The fundamentals of Product Information Management (PIM)
This article is based on the Product Information Management Basics webinar held on February 18, 2021, which you can watch here. The topic of the webinar was PIM basics and deployment and Product Information Search Engine Optimization and the webinar was organized with our partner Avenla.
78% of companies do not offer a unified product experience across all their channels
Periscope ™ Research
Multichanneled customer experience
Commercial product information management (PIM) refers to the management of information that supports the sale and marketing of products and services through various channels. At the heart of product information management is a good customer experience that is present throughout the customer’s purchasing path. The customer encounters product-related information in many different channels and meeting points. Thus, high-quality, relevant and consistent product content has a significant impact on the customer’s overall product experience.
Product information along the customer’s purchase path
In terms of multi-channel marketing and sales, product information management enables a consistent product experience. The goal is for the customer to find, identify, and understand the product in the way it is presented in different contexts, channels, and meeting points.
Without a centralized place where marketing and sales information is managed, information is often fragmented into a number of different locations and systems where it is managed by several different people without knowing each other. Often, ownership of information is also unclear and information retrieval takes extra time. Before a good product experience can be developed in sales channels, product information management must be in place internally.
93% consider accurate product descriptions and images to be the most essential feature of e-commerce.
Adeona PIM is a centralized product information management platform that creates better, multi-channel product experiences and streamlines product processes. Different departments and individuals have clear roles in maintaining the software, so that updated product information is always available and systematically managed.
However, PIM does not displace everything, such as ERP and CRM, which handle core business processes and take care of logistics and sales. When product information management is implemented, there are usually three clear steps in the process:
1. Combining and analyzing product information
The starting situation is not optimal because the information is in many different places. Canter’s experts set off with the customer through an analysis phase, which maps the customer’s data resources and ways of working. The analysis provides a good idea of how much information there is, where it is located, and what parts of it are of high quality.
- Organization and enrichment of information
Integrations play a backbone role in how information is made to flow automatically – always striving for the principle of a single input. At this stage, it is important to understand what the needs of the customers are and what the technical and content requirements are for the different channels. Organizing information requires analyzing sales and marketing channels to understand what requirements systems, media, or files have. Based on the analysis, a good, flexible product information model can be built in the middle of the PIM system, which in turn scales and develops according to business needs.
- Channeling and publishing information
In order for us to sell and serve information across channels, the final step will focus on channeling and publishing information, as well as transferring information and synchronizing electronic services.
50% of the data analyzed by leading companies contained errors.
Information flow in the value chain
Typically, in the retail sector, the structure and mode of operation is that the brand or manufacturer uses the Adeona PIM system as an extension of its own ERP or PDM system. In wholesale or retail, on the other hand, these two interfaces need to be managed extremely well – how information is received, how it is integrated into one’s own process and how end customers are served.
There are often different tools and ways to operate in supply chains, so a company should find out what are the best and most effective ways to operate in terms of product information management. For example, in Finland, when the market is still small, it is worthwhile for a global company to consider how product flows can be technically automated and whether the company’s influence is large enough.
From the point of view of effective product information management, one must think about how the whole is developed and whether the right things are done with smart solutions. The biggest challenges for multinational companies are often the translation of product information or the flexibility of a principal’s brand portal. When, after sufficient analysis, the product information is obtained centrally in the PIM system, a great opportunity opens up for publishing automation and process automation.
What does product information management include?
- Collection of product information
There are many possibilities and options for collecting product information, the most popular of which is seen as the familiar Excel. However, if there is an opportunity to build integration between the two systems, the data transfer is automated using, for example, the information system architecture. It is good to ensure the quality of the data already at the beginning of the data collection, in order to avoid unnecessary cleaning of product data and data later.
- Classification of products and product information
The PIM system offers many different classification options, for example for product type-specific models. In the system, the product structure must be thought out smartly and the right information connected to the right level. Detailed classification is particularly relevant for sales and marketing, so that relevant and necessary product information can be found quickly in the system.
- Enrichment of product information
At the heart of product information enrichment is content that is relevant to customers and whether there are resources for it. Enrichment focuses on customer-oriented production of product content, but especially in international trade, the management of language translations and consideration of different cultures are also relevant.
- Quality of product information
The varying quality of product information limits the possibilities of utilizing the information, and reduces its discoverability. Good product information management tools help ensure high quality product information across all publication channels.
- Distribution of Product Information
Through the interfaces of electronic services and integrations, the goal is always clear – the right information is synchronized to the right user connection and service. The information is no longer copied from one place to another, but is automatically published to both online services and sales materials.
Is your company interested in product information management? Contact us and let’s discuss more!