Top 5 eCommerce PIM Hidden Secrets That You Won’t Learn Out of Books

eCommerce PIM

By Sergey Shvets

Product information management didn’t take long to grow into an industry of its own. In today’s digitally-driven world, businesses must find up-to-date approaches to handling all the content underlying the goods they provide. To consolidate and manage product information in one place, forward-minded providers equip their eCommerce pipelines with various PIM solutions. This is where the demand is coming from. But there’s more to the potential of today’s PIM software than meets the eye.

It turns out, the timely adoption of PIM practices gradually benefits eCommerce productivity and performance across the board. Let’s explore this thought in a bit more depth.

What Is The Aim & Role Of Product Information Management In eCommerce Business?

eCommerce managers have to process heaps of documents and data summaries related to the goods their online store sells. Product content, item categories, technical specifications, bills of materials, etc. – all of that has to be thoroughly tracked and controlled, as well as timely accessed and retrieved. These processes become increasingly challenging when data flows in from across multiple channels.

Product data management implemented via specialized software comes in to help all stakeholders involved in the product lifecycle (from salespeople and marketers to managers) centralize and coordinate the task. A PIM tool establishes a single virtual place to gather, manage, and enrich the information about items available at one’s eСommerce store. This allows entrepreneurs to create a catalog of goods and distribute it across multiple channels. 

Such tools may come in a bunch of different shapes and sizes, let’s take a look at which exactly.

3 Types of Tools for Product Data Management

eCommerce companies tend to use several types of essential tools for product information management.

1. Product Sheets

Creating a product sheet also known as a datasheet is one of the more traditional approaches to sorting and managing information. It is based on your classic routine of putting things down manually and filling out printed tables. In the digital format, this is done via Excel, which offers a range of data formatting, calculation, and sorting features (e.g., consolidation of items by weight, color, dimensions, components, technical characteristics, etc.).

Most of these features, however, remain inaccessible to the vast majority of Excel users, as the platform’s functionality is built heavily on formulas. This, along with Excel’s limitation to manual data input only, makes it quite a primitive way to manage product content today.

As an up-to-date alternative, product sheets are generated automatically based on the data drawn from proper sources and processed by a PIM system. Not only does it save tons of time and nerves, but automated datasheet generation also becomes a good source of actionable insights.

2. Custom Solutions

To go in-depth with specific data sources and keep things individual, many e-stores develop custom tools to streamline their in-house product data management. This can be a fitting approach for businesses that either have a skillful software developers team at their disposal or possess a sufficient budget to hire one and cover all project expenses.

As a result, companies get custom systems with the ability to “look under the hood” and scale their PIM if needed. But on the other side, there is a risk of reinventing the wheel. Even a reliable software developer can deliver a solution that includes all features that you need, but it costs more than a well-tried PIM platform and can hardly be compared to its performance.

3. Ready-made PIM Software

eCommerce businesses with big-time aspirations can’t rely much on custom IT tools in their product information management efforts. And in the context of fierce industry competition, enterprises can’t rely on outselling their competitors if they try to shuttle between disparate databases and make use of primitive data processing methods as well.

This is where ready-made PIM solutions save precious time and costs while giving you an accessible, well-tried tool full of the latest best practices. Ready-made PIM systems beat all the above-mentioned types of tools because they are:

  1. universal – adapting a PIM platform to one’s eCommerce doesn’t take any extra time or effort;
  2. flexible – a good PIM system is feature-rich and optimized to  help you handle all aspects of product data management;
  3. used as a single source of truth – PIM tools centralize data the company uses in its workflow (both from internal and external sources) in one virtual place to be accessible to all stakeholders;
  4. friendly to other software – off-the-shelf solutions seamlessly integrate with ERP, CRM, DAM, or any other third-party systems an eCommerce enterprise leverages.

Ultimately, adopting an advanced PIM system that is available out-of-the-box will be a reliable, cost- and time-efficient way for an eCommerce business to address major bottlenecks in product information management.

PIM Challenges and How Proper Tools Help Tackle Them

You may already have to see the big picture of the good PIM systems you can easily integrate and run. For one thing, they pack features and tools that come in as up-to-date alternatives to traditional (read: stale) product data management approaches.

But what relevant issues do they help to deal with in practice? Let’s take a look at some major challenges eCommerce companies experience, especially if they don’t have a well-tried PIM tool up and running.

1. Entering New Sales Channels

As digital businesses scale, the time comes for them to expand into unknown territories and tap into more new sales channels. Accordingly, they have to find ways to work with new sources of information. Each new sales channel requires you to fine-tune the existing product information management workflow to keep it consistent. You can’t just “add” a sales channel to your inventory and continue working with the roster as is, right?

With a timely adopted PIM system, you can do it. For this, PIM providers set up centralized access to all connections and data sources you need via easy-to-navigate dashboards and interfaces that can be edited in real-time. This also applies to the following challenge.

2. Managing Data Across Multiple Channels

The more sales channels you engage, the more complex your data management becomes. For instance, one’s normal data flow can easily double and triple when expanding onto mobile user audiences. It becomes difficult to strategize the sales field coverage when it is segmented, having to prioritize types of data, define and analyze KPIs for each channel, etc.

In turn, PIM software enables real-time omnichannel product information management where syndicating, monitoring, improving, and other necessary interactions can all be centralized inside a single dashboard.

3. Standardizing Product Information

Last but not least, while operating across numerous eCommerce channels, you will need to process more different data formats. Data consolidation can become increasingly complex. For example,  missing out on the task can result in discrepancies in goods descriptions, asymmetry in seller content, deviations in measurement units, the divergence of legal and global requirements, and more hardships.

As a whole, you can achieve high-quality data and efficient interactions with it only when it is properly standardized. A truly efficient PIM platform also allows you to audit data sources and comply with the necessary data standards to achieve ultimate data uniformity.

Top 5 Product Information Management Secrets That Lead to eCommerce Business Success

To reinforce all the above info, we must say that using up-to-date tools yields results in direct technical and business benefits. While choosing more versatile product information management alternatives and tackling relevant challenges, you get particular deliverables, the most essential of which include the following.

1. Using PIM software increases productivity

Being easily connected to the most popular marketplaces (such as eBay, Amazon, and Walmart, to name a few), PIM systems automatically adapt your data catalog to fit seamlessly into the formats these platforms utilize. Besides, their data validation capability drastically cuts down on the amount of manual work you would do otherwise to compile reports about missing data.

2. Integrating with PIM improves customer experience

Since PIM tools go well with content providers (for instance, Tradeplace or Icecat), your product data presentation will be considerably upgraded. Online store visitors will enjoy a fuller image of the products you offer to them, which augments their shopping experience tremendously.

3. Employing PIM grows conversion

A satisfying customer experience is likely to bring more conversions to your site. Moreover, good PIM software will provide consistency and easy access to whatever platform or channel a consumer chooses to discover information about your goods. It will also increase the number of satisfied clients eager to buy your products.

4. Automating processes speeds up time-to-market

In today’s fast-paced business world, the agility of pipeline operations is mission-critical. Thanks to PIM solutions, the lion’s share of data handling processes – from data validation to its distribution across all virtual outlets and sales platforms – can be automated. eCommerce managers update their product data in the system once, and all the changes immediately appear across all owned digital resources, sparing lots of time and headache.

5. Improving the quality of product information

Improved product information is the main goal of implementing a PIM system. PIM solution helps to classify and unify product information by introducing certain standards that cannot be ignored. Moreover, the data becomes more readable and complete. You can enrich data about your products and translate descriptions into other languages directly in the PIM system, which reduces the likelihood of errors.

Conclusion

Product information management is a vital component of the eCommerce pipeline. Its efficiency ultimately conditions the business success of any e-store since it has an impact on the personnel’s productivity and the customer experience you offer. In our digitalized world, ready-made PIM software can be a cost-effective game-changing instrument that will radically bolster this routine and propel your company on its way to becoming a leader in its eCommerce niche.

Just make sure you turn to a well-proven provider. Gepard PIM offers versatile functionality implemented by specialists with 17 years of experience in the market.  If you are looking for reliable, productive, long-term beneficial product information management consider the Gepard solution as your PIM vendor choice.

About the Author

Sergey Shvets – Founder & CEO at Gepard. IT entrepreneur with a deep technical background. Founder & CEO at Gepard, the product information management & syndication platform, helping to centralize diverse product data and deliver complying content to sales channels. Director Of Technology at Icecat, the global open catalog with more than 27K brands onboard. Sergey Shvets is an expert in the field of product data management and optimization, who has set up product content delivery across multiple platforms for a wide range of companies, including Elkjop (Elgiganten), GS1, Opple Lighting, and more.

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