PIM as an integral part of digital commerce

Part 1: Product data from the customer's point of view

Onlineshopping is part of our everyday lives for years. So it's hardly surprisingthat online retail sales have quadrupled since the turn of the millennium.Let's starta thought experiment: Our example company, "Mode Piment" would liketo become part of digital retailing and already has an online store targetingmen and women. The range of fashion and accessories is sold exclusively in Germany. "ModePiment" works with product data on a daily basis in various areas of thecompany.These can  be viewed from two angles: Product data from the customer's perspective and  from the retailer's perspective. Both  offer different opportunities and challenges.

In the  first part of our series of articles, we will look at product data from the  customer's point of view.

Part 1: Product data from the customer's  point of view

Octavian, acustomer of "Mode Piment" has the following need: He is looking for ared-plaid business shirt with a collar size of 40. During hissearch on the Internet, he comes across various manufacturers, retailers and advertisements. To getto the "Mode Piment" store, the product data stored there must matchthe customer's search query. This already shows the importance of"correct" product data for entrepreneurs, because Octavian can onlyfind "Mode Piment" with it.

In the nextstep, Octavian evaluates the results of its search based on the information onthe product detail page (PDP).

This informationcan consist of a

  • description
  • picturesof the product
  • materialand care instructions
  • sizecharts
  • variations (cut, color, size)
  • variousservices (e.g. monogram, change requests)
  • andthe price

Inaddition, there is the option to display recommendations to the customer. Thesecan consist of cross-selling products, i.e. complementary items to the desiredshirt. These include ties, pocketkerchiefs, pants, belts, etc. Alsoconceivable are up-selling suggestions, i.e. products of higher value or of thesame type. At this point, the first moment of decision takes place: Is the product datasufficient for Octavian to decide to buy?
Oncethe customer has completed the purchase and ordered the goods, the seconddecision moment comes with the delivery: Does he keep the goods or does he haveto return them, which can be costly? If the customer sends the items back, itis worthwhile to find out what the triggers are and how they can be prevented.Possible reasons include incorrect item descriptions, cross-selling productsthat are not compatible with the main item, or up-selling items that are tooexpensive. If the customer pays more than originally planned, he may judge thegoods particularly critically.

It istherefore clear that anyone who wants to profit from digital commerce needsqualitative and relevant product information from the customer's point of view.

It istherefore worth taking a closer look at all cycles and aspects of the customer journey. Two pointsof this journey are particularly important in relation to product information:

1. On the PDP in the form of Octavian'sassessment of product information and in the absence of haptics. In onlineretail, product data and images replace the tangible item in the store, so theymust be as meaningful as possible.Success here can be measured with the conversionrate, which "Mode Piment" defines by sales.To meet customerexpectations, you should put yourself in their shoes and pick them up wherethey currently are. Comparable and understandable information should be usedfor customers and search engines, as well as keywords that customers know andsearch for, such as "boyfriend jeans" or "business shirt";keyword SEO.

2. Ondelivery. Is the product information correct and does the product thus matchOctavian's vision? Success in this case can be measured by reducing the returnrate.


  • the product data in the store should match the search query of Octavian
  • the descriptions of the articles should be stored in such a way thatOctavian feels sufficiently informed
  • item descriptions should be understandable, complete, correct andaccurate to avoid returns
  • recommendations should ensure that items actually match each other, informationshould be consistent across all channels

A PIM represents a possible solution for increasing conversion rates and reducingreturn rates.PIM standsfor Product Information Management and is a central administration point forproduct data. It receives all relevant data from internal and external sources.The prepared product data is distributed to the marketing and sales channels.It provides all the necessary product data centrally so that it can be effectivelyprocessed, consolidated and checked for quality standards.