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"PIM as a core element in product content lifecycle management"

Excerpt: Managing product data efficiently and outputting them in a way that meets the common requirements of the individual marketing and sales channels is becoming an ever greater challenge for retailers and manufacturers. We show how you can understand and master the complex product content lifecycles using modern PIM software.

In many companies, product data and related marketing and sales content are still distributed across many different systems in separate data silos. This often leads to faulty product presentations, inappropriate cross-selling and upselling activities, difficulties in targeted product searching and filtering, and inefficient communication and collaboration between different stakeholders.

However, as product data play an essential role in omnichannel commerce in the digital age, customers expect complete and high-quality product information that can be consistently accessed across every touchpoint of the customer journey. They have thus become a core element of a very complex product data cycle. The challenge now is to capture a multitude of growing data sets, consolidate them centrally, and continuously enhance and enrich them.

Product Content Lifecycle Management: Finding the right approach

Initially, there are many different options for data management. Companies are likely to refer to existing e-commerce systems, an existing ERP system, a Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), or product data feeds in the respective channels and marketplaces. However, companies often find it difficult to commit to a unified approach, due to the very limited functionalities of each system. Such solutions are not designed to efficiently manage a large amount of product data or to distribute it to the respective channels. This makes the search for a solution that is easy to integrate much more difficult, because it must provide an “all-round view” of all conceivable product information as a central data source (“single source of truth”). In addition, product-related content must be created in a user-friendly manner and automatically optimized for a wide variety of marketing and sales channels. The search is therefore on for a comprehensive solution that can map a closed product data cycle as a holistic whole.

„By 2024, organizations that develop “closed loop” processes for organizing product data will increase revenue from digital channels by 30% more than organizations that fail to do so.“

Source: Gartner - „Scaling Digital Commerce Requires Product Content Life Cycle Optimization“, 2021

What does a Product Content Lifecycle consist of?

In analog times, product data was only used for products that were physically sold at the point of sale or promoted via print media. However, with omnichannel commerce, a growing number of touchpoints and digital marketing as a multiple starting point of comprehensive customer journeys, these times are definitely over. This is especially relevant for the growing direct-to-customer sales, because a complex product data cycle has developed, for the management of which several disciplines have to be mastered at once (compare the following figure).

Own illustration based on Gartner "Scaling Digital Commerce Requires Product Content Life Cycle Optimization," 2021

The complex lifecycle of product data is increasingly understood as an end-to-end process. The most important core elements here include:

  • Master Data Management (MDM)
  • Product Information Management (PIM)
  • Channel Management (Syndication)

What is particularly interesting is that the range of functions offered by modern PIM software is serving more and more parts of this cycle and combining them within a single system. PIM systems are thus increasingly evolving from pure data management to all-round solutions for complex product experience management (PXM).

PIM as the central data source in the Product Content Lifecycle

PIM software consolidates all required product data into a single, easily accessible source. This data includes, but is not limited to:

  • Product attributes sourced from MDM or synchronized via third-party master data sets such as GDSN
  • Comprehensive, channel-specific product descriptions
  • Digital assets (e.g., images, videos, logos, documents, etc.), provided by digital asset management (DAM) that may already be integrated

Syndication as the solution for omnichannel management

Regardless of whether own channels (e.g. websites, online stores, print) or third-party channels (e.g. marketplaces, sales networks) are to be managed, a PIM system should understand the different criteria and requirements of each individual channel in order to continuously optimize product campaigns. A solution for Product Content Syndication (PCS), which is already integrated in the PIM system, makes an important contribution here in the automated preparation of product data. It precisely matches all relevant data to predefined templates in order to comply with the most important standards, usage rules and best practices of the individual channels. In addition, the automatically generated data formats are simultaneously tested for their effectiveness in order to continuously achieve the best possible results in terms of performance and acceptance.

Conclusion

Companies that want to hold their own in e-commerce in the future should place a special focus on the qualitative requirements of today’s product data. Modern PIM solutions handle this tasks in many ways and thus form a core element in the increasingly complex product data cycle. prodexa Cloud combines a user-friendly PIM system with integrated DAM for precise output of all relevant product data on all marketing and sales channels. The integrated solution for content syndication also serves every single touchpoint along the customer journey with precisely fitting data formats, which means an additional gain in efficiency and professional product communication.

Experience the interaction of the individual modules in prodexa Cloud live for your industry and business model and arrange your individual and non-binding online demo now.

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