Move your product data from store platform to PIM today

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The strategy of storing product data in the platform on which your e-commerce is built appears to be a sound one. The idea that consolidating everything into a single software tool will make it easier to control the data and keep it from becoming chaotic is a popular one among entrepreneurs. We have to be concerned about you. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the case.

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 locates and ships the goods as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In fact, all you need to get started is a webserver to run a functional online store. The use of complex databases and sophisticated shipping systems is not required by many small retailers in order to run their businesses successfully. For small sellers working on marketplaces such as eBay or Allegro, keeping the database “in your head” and sending the packages via regular mail can be sufficient if the assortment level is low enough.

However, as our company grows in size, the situation becomes more complicated – the number of assortments increases to thousands (or more) rather than hundreds, and the goods are sold through multiple channels at the same time. This store will require a professional store platform as well as a larger technological framework in order to process hundreds of transactions in real-time and better manage product data.

E-commerce and personal information management (PIM) systems are becoming increasingly popular. Is it necessary to have both for product data management?

The world of e-commerce is changing. There is more data, there are more stores, and there are more consumers. Marketplaces are established, as well as new tools for increasing sales, such as reports, studies, and forecasts, among other things. The storage of such a large amount of information (imagine a store with hundreds of thousands of products) in a single location is extremely risky for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost, consider the human element. Despite the fact that it may irritate our human egos, we must acknowledge that humans make mistakes at a higher rate than machines. Even if an error occurs and changes affecting a large portion of the assortment are saved – such as incorrect pictures, descriptions, and prices – these changes will be visible in the store right away.

There is no safety net, not even another team member who must approve the changes, to provide some measure of protection. A person may suffer the consequences of purchasing a product that has an incorrect description or a different (for example, significantly lower price). There are costs associated with it, and it has a negative impact on the brand’s image and credibility.

In addition to the first factor, there is a second technical factor to consider: the occurrence of system errors. Let’s consider a scenario in which there is an error in the database during a platform upgrade (for example, during 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 has been previously deleted. Although these are extreme situations, you should be aware that they are possible.

As a result, any discussion about the advantages of storing data in a PIM rather than an e-commerce platform must invariably include a comparison of monolithic and microservice architectures. A simple summary: monolithic architecture is based on a single entity, whereas microservices are composed of “building blocks,” each with its own architecture, purpose, and business context.

Microservices are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to monolithic architecture. In the event that one of the “blocks” fails, the entire application continues to run, and only the “infected” area is addressed by the fixes applied. In the event of a failure in the monolith, the entire system’s operation will be disrupted, and correcting the error will take much longer and be more complicated.

You should evaluate your e-commerce system in this light, now that you understand the difference between monolith and microservice architectures. There are several different tools that you can use in your daily work, including a storefront platform, a customer relationship management (CRM), a marketing automation tool and other marketing tools, and finally, a product information management (PIM) system that “handles” the product catalog, among other things.

Your entire e-commerce ecosystem is, in fact, comprised of a collection of small services. Because each element is independent of the others, when one of them fails, it has no impact on the overall functionality of the site.

Consider the following scenario: you don’t have a product information management system (PIM) and your storefront platform crashes, taking with it your entire product catalog. In the event that you are aggregating your product data in an e-commerce system, it is possible that when your site is restored, there will be errors in the data contained in your catalog.

The Benefits of Keeping Product Data in a Product Information Management System

 

The omnichannel trend has been driving the pace of change in the e-commerce market for several years now, and there is no doubt about it. As a result of having multiple sales channels, retailers must choose tools that allow for fast and dependable data distribution to each channel. The PIM system is capable of meeting these requirements.

By storing product data in a PIM, you can also avoid some of the most common data issues. For example, one of the most common causes of poor data quality is storing data in multiple locations that are not linked to one another. However, even if you store your data files in the cloud, you have no control over who may download them in an outdated form.

Finding the most recent version of an excel sheet among several 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; chaos in data management among team members with different competencies and pedigrees.

One of the most significant differences 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, which is not possible with a standard online store database.

You must enter product information into a store platform, such as Allegro or Amazon, or a price comparison service (such as Cenoteo or Nokaut), which necessitates logging into the relevant platform and working with the data there. PIM shortens this path by automatically sending all data to all channels, regardless of whether or not it is error-free or of high quality.

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

Create a central database of product data that contains information from various sources including Excel files, ERP data, and marketing data; ensure high quality and consistency of data across different channels; avoid errors in product data; real-time data management among team members with different competencies; improve workflow in production; reduce costs; control product data chaos.

 

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