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they’re usually built into whatever CMS sales platform you’re using. Or sometimes there will be an internal PIM-type system mounted on your company’s ERP platform if that is how you operate your e-commerce.
However, these are limited to one channel. What if the data management is still too labor-intensive, or you want to sell multiple product versions on multiple channels and marketplaces? Or what if your current PIM is mounted on your company’s ERP software and it’s cumbersome to use or modify? Then you’ll want to look at an upgrade.
There are a lot of reasons to consider a PIM upgrade.
The more your catalog grows, the more you’ll see errors, repetitions, and channel mismatches occurring. Many products offer new versions in each selling season. This hinders a good customer experience and can churn confusion.
All of this points to the need for a PIM upgrade to a dedicated PIM solution with enriched features and capabilities.
An enterprise-level, dedicated PIM is a separately purchased software extension that integrates with both closed and open-source platforms such as Shopify or Magento, respectively. With either type of system, it will require some initial API development work. A dedicated PIM works in the background to assure data and media consistency between other channels and data sources. It does real-time tracking of all catalog and inventory data and syncs them automatically via API.
Some of the advantages you get with this kind of PIM system upgrade include:
- Enriched product datasheets with improved error protection
- Optimized keywords for better product search visibility
- More brand consistency with images and titles
- Automatic product updates
- A single source of truth for all of your product information
- All content is validated before any channel releases.
See this article for more independent analysis of why a PIM can be so important.
Sure signals that your e-commerce business could benefit from a dedicated PIM solution
More cross-channel disagreements
As product versions proliferate, you may be selling older styles or models on one channel at the same time as the latest version shows on another channel. And you can’t get them to reconcile except through a slow manual process. Without a PIM and its single source of truth for each product, you could end up with orders being fulfilled with the wrong product versions.
Getting products to market takes too long
Preparing for new product leases, and being one of the first sellers of the new product, is essential to maintaining a competitive advantage. You have to be quick in getting that new product data to flow, and not be burdened by tweaking a bunch of attributes and finding disparities.
Below-average conversion rates
If product data is mismanaged or disorganized, this can lead to shoppers abandoning their sessions and carts. A dedicated PIM system can smooth out any frictions by making sure the on-page experience is consistent and reliable.
Too many purchases are being returned
Product returns are often the result of incomplete or bad information on a product page, leading to buyer dissatisfaction. Besides offering a friendly return policy, having a dedicated PIM system will assure accuracy on every product page, no matter how it’s accessed.
The number of SKUs has become unmanageable
If you’re working with a spreadsheet with hundreds of thousands of SKU’s and forty columns of data, it can exceed the capacity of a basic PIM to grow along with your catalog.
You want to enable more personalization
PIMs allow you to match customer data like preferred sizes, styles, and colors with the product landing page that appears first on their search, rather than opening with a generic version where they have to choose those features individually.
Best PIMs for growing e-commerce enterprises
Akeneo is a rapidly rising software company that offers an open-source PIM (Product Information Management) solution that it says can dramatically simplify catalog management processes. It will collect data from any source, control product quality information, and distribute it out to multiple channels from e-commerce to marketplaces to physical store point-of-sale displays.
Plytix is applauded by its users because it is easy to set up and get started. It’s also scalable and adjustable. It provides convenient shortcuts used to map headings over for each channel during a migration from, say, a Magento 1 to a Magento 2 site. Plytix also has a catalog feature that will export all product data to a marketing-ready pdf.
Salsify offers a specialized type of PIM called a product experience management platform (PXM). It combines the features of a PIM with extended data asset management (DAM) capabilities that assign visual media and elements to give a consistently polished look to your product pages. It’s used by multinational brands like Coca-Cola, Bosch, GSK, Rawlings, and Fruit of the Loom, maker of the original Tidy Whities.
As with any software upgrade, your frustration and workload levels will ultimately determine when it is time to make that leap. Integrating new software is hard, no way around it. And there will be some upfront development costs. But the payoff in improved conversion and month-over-month revenue growth is worth it. Likewise, a product feed syndication service paired with a PIM is the ultimate selling machine. Shoppingfeed software can work seamlessly with your dedicated PIM to push your products into an unlimited number of channels, assuring consistency the entire way.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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