Product information management or PIM technology is no stranger to brands and retailers going through a digital transformation – or planning for one. While improving efficiencies across the board, PIM is particularly beneficial for organizations with high volumes of complex data to manage, enrich, and distribute across teams, channels and regions.
PIM can do things like providing accurate, complete, up-to-date and consistent product information across channels, speed up new product rollouts and help retailers react quickly to unexpected changes such as demand and promotions to effect positive warehouse inventory management.
For manufacturers and retailers, PIM has become the technology backbone of their digital transformations, as they learn it can significantly improve customer satisfaction, sales and overall customer loyalty.
Traditionally, manufacturers need to provide high volumes of product data to numerous trading partners in multiple formats. This requires them to create, maintain and publish vast amounts of consumer-facing product content. They also have to syndicating product information and digital assets to partners when and how they want it. Adding to this complexity is the abundance of new channels like direct to consumer (DTC), driving them to take back control of their branding and messaging.
Retail and ecommerce companies are challenged because consumers need accurate, complete, consistent and relevant product information, at any time and via any device. They also know that detailed product content and digital media can significantly increase conversion rates. However, their challenge is getting all the necessary product information from suppliers in their specific formats. They struggle to leverage this valuable product information across formats and with varying levels of completeness. As a result, they’re mandating suppliers comply with their product data and digital asset requirements.
While current iterations of PIM are highly effective, the tech landscape is shifting to a broader, more powerful paradigm: The product experience. Today, brands must create emotion-stirring experiences tailored to a consumer’s personality and preferences. But personalization requires serious data management and deep customer insight, so retailers must consider the entire experience they’re delivering in order to survive.
Enticing consumers to explore, engage and convert requires richer product content, attention-grabbing experiences and accurate and complete product information. This enters the realm of Product Experience Management (PXM) and related platforms. Creating product experiences goes beyond a PIM that improves data quality, reduces content acquisition costs and improve time-to-market. A product experience platform brings together information from multiple sources, eliminates duplications and delivers personalized experiences with rich, relevant, contextualized product content at every touchpoint along the customer journey.
And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. Expanding on technical details and marketing explanations is fine, and so is finding relevant and impactful visual material, but that’s just the beginning. A product experience platform lets you consider customers’ affinities, tastes and moods.
Creating the ultimate product experience starts with ensuring the right product is in the right place at the right time, something customers often take for granted. This involves present the right products and assortments to each customer, adapted to their unique needs and interests. This is an effective way to sell that not only increases basket size but also significantly reduces returns.
Putting the “Me” in the Mix
Product experience solutions enable organizations to manage not only product content but also how products will be contextualized. Delivering information in context to the customer facilitates an emotional connection between a brand and its customers. A product experience platform focuses on four critically important components that, when used in combination, deliver truly personalized product experiences:
- Product Information Management (PIM) – Enables you to manage hundreds of thousands of SKUs, UPCs, titles, descriptions, prices, categories and a growing number of new attributes. This involves efficient internal and external collaboration, enabling easy product information and digital asset onboarding, ensuring high-quality content is published to the right channels at the right time.
- Digital Asset Management (DAM) – Managing large volumes of localized or channel-specific digital assets is difficult and expensive. DAM allows you to store, organize, find and retrieve digital images, videos and documents from a centralized repository. PIM technology with DAM capabilities lets you easily manage and link both digital assets and associated product data to deliver accurate, rich visual content to all channels.
- Master Data Management (MDM) – Poor data quality is an endemic problem costing businesses billions per year. MDM is a comprehensive approach to managing critical data to establish a single, trusted view anyone in the organization can use. MDM focuses on helping you solve data quality challenges by merging inconsistent data and creating unified views of information (golden records); defining policies and establishing processes, procedures and accountability; and measuring the accuracy, completeness, conformity and uniqueness of product information.
- Product Experience Management (PXM) – Consumers are independent researchers and don’t discriminate between an online presence and a store when it comes to shopping. What consumers want and need during their shopping journey is more information and customized experiences. PXM enables you to orchestrate flexible, highly automated marketing and communication processes, allowing for contextual audience targeting and personalized experiences across all campaign categories and sales channels.
Today’s customers expect more than a one-size-fits-all approach using generic product information. They demand a personalized, compelling product experience tailored to their personal and emotional needs.
Creating and communicating targeted, contextual and emotionally engaging products is vital to your brand’s success. It also gives you the ability to be flexible and adapt quickly to market changes. Pioneers that adopt product-led growth strategies are creating next-generation product experiences, allowing them to thrive and remain relevant in the future while adapting to today’s changing environment.
Jennifer Krizanek is President, NA and CMO at Contentserv