15 Best Practices for Successful Product Information Management (PIM)
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By: Sagar Sharma

15 Best Practices for Successful Product Information Management (PIM)

Growth of the eCommerce domain is increased by leaps and bounds with each passing year as it allows manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers to sell their products regardless of geographical limitations.

To sell the products online, you either prefer to sell on the marketplaces or develop your own eCommerce solution. But, in both cases, the product information is the key. You need to ensure the customers receive relevant and updated product information to make the right decision at the right time.

Here is where Product Information Management (PIM) comes into the picture.

Let’s start exploring the core aspects of Product Information Management.

What Is Product Information Management?

Product Information Management is used to manage the massive product data in a centralized platform. It allows entrepreneurs to collect, manage, enrich, syndicate, and distribute product data through a single place.

It allows brands to create a product catalog and keep them updated with the latest product information. So, when you distribute the catalog across the online and offline platforms, your target audience gets access to the latest information only.

Moreover, PIM allows you to manage all the information related to products such as name, title, descriptions, SKUs, UPCs, materials, measurements, warranties, ingredients, certifications, spreadsheets, assembly instructions, designer notes, style sheets, videos, images, documents, and much more.

To get exclusive insights on PIM, read What is PIM? – An Ultimate Guide for Product Information Management.

Rise of Product Information Management Market

According to MarketsandMarkets, “It is expected that the global Product Information Management (PIM) market size to grow from USD 7.0 billion in 2019 to USD 11.4 billion by 2024.

Every business that wants to centralize the product information, restrict data control personnel, increase overall productivity, and enhance data experiences prefer the PIM implementation for sure. Thus, it is expected that the PIM market will reach new heights by 2024.

Before moving ahead let me clear that you have to consider different practices before and during PIM implementation and after the PIM implementation. By following these practices thoroughly, you certainly taste the tremendous success that you are expecting from a Product Information Management system.

10 Best practices for Effective Product Information Management (PIM) Implementation [Before & Through]

1. Consolidate all product information

This is the first step of establishing an infrastructure to manage product information across your company from a single location. PIM is the system that manages all your product data in a centralized platform.

Using the PIM solution, your team members can manage, access, and publish the product data to one or multiple locations. Along with consolidating all the data in a single location, it is important to create consistency in terms of sharing the product data in a pre-defined structure.

Consolidation of all the product data enables you with several benefits such as

  • Reduced errors and fewer redundancies in the product information
  • Greater scalability in terms of adding new sales channels quickly and easily
  • Improved traceability
  • Better control over how products are managed

2. Understand your business objective for implementing a Prpduct Information Management (PIM)

Do not make a decision to implement a PIM just because your competitors are doing it or someone suggested you implement it. If you do so, there are full chances that you might end up taking the wrong decision.

Before considering PIM, you need to analyze your business objectives and conduct a detailed study about how the PIM system helps you to accomplish your business goals.

It helps you to determine the parameters that help you define the success and set the expectations. Keep your objectives in the mind and develop your PIM that supports your eCommerce strategy.

Check out the below-listed objectives. If you are having any or many or all of them, then PIM will definitely help you to achieve them.

Accelerate time-to-market

Improve new product onboarding time and deliver the updated content faster across multiple channels including online marketplaces, eCommerce stores, mobile platforms, websites, print, catalog, and more.

Improve customer experience

Drive tremendous customer engagement by enabling them with complete product information including detailed product descriptions and images that establish an emotional consistency across different sales channels.

Deliver high-quality product data

Leverage the bulk editing tools and streamlined workflow of PIM to manage the product information in a complete, comprehensive, and error free way across all the output channels.

Expand to new channels

PIM allows you to sell and market your wide range of products on the new sales channels. The solution enables you with several advanced capabilities that allow you to populate the product data automatically to these new channels with rich product information.

Enhance team collaboration

Increase the participation of the functional team to improve the quality of product data.

Boost marketers’ productivity

When the data is scattered across the different spreadsheets, it becomes a challenging job for the marketers to collect and syndicate the product data in order to get a unified view of all product information.

Moreover, PIM enables you with an efficient process and a guided interface that saves a lot of effort and time when it comes to product catalog management across different output channels.

Faster vendor data onboarding

Do you want to streamline the product data gathering process for your internal team and the suppliers?

PIM allows your suppliers to update their data directly in the system. With the flexible supplier information onboarding, you can improve vendor collaboration by allowing them to provide your required product data in your preferred format.

Market your products across new regions

Advanced translation and workflow management make localization more efficient and much faster than ever before.

3. Set up your Prpduct Information Management (PIM) requirement and implementation plan

Based on your collected product information and business objectives, you need to define your PIM implementation plan. You need to determine

  • Do you want to manage your products from scratch?
  • Do you want to model your entire catalog?
  • Do you want to consider the “land and expand” approach to begin with, where you can start with a subset of your products, brands, channels, locales?

You need to make the right decision by analyzing your business objectives for PIM implementation and the maturity and complexity of your company.

To ensure the expected success through PIM, it is crucial to design your PIM project for all your existing and upcoming requirements, regardless of project size.

Small approach

Adoption of a small approach is the best way for large scale organizations. It becomes easy for you to implement and test the PIM connections and processes with your other existing business applications and ensures everything works as expected.

Starting with a small approach, organizations can launch a single product line in a single region to test the market response for that product. Instead of taking the risk of introducing an entire range of products to a new region, it is a smart and cost-effective approach to analyze single product performance in the new location first.

Based on the response of the target market, you can roll out other product lines one by one or/and expand to the other areas of the specific region one after another.

Full-blown approach

Organizations also choose a large approach where they roll out all that products in one go. With this approach, you can realize the benefit of the PIM solution and experience the centralized data management capabilities of it.

Whatever approach you consider, you need to make sure the PIM implementation is right for your business objectives. To ensure that, ask these questions to yourself before making a concrete decision.

  • Should we tackle the entire catalog?
  • Can we start with a subset of products?
  • How crucial time-to-market for our PIM implementation initiative?
  • Which channels are most essential for our business?
  • Which regions/locals are more important for us than others to focus on at the initial phase?

4. Identify the right Product Information Management (PIM) platform

Once you determine the business objectives and PIM requirements of your organization, the next step is to select the right PIM platform.

Before coming to any conclusion, you need to thoroughly understand the existing condition of your business and determine all your needs that are connected to a PIM. You need to make a choice of a PIM platform that fulfills the expected gaps in your product ecosystem and helps you achieve your business goals.

Investing in the right PIM platform is the best Product Information Management strategy that allows you to set the right expectations, measure PIM’s effectiveness, and develop advanced eCommerce capabilities.

A lot of options available to you when it comes to the PIM platform. All you need to do is analyze all the options in detail and then make a perfect choice for your organization. Here’s the list of most popular PIM platforms:

  • Pimcore
  • Akeneo
  • EnterWorks
  • Agility Multichannel
  • PIMworks
  • Salsify
  • inRiver
  • Informatica
  • Plytix
  • Stibo Systems
  • Riversand

Do you want to get detailed insight into the key features and core benefits of each platform listed above? Read Top 11 Product Information Management (PIM) Platforms to Consider in 2020 & Beyond.

5. Select the right Product Information Management (PIM) Team

Before moving towards defining a process, it is very essential to select a team that takes a charge to develop and implement the PIM solution as per your business-specific needs.

Make sure they have all the required data about your products, eCommerce channels requirements, and desirable catalog format.

Choose an experienced PIM solution development company like Credencys Solutions Inc. that has a team of skilled professionals who have successfully developed and implemented PIM solutions for the clients like Kenmare and IronLists from different industry domains.

The core purpose of PIM implementation is to help your marketing, sales, and eCommerce teams by simplifying, automating, and centralizing the management of multiple products and their attributes. So, identify your key team members who are going to use the PIM solution to manage the product data as well as save time and effort.

6. Define the process

Now that you have chosen your team, you need to focus on establishing the process that helps you realize the most product information management benefits. Start figuring out the best information management enrichment practices and analyze how your teams fit in the process.

Make sure all your team members are domain experts who have profound knowledge of how the workflow should function. Furthermore, as per the suggestion of your professionals, you need to enhance the process as moving forward.

To leverage the successful PIM implementation, ask your team to perform only high-value tasks, and leave the mundane activities of product information management.

For example; your team can sidestep repetitive tasks like attending complex datasets to computers. Instead, they can focus on establishing an emotional connection with the customers by writing compelling product descriptions.

7. Determine roles and responsibilities

Product content impacts customers’ buying decisions a lot. Thus, allow your teams to collaborate directly within the PIM solution to eliminate the content errors and speed up the workflow significantly.

To enable the customer with the right and updated, add your eCommerce managers, marketing executives, and external collaborators like wholesalers, vendors, distributors, etc. in the process of producing the product content.

Selecting a PIM system that allows you to create different roles with various access levels at minimal risk is critical work. PIM platforms like Pimcore allow you to include as many access levels as you want including admin, product management, publishers, read-only, and more. All the users consist of a set of default permissions based on their roles and responsibilities.

With Pimcore, you can be more granular to allow your users to perform only certain actions.

Internal users

With granular permission, your respective users can

  • Create product attributes
  • Update product attributes
  • Read product attributes
  • Delete product attributes

There are many other permissions too that you can define in the PIM solution based on roles and responsibilities such as

  • Update products
  • Sync products
  • Request approval for product
  • Publish products and more…

External users

Invite your wholesalers, suppliers, vendors, distributors, and other external users to collaborate on the product content. Ensure the external users provide you with the right data in the desired format.

You have full liberty to define how much access you want to provide to your internal or external users. The PIM system also allows you to keep a history of every action performed within it and revoke the access permissions if required.

8. Provide training to your team for Product Information Management (PIM) adoption

To leverage the utmost benefits of PIM, you need to provide training to your team and make them understand how the system works and how it streamlines their day-to-day operations. The success of PIM implementation depends on how smoothly and effectively your team adopts it.

Your employees are well worse with the existing system so they might resist this new change. Moreover, the adoption of new platforms requires establishing new habits and understanding of new processes. Thus, it is very obvious they won’t be ready to work with the new system.

You can address this issue by providing thorough technical and functional training to boost the confidence of your team about working with a new system.

Technical training

Provide technical training to your technical team where you can explain the technical implementation system integration and performance tuning.

Functional training

Enable your marketing and catalog management teams with functional training where you can cover day-to-day operations and use of PIM. You can make them understand how they can organize products, manage media assets and attributes, and create a catalog using the PIM.

Every new change seems tough to adopt at the first glance. So, support your team in adopting the new ecosystem of product data management seamlessly and ensure a successful implementation of the PIM that maximizes your operational and monetary benefits.

9. Avoid managing product data in multiple systems

According to research, more than 50% of the firms are managing their product data in more than 5 systems. With such scattered data, it becomes difficult for you to consolidate, syndicate, and enrich the product information as and when required.

Also, if you want to get a unified view of your product information, you need to invest a lot of time and effort in order to collect the data and organize them well.

Without a centralized system, you won’t be able to manage the massive product information effectively.

If you are thinking of managing all your product data in a database, then you are making a big mistake as you can store and manage the data in the database but it won’t allow you to view and access your data without a user interface. Thus, you need to build a front-end UI.

Eventually, you end up spending on a solution development that connects the database and provides you the output through a UI that costs you more than a PIM system.

10. Data integration with different systems and platforms becomes easier

Data integration with existing enterprise systems

If you are already managing the product data in multiple existing enterprise systems, then you might be hesitant to implement a PIM solution by thinking that integration of your massive product data will be problematic.

Moreover, you want to want to continue managing the product data on different platforms due to some business purpose.

Well, an advanced PIM solution allows you to integrate all the data available in your different enterprise systems like ERP, CRM, excel sheet/spreadsheet, any custom build system, etc. So you can easily import the product data from any or all of your current enterprise systems.

Not only that, but you can also export the updated product data from PIM to other systems by establishing seamless data integration.

Data integration with external sales channels

With a PIM platform offered by Pimcore, you can also distribute the product data from the PIM system to external sales channels like eCommerce stores, websites, marketplaces, etc. You can distribute the product data as per the defined format and data structure of your external channels.

5 Best Practices of Product Information Management (PIM) [After Implementation]

1. Product information enrichment

Product information is the key asset to engage the customers and helps retailers to gain a competitive edge. Thus, it is very essential to keep enriching the product data as per the customer’s expectations.

Are you confused about how to enrich your product data using PIM?

It’s very simple. With PIM, you can write high-quality content for the product description, use high-quality images, add HD quality videos, and more.

All these product elements are often overlooked by the brick and mortar stores while they are shifting their physical store to digital platforms. Apart from considering these standards, it is also important to utilize the tools and processes that make PIM usage more efficient.

It enables you with increased revenue, better conversions, improved customer loyalty and engagement, and stronger differentiation.

2. Product performance optimization

Product Information Management is more useful than simply managing the product data. It is not only about managing the data in a cartelized platform but also optimize the performance of your products across all the sales channels.

The success of an eCommerce platform is judged based on two factors.

  • Driving high-quality traffic
  • Converting visitors into customers

Product information impacts a lot on product performance and the above-listed factors. To improve product performance, you have to focus on the four below listed areas.

  • Strategize your product information and apply A/B testing to improve the conversions.
  • Create rich and SEO friendly product information to attract highly qualified buyers and increase traffic.
  • Create customized product information to better cater to the specific needs of the different market segments and sales channels that help you to increase the conversion rate.
  • Monitor product performance across all the output channels. Keep updating the product information moving forward.

3. Product information standardization

Managing all the product data in a centralized repository, PIM enables you with a unified view of product data where you can update, search, and publish the product content across multiple sales and marketing channels.

It also allows you to set validation rules to impose the common standard format on product categories and attributes. Effective data validation is required to ensure the consistency of your product catalog and safeguard. This helps you to generate a completely error-free product catalog.

Apart from product data format, product information standardization helps retailers to establish eCommerce relations between different products. Using a feature-rich PIM platform like Pimcore, you can utilize the cross-selling and up-selling of potential products by ensuring a faster time-to-market at the same time.

4. Design catalog structure

Your product catalog gets featured on various sales and marketing channels and locals as well as reflects the varied peculiarities of the product. Especially, when you are offering a wide range of products, catalog structuring matters the most.

When I say catalog structure, do not confuse it with product profiling. PIM is far beyond just a database interface. You can do much more than that. In fact, you can utilize the PIM potential as much as you can.

Product catalog creation is not everyone’s cup of tea. You need experienced marketing or eCommerce executives to do this job who have thorough knowledge about the profiled product.

Each product belongs to a product category, so there is a product family, product attributes, and product variants. Your team should be capable of analyzing the products based on the properties to design the robust catalog.

While creating a product catalog with PIM, you should consider varied factors like:

  • Product families, attributes, variants, categories, and families
  • Defined associations and relationships between different products
  • Manage channel specific attributes such as more images for marketplaces and eCommerce site or shorter
  • product description for mobile apps seamlessly
  • Product enrichment requirements to be considered “Fulfilled”
  • Locale specific attributes such as metrics, currencies, and more

5. Product Information Management (PIM) improves customer experiences

According to a survey, 96% of the respondents said that customer experience would impact if they purchase again from you and 83% of the respondents refer your brand to others as a result of a positive experience.

These statistics make it clear that customer experience is the crux to grow your business. And, PIM implementation ensures you improve the customer experience consistently. Also, it adds significant value to your B2C and B2B efforts.

PIM allows you to create and manage a whole body of content for your each and every product with different versions that allows you to enable your customer with the relevant information at the varied stage of their journey.

It simplifies multichannel sales for you as it allows you to present every sales channel where your customers are likely to make a purchase from you.

Last but not the least, PIM enables you to create error-free product content as well as empowers your team to focus on creating relevant product stories that drive tremendous customer engagement.

All these prove that PIM is a critical component of your customer experience strategy that helps you to boost your brand presence and sell products.

In nutshell

I guess now you are clear how you can leverage PIM to avail most benefits out of it. By following these practices you can not only manage your product information in a structured, meaningful, and unified way but also you can market and sell them with a greater impact like never before.

Are you ready to skyrocket your online business by implementing a robust PIM? Book 30 minutes free consultation with our PIM experts who help you to design, develop, and implement a custom Product Information Management solution that helps you to meet your specific business needs.

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