For any organization to increase their business, they should provide the best possible products and services to their customers. A product-based company depends solely on the distribution and sale of the products. These organizations make use of the product information management (PIM) system to collect, manage, collate, catalog making, distribution, and sales of the product through the eCommerce channels.
Challenges Faced by Distributors
The increase in the number of products available in the market and the increasing competition make it difficult to manage the products efficiently. It becomes difficult for the distributors to manage different types of products based on their requirements, storage, transportation, etc. The distribution process is important as it assures safe and timely delivery of the products to the customers.
The different challenges faced by the distributors while developing the product through digital eCommerce include:
- Managing the product information across various channels.
- Lack of data repository for the product details.
- Management of the digital assets for the products.
- Automatic collection of the information from client websites.
- Providing faster and timely delivery of the products.
- Maintaining the inventory of the products based on customer demands.
Why Distributors are Important for eCommerce?
With the increase in eCommerce, the distribution of the products has been highly impacted. This depends majorly on customer behavior. The main task for the distributors includes fast shipping, convenience, and a seamless experience. They have to maintain an adequate stock of the product and provide it to their customers on time.
The distributors are the important links between the manufacturers and suppliers. They stock an expansive inventory of products of varied ranges and provide to the supplier based on their demands. Based on the demands, the distributors convey the demand of the customers to the manufacturers.
Distributors act as the middleman and do not have their brand image. They depend on the demands of their customer and provide the products as per their needs. They are adaptable to customer demands and can understand the profits at any point during the business.
The distributors stock up a lot of products and have to manage the inventory to meet the needs. The main goal of the distributors is to maintain the balance between the stock and the demand. The challenges that the distributors face include optimization of the data for the different channels, managing the inventory, inadequate distribution methods, etc.
Distributors try to add value to the customer services. Nowadays the distributors are more oriented towards providing customer-focused services.
The different methods by which the distributors can help to improve the eCommerce experience include having a stronger online presence, growing the customer base, increasing the competitive values, and reducing the overall complexity. The distributor can adopt the direct-to-customer approach.
The different ways that the distributors can enhance or impact eCommerce include increasing people’s productivity, maintaining the database efficiently, and providing adequate data to the customers.
- PIM helps by providing real-time, accurate, and visible customer data.
- PIM System is flexible with the customer requirements and provides the products based on their demands.
- The PIM system helps the distributor to track the different orders and also improves customer service.
- A properly managed PIM system helps to make the process of distribution seamless across the different systems and channels.
- PIM System controls the cost while serving their customers efficiently.
- PIM System provides the best quality product to their customers at the earliest.
- PIM System uses the other-part providers for the logistics for the delivery of the products to the customers.
- The PIM system can help the distributors by reducing the cost and helping in managing and expanding the products.
Why Do Distributors Need PIM?
The distributors are the direct link between the retailer and the manufacturers. They provide the details regarding the public demand from the retailers to the manufacturers for the product development. They stock the products, product lines, and resale these to the retailers or customers. They provide a variety of services like providing product information, estimates the cost, providing technical support, giving after-sales service, credits, etc. Using a proper and well-developed PIM system will help the distributor to manage all these data efficiently.
1. Difficult to Manage Product Information Across Different Channels
There are different channels available to provide varied products to the customers. All these different channels have the product information in different formats. Managing all these different tasks for the different channels becomes simplified using the PIM. The PIM uses an inbuilt channel manager that ensures passing of the accurate data to the customers through the different channels. The PIM system enables creating multiple channels to help map the product attributes for various channels. This makes the process hassle-free.
2. Centric Data Repository for Product Data
One of the difficult tasks for the distributors is handling the number of products from diverse sources and clients. As the number of products and the demands increase, this might overload the distributor leading to increased confusion. To lessen up this confusion, a proper digital repository will help in managing the cast volume of data from one location. PIM system provides a single storage repository having single point storage for all the product information. It provides role-based access to the employees in managing the data.
3. Managing Same Data Across All Channels
At some point, some changes are required in the product data. If the product is available on various channels, then it will be a difficult and tedious task to change the details on all the channels and platforms. In the traditional method, auto-synchronization becomes difficult. A PIM system helps in automated sync for all the channels, reflecting the changes in all the channels with ease.
4. Managing Digital Product Assets
It is known that visuals help in creating the best impressions for the customers. The impressions created for images help to build the customer trust around the products showcased. The images and media files cannot be stored all on the local system as it takes up a fair amount of space. It also increases the risk of data loss and system crashes. Digital asset management helps in simplifying and streamlining the storage of multimedia files.
5. Auto-collect Information from Client’s Website
The fear of losing data and misplacement can cause heavy loss. During migration the chances of this data loss increase. Sometimes it becomes difficult to collect the data directly from the client. Some clients do not allow or provide any documents related to this data. The PIM system helps in automatically transferring the data quickly from the client’s management system. This data transfer is as fast as jet speed and it ensures that there is no loss of data during this transfer.
How can a PIM solution single-handedly Speedup Things For distributors?
Distributors need to improve the time-to-market factor, as it determines the success of the business. The different reasons to understand the importance of time-to-market include:
- Adapting to the rapid changes in the market.
- Helping the organization to stay ahead in the competition.
- Avoiding the issues while maintaining the inventory.
- Keeping the supply chain working efficiently.
- Addressing the expectations of their new customers.
- Handling several products in a short period.
In this competitive business, the customers try to get their required product at a shorter delivery time and reasonable rates. It is more beneficial if the distributors get to reach their customers at a faster pace.
PIM system helps the distributor in managing all the above-mentioned reasons thus enhancing the working efficiency and improving customer satisfaction.
1. Product Content Aggregation
The distributors need to handle thousands of products, thus they need to manage the contents of each of these products. They need to compile the data from different sources like suppliers, wholesalers, manufacturers, affiliated distributions, and company catalogs. Manually collecting and compiling this vast data can be tiresome and can also lead to some issues. Loss of crucial data or repetitive data can add to a data burden. The PIM system helps the distributor to organize all the data systematically. It provides a centralized repository to collect and maintain all the data from different sources.
Distributors also play an important role in content enrichment. Once all the important data from different sources is collected, the distributors need to standardize the data. The critical tasks performed by the distributors include centralizing all the data related to the product content. They need to clean the data and provide it in an improved format. They also have to organize the product data for consistency and clarity. Using the PIM system allows for proper categorization of the data. It allows having user-friendly deplorable touchpoints.
2. Catalog Simplicity: Print and Digital
PIM provides the foundation for creating the distributor’s catalog. The catalogs play a very crucial role as it helps in attracting more customers towards the product. A poorly managed or disorganized catalog can lead to product invisibility. It is important to simplify the catalog to build a good network for product development, sales, and distribution. PIM allows in making the catalog simpler. The current aim had changed from the product focus to the customer focus to enhance customer satisfaction.
3. Omnichannel Consistency
Omnichannel is the major component for online eCommerce. Distributors play as the one-to-one link to communicate with their customers. Omnichannel helps to interconnect all the channels together making it easy to work. It helps in the smooth integration of all the channels and provides the best experience across various media. Using this the customers can easily expect a smooth experience through the website, emails, social media, phone, and sales channels.
4. Channel Governance
For the growth in eCommerce, it is important to maximize all the avenues. Multichannel is gaining importance but it has some issues that need to be sorted. Managing the data becomes complex as the number of data increases. The PIM system helps in consolidating the product data. Introducing the product to a new channel becomes challenging but using a PIM helps to manage this challenge efficiently.
5. Collaboration and Productivity
PIM workflow provides the technology to reach the market at a faster pace. It helps to optimize the production process from the introduction of the product to efficiently reaching the customers. Distributors use the PIM system to bring the different teams together and consolidate the available product data. This helps in drastically reducing the time required for gathering the data. It fastens the process to increase productivity.
Common Distributor Use Cases
The different common distributors use cases include:
Management of extensive product catalog with variant
For larger distributors, the number of products runs into millions. The new data management model will help to consolidate and process the data quality. This helps in effectively implementing the framework, process, and technology. This helps in involving the integration of flexible and multi-variant product data models.
Product data governance framework
Data management is crucial and lack of proper system and protocol may lead to failure of understanding the product data quality and the business goals. During the discovery phase for data management, the PIM solution uses a methodical approach. This helps the users to address the overarching principles of data governance.
Siloed data sources
The distributors mainly depend on the product data and the silo effect has serious consequences affecting the bottom line. This includes the lack of data standardization, duplicate data entries, inaccurate data, lack of uniformity, etc. Thus more time must be spent on collecting reliable data and preventing losses.
Digitalization has increased online shopping for various goods and products. Due to the increasing competition for most products, it is important to maintain accurate product details to attract customers based on its quality.
PIM system helps the organization to bring their product to the customers with the best and truest information. It also helps the distributors in managing and expanding the product based on the customer demands. The PIM leads to a reduction in the cost as well as time for the product distribution.