Months into the most challenging times of business history, digital presence has become the most precious resource. Reduced mobility, confinement, and health concerns have created a strong appetite for digital commerce across sectors that are expected to prevail in 2021. The future is about shifting from predict-and-react models to proactive-and-agile approaches. Enterprises need to adopt a culture that does not depend upon heuristics for decision-making but embraces the power of data and technology.
That’s where a robust Product Information Management (PIM) system can be of immense help to enterprises. It can publish enriched product data across multiple sales channels, manage distribution channels, quickly create product portfolios and catalogs at scale. Not only does it cut operational costs but empowers cross-domain teams to leverage insights, synchronize commercial structures, and create enriching customer experiences. With hyper-automation, personalization, and advanced customer experience (CX) ruling the digitalization space, adopting PIM capabilities will be pivotal for businesses to sell successfully.
Technologies such as PIM have the potential to ensure that enterprises are prepared for anything that 2021 brings. Here’s why:
- PIM Powers Digital Transformation: There’s a ‘quickening’ of digitalization in the works. It is already evident across sectors and geographies. eCommerce has nearly replaced physical channels in a matter of months; 10 years of penetration witnessed in 3 months in the US markets being a classic case in point. As the race towards digitalization gains momentum, worldwide IT spending is expected to grow 4% from that of 2020 with majority investments in data center systems and enterprise software. PIM can help businesses to scale their digital initiatives that were earlier intended to take shape within one- to three-years’ time. From gathering information from disparate sources to inferring insights for tangible returns, PIM can enable a speedy shift in operations where no data is lost or misinterpreted. PIM integrates information from multiple sources across the enterprise and makes product information available at the tap of a button. By sending highly relevant and reliable product information to brand-customer touchpoints it eliminates discrepancies, backlogs, and bottlenecks, throughout the ecosystem.
- PIM Facilitates Customer Experience: 2021 is all set to be the year of online experiences. As interactions become more mobile, virtual, and distributed, the role of customer experiences (CX) in improving sales performances becomes even more crucial. Organizations that are able to tap into this opportunity are expected to outperform their competitors in the next three years. PIM can help improve CX by arresting customer attention with on-demand information access. It can provide real-time upgrades about product specifics with an intelligent assortment. By adding credibility and availability to information, PIM can have a positive impact on retention drops, quick abandonments, and given up sessions. Enterprises can quickly, conveniently, and smartly consolidate all product data in a single repository and use it to display accurate data. This way businesses can be more proactive, anticipate future actions, and tailor their offerings efficiently to match customer expectations across the buyer journey.
- PIM Fuels Personalized Selling: With people being asked to #StayHomeStaySafe, there has been an exponential increase in online browsing. As a result, personalization of customer-facing channels, brand messaging, and even support services have shot up. Delivering the information customers seek in the right format, across the right medium, at the right time is a critical business competency. PIM can enable the personalization of digital assets at micro-levels. It can help categorize target audiences and deliver product-related information in real-time. It can disseminate different datasets ranging from technical configurations, user guides, reviews, and brand stories. It gives enterprises the power to visualize and engineer product data impactfully, and at the same time enable customers to make informed decisions. PIM ensures smooth, transparent communication that can help market products on time and satiate the tech-savvy, omnipresent customer while ensuring the authenticity of product information.
- PIM Enables Operational Excellence: Without timely access to accurate product information, multiple operations, communications with external entities, and even product innovation can be rendered fruitless. With cross-functional teams working on the final information to be shared with end customers, there is high probability of erroneous, outdated or discarded data seeping back into the system. Furthermore, one inadequate product listing can require significant time and effort to fix in distribution channels. PIM can integrate with siloed systems, ERPs, CRMs, OMS, legacy applications, hard drives, and software systems to enable a 360-degree management setup of complex product information. By providing a “single source of truth,” it can aid the collaboration between teams ,help streamline product data, scale business, and launch products to market faster. With relevant, structured, and cleansed data at hand, operations like creating marketing campaigns, defining catalog structures, creating master taxonomies, and categorizing product lines can be executed efficiently.
- PIM Reduces Time-to-Market: Although the pandemic literally shut down the planet for a short while, it’s become amply clear that agile business mindsets can deliver in the hardest of times. By overcoming workforce shortages and unavailability of various data repositories, enterprises can shorten launch schedules and deliver solutions to customers in record time. PIM can streamline processes so that product information is distributed in an organized manner across multiple locations, countries, and time zones. It is capable of eliminating issues like slow manual product data entry, communication glitches, and cluttered product information that cause launch delays. It can single-handedly curate information from different vendors before publishing and syndicating consumer-ready product content. It allows data from disparate systems to be ingested, centralized, and used for enrichment and workflow in order to manage product data and send it to various channels. Enterprises can simply send or update data in one go along with fast searching, editing, collecting, distributing, and publishing.
2020 showed the cost of dilly-dallying adaptability, preparedness, and resilience. It has ushered a time of bold learning at scale. Today, embracing a data mindset can differentiate the leaders from the laggards. Companies that take into account the many benefits of information management and real-time analytics will shape the business landscape of 2021. Make the operational shift and commit to product information management and technology investments necessary to sustain as businesses grow, models evolve, and the market transforms.