even faster for those based on Magento, Venda or Salesforce Commerce Cloud. They’ll work with you to understand your specific requirements and make sure the site they build fits the bill in every way. A powerful eCommerce site is the groundwork you need to make sure you’re delivering customer experiences that will surprise and delight.

Digital transformation is the way forward

Now is the time to embrace digital transformation, leveraging technology to optimize resources and produce better results. Both Williams Commerce and Pimberly are passionate about streamlining the way you work, enabling you to focus on delivering the best possible customer experience.

This will ultimately set you apart from the competition, which is crucial for online retailers facing increases in demand and changing consumer behavior. Having forward-thinking and proactive technology partners is a must for any businesses looking to smash their eCommerce strategy.

Learn more about the Williams Commerce & Pimberly partnership and start your journey to online excellence

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Williams Commerce & Pimberly: Creating Customer Experiences That Surprise and Delight

Why growth & scalability are key for retailers & marketplaces

36% of retail sales were made online in 2020. In 2021, we saw +69.5% Year-on-Year (YoY) growth for February, and 21.9% of that was for clothing, clearly demonstrating a big upward trend. This monumental shift to online not only demonstrates a massive change in consumer behavior, it also opens up big opportunities for online retailers to capitalise on eCommerce to achieve business growth.

COVID came like a bolt from the blue, forcing consumers and retailers alike to completely change the way they operate – and quickly! In a very short amount of time, the need for certain products just wasn’t there anymore because of the massive changes taking place.

Let’s look at some of the most commonly searched products on Google in 2019 for the apparel and fashion sector: Prom dresses sat at number 1, with nearly 3.5 million searches. Now, let’s look at the most common product searches that took place in 2020. There were nearly 2.5 million searches for loungewear – a whopping 295% increase on 2019, setting it at number one. Surprise-surprise! (Nobody was rocking a prom dress when lockdown was at its height).

In order to stay ahead of the curve, retailers and marketplaces needed to be agile, and promptly change their offerings to cater to changing consumer demands. Expanding and adjusting, all whilst maintaining good communication with customers was of paramount importance. This is where the need for powerful and effective tech stacks came into play.

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Embracing new opportunities for business growth

With change comes new opportunities for business growth. Retailers, especially in the apparel and fashion industry, had to find new ways to achieve eCommerce success. Having the right technologies in place to support new ambitions were crucial and their importance will only increase in the future.

To sell more, a logical step would be to expand – whether that be in terms of new sales channels, new markets or product range. Competition in the apparel and fashion industry is often a case of ‘survival of the fittest’. Wherever possible, online retailers must gain a competitive edge and keep customers coming back. Let’s break it down.

New sales channels

Consumers find it more straight forward to start their product journeys on online marketplace as opposed to trawling through different eCommerce sites. More product searches are taking places on Amazon than they did on Google, so online marketplaces represent a massive opportunity for online retailers to grow their businesses.

Marketplaces give you access to a wider audience so you can sell more. You can also make the most of their fulfilment services to keep up with rising demand, without putting added pressure on your existing supply chain.

With more of us stuck at home, the inevitable scrolling has become a part of most of our daily routines. Mobile has changed the eCommerce landscape and is integral to business growth. Most people have access to their phones 24/7, so it’s the logical place for them to browse and shop.

Unsurprisingly, the usage of mobile retail apps has grown by 45% in the past year, so this is clearly a channel online retailers need to get on board with. Mobile also lends itself to technologies like AR and VR which give customers the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’ – something a lot of us have been missing in recent times!

New markets

One in two global consumers now buy cross-border, so going international is another key consideration for any online retailer looking to grow their business. If this is something you’re considering, marketplaces are a great way of ‘testing and scaling’, all whilst mitigating any operational or regulatory costs.

Each region will have different requirements, and consumers’ high expectations need to be met to ensure your international expansion goes to plan and prospers. Always make sure you’re providing product information in the languages of the different regions you’re serving. This also applies to currency and measurements.

Personalised and sophisticated customer journeys will set you apart. As well as differences in language, there’ll likely be nuances in terms of different tastes and styles from country to country. Factor this in when you’re looking to reach new markets. Make your customers feel surprised and delighted, wherever they are!

Product range

Who would have thought that you’d be buying face masks off ASOS? Probably not many! But many retailers were faced with the challenge of having to complexly re-vamp their product ranges to suit consumer need and demand.

The more products you have, the more data and the more digital assets you’ll have to manage. And the more data and digital assets you have, the more time you’ll need to spend ensuring all this data is being correctly distributed to your different sales channels.

A diverse product range also means that your customers will have more reason to keep coming back to you. Diversification gives you a competitive edge and enables you to maximize sales and grow your business. Being able to expand your product range with speed and efficiency will also be key – gain vital extra selling days and get one foot over your competitors.

The Williams Commerce & Pimberly partnership

We carefully select our partners, ensuring there are synergies in our objectives to help our customers create customer experiences that surprise and delight. Williams Commerce is an award-winning global eCommerce specialist and Magento business solutions partner. They work with their customers to transform their eCommerce operations, delivering digital transformation every day.

Williams Commerce and Pimberly work together to offer an integrated approach to eCommerce. Business growth and scalability lie at the heart of our partnership, and we’re both passionate about working with our customers to take their digital strategies to the next level:

“It’s great to be working alongside Williams Commerce to support brands that are adopting enterprise PIM software, as an enabler to transform their eCommerce strategy. We’re collaborating on some brilliant accounts to build a roadmap to eCommerce success. I’m looking forward to seeing the partnership continue to grow for years to come.” – Bruce Wright, VP Sales – Pimberly

Find out how we helped Gill Marine make the world their oyster in our joint customer story

 

 

 

 

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Why Manufacturers Need to Invest in PIM

Manufacturers are increasingly expected to master their eCommerce strategies. Driven by shifts in market trends and consumer expectations, adopting a digital-first strategy is key to eCommerce success. So, what are the reasons manufacturers need to invest in PIM? Well, it links directly to any digital transformation strategy. A term that’s been doing the rounds for a while, but what does digital transformation actually mean?

Product data represents a large part of any business, but even more so for manufacturers. The need to have accurate, compliant and always up-to-date product data is essential for a number of reasons. Not only is product data intrinsically linked to the customer experience, it can also be used to enable manufacturers to outpace competitors and grow revenues when used to its full potential.

Any digital transformation strategy will focus on creating efficiencies where possible. PIM streamlines day-to-day operations, enables better collaboration between departments and enables manufacturers to make intelligent decisions across the entire supply chain.

The following reasons are why manufacturers need to invest in PIM and the benefits that teams across the organisation can gain from refining their product information management processes.

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The Main Challenges Faced by Manufacturers

  1. Managing multiple data variations & sales channels
  2. Tracking the entire product lifecycle management workflow
  3. Ensuring version control of product data and assets
  4. Making data competitive to achieve better results

Managing Multiple Data Variations & Sales Channels

The majority of manufacturers deal with huge amounts of product data from a variety of different sources, in a variety of different formats. Creating a single source of truth is vital in enforcing brand consistency and fostering stronger customer It’s vital to get this right first-time round to ensure there are no detrimental impacts further down the supply chain.

Gathering data from disparate sources soon becomes a very manual and labour-intensive task. As demand for your products grows, you need to ensure you’re streamlining this process to enable your teams to focus on their areas of expertise.

PIM software integrates with limitless data sources, giving you the power to gather, manage, enrich and distribute all product descriptions from one centralised hub. Whether you’re collecting data from an ERP, supplier or even Excel, data feeds can be set up in minutes.

Once the data is imported, you can determine the desired format with configurable and flexible workflows. The powerful and visual workflows within Pimberly enable you to set requirements and approvals so product data is only released once all conditions are met.

This then feeds into the specific requirements each of your sales channels will have, as well as the varying needs and expectations of B2B, B2C and D2C customers. Consumer expectations are constantly on the rise. This means the experience you provide will ultimately determine their loyalty and your success.

With powerful scoping capabilities within Pimberly, you can determine which product details and digital assets are distributed to your different channels to suit the respective audiences. As much of this process is automated, you will see a marked increase in productivity. You’ll also be providing a product experience that will improve customer relationships and put you ahead of the curve in terms of competition.

You can set up a limitless number of sales channels with Pimberly, so you can extend the reach of your products. By being able to serve a wider variety of consumers, and being able to easily reach new markets, you’ve got a good opportunity to see accelerated business growth and increased sales.

Remember, the customer experience continues post-purchase and customers will need to be able to access certain details. Whether that be installation guides, instruction manuals or care instructions, you need to make sure all of this information is accessible. Having PIM software enables you to publish all this on your website, along with the rest of your product data.

Because PIM stores all this information in one centralised, cloud-based hub, all your service departments dealing with post-sale queries will be able to get their hands on what they need when they need it.

Tracking the Entire Product Lifecycle Management Workflow

The beauty of manufacturing is seeing a product being developed right from start to finish. Though there is much satisfaction to be gained from watching this process evolve, there are a lot of moving parts that need to be tracked and monitored to ensure smooth product launches. It’s also essential to harmonise how teams work together to ensure every step of the process is completed when needed.

The lifecycle stages in Pimberly can be used to determine the level of completeness of a product. Because the lifecycle stages can be configured in any way that suits your business, you control what attributes, assets and details are required before your product moves from one stage to the next. As the required data is added, the product will automatically move through the different stages. This is done with visual workflows that match the lifecycle stages. It’s a fully automated process that will save you loads of time and you will always have a clear view of where your products are up to in the lifecycle.

With PIM software, you can also add multiple primary IDs to one single product. At different stages of the product lifecycle, it may obtain new unique identifiers which the product should be globally known as from that point in time. Because you can search with primary ID’s that have been allocated at any time during the product lifecycle, you will always be able to find products with ease. This also gives you a complete audit trail of the progress the product is making.

Ensuring Version Control of Product Data & Assets

Brand consistency helps you build trust with your customers. When sharing data across multiple channels, you need to ensure that all product messaging is in-line with your brand identity. As well as your product descriptions, you also want to make sure your imagery is on-point. Your products help tell your brand story, so you don’t want that to be diluted when they move down the funnel to your customers.

Ensuring version control of data with PIM is easy, and there are plenty of features that enable you to keep your product information consistent across all channels. Access control plays a key role, here. You can make sure the relevant departments can access what they need. You can also control what certain employees can do within the system. Not only does this enable employees to really shine and hone their expertise, you’ll also avoid duplicated workloads.

When it comes to your digital assets, the DAM functionality within Pimberly gives you the ability to store as many digital assets for a given product as required. As this means that you have full control over the images that accompany your products, you can showcase them in the best possible light.

When it comes to being able to share your product data with customers or internal teams in a more granular format, product data sheets are a great resource to have, and they can be shared both off and online. They are especially useful for manufacturers who, often, have to ensure granular details are provided to meet certain regulations. Again, Pimberly automates this process, and any product updates will also be reflected in your product data sheets, so your customers will always have the correct, up-to-date product information.

As your product data and digital assets move downstream, one thing to be conscious of is the possibility of losing vital details, lower-quality images being used and tone of voice being drowned out. This isn’t a priority for retailers; they’re dealing with high churn rates and new product releases all the time. They’re also limited in terms of the amount of detail they can display on their sites.

Another challenge is the risk of there being conflicting details from one sales channel to another. To have complete confidence in their buying decisions, customers will need vital information such as power consumption, dimensions and other crucial details that influence the buying process.

Manufacturers own all this data so; they need to act as a source of truth to avoid losing sales and damaging their brand. This is where PIM software comes in. a newly released feature we’ve been working on – Customer Connect – gives you control of the specific details you share with your sales channels. BUT it’s also important you make this information available on your website and PIM software also enables you to do that easily.

Making Data Competitive to Achieve Better Results

Providing super-detailed, accurate and rich product descriptions comes with all sorts of benefits. Your customers truly value this, but you can also leverage your product data to act as your brand ambassador and gain a competitive edge. Having unique data, complete with rich detail, will set you apart from the competition. Customers notice and appreciate that extra layer of detail, which also gives them much more confidence with their buying decisions.

Non-price sensitive buyers also place a lot of importance on sustainability and traceability in their buying decisions, which will be predominantly led by their ethical values. Manufacturers should be aware of this and, consequently, need to be making sure all these details are also made available on their websites.

To make your product data even more competitive, manufacturers should also be thinking about the long-term customer journey, especially when it comes to white good where brand loyalty tends to be more common. If they encounter an issue with their product 5 years post-purchase, they’re more likely to head to the manufacturers’ website, not the retailers’ site they bought it from. Here, you can grasp an opportunity to show these customers the next new equivalent products and new releases.

PIM software will give you the power to add keyword-rich descriptions to all your products, which will boost your SEO rankings. Better SEO rankings mean you’re increasing your chances of getting your products noticed by your target audience on search engines. You can also optimise all digital assets so they can also be incorporated into your SEO strategy. Well-structured data also plays its role in SEO, as well as making it easier for your customers to search for what they’re looking for. Your SEO team will also benefit from working in a single workspace, which will save time and reduce errors and duplications.

Enhance Your Digital Transformation Strategy with PIM

Granted, there is an array of different technologies that will go towards accelerating business growth. Knowing which ones to add to your tech stack isn’t always straightforward. Because product information plays such a crucial role in your overall success, it’s logical to have a dedicated solution that makes the product data management process easy. PIM software gives you the opportunity to streamline the way your departments work together, gives you the power to create amazing product experiences for your customers and, ultimately, will impact your overall success.

If you’re focusing on your digital transformation strategy, it may well be time for you to invest in PIM software – they go hand-in-hand and can help you transform the way you do business.

Take a look at our dedicated white paper that delves deeper into the benefits of PIM

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Spring is Springing: Make Your Product Pages Flourish

Spring is springing! After short days and dull weather, we’re all eager to pack away the winter warmers, embrace longer days and (hopefully) more sunshine – though, for us Mancunians, that’s not guaranteed!

As the equinox approaches, all life form shrugs off the weariness of winter; flowers bloom, leaves re-grow and rivers swell. Spring is synonymous with new beginnings with bursts of life and colour, so what better way to welcome the new season than to have your product pages flourishing with exactly that – life and colour!

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Spring also has some noteworthy dates, like Easter and Father’s Day, which are both big-ticket items for the eCommerce calendar. This adds to the importance of having flourishing product pages that draw your customers in and provide them with an unrivalled customer experience. In this blog, we’re going to talk about how you can make the most of your digital assets to create amazing online experiences, as well as improved online conversion rates.

The Importance of Digital Assets in the Buyer Journey

The human brain processes images and video a lot better than text (up to 60,000 quicker!) so making sure you’re creating a visual experience is key in providing a great customer experience.

Research shows that one of the first things your customer is going to look at will likely be your digital assets so having a variety of high-quality images and videos will put you in good stead when they come to make their purchasing decision. Provide a full overview and bring your products to life: front, back and side shots and, when it comes to clothing, videos of how the garment falls when it’s actually worn are all a must!

How to Use Digital Assets in the Buyer Journey

There are different ways of using digital assets throughout the different stages of the buyer journey to turn a browser into a buyer: In a recent blog, we spoke about how content will be used differently in 2021, especially with further lockdowns and restrictions being put in place.

As well as showcasing your products, images and video are a great way of telling your brand story, enabling your customers to create that deep and meaningful relationship with your brand. Product videos are also a great way of demonstrating how a product works, how it should be used or, as we mentioned before, what a product actually looks like when it’s being worn. Think tutorials, styling tips, lifestyle shots and how-to guides to give your customers all the confidence they need in their buyer journey. 

Create a Competitive Edge

Making sure your product images & videos look on point throughout your eCommerce site is obviously really important, but think about third party marketplaces, too.

On Amazon and eBay, competitors may well be selling a similar product, even imitations. Having a comprehensive set of digital assets will enable you to give that extra layer of product information and will reassure buyers of your products’ quality and authenticity.

On Amazon, you can have up to seven product images whereas eBay allows up to 12. If those product images and videos are varied i.e., from different angles, high-quality and show a lifestyle shot, you’re likely to get a better listing and create a good competitive edge. Make sure your product images are high resolution so they can be zoomed in on to provide the best possible customer experience, too.

Digital Asset Management – DAM, That’s the Dream!

The above is all well and good, I hear you say, but how does it work in practice if you’re managing thousands even millions of SKU’s? Fear not – the DAM system within Pimberly makes digital asset management an absolute dream!

Be gone the days of storing your digital assets in different locations. Bring everything together in one place in the centralised hub that is Pimberly, at no extra cost. This means all your colleagues, clients and suppliers have controlled access to everything they need. Our digital asset management feature is designed to store any number of file formats, whether that be image, video, PDF’s or any other documentation you require.

You can easily bring your product pages to life by automatically linking your digital assets to your products; provided there is a unique identifier, Pimberly automatically allocates the relevant digital assets to the relevant product. As well as being able to view all digital assets on one page, with infinite scrolling, there is also a uniquely designed interface that displays animated collage and grid views so you can quickly get your hands on what you’re looking for.

Pimberly also automates the conversion, re-sizing and renaming of digital assets to fit the requirements of the different channels you’re selling through with the channel configurator This drastically reduces the manpower behind making sure your products are always accompanied by the highest-res, highest quality digital assets.

Personalising the customer experience depending on demographics, geographies or the markets you’re selling into is crucial to get the best possible results. We recognise this, which is why Pimberly gives you the power to store different images for the same products i.e., think high vis jacket – you can choose to display a different image for a construction sector worker than you would for someone in the security sector. You also have the capability to use AI to create automatic tagging of images. This means you can show more relevant content when displaying “shop the look” or upsells and cross sells.

In eCommerce, planning ahead is key, and being able to “lock n’ load” campaigns well ahead of time gives you more scope to focus on other business objectives. For each campaign, you’ll have a different set of product descriptions and digital assets to go with it. These can all be stored using the Pimberly software and will be automatically published based on the date you specify. Your campaign-ready product descriptions, digital assets and prices will automatically publish on that date, for whatever amount of time you choose to determine.

All in all, using DAM can simplify the way you populate your online channels with product images, videos and much more. Follow suit with Spring – make your product pages flourish with more life and colour with digital assets that will dazzle and delight.

Want to find out more about Digital Asset Management? Take a quick product tour

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Digital Transformation & The Shift to D2C

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that a wellthoughtout digital-first strategy is essential for businesses to succeed in the current climate. Digital transformation should be embraced with open arms and has paved the way for many manufacturing businesses to shift to D2C (direct to consumer) model 

The ONS reported that the proportion of retail sales in the UK via online channels pre-COVID was 22%. At the height of the national lockdown, this rose by 50% to 32% meaning that £1 in every £3 was being spent online in the UK. This rises to nearly £1 in every £2 spent by UK consumers when we’re looking at non-food.  

The already unstoppable “oil tanker” that was Online Retail Sales has undeniably had a one-time boost from the impact on shopping habits due to COVID, and it has pushed this transition forward by at least five years.  More consumers have had to use online services for the very first time (banking, shopping, delivery, video streaming, health, video conferencing services, and so on) and everyone has had to buy much more online than usual whilst physical stores have been closed.

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If any businesses weren’t previously thinking about eCommerce and digital transformation, they surely will be now. If they don’t seize the opportunity to go online, they’re putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage and the decline for them is very likely to be steeper now than ever before  

Change was a huge factor everyone had to deal with last year and leveraging technology to remain agile was something that so many companies actively embraced. Consumer needs changed, their behaviour changed, and providing a seamless and amazing online experience was the road to success.  

Businesses who were significantly reliant on bricks and mortar, whether directly or via their existing distribution and/or supply chainfor example, were suddenly impacted because of the situation logistics providers and retailers found themselves in. Even if consumers were scrambling to buy a manufacturer’s products, they couldn’t as many manufacturing businesses didn’t have transactional web stores that consumers could go to  

We expect many manufacturers & brands to start being far more questioning as to their logisticsdistribution and retailers online, as well as eCommerce capabilitiesTo stay competitive, they may even accelerate their own plans for D2C sales, if they haven’t already been forced to do this during the height of COVID. 

This shift from B2B to B2C/D2C was one of the primary ways of countering the rapid shift we saw in consumer behaviour and market trends. This meant brands and manufacturers had to up their game and start thinking about things that previously, they wouldn’t have had to worry about as much.  

They were more discerning about the retailers they chose and the investments they were making in their eCommerce strategy. They were also more conscious of their product’s digital footprint as well as the digital personification of their products all round.  

All this was driven by consumers and making effective use of technology was key in staying ahead of the game. The winners in all this will be those who know how important the online journey is, who understand that rich, detailed product descriptions and digital assets are paramount to creating unique online experiences.  

In a pre-COVID world, most manufacturers simply wouldn’t have had to think about the way in which their products were represented and left this to retailers and distributorsThough a shift to D2C represents a massive change, what are the advantages for manufacturing businesses considering D2C? Here’s a snapshot, along with an overview of how a smooth transition can be achieved 

Quicker Time to Market:  

By cutting out the ‘middle-man’ and selling directly to consumers, manufacturers can be more agile with the products they release to market. They can test a specific product on a specific demographic to quickly gauge the products that are and aren’t working. This enablethem to make the necessary adjustments and release the best-sellers in no time at all.  

Having the right technology in place to facilitate a swift release is undeniably a huge consideration here. Mastering product data and being able to create online experiences that are customer-friendly will go a long way in determining the success of a D2C model. By storing all product data in one centralised hub, adjusting entire product ranges can be done quickly and easily 

Providing an Omnichannel Experience:  

Manufacturers can reach a larger pool of customers by having a presence on more channels, marketplaces and, when permitted, even consider establishing a physical presence to deliver an omnichannel experience. Despite current restrictions, consumers like to have the choice of being able to visit a physical location after researching a product online or vice versa. 

An omnichannel experience can help drive sales, as customers have more choice in terms of where they can shopleading to a much-improved customer experience. By increasing this customer engagement, you’re highly likely to see an increase in ROI. One thing to consider, though, would be how to ensure consistency across all channels. An effective solution to this is to utilise workflows and lifecycle stages, which will mean products are never released with missing information.   

Greater Control Over Data:  

Whilst previously, manufacturers would have relied on retailers and distributors to create the ‘shop window’ for their products, D2C approach means this now lies with them. In terms of the product data, there will be a much higher level of control and they can choose the specific details they want their products to be associated with.  

This also means manufacturers can provide a deeper, more granular layer of detail which will ultimately give customers more confidence in their buying decisions. In addition to the product data, manufacturers will also have ownership over any data they collect from customers. Having this data will contribute a large amount towards improving the overall customer experience thanks to a deeper insight into trendsbehaviours and product preferences.  

Better Customer Relationships:  

Recent research from IMRG, the UK’s leading online retail association, states that over 50% of consumers prefer to research products directly with the manufacturer, so it makes sense to ensure as much detail is provided. Accurate and rich product descriptions help to give customers a better relationship with your products and you will likely see an increase in engagement and conversion rates 

Having a deeper understanding of the customer journey, thanks to more insightful data, will also enable manufacturers to tailor the experience they offer. From which products are performing better than others, to the best times of day to interact with audiences, the process of making these decisions can be streamlined 

By adopting the right technologies, manufacturers can still benefit from the key things they would have gained from working with a distribution channel. For instance, logistics, transacting and payment processing can all be managed with eCommerce platforms such as BigCommerce or Brightpearl. With seamless integration to home delivery services by the likes of UPS/DPD and payment gateways with PayPal/Visa, doing business directly with consumers can be made super simple and is completely achievable.

It doesn’t matter what type of business we’re talking about here, be that a retailer, distributor or manufacturer, digital transformation is a strategy that can yield huge benefits for any or all of them. It’s an approach that touches all elements of a business so, where possible, businesses need to be thinking about how things can be done in a digital form. Those who do stand to reap the rewards, those who don’t run the risk of losing out big time.  

Here at Pimberly, we’ve developed the world’s most powerful product information management platform. It gives our clients the power to make their products really resonate with their audience, by providing them with the best possible product information so they can make informed purchasing decisions.  

Learn more about streamlining your day-to-day operations with Pimberly

 

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An Ode to Women Around the World

On this International Women’s Day, we wanted to pay ode to women all around the world. IWD dates back to the early 20th century when women were fighting for their rights. The 8th March became synonymous with the feminist movement and was adopted by the United Nations in 1977. To this day, IWD is an opportunity to recognise the amazing achievements of women everywhere.

All too often, women’s voices aren’t heard. All too often, their opinions are undermined. All too often, they’re treated differently because of their gender. Whilst IWD is a celebration of female achievements, it is also a stark reminder that there is still much progress to be made on the gender equality front.

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As Mancunians, we can proudly cite the names of some truly inspirational, trailblazing women such as Ada Lovelace and Emily Pankhurst. Both, in their unique ways, used their privilege and positions to pave the way for change. We’ve spoken to industry leaders from our customer base who’ve grappled with the challenges of overcoming gender inequality. Below are some of their comments that demonstrate the struggles they’ve encountered, which will likely resonate with many women:

Lodewieke van Stevendaal, Marketing Manager at EMM International:

“it’s encouraging to see more women in technical universities. When I started my career, I was a product manager and a sales manager. At the time, they were considered to be typically male jobs and I found it very hard to get promoted. I really had to fight for my position in the business.”

Maryanne Flemming, Head of Technology at Monsoon Accessorize:

“I think lack of self-confidence is a huge thing. It’s very hard to ask for promotions or pay reviews and we get embarrassed about it. That’s something that we’re getting better at, but we’re still not there. I think it does stand in our way, that we don’t have that self-confidence to say – I’m worth more than this or I should do better than this. We need to encourage women to come into these [tech] roles. Leadership isn’t about technology; leadership is knowing how to prioritise – we need to remind women that you don’t need to speak in binary to have a role in tech.”

Kayla Wilson, Marketing Manager at Furniture Box:

“I remember looking at a job description thinking – nobody’s going to pay me that much, I can’t do that. I almost missed out on a really big opportunity in my career. I actually ended up landing the job and it totally changed the path of my career, and it was a great experience. I’ve started saying to myself that you need to speak up, know that your voice is relevant, and your expertise is worth sharing.”

Change seems to be the prevailing topic here, with names such as Angela Merkel, Sheryl Sandberg and Kamala Harris being mentioned, amongst others. Much like Ada Lovelace and Emily Pankhurst, each of these women use their positions to drive positive change, all whilst being compassionate and speaking their true voices.

Up until recently, it would have been hard to imagine a woman holding office in the United States, let alone a woman from African and Asian descent. Just over 100 years ago, women had only just been given the right to join professions following the Sex Disqualification Removal Act (1919). We now have a number of female world leaders and pioneers challenging these outdated ideologies. These women have overcome what will have seemed like insurmountable challenges when IWD first came about and give hope to the younger generations.

All of us face challenges but, for women, this is ingrained into their daily lives and this was highlighted by the Pimberly customers we spoke to. Each of them work or have worked in predominantly male environments and have found the route to progression long and arduous, especially compared to that of their male counterparts. Granted, progress has been made to ensure inclusion and equality are put at the forefront of business, but there is still a long way to go.

Women have to work harder to get the promotion they want. Women have to speak a little louder in order to be heard, and women have to muster more confidence to share their opinions. Women aren’t taught how to do these things, but with time, practice and encouragement, the art of building self-confidence can be perfected.

This lack of self-confidence is a contributing factor to imposter syndrome which represents a huge barrier for women from all walks of life. It’s a relatively well-known fact that men are much more likely to apply for a job, regardless of whether they really fit the bill. Women are much more hesitant on this front and will often rule out jobs when they don’t meet 100% of the criteria.

We have to wonder why this is the case, and a number of our customers also raised this point. From near misses in terms of career opportunities or a perception that a certain job isn’t female-friendly, action clearly needs to be taken to bring this barrier down. It shouldn’t be a case of “it’s a man’s job” or “it’s a woman’s job” – it should just be a case of it being a job.

The language used in job descriptions may be a culprit, with it being suggested that words like “go-getting” or “competitive” can deter women. Instead, they’re more drawn to words like “collaboration” and “innovation”. Businesses should give more consideration to making job descriptions more accessible to all, especially in the tech sector. Aptly put by Maryanne Flemming – “you don’t have to speak in binary to have a role in tech”.

We often forget leadership involves so much more than technical expertise, and women tend to possess a lot of innate qualities associated with good leadership. Some of the typical traits of femininity include sensitivity, supportiveness, humility and empathy, all of which are essential for any good leader to have.

In a world full of opportunities, we should all make sure that they’re attainable for everyone, regardless of their gender – or anything else for that matter. The overriding theme of IWD is “choose to challenge”. Where there is challenge, there will inevitably be change, and gender equality is something we should all be striving towards.

The 2020 Global Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum states that gender parity is a vital component in ensuring economic and societal development. Overall, ensuring gender parity and encouraging women to participate in the global economy could add $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025.

These astonishing figures demonstrate that women have a vital role to play in global development, and we’re starting to see more and more attention around this topic. Adidas has recently launched the “watch us move” initiative which has a goal of supporting and celebrating women. And of course, there has been the news around Whitney Wolfe Herd who, despite being faced with so many challenges over the years, is now the youngest self-made billionaire after taking Bumble public.

From a young age, women are told to be “good girls”, be seen not heard. It’s about time we shift what being “a good girl” means. Empowering girls and encouraging them to have their voices heard needs to be a priority. Choose to challenge, change perceptions and imagine a future where equality exists for everyone.

We’d like to give special thanks to the truly inspirational women who gave us their time and shared their insights with us. We couldn’t have written this blog without their invaluable contributions

To all women out there, we hope this blog has reminded you that your opinion is valid, that you deserve the same opportunities as men and that every hurdle you overcome is paving the way for the next generation of women in the world.  

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, why not subscribe to the Pimberly blog for regular updates straight to your inbox?

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International Women’s Day

Comments From Sue Barnard, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank

It’s great to have received these comments from Sue Barnard, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, to get her take on International Women’s Day 2021. Read on to hear Sue’s insightful story:

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Which Women Inspire You?

I have met hundreds of businesses of all sizes during my career, but there has always been a clear lack of female entrepreneurs, founders and decision-makers. However, in recent years, we have started to see more of a focus on addressing gender imbalance. We’re now seeing more females on panels, leading businesses and boards, and are moving towards more of a 50/50 split.

I have been truly inspired by Simone Roche, CEO and Co-Founder of Northern Power Women, over the last few years. She is working hard to bring females to the forefront, showcasing that there are so many women making an impact in our Northern Powerhouse and giving them a platform to shine. For me, it’s important that these type of initiatives and empowering female leadership goes beyond one day each year, and that is what Simone is making possible.

What’s been the biggest professional challenge you’ve overcome?

It goes right back to my education and the barriers I have faced since then. I always had ambition and, by the age of 12, I had held down five jobs through school. Having left school at 16 without qualifications and not going to university – the truth is it wasn’t an option. Instead, I enrolled on a youth training scheme now known as an apprenticeship.

Further down the line aged 28, I realised I had to go to college if I wanted to take my career to the next level, but I had a daughter and was working full-time, so it was never easy. However, I am pleased to say that after three years of study, I finally got a number of qualifications that would help me in my future career path. I was at a disadvantage from the offset, but I worked hard to achieve everything myself and eventually gained my diploma in management, and later started my public sector career.

Sue Barnard

Sue Barnard, Senior Manager – British Business Bank

What’s your proudest professional achievement?

I have had the unique opportunity to work with and support so many brilliant businesses throughout my career, many of which have been female-owned. Joining the British Business Bank was a real proud moment for me, particularly when I was asked to ccompère the launch of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), at an event which was hosted by the Bank’s CEO. It was an honour to be part of the launch of such a massive programme and milestone for the North of England, especially now that the Fund has gone on to support and showcase so many female founders throughout its four years.

What would you say to your 10-year-old self?

You can be anything you want to be! It doesn’t matter if you’re from a deprived area or lack the opportunities that peers may have had. Believe that you can achieve, and you will.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

To learn more about the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, feel free to take a look at their website for further info

 

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Brexit – the Great British Break-Up

Brexit – the great British break-up indeed! We know the story all too well and it’s likely the 23rd of June 2016 will be remembered by our generation for years to come. Since 52% of Brits voted to split from the EU, businesses have grappled with continued uncertainty, and a global pandemic thrown in there just to add an extra dimension to things.

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Brexit is an end of an era is very much like a break-up in the traditional sense of the word. Ending a relationship is never an easy process and, like Britain at the moment, there are certain steps that need to be taken in order to move forward and start building new relationships. Though one door has closed, others have opened and there are plenty more business opportunities in the sea (or channel should we say)!

In this blog, we’re going to outline the main considerations for all eCommerce businesses, as well as the opportunities to be had in this post-Brexit Britain.

What Came After the Divorce Date?

Since the divorce date on the eve of the New Year, all UK imports and exports have been subject to new regulations, customs and duties. This means all businesses had to ensure they had the correct documentation and processes in the place to ensure they could continue to trade. There were three main factors that came into play at the start of the year which were the primary areas of consideration for eCommerce businesses:

  • Slowed delivery times: We saw huge delays caused by COVID in 2020 and, it was predicted that these would likely continue into the New Year as businesses adapted to the new rules and regulations. This saw supply chains struggling to keep up with new demands in terms of new checks, procedures and customs clearances.
  • The different choices around EU VAT and customs: For eCommerce businesses trading with the EU, there were four main options in terms of who would be responsible for paying the import VAT:
    1. Make EU customers the importer of the record,
    2. You clear the goods into the EU at sale,
    3. Your EU customer clears but you pay the import VAT and
    4. Hold cleared goods somewhere in the EU. In a recent Customer Spotlight, we heard about how JD Sports have done this to ensure they can continue to serve their EU customers with the same levels of speed and efficiency.

It’s also important to note that, in order to move goods between the UK and other countries, you need an EORI number to avoid increased delays and costs. A work around for this could be to consider dropshipping. This means you don’t have to handle the products at all: When an order is placed, you purchase the products from a third-party who then ships it directly to your customer.  Each of the options above have different implications in terms of the customer experience you’re providing, so going with the right one for your business is crucial.

As shown in the graph below, there has been a marked increase in the value of the Pound against the Euro so, UK businesses can’t price as competitively as their EU counterparts. This means they’re faced with the challenge of persuading EU customers that their products are still worth buying. This could be particularly testing, especially when you factor in the likelihood of increased delivery lead times, as well as potential restrictions in terms of product availability.

pound vs euro value

New Opportunities to Be Had

In this post-Brexit Britain, UK eCommerce businesses have the opportunity to embrace the new rules and regulations to their benefit. As previously mentioned, there are differences in how UK eCommerce businesses ship to the EU, and provided you are VAT registered in the countries you operate in and sell to, things should be running relatively smoothly.

It is, however, important to note that this will only apply until 1st July 2021, after which one-stop-shop rules will come into force.

The biggest benefit that businesses were expecting as a result of leaving the EU were expanded opportunities to trade more freely on a global scale. Up until the UK left the EU, the UK was subject to the same rules as our European counterparts. With the new set-up, UK businesses have the scope to fundamentally re-shape the UK economy and open up trade opportunities with new markets like the US and China. It also means we can tap into new and emerging markets such as Asia and Latin America, which both saw huge growth in eCommerce activity in 2020.

International Expansion Made Easy with Pimberly

If international expansion has been on your mind, whether that’s into a single country or you’re striving for global eCommerce domination, this is made significantly easier with a powerful PIM to support your growth aspirations. There are plenty of features to look out for that enable you to easily expand, all whilst providing your customers with online experiences they’ll love.

Localisation

Making sure you’re providing all product information in the different languages for the countries you serve is crucial. Your customers should be able to choose the language they view product descriptions in, and you can easily translate and store all your product data within a leading PIM platform. Even if you’re expanding a product range, this doesn’t have to be an onerous task as you can run bulk updates to ensure all changes are reflected across all your channels, in the all the different languages you require.

New Product Data Requirements

To avoid having your products held up at customs, you need to make sure your product descriptions are clear, specific and leave no ambiguity as to what it is you’re sending. There are also new requirements in terms of product markings and, if you’re selling products to the EU, you must be able to demonstrate that you comply with health, safety, and environmental protection standards.

This extra layer of granular detail, which previously wasn’t required, highlights the importance of streamlining product information management processes. As the UK and EU regulations diverge, it’s highly likely that there will be a need to capture even more product data to ensure you remain compliant. As mentioned above, this process can be easily managed with bulk updates within the Pimberly platform, and workflows to ensure your product descriptions meet all the necessary requirements.

Pricing & Payment Preferences

As well as being able to store all product descriptions in different languages, you can also store all of your pricing in different currencies which will be updated in real-time if you take advantage of flexible API connectors. It’s also important to think of having a variety of payment methods as this can hugely influence your customers’ buying decision and there will be different availability and preferences from country to country.

Easily Expand Across New channels

When operating across different geographies, you’ll be dealing with an increased amount of diverse market trends. Channels and marketplaces will perform differently depending on which country you’re serving, Being able to make informed decisions on which channels to capitalise on to increase your online performance will be key, and is easily achievable with a powerful PIM.

Meet the specific requirements of each channel by using scoping to determine the specific attributes you want to publish to each channel, as well as using workflows to set up new channels and sell more products to a larger audience.

Dealing with the Great British Break-Up

Any new beginning can seem daunting. Like with any break-up, if you have the right support in place, a fresh start can be just the thing you need to truly move forward and embrace new beginnings and new relationships.

Things won’t necessarily be the same but, we all mastered the art of adapting to a new normal last year. This year will likely be a similar scenario, albeit on the trade front and there are things to look forward to, new business opportunities to be had, and new relationships that will flourish.

To learn more about how Pimberly can help you achieve global eCommerce domination, take a quick look at this video

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Customer Spotlight: JD Sports Undisputed King of Trainers

JD Sports Runs Ahead with Global Expansion & Trainer Lifts

Welcome to the first issue of our Customer Spotlight! Our customers are our pride and joy, and we love to hear about all the amazing things they’re doing. These features quite literally put our customers in the spotlight and give us the opportunity to share valuable insights with you, too! In this issue of Customer Spotlight, we spoke to Ryan Ralphs, Project Manager for JD Sports and this is what we took away. Read on to find out how they’ve overcome the COVID-challenges, along with a little insight into what’s in store (or more like, online) for JD Sports in 2021!

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PIM & Digital Transformation: A Love Story Waiting to Happen

PIM and digital transformation go hand-in-hand and, if you haven’t already got a PIM (product information management) platform in place, well, it’s a love story waiting to happen. IDC predicts that, by 2024, 50% of IT spend will relate to digital transformation, so, IT departments and senior management need to drill down on where this spend will be allocated, and why. If digital transformation is a priority for you, a PIM should be as well!

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