What Is a Product Information Management (PIM) and Why Do You Need One Right Now?

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With global e-commerce sales projected to grow to $6.5 trillion in 2022, businesses are looking to gain a competitive edge and boost customer loyalty by providing enriched customer experiences; not only online but across all points of sale.

Whilst 65% of e-commerce traffic in 2019 originated from mobile, it only accounted for 53% of sales – because most often, customers still prefer an in-store experience. In the UK, offering a Click & Collect service proves as a direct driver of sales, with 34% of retailers experiencing an increase in in-store revenues. Customers want flexibility, paired with a cross-channel experience that successfully captures their interest across all touchpoints.

Consistent product data builds the foundation of all customer touchpoints, but is challenging to manage. It’s essential for retailers to have a centralized Product Information Management (PIM) in place, which delivers the most relevant information at the right time and place.

Whilst helping to provide better quality data and a user-friendly interface, data management processes like PIM can combat common efficiency challenges faced by many businesses. For example, when launching products to new markets, companies often encounter inconsistencies localising product information. For both B2B and B2C businesses, putting a PIM solution in place will add value and bring tangible benefits to an online offering.

Automating Costly Internal Processes

A PIM will help to automate internal processes that previously required a large amount of man-hours, ultimately creating a more pleasant working environment within the business, increasing productivity amongst employees. As a result, online retailers can invest money and resources into other practices, rather than manually logging and maintaining online data.

A PIM offers the benefits of providing a centralized, intuitive hub, which allows different teams and departments of a company to easily manage and track product management processes within the business. It also helps teams to coordinate, ensuring internal processes are seamless and effortless for all parties involved.

Decrease In Customer Returns

Returns are often a pain point for retailers and can significantly affect revenue and reputation if mishandled. Commonly, for example, shoppers will buy multiple variations of the same item and send back a large majority of it. According to researchers, nearly two-thirds of returns are due to errors caused by online retailers. Most common mistakes typically come down to inaccurate product copy or information, meaning buyers are being mis-sold items. This is particularly common when information has been localized for different languages and not managed within a centralized hub.

A PIM could be the right solution to retailers’ returns woes, enabling them to provide consistent, accurate and enriched copy to the customer base. All aspects of product data and assets, including descriptions, images and technical details make the online offering more up to date and compelling. Inputting production information is typically a tedious and timely task for marketers, but utilizing automated features can help channel time into creating fine-tuned content. And the results speak for themselves.

Retailers who have integrated a PIM system into their online offering have seen reduced returns of up to 40%.

Drive Revenue And Increase Customer And Brand Loyalty

Along with reduced returns, comes an increase in revenue.

Consumers have expectations of the brands they know and love. Starting with enriched online content, customers expect a streamlined experience across all channels. Online marketplaces, websites, and social media platforms are some of the avenues online retailers leverage for selling their product range.

Ensuring the customer experience is consistent across all touchpoints has become a top priority. Adapting a PIM helps brands to become flexible and focus on the growing, quickly changing demands of today’s consumers. A consistent product experience across all distribution channels increases brand messaging, which builds customer loyalty along the way.

Whether managing 1,000 or 1,000,000 products, using a PIM allows retailers to catalog products in one centralized location when bringing them to market. With old systems, for instance, managing product information in spreadsheets, efforts had to be duplicated by multiple parties with the input of several man-hours. The use of a system PIM ensures the existence of one authoritative data set– allowing gatekeepers to onboard and to maintain the product catalog, maximizing efficiency and improving ROI.

Research shows that using a PIM can deliver a 20-50% increase in conversion, contributing to a significant increase in profitability, revenue and success.

Streamlined Transparency

A successful omni-channel experience requires speed. Keeping up with the modern customer can be challenging, therefore bringing a product to market needs to be as seamless and speedy as possible. Using a PIM enhances the overall governance of internal processes and keeps products cataloged in a more streamlined way, accelerating time-to-market by 400%.

The PIM market is growing, due to greater demand from businesses of varying sizes. It is helping to manage large product inventories and produce digestible content for consumers. Retailers, distributors, manufacturers and vendors alike are increasingly using PIMs to bring value and align across a variety of online and offline distribution channels, providing streamlined experiences across all platforms.

By adopting these solutions brands will be able to establish a greater global presence and meet growing demands without concern.

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