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"5 tips for optimized data and inventory management"

Excerpt: Learn how a PIM system helps ensure cross-channel order and inventory management to keep even complex multichannel eCommerce simple and clear.

It is more than just a software: definition of “PIM“

For product managers, data-related tasks in inventory management are a very time-consuming challenge. If the processing of this data is done manually and across multiple channels, it means an enormous amount of time is spent, which can result in enormously high costs. In fact, inventory is one of the most important parts of any supply chain, because it turns into revenue after the sales process.

„A McKinsey study reports that, on average, companies lose 33% of after-tax profit when they ship products six months late, as compared with losses of 3.5% when they overspend 50% on product development.“

Source: Harvard Business Review, „Tracking Product Teams”

In today’s business environment, customers’ demands and requirements are constantly changing. If brand managers want to remain competitive in the future, they should be able to react quickly to these changes. Two aspects are central to this: on the one hand, optimized product listings. Products must be strategically placed in such a way that organic sales increase and, at the same time, costs for advertising decrease. On the other hand, the focus is on efficient inventory management. After all, if these inventories stop moving, they can end up as “dead stock”, which is associated with high costs. The effects of the Corona pandemic in particular have made this aspect even more important:

„In a 2020 survey, roughly one-fifth of respondents on behalf of businesses revealed that they plan to have more inventory in the aftermath of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During that survey, some 27 percent of surveyed people stated that they will keep inventory levels the same but make adjustments to the supply chain network.“

Source: Statista, „Inventory Approaches after COVID19“

The consequences of poor data quality

One of the main reasons for poor data quality in companies is that they are often unable to maintain the correct flow of inventory. Companies that use Excel spreadsheets and record inventory manually often have high sources of errors in data management. These include, for example, incomplete and outdated information, duplicates, and double data maintenance due to data silos. Without a functioning and solid product information management software, it is therefore nearly impossible to keep track of supply chains, warehouses, manufacturers, etc. in a long-term and comprehensive manner. These conditions often lead to a loss of control over the development of the inventory. Especially for small and medium-sized companies, it can become difficult to efficiently manage an ever-growing amount of product information and to create new records for each individual sales channel. This is where Product Information Management (PIM) comes in as an ideal solution to manage and place products on the market faster and easier.

5 steps for efficient inventory and data management

  • Know the requirements of the sales channels: Regardless of which channel you sell on, each of them has its specific content and visual requirements. An engaging content and high visibility that drive sales on Amazon may not be enough to get noticed on platforms like eBay or Google Shopping. This is because the platforms follow very different algorithms that prioritize certain information differently. If brand managers are aiming for higher rankings with an optimized product listing, they should create different offers that are precisely tailored to each targeted channel, also taking into account seasonal sales factors to avoid non-sales inventory. In doing so, it is important to continuously keep an eye on market changes with the help of market research and analysis.


  • Focus on the core information and optimize visual content: One of the most important aspects of listing a product is to immediately draw the customer’s attention to the core information of the product offering. Images, videos, and specific product descriptions are essential for conveying a lasting impression of the product and thus increasing its relevance for the purchase decision. Impressive product images are a key factor that has a significant influence on the customer’s buying behavior.

 

„According to a survey, digital shoppers expect an average of about six images and three videos when looking at a product on Amazon or another retailer.“

 

Source: Salsify, „Product Experience Management Survey“

 

Each individual sales and marketing channel has different requirements for the format of images and other visual assets. The simultaneous output of such customized data in multi-channel sales is usually ensured by an integrated DAM system. It avoids media breaks and ensures consistent brand communication across the entire customer journey.


  • Integrate keywords using organic methods: In order to achieve a high ranking in search engine results and to direct organic traffic to your own website or online store, detailed keyword research is recommended. A targeted evaluation of the research results according to search volumes makes it possible to adapt product titles and descriptions as well as visual assets so precisely that they are optimally read by the search engines. The long-term result is a significant competitive advantage in the findability of your own service offering. For more tips on how you can use a PIM system to improve your e-commerce SEO, click here.


  • Adapt the content to the target group: Each platform or sales channel addresses different target groups. Brand managers are therefore encouraged to adapt their product presentation to the linguistic and technical specifications of the respective platform. This works primarily with relevant and target group-specific content, such as information on color selection, size specifications or product descriptions. In addition, real-time data and a behavioral analysis of the respective target group can be used to further adapt the company’s own product offering. PIM manages this data automatically and relieves employees, which increases productivity. 

„Nearly 70% of workers say the biggest opportunity of automation lies in reducing time wasted on repetitive work.“

 

Source: Smarthsheet, „How much time are you wasting on manual, repetitive tasks?“


  • Customize product filters: Consistent results across marketplaces and comparison platforms require an elaborate taxonomy structure for each sales channel. The publication of content should accordingly follow a well thought-out plan to give customers the opportunity to precisely filter the product offerings. Find out which product filters customers expect when shopping online today in this article.

 

Conclusion:

Multi-channel commerce faces important tasks, because poor data quality and correspondingly chaotic inventory management sooner or later develop into a major problem for most companies. In their search for a solution, they often end up with ERP or inventory management systems that cannot cope with the scale of the problems on their own. To efficiently provide high-quality product data and avoid patchy data silos, companies should consider PIM software. Because it integrates seamlessly with existing IT infrastructure and can cover every aspect of the supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, sourcing, and warehousing of products, as well as customer shipping processes.

 

If you’d like to learn more about how PIM can help you boost your data and inventory management, complement ERP systems, and optimize product listings, feel free to schedule a no-obligation online demo with our experts.

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