5 Common Product Data Problems and How PIM Solves Them

Have you ever searched for a product online only to get irrelevant results? Many people sell stuff, but you can’t find what you are looking for. The lack of adequate product information management or PIM is the problem. Managing products is important to the success of online selling because it:

  • Gets products to market faster, with complete and accurate details.
  • Makes products searchable so search engine can easily find them.
  • Maintains a large assortment.
  • Organizes items into collections for easy shopping.
  • Updates product data quickly and at a lower cost.

E-commerce sellers experience limitations with their shopping carts. They spend hours to prepare data for their online store, and eBay or Amazon listings. Many e-commerce carts are not designed to support unlimited digital assortments. The tools to import, consolidate and manage large amounts of information effectively are not present. That’s why PIM solutions are important. They help collect, store, format, organize, improve and share data.

PIM solves these five common problems with product data:

  1. Managing multiple excel spreadsheets. When dealing with multiple spreadsheets of product data, it is easy to make mistakes – especially relevant if they are all in different formats. PIM provides a centralized location. It allows you to maintain one master catalog for your products, manage all data in one place, and publish subsets of your master catalog. In a word, it makes expansion to new channels easier.
  2. Custom code or scripting to fix product data. Are you assigning your senior developers to write code every time you need to fix bad data from your clients? You are wasting your time. With PIM, you can build formulas, use expression language and concatenate multiple fields in just a few clicks.
  3. Wrong product information published. When you see a product listed wrong after you publish it, you feel terribly bad. It’s worse when your customers point it out for you. This can be costly and may impact your credibility. PIM puts data validation processes in place. It sets error notifications, restricts listings with incorrect or incomplete data, and verifies how products will be listed in real-time.
  4. Not grouping products for better selling. Collections or groups of products are built for sale, seasonal promotions, or for easy navigation. However, these can be a hassle – most of all if you have to filter through thousands of products. PIM automatically builds groups or collections by specified criteria to save time.
  5. Inability to customize data by sales channel. Keeping every sale’s channels requirements in line can be a challenge because they require different formats. eBay’s product field requirements are not the same as Amazon’s. PIM creates and saves reusable templates for every channel every time you create and export product listings. It allows you to market faster with complete and accurate product information.

Shoppers, nowadays, have short attention spans. They will quickly jump onto a new website if your product catalog appears to be outdated or contains insufficient product description and display. What they see in search results and after they reach your online store impacts their purchasing decision. If your competitor has a visually alluring website with the right product descriptions and photos, your customers may be easily swayed. PIM solves these common problems, so you can be the competitor who wins the sale.

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How Product Information Impacts Retail Tech Trends

As product information management advances, businesses are discovering new and exciting ways to grow. They are seeking other ways to manage information, gather insights, and make sound decisions. They are looking for ways to go beyond the basics and are making PIM a part of their competitive advantage. There are 5 trends that enable companies to capitalize on product data. But, how does product data impact these trends?

Trends in Product Information Management

  • Machine learning to improve data reliability
  • Discovering data relationships through graph technology
  • Acquiring intelligent recommendations with cognitive systems
  • Achieving clean and current data via collaborative curation
  • Monetizing data for new revenue streams

Retailing has changed over the past ten years. Shoppers now have various shopping options. From visiting malls and stores, they can also purchase items via in-app purchases, their laptops and smartphones. The blending of the shopping avenues (called omnichannel purchasing) is now a way of life for shoppers. Here’s how product information impacts the above retail trends:

Search Specificity
As the ecommerce becomes more saturated, companies should break through the online noise by having rich product data and attributes. Consumers are using specific search terms to find what they are looking for. By having rich product data and attributes, your product is more likely to appear on top of the searches and more likely to end up in your customers’ hands.

Competing with Larger Players
Virtually every company today is competing with big retail giants, whose web presence dominates search results. Their fast delivery models and free shipping features gratify most customers, too. To compete with them, you need to reinforce your online strategies with great product information. Provide a robust and complete data to appear near the top of your potential customers’ search. Streamline your data to make sure it moves quickly and effectively along the supply chain.

Visual Searching
When it comes to ecommerce, words are not the only way to get seen. You also need to upload a photo of your product. This gives your customers the opportunity to identity and buy a product when they see it on a blog or website, without additional purchasing information. Make sure you have a high volume of high quality images to increase the chances of your product photo to show up in the results.

Social Shopping
Nowadays, shoppers have become more knowledgeable. They do their homework before purchasing a product. Although detailed product specifications are rich product information, they are turning to friends and families for reviews. That’s why social elements are so important. Extend your product data beyond attributes. Consider adding videos, images and customer reviews to take advantage of social shopping.

Omnichannel success depends on rich and compelling product information. Make sure you take advantage of this by giving your customers the information and experience they expect. Click here for 5 types of product data that improve online sales.

5 Signs your Company Needs a Product Information Management Solution

Product Information Management is becoming an important tool for businesses. A strong and reliable Product Information Management solution provides a hefty return on investment and yields various benefits such as superior data management, easy integration and effective data delivery. Bringing a product to market smoothly is easier with widely-defined attributes, detailed descriptions, and images. This information needs to be managed consistently, so you can promote and market products efficiently.

A research conducted by Aberdeen shows improvements for businesses using a PIM software, which includes:

  • At least 17% increase in product data accuracy
  • Shorter time to information
  • 20% faster data retrieval and distribution
  • Reduced time-spent on data-centric tasks
  • Customer retention and satisfaction

How do you know your business needs an efficient Product Information Management solution? Here are 5 signs that you should look for:

Scattered Product Information
The number one indicator that your business needs a PIM solution is scattered product data all throughout your system. If some data is in a spreadsheet, while others are in ERP systems, your employees’ desks or even minds, it reduces efficiency. If information is stored in various locations instead of a central PIM, your colleagues will spend a lot of time looking for them. It is also unsure if they will find every piece.

Inaccurate Product Information
The easiest way to disappoint customers is offering them something you can’t deliver. Whether a sales rep provides quote that can’t be honored or the listed item is not available in the inventory, these can all be traced back to incomplete or inaccurate product information, which can be solved by a PIM system.

Conflicting Product Data
Take for example the use of spreadsheets. One employee sends all pricing information on a spreadsheet. Now, both employees A and B have the same repository for pricing. If employee A updates his spreadsheet, there will be conflicting product data. The problem multiplies as the spreadsheet gets updated, creating new conflict. Without PIM, it is hard to tell where the master product data resides.

Inconsistent Data Formats
When product data is in different locations, they are also in various formats. It’s possible that one person is storing SKUs, while the other stores them as ISBNs in spreadsheets or as UPCs on a sheet of paper. This increases time-spent determining if the three numbers refer to the same product and makes it harder for software to automatically process them.

Inaccurate Orders Received
Another sign your business needs a PIM solution is if your customers keep receiving what they didn’t order. SKUs recorded in multiple locations with one listing off by a digit can lead to your customers receiving products in the wrong color or size. This can be prevented with improved product information management.

You can mitigate or completely avoid these by utilizing the right tools and processes. A Product Information Management solution stores data in one location that everyone in the organization can access. Moreover, it filters incomplete and incorrect data from entering the system. Quality and organized data improves your supply chain performance and enhances your customer’s experience.

Click here to know the 5 types of B2B product data that improves online sales.

How Poor Quality Product Data Restricts your Sales Opportunities

Product data impacts the customer’s purchasing decision and supply chain’s performance. Yet, many companies are still unaware of the implications of poor quality data. Inaccurate data confuses customers. It hampers their shopping experience and restricts their buying decisions. It costs retailers and vendors millions of dollars, and customers end up paying more for products that can be bought at a lower price.

Inaccurate or incomplete product data is common in poorly maintained databases. Such poor quality data should not be used in communications. Imagine what your customers will feel when their purchased items are totally different from those you described. They will be angry and disappointed, which will ultimately damage brand loyalty.

Roughly half of online shoppers return their purchases due to discrepancies between product data and the actual items they received. More than a third abandon their carts for lack of detailed and comprehensive information. As a result, many customers avoid the brand due to inaccurate product data.

Companies should strongly consider adopting a Product Information Management solution to achieve a great return on investment and enjoy the following benefits:

  • Superior Data Management
    Many companies still rely on old-fashioned methods to organize and maintain their data. PDFs and spreadsheets are scattered around the organization, making it more difficult to locate and maintain them, disabling the company from providing accurate information efficiently. A suitable PIM solution organizes and centralizes all product data so it can be achieved, shared and distributed across all available channels to easily and efficiently deliver the right information at the right time.
  • Easy Integration
    Companies need easy communication to complete all the tasks required during product management initiative. A superior PIM solution allows easy integration with other business enterprise systems or external third party applications.
  • Efficient Delivery of Product Data
    By delivering product information across all channels and business systems, you can greatly improve your customers’ experience. Every customer could require a different delivery channel. A PIM solution allows you organize product data for every client and push content through the appropriate channel.

Some of the negative effects of poor quality product data can be mitigated or completely avoid with the right Product Information Management solution. PIM allows you to store data in one location that can be accessed by all organization units. It also prevents incorrect or incomplete data from entering the system.

In ecommerce, a product is as good as the information associated with it. Many customers abandon their carts and look for similar item somewhere due to incomplete and inaccurate product data. To avoid adverse effects on your work efficiency, make sure you provide top quality data. Click here to learn about the best practices to improve and sustain quality product data