You're a B2B company whose eCommerce product catalog is complex.
Each of your product pages is filled with detailed information, from multiple sources.
Safety regs. Compliance standards.
Images, attachments and rich media.
Perhaps your products are configurable, or sold in kits and bundles. Your customers need much more from your eCommerce store than just point-and-click.
And if one specification changes on one product, you might have dozens of pages and sales channels that have to be updated.
Once, this meant pulling an employee off more productive tasks to update your eCommerce site (or staying late yourself to get the job done), just to make sure site visitors don't see misleading info on your pages.
But not any longer, thanks to Product Information Management, or PIM.
What is Product Information Management?
PIM doesn't replace your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools. Instead, it supplements them. PIM handles all the extensive and intertwined product data that ERP, PLM and your eCommerce platform simply aren't designed to handle in a streamlined, coordinated way.
Think of all that product information that you have to deal with: Different manufacturers, different suppliers, different part numbers.
Now imagine it all gathered into one data hub, easily accessible, and always updated across every channel.
We call this a Single Source of Truth for your product data.
With your eCommerce PIM system, you can aggregate all this data, no matter the source or format. You can make the data you need easy to identify and find.
And you can publish it quickly on your own B2B eCommerce website, right where your customers and employees can find what they need.
Why Do You Need PIM?
Maybe you're thinking, "I have a robust eCommerce platform. I have a good ERP system. Why do I need PIM as well?"
Here are some data issues that PIM can solve. Recognize any of these problems?
- You're having a tough time managing SKUs. You have a lot of product data to handle. If you fall behind, you're also going to fall behind with your customers. And don't even think about what happens when you expand your product inventory.
- Your SEO numbers don't look good. If your eCommerce pages are packed with irrelevant or outdated product data, it's messing up your SEO output, which in turn is going to drop your website ranking. And no one wants that.
- You have conflicting product info, and you're not sure which info is correct. Maybe all your sales people have spreadsheets with detailed specs and pricing info. But what happens when some of them update their spreadsheets and some don't? With a PIM, you always have the master data set right at hand, and it's easy for sales to stay up to date.
- Your info is in different formats. Maybe you have product SKUs stored in an electronic spreadsheets. Plus UPCs stored on your eCommerce page. Maybe even ISBNs written on old-school paper files. Will every employee realize when different codes refer to the same product? What will they miss when they can't find the information they need?
- Your customers are getting inaccurate orders. Are your returns and complaint numbers going up? That can happen when a SKU is inaccurate or missing. With PIM, your customers get what they order.
- Your newest products aren't on your website. If your real product shelves are filled with products that aren't on your website's virtual shelves, then you're losing money. Adding all those specs, prices, SKUs, descriptions, and images everywhere online takes forever — until you introduce a PIM into the equation.
- You know you have the information you need. You just can't find it. Maybe some of your employees know how to find some details, and others are experts on other products. Yet no one seems to be able to find the facts and details you need. At least not in time to make the sale.
If any of these situations sounds familiar, perhaps it's time for PIM. Keep reading.
How PIM Improves Your Customer Experience
When you employ a PIM system, your time to market decreases, meaning you can get your products in customers' hands in record time.
Every element of your product records and processes is faster and easier to manage. New products hit the marketplace faster as well.
Your customers can access all the product information they need as they surf through your site, with confident assurance that the information is correct and up to date.
Nowadays, even motivated B2B customers will click away and leave if they don't find what they're looking for quickly and easily.
Having all the relevant product data online, easy to access, fully detailed and consistent across all of your selling channels is vital.
Your PIM system also smooths out your customer service. When your salespeople and customer service reps interact with customers, they'll have all the information at hand to answer questions or recommend the right products.
That means less chance of a miscommunication. Less obstacles to buying. Less reason to go to one of your competitors.
If your B2B eCommerce customers don't get the right product the first time, they're likely to go elsewhere.
After all, they have business to conduct as well, and if you can't deliver, they can't deliver.
The improved quality of data that you get with PIM means you deliver the most up-to-date information and the right product, everywhere, every time.
And that makes for happier, more loyal customers.