The customer journey is no longer a linear path. The rise of Omnichannel as the defining retail strategy of the early 21st century has replaced the typical funnel-based buyer journey in favor of a multi-layered experience that moves across touchpoints. Today’s enterprises are dealing with this shift by transforming their data management strategies and using smart insights to tailor a richer, more personalized customer experience (CX) across various channels open to today’s customers. And through it all, customer expectations continue to soar.
Within this new paradigm, it’s easy to see how poor data management and a lack of a personalized content strategy can wreak havoc with your CX. This is especially true for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), where the Omnichannel world can sometimes seem like a bewildering mix of costly integrations and security challenges. Ideally, the first step for any SMB looking to compete with larger enterprises is to invest in a Product Information Management (PIM) platform to support their CX goals. But many of them imagine an excellent PIM system to be bundled with extensive proprietary software costs, which makes it harder for them to keep pace with bigger, resource-rich organizations. Besides that, many proprietary PIM systems may not suit the needs of ingenious start-ups and small businesses that are working towards disrupting their own business processes with a view to attain greater efficiency and innovation.
And that’s why open source PIM software is such a game-changer. For the struggling SMB, it offers a wealth of positives from easing costs to supporting a richer selection of integration-compatible products. Here, we’ll explore how open source PIM can help smaller enterprises improve their CX, build a foundation for omnichannel and successfully compete in global markets.
1. Customizability: To Support Complex Processes
Even today, many enterprises have a tangled web of processes and technologies, some of which are integrated across the organization while others remain siloed. The extensive configurability of open-source PIMs means that businesses can customize the software to fit their existing and future needs, instead of having to realign their operations around the PIM platform. Additionally, many open-source PIMs have single-source-of-truth data functions, which enable them to import data from multiple applications and data feeds. This functionality allows SMBs to support the many complex processes involved in omnichannel with accurate information and democratizes data access across the enterprise.
2. Flexibility: For Freedom and Innovation
One of the primary benefits of using open source software is access to the underlying code. In the context of PIM, this access allows SMBs to tailor the platform to their specific business needs. It also offers a chance to create custom data flows and data capture points, which are essential when working with disparate online and offline channels, IoT hardware, and emerging technologies. In comparison, while proprietary PIM systems may come with a host of mature features, they rarely offer much by way of flexibility when it comes to configuration.
3. Interoperability: For Smoother Functioning
The API-based integration methodology of open source PIMs is a boon for SMBs given that they allow a great amount of latitude in how you connect your existing systems together. Specifically, open-source APIs help you customize the data connectors between front-end systems, product databases, ERPs, PoS systems, customer data storage, content management platforms, catalog building software and thousands of other internal and third-party applications. Furthermore, you can add any number of APIs to a virtually unlimited number of systems as long as you have the bandwidth to support them. Very few proprietary software, if any, offer you the same level of interoperability that an open-source PIM platform delivers.
4. Unleash Automation: To Ease Your Work
Besides helping you create richer customer experiences and managing data, a great PIM system can help you automate hundreds of tedious tasks, freeing up your team’s time to focus on building innovative customer experiences. From merchandising and catalog building to data structuring and work corroboration, your PIM platform can be configured to do it all. But as any tech-savvy business leader will tell you, automation should be done in stages. By using an open-source solution, you’ll be able to add automation by degrees and on your terms, building approval-based workflows and notifications into every process, instead of having to rely on pre-configured protocols.
5. Control Your Total Cost of Ownership
Since there’s no licensing fee for open-source PIM software deployment, there isn’t any costs involved at that level. As far as the implementation, customization, and maintenance is concerned, it can be carried out either in-house or with the help of your preferred IT partner. For an SMB with relatively tight budgets, the total cost of ownership is a crucial factor in any IT implementation, and open source PIM systems help you achieve just that. Moreover, the ability to control your PIM-related operation expenditure (OpEx) also gives you more room to compete with larger technology firms and enterprises.
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As detailed above, open-source PIM systems are an absolute blessing for SMBs looking to move toward an Omnichannel customer engagement strategy. This is especially true for organizations that have strong IT teams or partners because successfully customizing and implementing open source software often requires specialized IT knowledge. Luckily, even if you don’t have the right skill sets on hand, you can simply outsource the implementation to the PIM system provider or a third party IT services firm. At the same time, you may also consider nurturing software development talent in-house to achieve the best results at optimal costs.