In ecommerce, effective product data flows are crucial. This data, ranging from product descriptions to stock levels, inform business strategies. However, as the volume and complexity of data grows, businesses must explore innovative solutions to manage it more effectively.
A PIM system, integrated with your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) facilitates automated, accurate product data flow, improving operational efficiency and customer experience, and ultimately driving business growth. Recent studies show that automating ecommerce operations can elevate efficiency and boost marketing ROI by an impressive 45%.
Integrating a PIM system with a marketplace platform is also a great idea. This model will streamline data management and ensure accurate and consistent product details across multiple touchpoints.
Understanding Ecommerce Product Data Flows
Ecommerce data typically involves several components (inventory, order details, customer profile, payment gateway, shipping and notifications) that work together to facilitate the online buying and selling process. Managing these data flows can be complex. With numerous products, suppliers, marketplaces and channels, keeping track of details becomes challenging.
But in a fast-paced online marketplace, proper details are crucial. Inefficient product data flows can lead to delayed updates, missed sales and a poor customer experience. That’s why automation and optimization are necessary for ecommerce product data flows. Automation tools streamline the process, reducing errors and saving time.
Automation also enables seamless integration between different platforms and systems. For example, integrating a PIM with an ERP will effortlessly synchronize inventory levels, prices and product descriptions across various marketplaces.
Identifying Product Data Automation Opportunities
Now that we know how automation can help optimize ecommerce product data flows, how exactly does this work? What processes can be automated?
Data Enrichment and Validation
As businesses gather product data from multiple sources, errors and inconsistencies can often creep in. Automation not only saves time but also ensures that the data is accurate and reliable. This, in turn, leads to enhanced listings, improved search rankings, and higher customer satisfaction.
Today’s omnichannel world requires businesses to distribute product data across various platforms. You can do this manually, but it is time consuming. Automation ensures a consistent, seamless presence across multiple channels.
Automation plays a pivotal role in product delivery by expediting the product data distribution process. By automating the transfer of product data to marketplaces, you can reduce time to market significantly, giving you a crucial edge over your competitors.
Digital Shelf Analytics
With automated tools and algorithms, businesses can gain real-time insights into product performance. You can track stock availability, determine the popularity of various SKUs, analyze customer behavior and optimize listings for maximum impact.
By automating the ecommerce product data flow, you can ensure accurate, up-to-date inventory details across channels. This prevents overstocking or understocking, enabling efficient supply chain management and minimizing lost sales opportunities.
Automating ecommerce product data flows helps to deliver personalized recommendations and targeted marketing campaigns. This enables you to deliver tailored customer experiences, not only boosting satisfaction but also increasing conversion rates and building brand loyalty.
Choosing the Right Automation Tools and Strategy
Today’s market offers a wide variety of automation tools specifically designed for ecommerce product data flow management. Here are some popular options:
PIMs simplify the centralization and management of product details. They provide a single location to store, organize and update all your product data. You can easily create and edit product listings, manage inventory levels, and maintain consistent data across all your sales channels.
Inventory Management System
These systems track and manage your inventory levels in real time. They automatically update stock levels as sales are made, preventing overselling or running out of stock. By eliminating manual inventory counts, customers will always have accurate details about product availability.
ERP systems integrate various aspects of your business, including inventory, order processing and CRM. You can automate repetitive tasks and streamline your operations, reducing the risk of errors.
Setting Up a PIM Solution
Retailers are increasingly recognizing the power of a PIM to drive business optimization. Leveraging PIM data enables valuable insights, operational efficiency, and enhanced customer experiences. Here’s how it works:
Learn from history
It’s paramount for new retail businesses to avoid the mistakes made by their predecessors. These older, large platforms depended heavily on custom solutions that unfortunately lacked efficient data import and export capabilities. This required various data connectors and custom tools for each operation, including data collection, transformation and data management. The result: an overly complex system with inflated maintenance costs.
Embrace efficient solutions
When starting a new partnership with a marketplace or retailer, or revising old business operations and product flows, merchants have the unique advantage of starting from scratch, designing systems to be efficient right from the start. The optimal solution here is a single software layer, often referred to as the “syndication layer.” Modern PIM software acts as this layer, managing tasks like taking, transforming and mapping data.
Leverage high-quality content
In the past, vendors and brands were expected to handle product descriptions and other content. However, leading platforms like Amazon and Alibaba have started to shift this responsibility. They understand that high-quality content offers a significant competitive edge, leading to increased investment in automated content data intake.
Automate data intake
Marketplaces shouldn’t replicate previous oversight where brands were expected to populate product descriptions. Instead, marketplaces are moving toward automated data intake, sourcing large volumes of product data from content providers and allowing the seller to simply enter the product ID.
Once a product is listed for sale, all necessary information should already be available on the marketplace. The focus can then shift to optimizing product data flow to boost sales. Even if a product lacks a description initially, it’s the marketplace’s job to ensure it’s adequately described.
Collaborate with brands
Although brands might perceive their role as being minimized under this model, the shift toward automated data intake and syndication doesn’t negate their importance. Their focus remains on developing unique, high-quality products that meet consumer demands. They continue to play a critical role in the marketplace ecosystem, even as data management processes become more efficient.
The importance of quality product data for ecommerce success cannot be overemphasized. While small operations may be able to handle this manually, automation is vital for operations that manage a plethora of data. Thankfully, connecting PIM software with ERP systems will deliver automated data management, foster business growth, and empower retailers to provide superior customer experiences.
Cyril Dorogan is the the Chief Commercial Officer of Gepard