Scalability in E-commerce With PIM (Product Information Management)

E-commerce overtakes itself almost every day. This is how dynamic the various trends and developments are. Sooner or later, e-tailers have to deal with expansion, (time and again) new sales channels and growing customer needs.

The all-important question is: How should your own online shop be optimized and scaled?

The scalability of an e-business is an essential component for continuous growth. It is not even unusual that a sudden surge in growth can lead to “painful” problems for companies – especially for smaller retailers.

A scalable e-commerce concept adapts these challenges and tasks – upwards (if successful) as well as downwards. The aforementioned dynamics of the e-commerce markets, in particular, require flexibility and fast time-to-market times. Scalable business models guarantee individual and above all fast response times as well as the necessary adjustments to all relevant processes. PIM (Product Information Management) can definitely provide a remedy here and noticeably relieve the burden.

What is PIM and what it does?

Product Information Management or PIM system is a solution (in the form of on-premise software or SaaS) that is dedicated to the management, enrichment, and dissemination of product information.

The product information managed by the PIM includes all the textual data that make up a product sheet: marketing descriptions, technical information, labeling, dimensions, packaging, ingredients, cross and up-selling, story-telling, etc.

In other words, the acquisition, processing, and maintenance of product data as well as their consistent provision for various output channels and media. The prerequisite for this is the media-neutral management and modification of the product information in a central system. PIM systems manage or organize precisely those purchasing, production, and communication-relevant data for multiple use via different IT or online shop systems (Amazon, eBay, Shopify, etc.), languages, output media, and publications.

Efficient localization can, for example, open up new markets, increase marketing productivity, and support (multi-/omnichannel) marketing. Professional product information management as a key technology also optimizes the conversion rate and returns management. PIM solutions structure work processes, workflows, and mechanisms not only effectively, but above all efficiently.

The most important advantages of a PIM system:

  • Central storage location for all data
  • Easy management and processing of the data
  • Ensuring that the data is uniform and up-to-date through a single-source approach
  • Diverse options for diversion to any channel (web shop, social media, print, etc.)
  • Facilitation of target group-oriented customer approach
  • More effective and faster work processes

Use product data more efficiently and in a more targeted manner

The most important and primary task of a PIM system is to collect data in a single, easily accessible location and make it available for further use. Thanks to the single-source approach, the data only needs to be maintained in one central location. This not only saves time, but also guarantees that the latest data is used anytime, anywhere.

The stored data can be exported to any output channels via intelligent interfaces: These can be different web shops (Amazon, eBay, Shopify store), social media platforms, or print products such as data sheets or product flyers. A PIM system also enables customer-specific addressing, for example by showing only part of the product range on certain channels, depending on the interests of the target group. A PIM system thus helps to meet the requirements of customer-centricity.

PIM helps in expanding the business

By noticeably simplifying the input, maintenance, and output of data, an intelligent PIM system will automatically ensure more effective workflows and thus free up resources that are otherwise in the company – e.g., used in the planning and implementation of marketing campaigns – can be used more sensibly. In addition, a PIM system enables companies to react quickly and easily to changes in the market with new offers or offer updates and thus secure decisive competitive advantages.

At the same time, a PIM system offers a solid basis for expanding the business area. If, for example, a new sales platform is added, it only needs to be connected to the PIM system via an interface, and all existing data and information are available. This also applies to an expansion of the product range to international markets. Most PIM systems offer special modules for language and translation management as well as interfaces to common sales platforms around the world.

In addition to well-researched market analyzes and internal process optimization, a successful internationalization strategy is characterized by one particular characteristic: high-performance product information management. Because the more complex the business, the more error-prone it is – unfortunately. If new markets and customer segments are to be “conquered”, but there are insufficient resources, capacities, and manpower – keyword micro-management – you need appropriate software that can do just that.

For example, PIM systems automate the scaling, planning, control, and evaluation of processes and work steps. Appropriate tools support those responsible and decision-makers in perfecting their own cross-border model and omnichannel concepts along the digital value chain.

Basic features of a PIM system

  • Data maintenance
  • Optimization of the data quality
  • Cross-border commerce
  • Country-specific translation management
  • Localization
  • Control of the various output, marketing, sales, and media channels
  • API and link to ERP, CRM, and PoS systems
  • Integration in e-commerce solutions and databases

PIM is suitable for companies that:

  • produce or market many products
  • have to manage products with high variants
  • manage product information with lots of detailed technical information
  • have to publish country-specific product portfolios
  • maintain target group-specific product descriptions as well

The future of data for e-commerce

Data is the oil of the 21st century. You determine which result or information is received. In the example of e-commerce, it is even a thoroughly bilateral relationship. Because the importance of product information has never been more prominent.

Conversely, from the company’s point of view, as much customer data as possible must be converted into relevant information. What does the customer want? What does the customer need? And for this, scalable systems are essential.

Conclusion

In the past, data was organized in a decentralized manner, now, ideally, everything should be centralized and set up automatically – via a PIM system. “Customizing” and “Automation” are increasing exponentially. Innovations and AI technologies will – if they haven’t already happened long ago – dominate e-commerce and have a lasting effect.

PIM systems offer meaningful and sustainable support in the creation and maintenance of product information. This means that all employees in the company have access to a central data source from which all media channels can be supplied centrally and automatically.

PIM systems are evolutionary “urban planners” and sales drivers. They provide the necessary infrastructure that simplifies scaling and expansion ideas. Even more: they make all of this possible in the first place. Gateway technology increases productivity potential, is a bridgehead to new markets through efficient localization, and also supports efficient omnichannel marketing.

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Author: Peter Navarro

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