When product data becomes unmanageable in spreadsheets, implementing a Product Information Management (PIM) solution is a logical consideration. The advantage of a PIM over spreadsheets is clear: centralized, secured, versioned product information that keeps your marketing team on the same page. However, today’s e-commerce battleground requires more, especially with the explosion of channel opportunities and the inevitably creative methods of market manipulation.
PIMs have a long history dating back to the 1970’s. Over nearly five decades, everything about commerce has changed, but PIMs haven’t kept pace with evolving business requirements.
Pain Point #1: Low Quality, Bad Data is Still Bad Data
It is nearly impossible to ensure the accuracy of all of your data given the sheer volume of product content. Even a small brand with fewer than a hundred SKUs may have thousands of UPCs. When a brand is unable to cope with the ensuing data mountain, the result is poor data quality. PIMs perpetuate the garbage-in-garbage-out cycle by allowing companies to easily syndicate low quality data. Sharing misinformation with distributors and customers can have a serious impact on an organization’s bottom line.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can solve for many data quality issues. AI can easily fill in data gaps, flag errors, optimize listings for SEO, and more. Standard PIMs are incapable of performing these tasks. With a PIM, the manual task of combing through data is still necessary. The solution you invest in should be able to eliminate tedious tasks associated with product data. You should be able to focus your time on sales and other important tasks rather than wasting time managing content.
Pain Point #2: Delayed or Missed Product Listings
Getting a listing live can be a complicated process that involves multiple teams. A single misstep can prevent a product from being listed on time (or at all). Even worse, a listing may go live only to later be accidentally de-listed (typically seen when a nightly feed is misconfigured).
A common complaint among organizations is that they had no idea a listing wasn’t live, until they saw a month of unexpectedly low sales. With increased competition in the space, those lost sales can mean the difference between a business that survives and one that doesn’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a platform that verifies your listings on the internet, every night, 24/7?
When your operation relies on meeting deadlines, everyone needs to be on the same page. A centralized calendar with critical dates keeps everyone informed. More importantly, it enables managers and owners to fix potential problems before they impact live dates (read: before they translate to lost revenue).
Pain Point #3: PIM Solutions Offer Limited Functionality and Insight
PIMs focus on products, not operations. A PIM is helpful in organizing product catalogs and distribution, but knows nothing of deadlines, data accuracy, channel management, or future trends. A PIM may offer insights into how listings rank on search engines, but brands and retailers need more. For example, a product may have a very high Google ranking, but unexpectedly low sales. A PIM is unable to pinpoint deeper problems that could be affecting sales.
E-commerce business leaders need more analytics to make informed, strategic decisions. Smart business operators constantly measure the performance of their products and channels. Experts go one step further – constantly looking for new channels, or operational opportunities for a streamlined business.
When e-commerce businesses operate in functional silos, finance, marketing, and operations struggle to communicate toward a common goal. Implementing a PIM solution pushes organizations one step further toward functional isolation – perpetuating lack of transparency and communication between internal teams.
Share product data faster, and replace reactive decisions with proactive strategy. Invest in a solution that offers more than a PIM.
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