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"PIM for brands and retailers in e-commerce"

Excerpt: Retailers in e-commerce maintain on average 200 attributes for each product they sell. We show how companies can manage these increasing requirements for product data to ensure an up-to-date product experience across all channels.

Until the products of a manufacturer or retailer reach the end consumers, the individual product information passes through more and more customer touchpoints. Today, up-to-date and consistent product data must be present in the customer journey on all relevant channels during the information and purchase decision phases. This means that product data is taking on an increasingly active role for companies in e-commerce.

Traditional ERP systems no longer meet the requirements of globalised e-commerce companies. In order for manufacturers or retailers to be able to market products quickly, they need a central system that centrally stores and processes all relevant and useful product information and distributes it across all e-commerce channels (e.g. websites, online shops, marketplaces, online catalogues, B2B portals). In this context, a PIM system is an indispensable tool for all companies in e-commerce to make the increasing complexity of product data manageable and to simplify and automate workflows. Further information and definitions of the term PIM can be found here.

PIM: The foundation for a better customer experience

The Corona pandemic has helped drive digitisation in the last 2 years and resulted in e-business growing faster than ever before. However, with the strong growth of e-commerce, the requirements for retailers and manufacturers are also growing rapidly at the same time.

When customers shop via e-commerce, they expect simple, reliable, accurate and understandable product descriptions, accompanied by helpful images or videos. If customers and prospects do not find the information they need during their information and purchase decision process, they will quickly switch the channel and jump to the competitor’s offer. Especially nowadays, when there is almost complete market transparency, it is more difficult to differentiate oneself solely through the product or the price.

“Over 90% of companies see the biggest opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition as expanding the customer experience:”

Source: Gartner Inc., Customer Experience Management Survey 2019

There is a demand for positive customer experiences. Brands are no longer created through advertising alone, but also through customer experiences. To stand out from the competition, companies are keen to offer their customers a personalised customer journey that communicates consistent messages across all channels. In a customer journey, prospects come into contact with numerous brand touchpoints that have an influence on their purchase decision. In addition to indirect brand contact points such as neutral opinions (e.g. rating portals, forums, blogs, etc.), there is a large number of direct brand contact points that are triggered by a brand or a company itself.

It is important for companies to reach their customers with positive emotions through direct touch points. Typical examples from the offline area are e.g. print media. In the online area, the company website, the online shop, marketplaces, online catalogues, B2B portals, social media channels and online marketing campaigns can be mentioned. With increasing digitalisation, there is also an ever more intensive merging of the individual brand contact points. To ensure consistent communication across all channels, PIM systems for managing and distributing product information are becoming increasingly important. Brand messages must be consistent, uniform and complete in order for customers and prospects to have a positive buying experience. All communicated content must be consistent.

In summary, a PIM system supports companies in e-commerce through the following disciplines:

  • Consistent presentation of all brand touchpoints in all target markets
  • Consideration of optimal media formats and file sizes to meet the requirements of specific output channels
  • Improved product advice through the use of multimedia content (images, videos, 3D graphics, etc.)
  • Seamless multi-channel management by avoiding media disruptions

Structure and control your product information with PIM

“Digital retailers, on average, attach 200 attributes to every single product they sell.”

Source: The Forrester Wave: Product Information Management Solutions, 2019

Although (almost) all companies are aware that their product data should be accurate, comprehensive, complete and of high quality, still many companies have not implemented systems to ensure these standards. According to studies, only 30% of manufacturers and retailers have defined requirements for the control of product information. It does not matter whether a company sells 1.000, 1.000.000 or 1.000.000 products. A PIM system helps companies of all sizes to structure the numerous entities and their relationships with each other:

  • Product data
  • Product attributes
  • Product groups and categories
  • Product relations (cross-selling, up-selling, etc.)
  • Media assets (product images, gifs, videos, 3D visualisations, etc.)
  • Supplier data, catalogues
  • Customer profiles

“The global PIM market size is expected to grow from USD 9.0 billion in 2020 to USD 16.0 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.2% the forecast period. The major factors driving the growth of the PIM industry include rising demand for PIM solution from flourishing ecommerce industry and increasing need to offering enhanced customer service.”

Source: MarketsandMarkets Analysis, PIM Report 2020

According to the eMarketer forecast for 2021, brick-and-mortar retail grew by 6.3 % last year, while e-commerce grew by 17.9 %. Growth will continue and is expected to account for 23.6% of total retail sales by 2025, up from 11.0% in 2019, while behaviours such as click-and-collect are expected to continue to grow, reaching $140.96 billion in sales by 2024. Retailers will connect with consumers across more channels throughout the customer journey. Social commerce sales are expected to increase by 35.8% to US$ 36.62 billion as early as 2022.

These trends clearly show that PIM is becoming increasingly important as a discipline for e-commerce companies. With Product Information Management software, any type of product data can be captured and updated instantly. All channels considered in the omnichannel product communication refer to the same, correct, consistent data and sustainably improve the customer experience.

How about some practical insights?

Experience live how prodexa Cloud delivers your product information and multimedia content quickly and flexibly to a wide range of channels in line with your brand and at the same time accelerates the content creation and enrichment process. prodexa Cloud is suitable for companies with a simple product strategy and few target markets as well as for multinational corporations with highly complex product and branding strategies. Get in touch now and arrange your no-obligation online demo now.

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