How to Deploy Your First PIM

Executive Summary

Deploying your first PIM is an exciting step toward you becoming more strategic and taking your eCommerce operations to the next level. As with any business-critical project, there are vital steps you must follow to get the best possible results. 

Different stakeholders within the business will be involved at different stages of the PIM deployment. As such, creating a culture of clear communication and collaboration will be key to generating the best possible results. 

This whitepaper offers a step-by-step guide on how to do just that. You’ll also get some great tips on how to effectively map out and structure your data. This is where it gets super interesting as it directly impacts the quality of the product experience you offer.

Better product experiences = more conversions, higher Average Order Values, and fewer abandoned carts. That’s right –this all translates to higher online revenues. What a win, right? And the best bit is you can do all this without increasing headcount! 

So, while a PIM deployment is a big project that touches many areas of your business, you’ll quickly see a significant Return On Investment (ROI). 

This is a 6000-word read, so grab a coffee, get comfortable, and learn everything you need to know about driving growth, and scalability through PIM deployment! 

Introduction

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”

Benjamin Franklin


History tells us companies that fail to keep pace with the market don’t succeed. Forward-thinking companies who have a strategy to remain scalable and keep up with the market will outlast the competition — including eCommerce companies that are up against new, brighter startups every day. During the pandemic, retailers with a storefront that happily enjoyed a healthy business were forced to take on an eCommerce strategy to survive.

As a result, they discovered a larger market where many artfully created a new niche for themselves. Today, the eCommerce model is a given for most retailers since more customers have discovered the ease of online shopping. Therefore, eCommerce businesses need to up their game to remain competitive.

Finding a more efficient and productive way to meet the competition where they live is key to succeeding in today’s market. You have access to unlimited sales channels which enables you to expand your reach and your inventory. This takes diligence and organization to ensure you offer a consistent experience for your customers. A Product Information Management system (PIM) is the easiest way to manage your product information intelligently whether you are selling through multi-channels or your own eCommerce platform.

A PIM is the best way to provide improved, consistent customer experiences and increased conversions. Your product information needs to be accurate, up to date, and extremely helpful leaving no questions unanswered. In hand with high-quality digital assets all the information you need for eCommerce purposes, as well as advertising, remain true to your brand to deliver the ultimate customer experience. Excel spreadsheets can’t manage your information effectively, as they are cumbersome, outdated, and difficult to maintain.

Disparity is the downfall of product information, which becomes even more difficult to manage when you have high volumes of data shared across multiple spreadsheets and departments. As you expand into further marketplaces, you also contend with specific formatting requirements impossible to manage from spreadsheets. This leads to wasted time, errors, and inconsistencies that chase away customers.

Plan for success

PIMs are an essential tool for eCommerce businesses but require careful planning for successful deployment. It all lies in having an effective plan in place to avoid disruptions and smoothly transition into a new PIM-based environment.

The following key components will ensure a smooth, fast deployment with your customers and team members feeling the positive benefits quickly:

Define your business objectives

A PIM becomes more useful when you take the time to define why you need it. Buy-in from all stakeholders is easier when you know how your PIM ties in with your company strategy. Where are you now and how can the PIM help you get where you want to be? Understanding your strategic goals enable you to have a better plan at the implementation stage, while also including the right players at all levels to assist in an effective deployment. Your PIM integration should align with your longer-term goals.

The most common strategic business benefits from deploying a PIM are:

  • Increase speed to market
  • Increase new customer acquisition
  • Increase Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Reduce return rates
  • Expand product ranges
  • Enable uniform customer experience across all channels

Define PIM requirements

When you are set for deployment, you need to know what you expect the PIM to do. Your PIM needs to fit the purpose or else it will fail to deliver on your needs. It has to suit you now, but also keep up with changing demands of your customers. Identifying how your PIM can improve workflows, impact your structure and approvals, and even how you receive and push out data makes it easier for you to decide if this is going to be a gradual, or immediate process. You can also consider the possible automated functions to reduce errors and workloads in the data and digital asset management process. Finally, this also helps determine the type of integration required with your existing technology stack.

Automate processes and workflows

Deployment should have a positive impact on current processes and workflows. Post implementation is not the time to discover you’ve caused more unwanted disruptions than you anticipated. Your PIM should be a catalyst for positive change, but this can only happen if you plan ahead and look at how you can improve workflows, embrace automation and enhance business performance.

Understand your functional scope

A well-planned deployment requires foresight to ensure the functional scope of the PIM enables growth and improves operational efficiency. Ensuring the PIM is configured properly to meet the needs of your daily users and customers is key. The PIM should enable compatibility across all data sources based on integration. If you don’t take the time to consider integration, you can continue to run into the same issues that have held you back due to repetition of tasks, duplication of data, and general errors. When you manage deployment properly you put together a team to ensure all functional requirements are identified, so you can ensure they are incorporated into the implementation process.

Enhanced quality of product data

Your PIM won’t make much of a difference if you don’t take the time to consider the quality of your data and data structure. You have to have a data migration plan that includes enriching data and quality digital assets, so you aren’t just churning out the same poor-quality data. This is your chance to consider legacy systems, the issues they present, and whether dumping data from one system into your new PIM makes sense.

Now is the time to identify outdated, poor-quality information rife with inconsistencies and create a single truth that creates a new higher standard for your data. Things such as data mapping provide a smoother transition not just to move data but to recreate your data model into something sublime.

To transition smoothly from an outdated product information management format to an automated, efficient PIM system takes planning and strategy. Therefore, before you begin your PIM deployment project, you need to take measures to ensure your success.

Implementation Team & Methodology

As with any major change to your business model, the move to a PIM means managing expectations, getting buy-in, and ensuring all the key players are involved. This is no easy feat, but an important first step in successful PIM deployment. Implementation and methodology depend on a solid team and forward-thinking management that helps move the project along while ensuring the methodology supports ongoing best practices.

pim-project-timeline

Implementation team

One of the reasons you are adopting a PIM platform is because you have several departments or employees with their hands in the proverbial pot. This means you need to understand who manages product data within the business and if those are the players you wish to continue managing your information. Once the PIM is deployed, you need a logical “owner” or “administrator” of the PIM to ensure there is complete transparency and more importantly, accountability. Who in your organization makes the most sense to hold the keys so to speak?

Someone has to be in charge of the PIM platform and consider important factors that will ensure the success of implementation. This includes:

  • Who can access what in the system?
  • The process you wish to put in place
  • Measures to ensure your process is followed
  • Setting up standards/attributes for the data you must include based on your own standards and that of other eCommerce marketplaces on which you sell
  • Training on PIM

The trick is to identify the people who will use the PIM most often. Once you establish who the key players are you can define those roles, and ensure they have the skills required to implement the PIM processes. That makes it easier to keep them working effectively.

If it seems difficult to decide, it often makes sense to put initial management in the hands of your PIM provider. They can make sure the deployment is successful and identify the team players who make the most sense to take over the administrative role. They can also provide training for a smooth transition.

Decision makers

The old “stepping on toes” challenge can be an obstacle when there are no clearly defined roles. Who are the decision-makers best equipped to get things done? Who will champion PIM implementation and present decisions to your C-Suite to increase the likelihood that decisions will be approved and supported? Who understands the benefits of PIM to better explain the whys of the process to keep things moving forward instead of creating more obstacles due to poor communication?

Platform integration

Most companies will face decisions based on integration with current platforms used by other departments. Understanding upfront what platforms will have to link to the PIM ensures you choose the right PIM. However, once that decision is made, who will be responsible to ensure the integration occurs? Do you have an in-house IT person, or software expert who manages all automation implementation projects? Are other platforms managed by third parties that have to be brought into the loop? Proper platform integration ensures you are self-sufficient once the PIM is deployed with a formalized skills transfer, so everyone is equipped to carry on post-launch.

PIM eCommerce Tech Stack Diagram

Project manager

The project manager is responsible for seeing the deployment of the PIM through from start to finish. This includes the planning, execution, monitoring, control, and completion of PIM implementation. They have to ensure all deliverables are met on time and according to the budget. Ideally, they work with your PIM provider to develop an agreed-upon project schedule with dates for important milestones.

Tasks are also assigned through each stage and the project manager holds each player accountable for their deliverables. Setting up a collaborative workspace enables all team members to keep up with progress, share notes, raise concerns, and generally keep the project moving forward. Realistically the project manager also has to do some refereeing to keep the peace and make sure everyone works well together to limit disruptions.

Project documentation

Relevant project documents required for PIM deployment include:

  • Data Model Definition Document: This outlines data requirements and product attributes managed by the PIM.
  • Integration Specifications Document: This is an assessment and description of requirements identified as important for data integration based on expected platform behaviors.
  • UAT Test Cases: User Acceptance Testing (UAT) helps determine if the system’s capabilities align with needs. The cases present positive and negative responses to testing to help predict potential issues. Feedback is then incorporated into your plan to ensure a smooth transition as well as continued use of the PIM by key players.

These documents are key to developing the processes required to get your data into the PIM so to speak, in a manner that is repeatable and realistic for your company. Processes can be developed for new feeds and marketplaces using the PIM, meeting the full requirements of your business as it grows. Deciding who will prepare and share these documents as well as who should receive and review them ensures all relevant information is dispersed in a timely manner.

Roles and responsibilities

With a team and managers in place, defining their roles and responsibilities ensures everyone understands their deliverables. This avoids anything falling through the cracks that can interfere with a smooth deployment of the PIM. Every task is assigned for complete transparency ensuring accountability throughout the deployment.

Business Deliverables

When you have an effective methodology in place, you can ensure business deliverables are managed and met. You can identify and evaluate risks to mitigate disruptions and ensure your team does not become too dependent on your provider post-launch. The project is more likely to be delivered properly when there is a defined framework. That said, you also want to work with a PIM provider who offers ongoing support.

In order to do this, you have to review the key pain points within the business and the rationale for investment. This provides a checklist you can measure deliverables against. Some of the key things to focus on include:

  • The scope of your budget envelope
  • Timescales
  • Key dependencies to ensure efficient project flow
  • Other system deployments
  • Business expansion key dates
  • Key personnel required to complete each deliverable

Business deliverables ensure you can finalize the product and digital asset data structures to use your PIM to its full potential. Accountability for deliverables is cross-departmental so that things such as reference data, and product and digital asset management workflows work across sales, marketing, product development, and final stages to market.

Project specifications

Many companies go into their PIM deployment without understanding the scope of the work involved. Deliverables help set expectations so that all aspects of the deployment are addressed such as:

  • All the inbound and outbound system interfaces involved
  • Data mapping scenarios for cross-departmental and multi-channel consistencies
  • Validations
  • Business rules

You also have to consider the need for any customizations required when implementing your project specifications. All these details help define the mappings so you can successfully migrate not just your product data, but all related digital assets into your PIM.

Critical dependencies

Critical dependencies ensure the flow of the work involved is scheduled and takes place in the proper sequence. Although this is logical, PIM deployment can see many overlaps that make the process more complex. Some steps you can take to address critical dependencies include:

  • Identify tasks that can only be performed by one person due to the required skills and avoid schedule backlogs by avoiding schedule overlaps for this role
  • Create a risk log that tells you worse case scenarios if a dependency is missed and consider possible contingency plans to overcome these scenarios
  • Explain to stakeholders how their role impacts others and workflow to improve accountability
  • Create workflow charts indicating specific dependencies such as testing being reliant on bugs being fixed, or digital assets being prepared and formatted along with the copy being prepared

As you work you should find you spot more and more dependencies. As a result, you can be better equipped to mitigate risks. A good example is the relationship between product images and descriptions. It makes sense your writers would have an easier time of it if they had the product images handy as they work.

KPIs

KPIs enable you to measure progression and success/failures such as:

  • Resource capacity (Number of team members x hours available to work on the project): This helps ensure you have enough people available to complete the required tasks.
  • Schedule performance index (Earned Value / Planned Value): This measures the team’s pace of work to help keep you on schedule.
  • Cost performance index (Earned Value / Actual Cost): This measures how well you are using the budget.

Be sure your KPIs are based on what is most important to the business and how you tend to measure success.

Discovery

Your PIM is designed to accommodate the different marketplace data requirements for the eCommerce platforms you use. This is one of its most valuable features. However, to have this work for you, you need to understand the specific product data requirements for each marketplace.

To create a framework, the easiest thing to do is to start with the ones you already use. Because a PIM automates product distribution across hundreds of different marketplaces, you can use it to create specific product listing criteria suited to each platform. Once this is established things like removing products or making price changes are easier as PIM systems keep data, products, and pricing up to date for you.

Collaboration

Another advantageous feature of a PIM is it helps improve collaboration for the departments, suppliers, and third-party providers involved. The only way to improve collaboration is to consider all the touch points involved in getting a product to a marketplace. Who are the key players and what are the departments/suppliers involved? This could be more complicated than you think, so mapping it out helps you leverage the collaborative features.  Consider how your PIM will work across key eCommerce departments and players such as:

  • Research/Development
  • Product Managers
  • Sales
  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Senior Business Leaders
  • Customer Service
  • IT
  • Suppliers

A PIM creates a central hub for communication, identifies when action is required, and ensures teams work together towards one common goal.

The data mapping process

data-mapping

Data mapping uses designated database fields to manage data for tasks such as data migration from one database to another or data integration to merge databases. Because your product data has to migrate into your PIM, you’ll need to build a data map of all the data that needs to go into the system. There are several steps you can take to help you envision what this will look like:

Your Data Fields: In this case, you are looking at all your data sources such as spreadsheets, third-party data, ERPs, etc. You then have to look at the source data and determine the key information you need. You also have to consider the format you need based on your target destinations such as the requirements of the different marketplaces.

Naming Conventions and Duplications: This is very important and needs to be consistent. For example, if you need to include sizing will you write out “inches” or use the inch symbol? If dates are required, in what order will the dates appear such as M/D/Y, D/M/Y or even writing the date out such as Monday, March 6 or Mon, Mar 6. Consistency in naming conventions ensures the data required lands in its targeted area.

Testing: Once you have your initial ideas laid out, give it a try. How does the sample data migrate based on the rules you’ve used? Do you see any alerts? Is the PIM working as you envisioned it would?

When you’re satisfied your mapping was successful, you can proceed with your integration or migration and hopefully will see your intended results.

product-data-map

Who will manage data sets?

As with everything we’ve outlined so far, you need to assign roles and responsibilities to determine who will create the data sets. This is a huge undertaking and might be something you leave up to an external provider to manage. This might help simplify the data sets that can then be adopted by your team moving forward. As well, creating a formatting document as a reference ensures everyone involved in the product launch process uses the same format for every product launch.

Marketing copy

This is your chance to take your marketing copy to the next level to create a more engaging and informative style. Who creates your marketing copy now? Is the copy up to par with your competitors? Is every detail clear, descriptive, and grammatically, correct? Also, where is the marketing copy stored? Is there one database? Is it on the cloud? Is it with different marketing agencies, suppliers, and your own internal team? How do these separate silos maintain brand consistency? Is copy backed up regularly?

You’ve also got several touch points for your product data and digital assets from your studio to your SEO team and from sales and marketing to suppliers. Your goal is to enrich data for SEO impact while ensuring customers have the details they need. This is your chance to set a higher standard for enriched data.

Who approves product data?

Touch points have to include the people responsible for product data approvals. Clear processes have to be in place to ensure consistency, as well as a tight approval system. This is the best way to ensure nothing ends up in front of customers that aren’t checking all your boxes for accurate, enriched data and up-to-date images.

Planning & Design

Data mapping is obviously the base of your PIM and creates a strong foundation for your data management strategy. Mapping ensures you are ready to manage data migrations, data integrations, and data transformations easily. So, once data is mapped out, you can start replicating it within your PIM. How smoothly this goes depends on how well you did your mapping, as well as the various databases you are using. For example, you might be using Excel to initially create products and data which means the data can be imported either using industry standards or using bespoke requirements.

Duplications

Because you have different data sources, it is important to identify any duplications you have. Duplications lead to inconsistencies that can be confusing to customers. Your PIM removes duplications both from a product data perspective and from a process perspective. This means you don’t have conflicting yet similar product data in the system but also reduced duplicate work by departments.

Improve workflow

workflow

Think of things you can do differently to become more efficient. You might get caught up with the idea of PIM but fail to take advantage of important functionalities. To improve workflow, you have to consider how your PIM can improve or even eliminate elements of your workflows. Once your PIM is up and running, you’ll find many of your current processes don’t work, especially as you experience growth. You have a huge opportunity to reduce time to market and improve business performance. Who will be working with the data? How can you improve collaboration to speed up processes?

We mentioned above by simply making sure the studio team provides product imagery before the description is written helps create better content. Lifecycles also help bring your product to market more efficiently, enabling all team members to have full visibility of the stages so you can streamline data creation. When everyone understands their roles in the process, it helps bring full accountability to the teams involved to avoid duplicate work and dropped balls.

Action priority matrix

An Action Priority Matrix shows you what activities and tasks you want to focus on to help prioritize the order they are performed most efficiently.

Your goal is to stay in the “quick wins” arena as these are the easiest tasks that have the highest impact. Your PIM enables you to automate the process, including time-consuming approvals where everything has to be checked manually by several different players. If you can identify the important approvers you want to include in the process, you can simplify the stages as well as downsize the required players.

Data structure

If you are deploying a SaaS (Software as a Service) PIM, you’ll hopefully have a team of Delivery Consultants who will ensure the Data Structure sets the right foundations for your PIM to flourish. However, what you tend to be looking at would be structure along these lines:

Product categories

Depending on what you sell and how it gets to market, you need to define product stages that will determine what lifecycles they go through. Product life cycle differs based on audience, sales, pricing, and even profitability. For example, you might be a company making hand-crafted products from a group of artisans or you simply bring existing clothes to market via various wholesalers.

For different wholesalers, they’ll be providing aspects of the data and you can use your PIM to determine where the data needs to go within the lifecycle. Understanding the functionalities your PIM offers to ensure data supplied is checked and validated helps reduce errors and increases your ability to get new products to market. You can customize your lifecycles based on your processes

Taxonomies

A well-structured taxonomy makes it easier to manage your product data but is also highly effective in improving your search engine rankings. By connecting attributes properly, you ensure the right information is tied to each product. A taxonomy is key to browsing and searching because it supports things such as indexing and tagging. Through more specific categorizing you have better control over the metadata management of content.

A taxonomy is also used in a hierarchical structure or grouping based on how the customer finds a product. So, it might be Women’s Clothing > Blouses > Short sleeve blouses. This enables them to quickly locate the products they are looking for in a logical chain of clicks.

Through product taxonomy, your data is normalized for consistency, which means you have to decide which attributes you want to display at the product level. Taxonomies also monitor redundancies and enable you to have better quality checks in place, so your final outputs are error-free.

An example of how this works would be under homewares you can drill down based on the wood type for a kitchen table such as the grain type, durability, or color. The PIM enables you to automatically place products into taxonomy levels on import and creation, so the product attributions are displayed. Another example might be clothing based on fabric types or color palettes.

Finally, taxonomies also manage product relationships and relate to things such as setting up kits and bundles.

Attributes

Product attributes are your basics such as size, color, or flavor. These are essentials for customers as it provides them with the types of attributes they can select for each product. You have to manage your product attributes by determining what the core attributes are for each product grouping to improve the customer experience. You don’t want to overwhelm customers but instead, show only attributes that are relevant to the product they are viewing. Product attributes might be:

  • Physical product attributes such as the flavor, weight, or dimensions
  • Technical specifications such as whether it is waterproof, how much memory an item has, or the type of charger it requires if not included
  • Logistics attributes such as when the product is available for shipping, or the locations where the item is available for pickup

Hierarchy of data

A product hierarchy groups similar products together. You create a parent, child, and sibling with comparable product content using either a flat data hierarchy or leveled hierarchy. Sales organization and/or assortment functionalities in the PIM system group products to target the right products to the right markets.

In a flat data hierarchy, each SKU holds all the details such as different colors for each t-shirt you sell, while a leveled hierarchy uses product groups such as different styles and colors, different imagery for different colors and styles, materials, care instructions, marketing copy, etc. instead of each of these products having their own SKU. Your PIM should enable you to create the most suitable product type hierarchy to suit your setup needs whether it is Style/Color/Size in fashion or a more conventional single-tier model.

An important aspect of hierarchy data is different sizing information. Ideally, you need to create a different view based on the sizing variant that your customer has selected. The parent Sizing Chart shows key sizes for each of your product sizes while the child Sizing Chart shows the key measurements for that specific product size.

So, if a customer clicks on a blue shirt without selecting a size, the hierarchy ensures the user also sees a Sizing Chart with a range of dimensions for chest, length, etc. It enables customers to make informed decisions so they always have the information they need to choose the right size and ultimately make a purchase.

Configuring Your PIM Platform

pim-configuration

With your planning and design complete, it’s time to configure your PIM. Your data structure has to be in order which means you want to create a single source of truth, so your data structure enables an easy transition. Restrictive data types based on the chart above ensure your data structure works and provides that single source of truth no matter how much your product line grows. You’ve looked at your complex product structures and hierarchies which hopefully are configured correctly as well.

Now, the question is, who will be using the PIM and what kind of access does each person who uses the PIM require? Access control is very important because it determines who can access information, as well as who can “mess” with it. Who is allowed to view, and who is allowed to contribute to data? For example, the studio team contributing digital assets will need access to the DAM functionality while you probably don’t want people from other departments to be able to do much in this area. Otherwise, it can lead to inconsistencies, outdated images, etc.

You also need a streamlined approval system so you can assign those involved in the approval process to make approvals before products go live. Who are the key players who must sign off? Your PIM enables you to assign roles with and without approvals as well as the type of actions or tasks each user can and cannot perform.

Build & Test Lifecycles & Workflows

Populating your PIM provides the fuel for your system. Before you can proceed you need to know that all the functionalities are working through testing. This should be done in small steps so you can make incremental changes as you progress. Remember your lifecycles and workflows are determined by your products.

For example, what’s the route for getting the relevant data? You might have different sources of data for different products. As well, different types of products might have different criteria you require before it is published. For example, there might be information required when selling health supplements such as possible side effects, special directions, or warnings.

In this testing stage, you want to cover all your bases. Try taking the data from different systems and get your PIM to configure it in the way you want. See how it works and look for areas where the types of data required might not be pulled in as expected. How you choose to work and how everything needs to fall into place can be customized so you increase efficiency using workflows. Workflows can automate some of those copy/paste tasks to avoid time-consuming, low-value work. As well you can concentrate fields together to help boost SEO.

Build & Test Integrations Downstream & Upstream

Integration for your PIM is not limited to the types of data sources you use. You can also consider using SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc. to keep keywords up to date to improve browsing and searching capabilities for your data. You might also consider integrating translation tools for localizing product data as you expand into different markets globally. Another example might be using your DAM for printed catalog production. The more digital assets you have such as images and video, the more important your DAM becomes to integration.

Deciding which integrations you want to incorporate enables you to test compatibility and come up with bespoke solutions with endless possibilities. You just have to determine which ones are going to benefit your business the most and help you reach your business objectives. Be thorough in your considerations looking at the systems you use to store product data. Is there a single import, or multiple sources? Is this an opportunity to consider other possible platforms or software to help you meet your business needs?

Populate the Platform

The biggest challenge companies face in PIM deployment is deciding how they can transition to their PIM without disrupting the business. Your customers should see things as business as usual, so their experience isn’t ruined just as you are taking steps to build customer loyalty. When working with your provider, you’ll receive a full walkthrough of the siloed production environment where you can test everything before you go live. This helps work out all the glitches, so your customers experience very little inconvenience. It would be ironic if you invested this time and money to improve their experience only to find the launch doesn’t go smoothly and you lose customers in the process.

populate-pim

How you manage the platform population depends on the size of your business and the amount of product data being handled. For example, if you are a global business operating 24/7/365, you really can’t afford to see any disruptions at all. Smaller businesses might have an easier time of it.

Another approach is to put a freeze on new product data so you can deal with your existing product information first. By taking this approach you can ensure the system is up and running and meets your needs. Then once it’s launched you can begin feeding in the new product data based on suitable lifecycles you’ve set up.

If you are dealing with existing Excel documents, make sure you avoid repetition. If you intend to completely ditch your spreadsheets, or other legacy eCommerce platforms it’s a waste of time to build and test outdated databases. Instead, consider how you can do it more quickly. In some cases, it could be as simple as creating a CSV and importing data manually. But again, it all depends on your business’s existing setup and the strategy you have for PIM moving forward.

You either have to opt for a gradual transition or make the switch instantly – whichever one makes the most sense for your customers.

End-to-End Testing

Now you are into the nitty gritty of testing. This is when you have to make sure everything is working from gathering product data to final publication. Every single function of the PIM has to be tested.

Workflows/lifecycles

Workflow ensures the system allows you to proceed to the next step. When testing workflows, you want to ensure the expected flow happens. If an error is triggered, do you know what to do? What triggers errors? Is export occurring as it should? Are approvals being performed? Triggers should take place that enable you to move ahead one step at a time until the product is published.

You want to make sure no rules for your workflows or lifecycles are broken and that the PIM is advancing to the next step based on the business rules you set. Are there further steps you can take to include more automation to make life easier and limit the required manual actions? Test the most frequent actions such as changing an item, adding an item, or changing attributes to see if it all comes out as expected. But also do things that are incorrect, such as trying to publish an item that hasn’t been approved.

Collaboration

Consider collaboration and create scenarios to test how it works. For example, if someone requires an image when creating a banner, but the image is still in approvals with the product managers, what steps can be taken to ensure the right image is provided? What information is required to take that person to the next step?

Permissions

Is everyone able to access information based on role-based permissions/authorizations? Are they able to delete something when they shouldn’t? Can they publish something when they shouldn’t? Are they only able to view something when they should be able to make changes?

Levels of data information

How do your attributes, taxonomies, and hierarchies work? Is it all falling into place and appearing as expected when something is published? Are you seeing the right information at the right time?

Switch over to live

Once testing is complete, how will the PIM be injected into the business, so it becomes the live system? Are you sure it’s time to take that step? Unfortunately, there’s one last step that has to be completed before you hit the button so to speak. You have to get back to buy-in from major stakeholders if this launch is going to succeed. Use your test results to demonstrate you were listening to what test users were saying.

What feedback is worthy of incorporating to ensure everyone views your step to go live as a success? As well, make sure everyone who will have to use the system is onboard. Show them how it works, how it saves time, demonstrate the highlights of the system, and make it clear it is going to streamline workflows so everyone can focus on higher-value tasks. That’s the time you can confidently move the PIM from the test environment and go live.

end-to-end-testing

Conclusion

Deployment of your first PIM is not something you should rush into. That’s why it’s so important to use a SaaS like Pimberly so you have someone by your side every step of the way. Pimberly is designed with growth and scalability in mind, improving workflows and making implementation easier with full support. You can enhance your workflows and the processes that your business depends on to get your product to market.

Using a PIM you can release products faster, in the right formats to beat the competition to the punch. Through intelligent planning, you can also increase your average order value by creating a logical customer journey that leads to sales. Through well-defined product relationships, you can create more upselling and cross-selling, using bundles, kits, or complementary products through your PIM.

If reaching new markets is part of your strategy, proper deployment of your PIM keeps your business scalable, so you cannot just increase the product selection you offer, but also use expanding marketplaces to reach more customers. Worries of formatting disparities are eliminated through powerful automation enabling you to set up new channels in Pimberly in a matter of minutes. You can also expand internationally with translation capabilities, so localized data becomes a breeze.

Pimberly also helps you become more responsive to leverage trends and unexpected opportunities fast. Whether it’s creating a new category or deciding to expand in a new market to take advantage of a freak weather event, it’s all done in minutes. Once your PIM is deployed properly, you can take advantage of new opportunities, improve workflows, and eliminate manual tasks to positively impact your bottom line.

If you’re interested in a further discussion about how a PIM solution can help you reach your goals quickly and efficiently, call us today. You can also request our PIM white paper here.

What our customers are doing with PIM

Pimberly Success Story: Westcoast
Pimberly Success Story: Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports

See us in action!

Creating a product in Pimberly Screenshot