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The world of online selling and e-commerce continues to grow at a massive rate. The latest figures on online business trends show that e-commerce currently accounts for 14% of global retail sales. As businesses in the online retail sphere continue to grow and their offerings and channels expand, the new challenge that digital enterprises face is how to make product management more efficient.
One recent development that e-commerce companies have turned to is the implementation of a product information management solution. PIM software solutions come in abundance, but implementing a PIM software can sometimes be easier said than done. Here are five steps that companies should take to implement a PIM system into a business successfully.
The PIM implementation methodology starts first with the selection process. There are multiple factors and considerations to look into when selecting the right PIM tool for your business, such as price, compatibility, ease of use, integrations, channels, assets to manage, and many others. Start by determining what information you want to manage with your product information management software and channels you’ll want to integrate with your system.
Here’s an extensive list that can help you select and compare product information management software. Don’t rush the selection process. Implementing a PIM tool can take a lot of time, and shifting to another tool can become more work in the future. Some companies might find it beneficial to hire a PIM consultant to make a more informed decision when selecting the right service provider.
Given that product information management will affect the whole operation, it’s good practice to determine what you would like to achieve when rolling out a PIM system. PIM tools can help a business with marketing, fulfilment, operations, and many other online business processes. Determine how you’d like your system to improve those aspects and set key performance metrics.
Research shows that PIM tools can help reduce time to market of a business by up to 400% and increase sales up to 50%. They can help in many ways, but only if companies are clear on their goals. Setting clear goals helps make the evaluation and audits easier for companies, bringing more clarity to a company’s objectives.
A growing online store will regularly update information on their various channels. Whether improving product descriptions, launching new products, or changing product images, there’s a lot of work that goes into managing store information. So an online business must determine what sort of information a company will want to update.
Create a PIM implementation guide that exhaustively indicates the information that your business will need to update. Some of the common information and data that PIMs will manage include the following:
- Product data – SKUs, UPCs, names, titles, descriptions, and other product data.
- Taxonomy and relationships – categories, labels, product variants, colors, and others.
- Product tech specs – measurements, materials, sizes, tech variants, ingredients, warranties, etc.
- Digital assets – images, photos, video files, documentation.
- Marketing data – keywords, personas, metadata, SEO elements, etc.
- Sales info – prices, testimonials, customer feedback, ratings.
- Design specs – style sheets, designer, instructions, etc.
- Channel-specific info – Google categories, Amazon titles, mobile descriptions, etc.
- Localized info – languages, translations, etc.
- Production data – supplier, manufacturer details, contact information, service centers, etc.
As e-commerce platforms expand, it’s also beneficial to a company to keep track of which channels the information will go. The e-commerce world is a vast ecosystem with various channels including some big players like Shopify, Amazon, and Google, and smaller more region-specific platforms as well.
One of the other more ever-present PIM implementation tips that businesses must follow is internal training. Successfully rolling out a software depends greatly on how well employees adapt to technology. Many PIM solutions provide extensive support, training, and knowledge bases.
Determine and assign the activities and tasks that each person will be in charge of and place in accountability structures that will help clarify who will be in charge of what. Most of the time, marketing teams will be the most involved in the PIM tool usage and management process, but in most occasions, fulfillment and customer service teams might also play an indirect role in the checking and information updating process. Make sure that everyone involved learns how to maximize the features of the selected program and adjusts to its interface.
The last step to the PIM implementation process is assuring continuity by constantly evaluating and testing the PIM tools and systems. Keep the necessary documentation and update your log on a fixed schedule. There’s no hard-fast rule to how often you should evaluate your tools and processes as long as you adhere to the schedule and get everyone’s feedback. The evaluation can become less frequent as time goes by, and you are more confident that you have the right tool for the business.
In the last few years, there has also been a growing trend moving towards more mobile-friendly platforms. Experts forecast that mobile commerce will have an e-commerce market share of 72.9% by the end of 2021. A business will be smart to test PIM stores for mobile when implementing a PIM tool. Most tools will have mobile in mind, but it’s always good to check before selecting and rolling out a PIM system for your business.
You can start with AtroPIM, a free, open-source PIM system. It offers a centralized solution for product content and catalog management.