Consider purchasing a dream plot of land to spend weekends away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. You want to be able to enjoy a healthy, evenly trimmed lawn. You’ll use a lawnmower, not secateurs, won’t you?
The same is true for e-commerce. If you have a large online store, entering hundreds of thousands of product details will be not only tedious but also time-consuming — similar to cutting the grass with secateurs. In this case, the “lawnmower” will be properly matched to the needs and size of the store’s PIM (Product Information Management) system.
Is PIM right for you?
Let’s move on from the garden plot to a business that operates an online store. There’s a lot going on here. The e-commerce manager’s office is always busy — communication with partners, ongoing support for store processes, or the selection of appropriate tools are his or her bread and butter. The temperature does not drop in the marketing or IT rooms.
Employees who manually enter product information have their hands full as well. If the shop is large and sells tens of thousands of products, with each product having at least a dozen or so attributes, the amount of data to be entered can make everyone dizzy. In the long run, such a solution does not work; it is also easy to make a mistake. It doesn’t have to be that way; the PIM system can automate this activity and free you from transcribing data from Excel sheets containing hundreds of thousands of records.
If your company already uses a PIM system, you can stop reading this text and live happily ever after. Those who believe that certain processes in their workplace should be optimised, on the other hand, continue to work. We will discuss ten benefits of using PIM systems to improve the operation of an online store. And will make life easier. Just like that.
What will you gain and why is it worthwhile to invest in PIM?
The primary function of PIM is to collect and manage product information in order to enrich and optimise distribution in sales and marketing channels — in response to the omnichannel environment’s requirements. Such a system is a single, centralised source of data for the entire company, allowing multiple people (or an external company — for example, an SEO agency) to work on the same database at the same time. Of course, managing product information and distributing it through multiple channels is not the only advantage of PIM. Where else will you benefit?
Improved product data management
As the shop expands, so does the number of products available, and as a result, more and more data must be entered into the system, catalogued, and systematised. Data can be easily entered into the system without the need to manually enter detailed information. PIM systems also allow for the completion of product information in multiple language versions.
A database of this type is a reliable source of information that can be used in catalogues and printed brochures.
Improvements to product descriptions and specifications
The importance of properly constructed product information was mentioned in the previous article. The data referred to in that text speak for themselves — the more information you provide about the product, the lower the risk of cart abandonment. Keep in mind that a description alone is insufficient. You can easily enter photos, graphics, or attach detailed specifications to a product in the PIM system. Make such product information as detailed as possible — in this case, the more the better rule really works.
Increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty
Customer satisfaction is unquestionably one of the organization’s primary goals. His or her shopping experience will be enhanced if the information on the presented product is clear. So forget about small, blurry photos and enigmatic descriptions — these can effectively destroy the customer relationship.
When a customer receives a polyester dress instead of the ordered cotton dress, she or he may be disappointed and will most likely not return to the store. Clearer product information will make it easier to find the right item — you don’t want your customer to spend several hours in the shop browsing through the products and then leaving the website because he or she couldn’t find what they were looking for.
Do you require evidence? According to the study, the clarity of product photos (87.6 percent of respondents), opinions and reviews about products (78 percent), and product descriptions (78 percent) all have a significant impact on the online shopping experience (77.3 percent ).
Errors are less likely.
You make more errors than a machine. We understand how much this statement can sting our human ego, but the facts speak for themselves. A machine is not susceptible to fatigue, concentration issues, or job burnout. It is easy to make a mistake when an employee has to enter data coming to him from several sources for a few hours a day, check their correctness, and group them properly — it is difficult to maintain high productivity all day while controlling the correctness of data.
Remember that every mistake costs money, especially when working on a large number of products. With such a large scale, the cost can be significant — a large number of errors means a lower conversion, and a large number of corrections means a large amount of time (time is money). As a result, the company suffers two losses.
Improved product experience in the omnichannel
The number of channels and locations that require accurate product data is constantly increasing. Every day, new channels are created. All of these systems must have access to the most up-to-date product data; it is unacceptable for one system to have its own database that is not synchronised with the others.
Product information can be distributed to appropriate channels from a single source with the help of PIM, which provides a centralised database. Marketers are then responsible for the accuracy of a single database, rather than a large number of them.
A product’s life cycle is much shorter now than it was a few years ago. Merchants want to get the product to their customers as soon as possible (and certainly faster than the competition). Because PIM collects all product data in one location, expanding the assortment with new products and launching them on the market can be done more quickly. It also makes it easier to respond to market changes, even in real time.
Improves time and cost efficiency
Consider hundreds of Excel sheets filled to the brim with data that had to be manually entered into the system. Yes, by hand. In addition to Excel, there are other data sources that necessitate a manual process. This activity can be partially or completely automated thanks to tools like PIM, which not only saves a lot of man-hours but also relieves employees who are demotivated by long hours of monotonous work. Their capacity can then be directed to more profitable tasks.
Better product information also means fewer complaints and returns, which means more profit from sales.
Information exchange processes that are automated
When several people deal with different pieces of the puzzle, which is the complete product information, PIM makes the job easier — for example, one person is in charge of adding photos, another of SEO components, and yet another of extended descriptions. The team’s information flow is efficient.
9. Monitoring progress
The level of data completion is visible in PIM systems. When you see the progress in data realisation, it may also have a gamification component. You can easily see what has already been completed and what remains to be done.
PIM systems can be easily integrated with e-commerce platforms (not only with such giants as Magento but also with smaller systems). Because many PIMs are delivered as a service, such integration is quick. Furthermore, PIM systems are easily integrated with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), DAM (Digital Asset Management), CMS (Content Management System), or CRM (Customer Relationship Management). PIM can be customised to manage all data processes.
Each piece of this technological jigsaw puzzle complements the others, resulting in a more coordinated online store, consistent and transparent product data, lower costs, and the performance required to scale your business.
PIM meets the needs of today’s businesses.
It is worth noting that in today’s dynamic and competitive environment, effective product information management is critical. This is no longer a “nice to have” system, but rather a requirement, especially for large players.
A properly chosen PIM system automates manual data entry, improves customer experience, saves time and money, and adapts to omnichannel requirements. E-commerce managers and marketers should strongly consider implementing PIM in their organisation, especially if they want to stay one step ahead of the competition.