Product Information Management
In the golden edge of content and digital customer experience, e-commerce is definitely at the heart of all brands strategy. All customers needs to organise his assets in a unique source of truth the DAM driven by standard and custom metadata. This has to be the first step of any organization instead of managing silos of assets as I can see. One of the key feature today to engage consumers is to provide a great customer experience.
This is the reality for all the stakeholders along side the supply chain. A great customer experience needs great user interface but also the capability to manage all products. This is what we call Product Experience Management (PXM).
It is even more important today to face the challenges of digital transformation to place customers at the center of everything by delivering data to any output channels across all touch points in real time. The PIM for Product information Management is playing a growing role today by most of brands to sustain the journey of the e-shoppers. By enabling a DAM and a PIM strategy it will help all companies to consolidate theirs products and their digital assets to reach their goals from commerce, website and mobiles experiences.
This next infography from Akeneo is the perfect example of what architecture you have to deploy :
We can see with the customers we are working with, most of them have what we can call MDM for Master Data Management. It can be an old PIM system, a custom dev to connect their ERP system ( SAP / Sales Force / MIS etc….) and sometimes a mix of technologies between DAM/PIM/ERP/CRM. Today I see ofen more than one DAM system beyond the Sharepoint. As the technology landscape is evolving rapidly, organizations are struggling to choose the right solution for their business. It is true that the market share is after years a nightmare for most customers and choosing the right PIM is key to developing product experiences that win customers.
According to Forrester Research, e-commerce will reach $627 billion in sales by 2022, making up a grand total of 20 percent of e-commerce as a whole. The growth per year in most countries is 15%. The e-commerce is in place for over 15 years, and a new wave of millennial shoppers is coming of age in an era where they are used to shop and buy only online especially thanks to new engaging mobile App. Millennials look for Amazon–like and Google-like customer experiences everywhere and are used to do product research before going to a store. B2B and B2C brands and retailers have to innovate to keep pace with the way buyers want to interact with each channel. Shoppers are ofen ready to move to new technologies and change the way they buy. As for example, they use voice assistants, buy from mobile applications, and use social media sites like Instagram.
So the challenge is how to be able to aggregate and syndicate all the digital content and information to these channels ? These channels require product information available in different contexts. As voice-activated shopping assistants are becoming increasingly popular, merchants must prepare the product data for that channel beyond the images, the product description and the local language. The product information should be consistent and accurate across multiple channels.
When we see still so many people trying to to tackle product information with a spreadsheet…please stop !!! In the scope of creating high quality data the PIM provide the right set of tools to manage different versions of your products, formats, descriptions, assets links etc…and that you can connect to your CRM. All PIM system can now drive business tools and workflows to populate all your data reducing errors and saving time. Using automation and user rights management the right PIM solution will establish a level of governance and control for your products.
DAM and PIM today are the best way to provide such customer experience, able to syndicate all the content thanks to connectors from social, CMS, product platform…They can manage different product experiences for each channel. They enable marketers and commerce teams to easily and efficiently manage product information and deliver it in context using adaptable, flexible, robust tools. It is important to get on one side a DAM system and on the other a PIM. The main difference is that Digital Asset Management deals with all the digital assets that an organization controls, whereas Product Information Management focuses on the lifecycle of a product. Technically speaking a DAM system is based on a document where a PIM is based on the product which impacts the database itself.
Benefits of DAM :
- Easy access to your assets and the ability to easily find, access, retrieve and use all digital assets from one single point of entry
- Brand consistency & protection: DAM keeps your brand cohesive and up to date.
- Streamlined marketing efforts.
Benefits of PIM :
- Establishing one source of truth
- Enhancing the customer experience
- Delivering high-quality product data
- Shorten time-to-market and product changes across channels can be reflected near real-time.
- Having one master location for product information connected to your ERP.
- Improve the customer journey to provide product information across all touch points reducing time-to-market.
- Simplifying the onboarding process for suppliers and data providers
- Increasing team productivity
- Delivering consistent product information in context
What you have to check when choosing your PIM solution ?
- Product standardization, organization, and categorization
- Rules engine and enrichment
- Manage digital assets with products (DAM connector based on API)
- Validation workflow
- Manage all your catalogs
- Manage translations and localizations
- Manage users, roles, and permissions
- Manage catalog versions and publishing
Thanks to the DAM and PIM most of brands can now syndicate easily all their product information with their hundreds of CMS across the world. This eRetail approach is the right one to engage if you want to maintain the brand consitency and the quality of your product information in all the channels.
When you have thousands and more SKUs to syndicate and control I will advise you to connect a PCS for Product Content Syndication. Before making a purchase a shopper can visit minimum of 10 different channels and a PCS like Productsup will enhance the customer journey by connecting your PIM and DAM to all matrix of sales and marketing channels.
You will need one as soon as :
- You have to connect to all major retailers ( Amazon, Walmart, Target etc…)
- Connect with Social channels ( Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Bing…)
- Marketing automation like Sales Force
- Other networks like Criteo
Some PIM vendors will explain you that they are also a DAM system, and some DAM vendorswill try to explain you that thanks to custom metadata applied to your assets it is a PIM. Do not trust Powerpoint presentations ! Do not forget to check the API capabilities and performances.
You can find here a selection of the best PIM vendors we meet during retail projects, most of them are now cloud based, the user experience is really at the heart of the best one and most of them have connectors to DAM and other third part information systems.
On the other side few DAM vendors have native connectors to PIM systems, and mot of the time it will be a custom connector that you will have to pay. During the integration keep the capability to synchronise the PIM info within the DAM. It will enable you advancedcapabilities inside the DAM when searching for your SKUs. Bynder, Celum, Nuxeo, Tenovos are some vendors with native connectors. Today it is also important to consider the Salesforce connecter used and deployed by so many brands.
AI and ML is at the core of many technologies using by DAM-PIM systems. It is the opportunity for brands and retailers to analyse their data and can now anticipate their needs in order to save time and effort. AI will be more used in the future by all vendors in their software enhance product experiences.
As each customer is a different experience it is difficult to say that one solution can be yours.Context is King ! And you have to spend the time to get a full list of your business requirements, a list of your third part information systems, your ERP/MIS system and a DAM system to deliver a relevant and compelling experience at every customer touchpoint.