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Zur Übersicht Startseite / Blog / Efficient Product Data Management Without Data Silos: PIM as a Strategy

Efficient Product Data Management Without Data Silos: PIM as a Strategy

20. Jan 2022 05:00 | Data Management

How can time-to-market and conversion rates be optimised and purchase cancellations in online shops even be prevented? And what does all this have to do with a PIM system as a strategy? Can online orders be implemented more sustainably and can returns be avoided? If companies can no longer see through their product ranges, how are end consumers supposed to manage this? The answers to these challenges are defined in a strategy for the use of a Product Information Management (PIM) system. You can find out everything about this topic in this guest article.

 

In this blog article, we will cover the following topics:

Challenge: Product data management without a PIM strategy
Master data in the merchandise management system
Special data for online marketplaces
Digital assets beyond product data

Solution: PIM system with strategy
Leaner processes
Shortened time to market
Data quality monitoring
Digital asset management

PIM strategy as the basis for high-quality product content
Granular data maintenance
Win-win for shop operator and consumer

Conclusion: Understanding and using PIM as a strategy

 

Challenge: Product data management without a PIM strategy

In product data management, many companies face the same everyday challenges. Often, important information on the same product is distributed across different systems or the data is redundantly maintained on different platforms. The consequences are lengthy processes and data silos. For new target channels, therefore relevant information must be compiled from several systems.

Master data in the merchandise management system

The initial creation of a new product usually takes place in a company’s merchandise management system, where master data is maintained in addition to pricing. These data are visually prepared in catalogue templates and enriched with suitable short texts, which are used for the print layouts. Often, in the course of a rapid digitisation strategy, these texts also end up in the “newer” channels, such as an online shop or a content management system. Optimisation of these texts for search engines usually falls by the wayside.

Special data for online marketplaces

If other online marketplaces are to be supplied with glossy product data, there are usually no firmly defined processes, including quality control, with which the data can be transferred to the corresponding templates. If marketplaces also require special data that may not even be recorded in the merchandise management system (e.g. a separate packaging weight), then values must be requested for this purpose from the production department or the manufacturer.

Digital assets beyond product data

In addition to all features, digital assets also belong to products, such as assembly instructions, quality seals, product images and videos, etc. In practice, however, these are rarely located in the same place as the product features. Rather, they are found on internal company network drives or other storage media, so that a clear assignment is only possible via the file name. In painstaking detail, consumer managers even have to pre-process them (rename files, crop images, etc.) before they can transfer them to the remote site via file-sharing tools.

Solution: PIM system with strategy

Each of these challenges calls for a universal solution, for centrality and for consistency. Good news for all companies whose colleges are confronted with such problems in their everyday work: Exactly this ist the mission of a PIM system. As a hub for product data, such a system integrates itself right in the middle of complex system landscapes. That is, where information from suppliers can be aggregated and enriched from merchandise management as well as from production in order to subsequently reach various target channels.

The graphic shows a PIM system that receives operational data, aggregates and enriches it, and then outputs it to various target systems.
The PIM system as a hub for product data (Source: hmmh¹)
„The statement, buy a PIM system for your company and all problems disappear would be too short-sighted. PIM is more than a system. PIM is a strategy.”
Niklas Fallik, Data Innovation Consultant

When selecting a suitable system, the following does not apply: “The more expensive, the better”. In addition to the exact requirements for the system, you must define responsibilities for product data from different sources (e.g. master data, marketing texts, image referencing, etc.).

Furthermore, you have to adjust the following processes:

  • The collection of product data,
  • the enrichment and creation of (channel-independent) information,
  • the quality assurance of generated content and
  • the distribution of the finished product datasets.

Once these new paths have been taken, profitable advantages quickly become apparent through the use of a PIM strategy.

Leaner processes

In the course of the introduction of PIM, ways of working with product data are also optimised outside the new system and mapped or supported by workflows when working in the system. This not only saves you valuable time, but also facilitates onboarding for new content managers.

Shortened time to market

Thanks to the newly created central database, all relevant information on products is in one place. To connect a new target channel, e.g. an online marketplace, the corresponding fields from the system only need to be mapped so that the flow of information can then be automated. So you no longer have to compile product data manually. This leads to a up to 80% faster sale.

Data quality monitoring

A good PIM system offers various options for monitoring data quality. The overview can be prepared visually in the system in dashboards or sent to those responsible by e-mail. Inconsistent and incorrect publications are avoided by defining quality rules that must be respected.

Digital asset management

The search on drive T:\ for the right images and documents in the correct formats has finally come to an end. Once you have saved references to files on the product record and stored the corresponding information in the file properties, the file name is no longer important. Files can be made available on-demand in any format and it is no longer necessary to keep them redundantly on network drives in the company.

PIM strategy as the basis for high-quality product content

With the introduction of a PIM strategy, the basis is created to provide your end consumers with high-quality product content. But how must data be maintained for this? After all, insufficient information about products is one of the most frequent reasons for online purchase cancellations. The preparation of product details helps to increase the conversion rate. Thanks to comprehensive information, end consumers are less likely to choose a different product or a more interesting online shop.

Granular data maintenance

Our expert recommendation is therefore: The more granular data is available, the better it can be processed. For example, fields with measurements can be more easily converted into other units of measurement if numbers are not stored with a measurement abbreviation in the same field.

The use of tools for automated text generation (natural language generation) also benefits from greater richness of variation if they are fed with individual properties such as colour and material instead of half-sentences. If product detail pages are rich in variants, this also has a positive effect on the findability in search engines.

Win-win for shop operator and consumer

In addition, size advisors, colour filters and product comparisons can be implemented more easily in online shops or online marketplaces. In this way, end consumers can search specifically for products that meet their needs (e.g. comprehensive information instead of just sizes from XS to 3XL). Thanks to informative product detail pages, you can avoid multiple orders of the same items due to uncertainties about product characteristics and the associated returns, making your business a bit more sustainable.

Conclusion: Understanding and using PIM as a strategy

PIM is not just a system. It is much more a strategy to manage product data centrally and consistently. The use of a PIM strategy provides profitable advantages and creates the basis for high-quality product content. By maintaining your data in a fine-granular way, you create a win-win situation for you and your customers. Thanks to a successful PIM strategy, nothing stands in the way of efficient product data management.

Source: ¹ hmmh

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Niklas Fallik

Data Innovation Consultant at hmmh | epoq Guest Author

Niklas Fallik studied at the Technical University of Dresden and graduated in computer science at the University of Bremen. At T-Systems MMS he worked in the area of test automation for mobile apps and web applications, and then moved to hmmh. There he was initially involved in the development of individual CRM solutions and dealt with AI applications such as chatbots. Today Niklas Fallik works at hmmh as a consultant for automations for e-commerce processes and specialises in the topic of product data.

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