Data about the products you offer is vital for all retail companies. Cohesive and comprehensive product information will help you acquire new customers and collaborate with business partners efficiently. When there's chaos in your product data, on the other hand, it may not only slow down your team's work but even damage your brand's reputation.
No wonder then that more and more companies are implementing software to manage their product information (such software is referred to as PIM, an acronym of Product Information Management).
Many companies decide to focus on eCommerce during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, numerous global organizations have missed out on digital transformation by keeping their product data in Excel. For such companies, it’s even more important to clean up the chaos quickly by leveraging a PIM system - Tomasz Grzemski, Macopedia CEO and an eCommerce expert.
How does a PIM tool work?
A Product Information Management system is essentially a repository of all information concerning the products your company produces, distributes, or sells to the customers. On top of that, PIM tools have many features that make it easier to maintain and share product information.
You can find several PIM systems on the market, but in this blog post, we’ll focus on Akeneo PIM. It’s a product we’ve successfully implemented for many clients, and we know it inside out. In our opinion, one of the most significant upsides of this tool is its flexibility: Akeneo can be tailored to the specific needs of different retail sectors and scale up as your business grows.
The main benefits of PIM systems
For anyone working in retail, it comes as no surprise that clear and complete product information has viable business benefits. Let’s now focus on some of the less evident advantages of Product Information Management software:
- A single source of up-to-date product information — your PIM system can store text specs as well as product images and videos. Product Information Management allows you to avoid situations when you have, say, a few different product descriptions circulating around, even though just one of them is currently correct.
- All product-related data is in one — you can create and store product information for multiple channels, e.g., your online store and print materials. The process of translating your product database into other languages is also much easier.
- Complete control over the product data management process — this benefit is most appreciated when your team is facing a crisis: for example, after someone publishes information that hasn’t been officially greenlit. Akeneo PIM allows you to establish which of your employees have editing rights, and who needs to accept all changes before they’re published.
- Access to every product’s data history — go to your admin panel to see what and when was changed. If the current product information is not correct, you can quickly fix it by going back to one of the past versions.
- An introduction to the microservices architecture — this idea is all about dividing a monolithic architecture into single services responsible for specific aspects of operations. A great example of a microservices-based architecture is having a PIM tool (dedicated to product information) and integrating it with an e-commerce platform or an ERP system. Microservices make your digital ecosystem flexible: it’s easier to maintain and build upon such a structure.
Introducing a PIM system — at first, for our eCommerce — we wanted to create a central product information database. A database with quality information that we can use in different parts of our organization. — Krzysztof Kłos, Senior IT Solutions Manager at NEUCA Group.
What kind of businesses will benefit from implementing PIM?
Generally speaking, efficient product data management will pay off to all retailers, but businesses that will most appreciate having a robust PIM solution are:
- Brands with an eCommerce presence. When you have an online retail channel, digitalizing product information is a must. Some retailers input product information straight into their eCommerce platform, but it’s much safer to isolate this kind of data in a separate system. It dramatically reduces the risk of publishing incorrect data or launching something prematurely.
- Companies that don’t have an online store, but want to share product information with other businesses. This use case is definitely familiar to manufacturers that need to provide their distributors with accurate product attributes: weight, size, category, product family. Introducing a PIM tool is an opportunity for these businesses to clean up product data and accelerate their digital transformation.
How can you share product information with other businesses?
Whether you rely on offline retail or grow your business with eCommerce, you may need to distribute product information to your business partners. It’s worth remembering that there are dedicated platforms (e.g., Nielsen Brandbank) that allow you to share standardized data with other companies. Your PIM system can be integrated with such a data exchange platform so you can be confident that your partners receive correct and up-to-date information about the products.
For businesses that don’t have a PIM system in place or no established product data repositories whatsoever, sharing information with business partners will prove to be very challenging. What should you do then? The first step will be to create an appropriate structure. Design product families and categories, then come up with a set of product attributes for each of the families. Once you do that, you’re ready to implement and benefit from a PIM system.
Ready to manage product information more efficiently?
Implementing Product Information Management software is a chance to not only manage product data in a more productive way but also analyze and optimize several internal processes. On top of that, it’s also a great way to meet the requirements of your customers.
As Macopedia, the official partner of Akeneo, we support one of Poland’s leading FMCG chains. I’m confident that more and more companies will decide to implement a PIM tool to efficiently manage their growing product databases, without having to hire an IT team for daily product information maintenance — Grzemski adds.
If you want to clean up your product data, and establish efficient processes to manage it, get in touch with us. Being the official partner of Akeneo, we’re always up to date with the latest releases and best practices. Digital retail experts at Macopedia will help you take your product information management processes to the next level.