Imagine that you bought a dream plot of land, where you will spend weekends and run away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. You want to enjoy a healthy, evenly trimmed lawn. You’ll use the right lawnmower, not a secateurs, won’t you?
The same is true for e-commerce. If you have a large online shop, entering hundreds of thousands of product information will not only be tedious but also very time-consuming — just like cutting the grass with a secateurs. In this case, the “lawnmower” will be properly matched to the needs and size of the store PIM (Product Information Management) system.
Let’s move from the garden plot to a company running an online store. There’s a lot going on here. The e-commerce manager’s room is always busy — communication with partners, ongoing support for processes taking place in the store, or the selection of appropriate tools is his or her bread and butter. The temperature does not drop in the marketing and IT rooms either. Employees who manually enter product information also have their hands full. If the shop is large and sells tens of thousands of products, and each product has at least a dozen or so attributes — then the number 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 like that — the PIM system comes in the shining armor to automate this activity and let you forget about transcribing data from Excel sheets filled with several hundred thousand records.
(Also check: How specific groups of employees can benefit from PIM)
If your company already uses the PIM system, you can stop reading this text and live happily ever after. However, those who think that in their work certain processes should be optimized — we invite you to read it. We will present 10 advantages of using PIM systems, which will improve the operation of the online store. And will make life easier. Just like that.
The main role of PIM is to collect and manage product information in order to enrich and optimize distribution in sales and marketing channels — in response to the requirements of the omnichannel environment. Such a system is a single, central source of data for the whole company, which allows several people to work at the same time (or an external company — e.g. an SEO agency) on the same database. Managing product information and distributing it to multiple channels is not the only advantage of PIM, of course. Where else will you benefit?
Along with the development of the shop, the number of offered products also increases, and consequently — more and more data requires entering into the system, cataloging and systematizing. Data can be easily entered into the system without the need to manually introducing detailed information. PIM systems also allow for completing product information in several language versions. Such a database is a consistent source of data — also to be used in catalogs and printed brochures.
We mentioned in the previous article the important role of properly constructed product information. The data referred to in that text speak for themselves — the more information you provide at the product, the less risk of cart abandoning. Remember that description alone is not enough. In the PIM system, you can easily enter photos, graphics or attach detailed specifications to the product. Try to make such product information as detailed as possible — in this case, the more the better rule really works.
Customer’s satisfaction is certainly one of the main objectives set for the organization. His or her shopping experience is the better, the clearer the information on the presented product. So forget about small, blurry photos or enigmatic descriptions — these can effectively destroy the customer relationship. When a customer receives a polyester dress instead of an ordered cotton one, she or he may feel disappointed and probably won’t do any more shopping in 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 not being able to find what he or she was looking for — and finally leave the website.
Need proof? According to the research, the shopping experience on the Internet is mainly influenced by the clarity of product photos (87.6% of respondents), opinions and reviews about products (78%), product descriptions (77.3%).
You’re wrong more often than a machine. We know how much this statement can hurt our human ego, but the facts speak for themselves. A machine is not vulnerable to fatigue, concentration problems 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 hard to maintain high productivity all day long and control the correctness of data at the same time. Don’t forget that every mistake costs money, especially when we work on a large number of products. With such a scale this cost can be significant — a lot of errors means lower conversion, a lot of corrections is a lot of time (time is money). As a result, the company loses twice.
The number of channels and places that require reliable data on products is constantly growing. New channels are being created on a daily basis. All these systems must have access to the latest product data; it is unacceptable for a particular system to have its own database, which does not synchronize with the rest. Thanks to PIM, which provides a centralized database, product information can be distributed to appropriate channels from a single source. Marketers then take care of the correctness of one database, not many of them.
The life cycle of a product is much shorter today than it was a few years ago. Merchants want to deliver the product to their customers as soon as possible (and certainly faster than the competition). Thanks to PIM, all product data is collected in one place — so expanding the assortment with new products and launching them on the market can be faster. It also makes it easier to react to market changes — even in real-time.
Just imagine 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 sources of data that require a manual job. Thanks to tools such as PIM, this activity can be partially or fully automated, 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 other, more profitable tasks.
Better product information also means fewer complaints and returns — so more profit from sales.
PIM makes the work easy when several people deal with different elements of the puzzle, which is the complete product information — so one person is responsible for adding photos, another for SEO components, another for extended descriptions. The flow of information within the team runs smoothly.
In PIM systems you can see the level of data completion. It may also have a gamification aspect — when you see the progress in data realization. You can easily see what has already been completed and what else needs 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). Many PIMs work on a SaaS basis, then such integration is very fast. Besides, PIM systems are easily integrated with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), DAM (Digital Asset Management), CMS (Content Management System) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management). You can customize PIM to manage all data processes. Each element of this technological jigsaw puzzle complements each other, so your online store is better coordinated and you gain consistent and transparent product data, reduce costs and get the performance needed to scale your business.
It is worth noting that the efficient management of product information is essential in today’s dynamic and competitive environment. This is no longer a “nice to have” system, but rather a necessity, especially for big players.
Properly selected PIM system allows to automate manual data entry, increases customer experience, saves time and costs, adjusts to the requirements of omnichannel. E-commerce managers and marketers should certainly consider implementing PIM in their company, especially if they want to be one step ahead of the competition.
Check out the latest insights from Ergonode - best practices, updates, articles and stories.