PIM - integral part of digital commerce

Part 2: Product data from the retailer's point of view

In our first article "PIM as an integral part of digital commerce - Part 1: Product data from the customer's point of view", we took a closer look at the customer journey of Octavian, who evaluate a product mainly by description and images. In our second part, we want to shift the perspective and evaluate our example towards the company "Mode Piment" and their product data from a retailer's point of view.  

"Mode Piment" has an online store with the target group ladies and men and plays on another sales platform. The assortment of fashion and accessories is sold exclusively in Germany.

Part 2: Product data from the retailer's point of view

From the retailer's point of view, product data has a completely different significance than from the customer's point of view, so it is worthwhile for almost every company to take a closer look, define and evaluate both sides.

The product data flow for a company can look like this: Relevant data can come from a wide variety of sources, such as photos and images from manufacturers, supplier data, Excel spreadsheets, translations, etc. A complex structure of relevant product information is created from this set, some of which are very different and may have to be processed at great expense.

The effort required for high-quality product data increases due to the number of relevant sources.

The product data flow cannot be generalized and is individual in every company. At the end of a closer look, however, there may be the realization that the processes are not effective, thus costly and time-consuming, and even produce a result that is not convincing in terms of quality. This is the case when item descriptions are inaccurate and not consistent across all platforms.  Our example company, "Mode Piment", has decided that further development makes sense because the currently applied product maintenance costs (work) time and thus a lot of money.

PIM as a possible solution

PIM stands for Product Information Management and is a central administration point for product 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 necessary product data centrally so that it can be effectively processed, consolidated and checked for quality standards.

There are other imaginable scenarios where the use of a PIM can be an optimal solution.

Scenario 1: Migration from shop platform <A> to shop platform <B>

Possible reasons can be cost factors, unsufficient features, product data migration (ETL process) or migration of customer data and orders. ETL process stands for "Extract - Transform - Load" and means the extraction from an old system, the possibly quite complex unification of data and the playout to a target database. “Mode Piment" is also dissatisfied with a sales platform because important, time-saving features are not provided. Until now, the company's management has shied away from the step of a platform change because the manual workload to transfer all articles and customer data is immense.

Scenario 2: Expansion

When expanding geographically into other countries, legal regulations, different assortments, translations and currencies can be challenging. "Mode Piment" would like to grow into the surrounding countries and offer the assortment also for customers from Austria, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands. Especially the different regulations in Switzerland, as it is not part of the EU economic area, and the maintenance of the translations in the web store have so far prevented the company management from taking this path.

Scenario 3: New channels

By opening up new channels in sales and/or marketing, there are further challenges due to the manual, very time-consuming maintenance of individual channels, SEO, inventory management and dynamic pricing.  “Mode Piment" has also realized that marketing without social media is hardly conceivable anymore. The company-wide knowledge around Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Co. is limited, however, and the hurdle to taking the first step is great. The company management does not see itself in a position to evaluate the additional effort for postings on the platforms and would like to avoid the same thing happening in marketing as with the product maintainers: double work because data has to be "touched" several times, additional effort and thus unnecessarily increased costs.

A PIM optimally supports these scenarios.  

For migrations, data sets can be imported into the PIM - effectively edited centrally there, consolidated, quality standards and SEO suitability checked. Some PIM systems offer the possibility to define markets, such as economic areas. There, translations, currencies and legal requirements can be worked on specifically. A PIM can also help with the third scenario. The centrally maintained and processed high-quality product data can be bundled and output to social media platforms. The feared additional effort is eliminated and consistent data quality is guaranteed.

The area of application of Product Information Management extends across many corporate divisions and is conceivable for numerous industries. Not only the retail trade can benefit. The real estate industry, manufacturers from a wide range of sectors and under certain circumstances service providers can also make their business processes much more effective.