The recently published survey by ECC Colgone shows just how well customer react to an efficient cross-channel strategy. But how you do implement it? One helpful example is product information management – PIM. These systems save data centrally and spread it on various channels if needed. But PIM systems can do a lot more.
The lord of the data
Product information is an elementary part of an online shop. A PIM system gives you collective access to all data from all devices which could be relevant for the customer: marketing texts, technical details, or product images. Depending on the channel, the desired data can be pulled and shown to the customer. So for instance, information on whether or not a product is available in a brick-and-mortar store is only promoted on mobile end devices.
» eStrategy-Magazin: Practice shows that companies still don’t have a real handle on their data. On the one hand, this is because the data comes directly from suppliers who often delivery very little product information, and on the other hand, because companies don’t have the right tools to gather enough product data. «
But before you can communicate the data, you have to pull it from your data store- for instance, from Excel tables or other data banks. The advantage of PIM? It saves resources, runs easily and makes your cross-channel strategy into a unified concept..
More information, more costs – not necessarily
To be able to use data, you have to maintain it. The enrichment of the system with product information is simpler than it used to be with Excel tables. A team that has experienced the enrichment process via Excel or a similar programme would have been happy to have a PIM system, which is exactly tailored to this kind of task.
Concrete application areas for PIM systems
Basically product information management allows you to enrich, manage, control, and spread data in a way that saves resources. But PIM systems are not only deployed within a cross-channel concept, but can also be used in international online shops. Here, the product data has to be available in multiple languages and adjusted according to the target country. Predefined access rights additionally support the work of translators.
It is also possible to manage multiple supplier catalogues, as Hybris promises for example. Because these catalogues are often in different formats, consolidating the data is often quite difficult. But if the PIM system has already been enriched with the supplier catalogue, managing and using the information is easier. Consolidating pre-existing data should be the goal.
A PIM system can also be deployed in a marketing context. Open source software PIMagento shows what this looks like:
Is the effort worth it?
Every online shops has to ask themselves this question themselves. The implementation of a PIM system can take several months and requires the online trader to communicate constantly with the software provider or a contracted agency. Investment in a PIM system can pay off quickly, particularly for shops which follow a multi-/cross-channel strategy.
It is also a help when selection a shop system!
Leading shop system providers will run a PIM system. Integration into an in house shop system is a lot easier then and less time consuming. In our whitepaper “Selecting E-Commerce Software,” we introduce the most important shop systems in the area of B2C and B2B, and look at the most important features of Intershop, Hybris, etc.