Do you keep product data on your store platform? Move it to PIM today

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Keeping product data on the floor on which your e-commerce is built develops to be a good strategy. You might understand that aggregating everything into a single software tool will make it accessible to control the data and keep it from becoming chaotic. We have to concern you. It’s utterly opposite.

In a nutshell, how an online store operates

E-commerce is based on a combination of three elements: a web server that manages the storefront and processes transactions (in conjunction with payment gateways), a database that keeps you “informed” of your inventory, and a shipping system linked to the warehouse that quickly locates and ships the goods.

In fact, all you need to set up a functional online store is a web server. Many small retailers run their businesses successfully without the use of complex databases or sophisticated shipping systems. If the assortment level is low enough, you can keep the database “in your head” and send the packages via regular mail – this is how many small sellers work on marketplaces like eBay or Allegro.

However, the situation becomes more problematic as our company grows in size – the number of assortments reaches thousands (and more), rather than hundreds, and the goods are sold in multiple channels at the same time. A professional store platform and a larger technological framework are already required for such a store to process hundreds of transactions in real time and better manage product data.

E-commerce and personal information management (PIM) systems. Do we demand both for product data management?

E-commerce is changing. There is more data, more stores, and more customers. Marketplaces are created, as well as new tools to increase sales, reports, studies, and forecasts. Keeping such a large amount of information (imagine a store selling hundreds of thousands of products) in one place is highly risky for at least two reasons.

First, consider the human factor. While it may irritate our human egos, we must accept that humans are more often than not wrong. If, as a result of an error, changes affecting a large portion of the assortment are saved – incorrect pictures, descriptions, and prices – these changes can be seen immediately in the store. There is no safety net, not even another team member who must approve the changes. When someone purchases a product with an incorrect description or a different (e.g. much lower price), the consequences can be sense. It incurs expenses and has a negative impact on the brand’s image and credibility.

The second factor is a technical one: the situation of errors on the system’s side. Consider a scenario in which there is an error in the database during a platform upgrade (e.g., migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2) – for example, the database does not update or a plug-in does not respond properly – in which case the errors must be fixed manually or the data must be entered again if it is deleted. These are extreme cases, but you should be aware that they can occur.

In fact, any discussion of the help of storing data in PIM rather than an e-commerce platform must inevitably include a comparison of monolithic and microservices architecture. In a nutshell, monolithic architecture is based on a single entity, whereas microservices are made up of “building blocks,” each with its own architecture, purpose, and business context. In the event that one “block” fails, the entire application continues to run, and fixes are only made in the “infected” area. A failure in the monolith can disrupt the entire system’s operation, and correcting the error takes much longer and is more complicated.

Examine your e-commerce in this context now that you understand the distinction between monolith and microservices. So you have a storefront platform, a CRM, a marketing automation tool and other marketing tools, and finally a PIM system that “handles” the product catalogue, as well as a number of other tools that you use in your daily work. Your entire ecommerce ecosystem is, in fact, made up of microservices. When one of the elements fails, it has no effect on the overall functionality of the site. Assume you don’t have a PIM and your storefront platform crashes, taking with it your entire product catalogue. If you are aggregating your product data in an e-commerce system, you may discover that when your site is restored, there are errors in your catalogue data.

The Advantages of Keeping Product Data in PIM

There is no suspect that omnichannel is a trend that has been dictating the pace of change in the e-commerce market for several years. Multiple sales channels force retailers to choose tools that enable fast and dependable data distribution to each of them. These requirements are met by the PIM system.

By storing product data in PIM, you also avoid the most common data issues: one of the main causes of poor data quality is storing it in multiple locations that are not connected to each other. Even if you store your data files in the cloud, you have no control over who downloads them in an outdated version. Searching through several excel sheets in search of the most up-to-date one is not the best solution; keeping the data up-to-date requires constant attention – deleting old versions, updating new ones, and ensuring that every team member who uses the data has the most up-to-date version, inconsistencies of data across multiple sources, mismatched attributes to the industry you sell into, cha

One of the primary distinctions between a PIM and a standard online store database is that PIM systems allow you to automatically assign more information to products for different channels.

If you launch a new product and also sell in the marketplace, you must enter product information into a store platform, such as Allegro or Amazon, or price comparison services (such as Cenoteo or Nokaut), which requires you to log into the relevant platform and work with the data there. PIM shortens this path by automatically sending all data to all channels, without regard for errors or quality.

Keeping your data in PIM will benefit you in the following ways:

  • Control product data chaos – information from Excel files, ERP data, and marketing data are all collected in one location.
  • Conceive a central database of product data that is imported from multiple sources and distributed to multiple sales channels.
  • ensuring high data quality and consistency across multiple channels, avoiding product data errors
  • Real-time data management among team members with varying competencies, improved workflow in product data teams, and shortened product go-to-market path

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