With so many products from so many different organizations competing to be noticed, it is important to fine-tune your product pages. This post will focus on what essential elements you need to bring to your product pages in order to attract and convert as many visitors as possible.
There are many different ways to get noticed online these days – through images, titles, pricing, calls to action, etc. For your product pages, it’s not only important to get noticed by prospects, but also to convert them from visitors to customers.
Before a prospect clicks on a product or a product page, there are certain characteristics that you should bring to your online presence in order to maximize the conversion rate of your pages. This post will address the six major factors that create a superior product page.
Have an Interesting Title
Odds are, no one is forcing you to read this blog. The conscious decision was made to click this post and spend some time here – most likely, it’s because we had a title that was intriguing enough for you to look into. Presumably, it’s a title that’s relevant, and of potential value to you.
It’s vital to take interested site visitors and get them to click on specific product pages. This starts with a title that stands out from the crowd, resonates with your target market, and drives prospective buyers to peer into your page.
Once they’re on your page, you want them to stay there. You can do this by providing various pieces of information and value for the visitor. We’ll cover those pieces in more depth below, and show you how to get your visitors to go from simply visiting, to purchasing – and showing you how to maximize your product pages to yield the most conversions, and ultimately, drive your revenue.
Lead with a Unique Photo
A picture is worth a thousand words – and when it comes to your product page, this could not be more accurate.
Be sure to have images – and plenty of them – that give the visitor a full and complete understanding of your products. A typical industry standard suggests that you have at least four images per product. Having four or more images in most industries will be a major factor in maximizing your conversions. Of course when it comes to this, the more digital assets the merrier. Provide multiple views and angles of your products, especially for physical goods and gadgets.
The more images you have of your products, the more comfortable a potential buyer will feel with making a purchase. And ultimately, the more conversions your page will bring.
“Just Google it”: one of the central phrases used in our world today.
It’s imperative to prioritize your adword text when it comes to your online presence. It is nearly the lifeblood of online product pages today, and ultimately, your revenue. When shoppers enter your type of product into a search engine, you want your company to be the first brand they see.
Don’t be shy to commit some marketing dollars and plenty of effort towards maximizing the effectiveness of your Adword Text.
Have a Clear call to Action
Once you’ve presented the prospective customer with adequate product page attributes, there needs to be a clear call to action that results in a conversion for your page.
You want to walk the page visitor down a path of making the purchase – you don’t want your visitors to end up leaving your product page and end up buying a competitor’s product. This is why it’s important to have a clear, obvious, and intriguing call to action.
With the number of options there are out there today, it can be tempting for a visitor to explore other alternatives to your brands’ product – you need to make it so the call to action on your page overpowers that temptation. Ensure that your “add to cart” or “proceed to checkout” buttons – and yes, make sure it’s a button; not a link – are clearly visible to your visitors.
Understand the Context of the buyer
Knowing your audience is key.
Catering to your market buyer is an essential characteristic to building your product page. You will want to place your product in appropriate, and relatable contexts – this can refer to your images, your product descriptions, your verbiage, and everything in between. You want your buyers to have a clear understanding of what they are actually purchasing, and how it will be of value to them.
When your product page and the products within it resonate with a buyer, a conversion becomes far more likely.
With the amount of buying options that exist in today’s world – and at our very fingertips –you better believe that your prospective buyers will be reading into what others are saying about your products.
Frame those positive reviews you have from customers in a bright light – display them visibly on your pages, and be sure that any perusing prospects will catch them while on your site. This again draws back to your visitors being confident in what they are about to purchase. Positive reviews will boost their confidence in moving forward with a purchase, resulting in conversions for your page.
All of these elements are important to keep in mind when creating and upkeeping your product pages. The web is more competitive than ever, and visitors are as difficult to convert as ever. With the whole world being at the fingertips of the prospect, it’s so easy for purchases to be made online – but keeping them on your product page for that conversion is the challenge. Ensuring that you are keeping your pages intriguing, informative, and motivating for the buyer to convert will prove to be an essential part of your business.
A product page is the single most important factor for a customer doing research or shopping for products online.
Traditionally, the online product page was designed to hold all of the basic information about a product. Including, specs, descriptions, images, and price.
Today, to win the digital shelf brands are publishing more robust and creative content to win.
The brands that craft more and more compelling product pages are the brands that will win.
Publishing Product Content to Win:
Let’s assume a brand has taken the first step in winning online by creating more compelling product content.
They will quickly run into syndicating this content to all of their sales channels. This is enough to drive anyone crazy. You created this content and it isn’t getting published like you envisioned!
The solution to this is challenge is PXM.
What is PXM?
PXM is the solution. What exactly is PXM and how does it help you craft and publish product pages?
PXM is a platform that stores all of your product content in one location and pushes the content out to your sales channels.
PXM allows you to manage, optimize, and publish product data & images effectively on all of your sales channels. The sales channels PXM updates is most often your distributors and retailers. However, companies are also using PXM to share data with their reps or feed their website.
At the highest level, PXM is the bridge that allows you to transport product content from inside your organization to your ecosystem.
The brands that realize not only having great content but the bridge to get it out are the brands that are winning.
The components of PXM
There are three main components to PXM:
Centralizing the content
Optimizing the content for each channel
Syndicating the content to each channel
Centralization is the foundation of PXM. It allows you to store all of your product content in one single platform.
Centralization is the PIM portion of PXM.
For the manufacturers who are living in spreadsheets the idea of centralizing product content in one platform is a fundamental change. Brands today have product content scattered in many excel files, folders, and whatever else they can find.
SImply, Centralization can provide immense value for them.
Rather than bouncing around in different files and folders to look at a single product’s information. Your team will now have one page to view all data & content related to a product.
Having one place to access all content related to a product is incredibly valuable. First, it saves your teams massive amounts of time when they need to find or edit product content. Secondly, it ensures accuracy because there is only one location where your product
Optimizing your content for a channel is vital to winning the digital shelf.
Each retailer and distributor has different requirements for the content you send them.
Optimizing content for each channel when done manually is a very time consuming process.
PXM gives your team the tools they need to efficiently tailor the product content for each retailer.
This means helping optimize descriptions, resizing images, selecting retailer specific product lists, populating retailer specific item numbers, and more.
In addition to more quickly optimizing your content for each retailer. A great PXM will give you insight into how you can improve your product page.
Incorporating analytics to tell your team what keywords to use or what changes to make to your product pages will pay for itself.
Analytics is what your team needs to make sure they stay at the top of the search results. It helps boost not only product page views but the conversion rate for all visitors.
PXM simplifies the optimization process for your team. With the time that saved your team can put a bigger emphasis on creating high quality content to even further improve the quality of your product pages.
Syndicate is all about actually getting your products posted on each retailer site.
A great PXM will have the ability to export product data & images in every retailer or distributor’s formats.
It is crucial in today that your PXM is used for as many retailers & distributors as possible rather than only helping with a few of your sales channels.
It is so crucial to keep all channels up to date from your pxm because if you don’t you’ve only created another data silo for your team to manage.
Some retailers may be able to receive your product data via API while others will have custom excel templates that can be populated directly from your PXM.
Regardless of how your data is sent your PXM should be able to meet any requirements. This automated populating of the templates will drastically cut down the amount of time it takes to send data to each retailer.
How is PXM different from PIM?
PIM is the father to PXM. Everything that a PIM has a PXM has. However, a PIM is only used to create one source of truth for product data & images.
PIM doesn’t have the robust tools a PXM has to share the content with all of your sales channels.
The ability to share is where the value is in PXM. The value in centralizing data is greatly diminished if it is still very challenging to share it.
Who cares if internally your data is accurate and robust. It only matters if you can get it out to your customers.
PXM gives you the tools you need to not only manage data like PIM but also get that great content out to the people who really matter. Your customers
How PXM provides value
PXM gives your organization the platform they need to build a process to manage and share product content.
Without a PXM you will never be able to build a process to consistently onboard and publish products. Having that ability is absolutely crucial to your success in today’s digital world.
In 2019 and beyond if you are still managing product data with scattered excel files and image folders you will fail to keep up with your competitors and slowly fade away.
On the other hand, if you implement a PXM and leverage it to build a streamlined process to manage and share product data & images you will be able to separate yourself from the pack.
In the ecommerce space, you can’t enjoy the flavor of increased revenue and market share growth without the knowledge necessary to cut deep into the meanings behind these acronyms and related terminology.
What does PIM mean? What’s the difference between PIM and DAM? How are they related to MDM? What is MDM? What do any of them have to do with ecommerce in general and your business specifically?
You’ve probably read about PIM, DAM, MDM, and more. Or you’ve at least seen them used. You may have a fundamental knowledge of a few of them, but, at a minimum, anyone in the ecommerce space needs to know what these acronyms stand for.
The truth is, the ecommerce space is full of these sometimes overlapping and certainly confusing acronyms. For example, PIM can include DAM functionality and you can understand MDM as an idea that sits over all the others. Thus, while most of these terms refer to technologies and software solutions, at least one is only an idea.
Ultimately, knowing what can these solutions can do for your ecommerce business is more important than knowing only what an acronym like PIM stands for. Further, knowing how they relate to and differ from each other will give you an idea of their often complimentary and sometimes overlapping functionalities.
In this blog we’ll take a deep dive into the meaning behind all of these ecommerce acronyms and more. Only by teasing out both the glaring and subtle differences between them can we answer the following key questions:
What do these acronyms stand for?
Are they ideas, software solutions, or something else entirely?
What do they do and not do?
How do their functionalities overlap?
How do their functionalities differ?
Ultimately, because the profitability and expansion of any business are mostly likely to be primary goals, this blog will help you answer the following critical questions:
Can these ideas and technologies increase my revenue?
How can I use them to grow my market share?
But before getting into that, let’s get a handle on what the names mean.
More important than what these acronyms stand for is a description of what they are. You’ll also need to know what each specifically does to understand how their functionalities compliment, overlap, or differ completely from each other. Finally, understanding what they do will show you what they can do for your business.
Note, while the list above is alphabetical, the descriptions below will run from the larger, umbrella terms to solutions that tackle one highly specific function.
Without further ado, let’s get down to it.
What is MDM?
MDM means master data management. Unlike the other acronyms below, which refer directly to software, MDM is an umbrella term referring to how organizations describe, format, store, access, and utilize all company data. In this way, MDM is more of an idea or elaborate system of processes and protocols, than an individual system.
Also, while part of the data managed under an MDM framework would exist in the ecommerce space, you can understand MDM more correctly as a totalizing term. Therefore, MDM is only useful if it includes all company data, such as internal human resources data and product information, as well as external vendor and customer data.
PIM vs. MDM
All in all, MDM sits above basically all the systems and solutions explained below with the other various acronyms we’ll look at. With specific regard to PIM, the difference between the two is the same. Because MDM refers to “master” data, the information managed by a PIM system represents part of the whole MDM covers.
What is ERP?
Like MDM, ERP, which means enterprise resource planning, is less a single software package than an accumulation of business process management systems. In the past, businesses ran many of their processes with systems that didn’t have the capacity to work together. Today, companies are quickly leaving that practice behind.
As such, a modern ERP solution is one that brings together all of one company’s internal employee information and human resources activity, financial data and reporting, logistics, operations figures, and manufacturing totals.
Key functionalities of an ERP system include:
Full system integration:
All the pieces of the puzzle communicate seamlessly with each other.
Real time operation:
Data is recorded as it’s created in real time or almost real time.
One shared database supporting all individual application modules:
The system is fully integrated for the purpose of recording all company data.
Look and feel consistency throughout the system:
The individual modules feature the same functionality to facilitate and simplify the user experience.
IT department installation and maintenance:
The system is managed, and troubleshooting of all problems that arise is handled, by the company internally.
Can be hosted in-house, on the cloud, or via an SaaS vendor:
Data storage is flexible depending upon how the company chooses to set the system up.
PIM vs. ERP
Finally, with regard to PIM, the scope of an ERP system is far more broad. While PIM is designed to managed product content, an ERP system will record and maintain the following forms of internal and external data:
Operations and Management
Customer Order Processing
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
What is CRM?
CRM, which stands for customer relationship management, is a software tool for housing all the data a company collects about potential, existing, and former customers. The primary goal of a running a CRM system is to boost customer satisfaction and thereby build customer loyalty, extend business relationship longevity, and increase revenue.
CRMs tend to vary in composition and complexity by the size of the organization they service. Typically, the larger the company, the most clients they need to scout, approach, convert, and manage, requiring a more robust system. Thus, at a bare minimum any CRM is going to built on a database which stores client information and tracks company interaction with them.
PIM vs. CRM
With regard to PIM, the difference is quite simple. Because the practical focus of a CRM system is to manage interactions with clients, CRMs house client data, whereas PIMs house product content. In this way, while your CRM and PIM may be parts of your larger MDM framework or ERP system, they are likely to be quite different.
Even though they both function to store data, the kind of data, the purpose of that data, and even storage of those data will be very different. Finally, while your marketing and sales departments certainly should be communicating and strategizing to ensure growth, your sales department is less likely to use your PIM as your marketing department is to use your CRM, depending of course on your company’s internal structure.
What is PLM?
Just as the acronym reflects, PLM, which means product lifecycle management, is any software application allowing for complete management of all product-related information throughout the process of bringing it to market.
Because PLM is design-focused from the earliest phase of development, it covers product engineering and manufacturing, and manages the workflows that drive productivity and collaboration. The benefit of PLM is the efficiency that flows from eliminating bottle-necks, empowering strategic decisions, and culminating with shorter time-to-market.
PLM software connects people, processes, and data across the entire product lifecycle to a central repository of information. So everyone from the conceptual designer to the end-customer is on the same page, sharing the same up-to-date product definition.
PIM vs. PLM
Because the focus of PIM is optimizing product pages to drive revenue and grow market share, it has nothing to do with engineering or manufacturing. However, PIM and PLM do share some common functionalities. Both manage complex product information, such as precise specifications.
Also, both utilize the workflow function to drive productivity by automating simple tasks and using notifications to drive process completion. But, where PLM is devoted to the development of products, PIM is devoted to the sales of products. Ultimately, you can think of PIM as the system which takes over for PLM, once product marketing begins.
What is PIM?
PIM, which means product information management, is an ecommerce software solution. PIM allows you to create a single source of product content truth. Once centralized, this truth can be optimized to ensure the kind of product page richness, accuracy, and completeness that drives conversions.
The heart of success in ecommerce comes in delighting customers and driving conversions. This is done by presenting customers with product pages optimized to give them the information they need to make strong, informed buying decisions. PIM ensures your product content, meaning information as well as rich, compelling digital assets like 360-degree images, informative videos, and CAD drawings, is always accurate and up-to-date.
PIM also includes functionality for syndicating your now enriched product content, ensuring it meets requirements across sales channels. Regardless if you are selling on a large ecommerce marketplace like Amazon, a specialty retail website like Home Depot, right down to your company’s own direct-to-consumer (D2C) site, PIM syndicates data correctly every time.
This process begins with implementation, when the full range of your product information, images, videos, and everything else that brings value to your product pages is organized. Products are directly linked to the information that informs customers about them, and the digital assets that empower buyers to convert. The implementation process ensures your data is clean upon entry, while PIM is specifically designed to ensure it stays that way.
PIM also utilizes workflow functionality to maximize productivity of your internal teams. Because new product roll out requires centralizing information from multiple teams, communication and collaboration are key for success. PIM uses reminders and automated task completion to keep teams productive and working together.
What is PCM?
PCM stands for product content management. Because product content is literally the combination of product information and digital assets managed by a DAM, PCM has largely been used as a less popular alternative to the term PIM.
Some companies and service providers have sought to use the term PCM to carve a niche out of the PIM marketplace for themselves. Such services often include extra bells and whistles that can be customized to client specifications. However, the core of any such system is going to be a PIM with DAM functionality, because that’s what product content management is.
PIM vs. PCM
For all intents and purposes there is no functional difference between PIM and PCM, outside of the acronyms themselves. You could argue that content is a more totalizing word than information, as content includes digital assets. However, PIM has already become the virtual industry standard term for the kind of system both acronyms describe.
Furthermore, as discussed above, PIM systems should incorporate the DAM functionality that manages your digital assets, as a matter of course. Thus, while PCM may automatically describe a PIM system with DAM functionality, standard industry expectation and practice are already moving in that direction with regard to PIM anyway.
Finally, a simple Google search of PIM and PCM is enough to demonstrate the fact that PIM is the acronym of choice for a system that centralizes, optimizes, and syndicates product content for ecommerce.
What is PXM?
PXM, product experience management, is another way of discussing the functionalities inherent to a PIM system. Like PIM, PXM facilitates management of product information and digital assets. PXM also allows for the optimization of content and its syndication across multiple sales channels.
PIM vs. PXM
Like PCM above, PXM is little more than a new buzzword in the ecommerce space that describes a software solution more commonly referred to with the acronym PIM. While PXM focuses on the experience your product content provides to prospective customers, there is little if any functional difference between the two.
Just like any solid PIM system, a PXM system is going to provide you with the means to bring your product information and digital assets together to create a single source of truth. You can then optimize that product content by sales channel and syndicate it to drive conversions. Thus, PXM is another way of saying PIM with DAM functionality, which is basically what PIM means anyway.
What is PDM?
Product data management (PDM) involves managing and syndicating product data, meaning product information, and other information about internal processes with one software system. PDM is basically a central database for all the information collected about a product during its development and manufacturing.
PIM vs. PDM (vs. PLM)
Like a PIM system, the information managed by a PDM solution includes technical information and schematics like CAD drawings. These provide precise data about the products a company produces and the individual parts that make up those products.
Unlike a PIM, a PDM system is specially tasked with the management of design, engineering, and manufacturing data. As such, a PDM system is far more closely related to a PLM system than a PIM. While your PLM system collects and manages product data through the development phase, PDM is responsible for managing and syndicating data after collection.
What is DAM?
DAM, which stands for digital asset management, can be a stand alone system. But it tends to function much more robustly as an incorporated piece of functionality inside a PIM system. The digital assets DAM manages include images, videos, CAD drawings, audio files, graphics, and documents.
Thus, DAM ideally encapsulates a modular software solution for centralizing your digital assets. Thus, you can search for them with metadata. DAM also manages and syndicates these files, all of which add value to your ecommerce operation product pages. They do this by helping you convert customers and drive sales revenue.
DAM functionality allows you to describe all assets with attached metadata. You can then use this functionality to make searching for the exact image or video you need a snap. Further, this metadata can include keywords critical to driving your operation’s SEO strategy. This allows you to start working on your SEO strategy from PIM implementation. This also ensures the widest possible coverage of keywords and terms connected directly to the digital assets you use to sell on your product pages.
PIM vs. DAM
Some DAM solutions have been augmented or modified to work like a PIM. But the best solution is a PIM that incorporates full DAM functionality. Your product information speaks to your product images. Those images are more or less meaningless without the specifics product information provide, right? So why do so many companies still house these crucial categories of data separately?
PIM, with DAM functionality, stores all of your product content in one central repository. When you directly connect product information and digital assets, optimizing product pages to ensure conversions becomes the work of hours and days, not weeks and months. This is the only way to create the single source of product content truth you need to maximize revenue and grow market share.
The ideas and technologies the acronyms discussed above bring a wide range of functionalities to the table. Depending upon the nature of your business and the products you sell, it’s likely your company will benefit from some custom combination of these.
Most importantly, when opting for a system to increase productivity, generate more revenue, and grow your business into the future, don’t think about what you could have. Instead, invest in what you need.
If you’re trying to maximize sales across the full range of your sales platforms, it’s likely that a PIM system with DAM functionality, is going to be your best bet. The key is to partner with a company with the experience and expertise to drive implementation success.
Finally, you’re also going to want to opt for a company with a strong reputation for excellent customer service. You’re just getting into the market for a PIM, but a strong PIM provider is the one that’s been in the business for years. The longer your PIM vendor has been selling their product, the more they bring to the table for you to learn from their past successes.
Fine-tuning your brand message to drive conversions and increase revenue is hard. Find out how PIM makes sharpening your brand message simpler, so you can drive conversions, increase revenue, and grow market share.
You’ve got a complex ecommerce revenue and growth strategy in place. So you know how important it is to have a strong, resonant brand message.
But knowing how important your brand message is, and leveraging it successfully, are different.
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
Probably the single most critical factor to driving revenue and consistently growing market share in ecommerce is increasing the repeat business of loyal customers. No matter what the particulars of your brand message, you have to know your product pages are compelling.
Product pages have to be compelling enough for visitors to convert to customers.
But even more importantly, you need to be certain your customers are both coming back and recommending your products to their friends and family. Answering “How?” is more important than explaining “What?” So let’s cut to the chase:
Product Information Management (PIM) supports your brand message to drive customer loyalty.
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in ecommerce who’d say achieving a high level of customer loyalty isn’t a key goal of every brand message strategy. There may be less agreement about how to get there. But it’s easy to see how PIM supports that complex strategy you’ve spent so much time fine-tuning.
8 Core Benefits of PIM That Serve Brand Message
1. Data Consistency Across Products
PIM ensures you are providing your customers with one source of truth. Product information exists in a central repository where users can only change or update it if authorized. Thus, for example, data silos that confuse visitors with out-of-date information can’t exist.
PIM ensures clean data entry with data validation at the point of entry. Any and all changes must be approved before they’re implemented and changes are tracked to ensure data quality. For example, inputting data from pre-selected lists means typos and careless errors can’t be made.
SEO is all about being seen in searches, and keywords are what people search. PIM allows you to embed all the keywords you want to rank for. So you can put them in your product titles, descriptions, and image alt text.
This is a set of practices for data discoverability, maintenance, and security. But among the many benefits, enrichment is probably the most important. Data governance allows you to employ rich content for all the products you sell. And you can do this across all your sales websites, retail outlets, and vendor platforms.
Hand-in-hand with the permission levels that make careless mistakes a thing of the past, workflow introduces two key improvements. First, simple tasks are automated and all tasks are set to occur precisely when they needed. Second, complex tasks are assigned to key stakeholders and reminders are sent automatically to drive productivity.
Product information means little in the visual world of ecommerce without images and videos. It’s these that show customers what they’re buying. The DAM inside your PIM ties all product content together directly, delivering your one source of truth to customers.
Growing market share means selling more products on more platforms. Gathering product information and images from multiple departments is hard enough. PIM makes it easier to configure product information and images to populate correctly. This is true on retailer sites, ecommerce marketplaces, and your D2C site.
8. Shorter Time to Market
Most importantly, these efficiencies and process improvements mean you can slash your time to market. For example, you’ll lose less revenue gathering and organizing information. And you won’t need to create the hundreds or thousands of images you need to sell across multiple websites.
PIM Hones Your Brand Message to Increase Revenue and Grow Market Share
In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the core benefits a PIM solution brings to your ecommerce operation. We’ll show you how you can leverage those core benefits to drive your brand message. Ultimately, this blog will explain how supporting your brand message with PIM increases revenue and grows market share.
(Read everything you need to know about the dos and don’ts of picking the right PIM system for your ecommerce business in the blog featured below.)
10 Reasons Why You Need a PIM
Search “brand message best practices” online and you could spend months sifting through all the recommendations you’ll get. Instead, get started today with the product content optimization you need to ensure your brand message is robust and compelling.
1. PIM Ensures Product Content Consistency
“The #1 piece of advice for ecommerce business in regards to branding is to have a cohesive look all across your social media platforms and blog.”
The difference between commerce and ecommerce is the immediacy of touch. Customers have traded being able to pick up and closely examine your products for convenience. The linchpins holding this modern bargain together are your authenticity and their trust in it.
The best way to kill customer trust is by being inauthentic.
The best way to broadcast inauthenticity is by presenting your customers with a muddled, confusing brand message. Presenting an authentic brand message customers will choose to invest trust in means, above all, delivering consistency.
Being consistent is simultaneously the biggest challenge of brand messaging and precisely what PIM was designed to do. PIM acts as a single source of product truth for your entire ecommerce operation, meaning product information is always accurate and up-to-date.
2. Customers Hate Disappointment, PIM Keeps You Honest
“Our small group of customers was quite loyal, and we soon found ourselves competing with the major airlines. The key is to set realistic expectations, then exceed them, preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.”
It’s very simple, overpromising and failing to deliver is probably the quickest way to fail in the ecommerce space. Getting customers to you site is hard enough, but it’s heartbreaking to know you successfully brought in customers, only to lose them forever by making a promise you didn’t keep.
The last thing you want to do is to associate your brand message with disappointment.
Remember, your top priority should be to cultivate the customer loyalty that drives repeat business. Remember also the power of word of mouth, and the fact that this unique power of the informed and delighted customer is more important now than ever. Promising a product can and will deliver benefits it can’t and won’t does more to undermine customer loyalty than really any other mistake in the ecommerce playbook.
2 Kinds of Overpromising
Overpromising and failing to deliver takes two forms: conscious and unconscious. Consciously overpromising and not delivering likely has more to do with failing to deliver than initially making promises you can’t keep. You consciously overpromised because you thought you could deliver, right?
The fact of the matter is PIM can help by making it easier to keep the promises you make to your customers. PIM’s centralization and optimization functionality make it easier to keep track of exactly which products you are selling and what their specifications are. Instead of making promises you can’t keep, PIM allows you to simply transfer concrete facts to your customers.
Conversely, if you unconsciously overpromised and didn’t deliver, is it possible the source of the problem was inaccurate or out-of-date product content? PIM solves this problem by providing one source of truth that is easy to keep accurate and up-to-date. PIM functionality also includes tracking, so you know how changes are being made and who is making them. Also, changes made by users without permission are automatically forwarded for approval.
Ultimately, you can’t present visitors with an authentic brand message that will drive loyalty and repeat business if you are making promises you don’t keep. PIM helps you keep your promises.
3. Serve Specific Market Segments with PIM
“There are so many opportunities on the horizon, from mobile exclusives to geo-located offers to better filtering and searching. We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible with personalization.”
One frustrating contradiction in ecommerce sales concerns increasing market share while niching brand message. You want to sell to ever more customers, but to do so, you need to speak to thinner and thinner slices of the market.
The solution is running a multi-store that allows you to calibrate your brand message to specific buyer personas you choose to target by site. Those sites can be ecommerce marketplaces, retailer sites, and even your own D2C sites.
With a multi-store, your products are presented differently on various sites, while the key information stays the same.
PIM facilitates this by simplifying the organization of product information with digital assets, such as images and videos, that must populate on specific product pages aimed at niche customers. With PIM, once information and assets have been connected with syndication to a specific sales channel, pushing content out to your product pages becomes the work of minutes, rather than days or weeks.
When it all comes down to it, targeted individuals will know your brand message is authentic if it makes and keeps promises tailored to the needs they know are unique to them. PIM helps you deliver the authentic brand message that converts these customers, by allowing you to deliver the same product information and digital assets while speaking the language of the market segment you’re targeting.
This is true whether you’re running ten sites or a thousand, and PIM makes expanding to ever more simpler, too.
4. Use PIM to Refine Brand Message with A/B Testing
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
How do you know if you’re making authentic promises? How do you know if you’re speaking the language of those specific niche markets your tailored content is intended to convert? The simple fact is you have to research what is working, what isn’t, and tweak your brand message to increase revenue and expand market share into ever more niches.
PIM simplifies fine-tuning your brand message.
With PIM, finding specific bits of information or the one digital asset you need to change takes little or no time. You make the one or two changes you want and push them out across all your sites quickly and easily. If those changes don’t work and need to be undone, PIM tracks changes, so you can change things back or make further adjustments.
At the bottom of it all, forget about keeping them, if you don’t even know you’re making the authentic promises that flow from refining your brand message. PIM helps you sculpt and hone your brand message.
5. PIM Creates Contrast Between You and Your Competitors
“You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”
With the literally millions of ecommerce websites online today, the only chance you have of selling your products is by differentiating yourself.
One of the most effective ways of differentiating your brand message is by including the information your competitors don’t. But how do you know if the hours and days you need to spend researching what your competitors are doing is going to provide you with the insight you need to increase your pages’ revenue?
Also, don’t forget how quickly product information can become out-of-date. Ecommerce customers these days overwhelmingly conduct online research before buying, and if they see two of your product pages displaying contradictory information, they’re going to be less likely to want to buy.
PIM includes content grading functionality.
Content grading allow you to easily measure the quality of your product pages against top selling pages in your sales space. With PIM, you can find out immediately which pages are optimized to maximize sales, and which require your attention for reworking. Fully optimized pages clearly show your customers the difference between your company’s product pages and those of your competition.
You should be asking yourself, “How am I different from my competitors?” Your answer should focus on brand message, to be sure, but it should also involve simply being better. PIM makes it easier for you to demonstrate the superiority of your brand message.
6. Drive Conversions with PIM Reporting Functionality
“If an Internet company could obsess about only one metric, it should be conversion. No other metric so holistically captures as many critical aspects of a web site – user design, usability, performance, convenience, ad effectiveness, net promoter score, customer satisfaction – all in a single measurement. Yet despite the remarkable power of this metric, it is alarming how few companies today truly understand conversion and how to optimize it. As such, it is time to pound the table again – conversion is by far the most powerful Internet metric of all.”
Bill Gurley, VC General Partner at Benchmark (source)
Your differentiated ecommerce strategy should be targeting a wide variety of different kinds of customers. Selling to each requires vastly different approaches, but that applies mostly to presentation. The actual product information and digital assets are likely going to be almost completely the same across sales spaces.
With regard to different kinds of shoppers, decisions can run the gamut from impulsive and emotional to measured and contemplative. Regardless, you need to make sure that all the information these different kinds of buyers need to make strong, informed decisions is populating in the right places across your sales platforms.
PIM eliminates the need to manually update product pages and make sure information is populating correctly.
Instead, product content is syndicated across your sales channels according to how you’ve optimized it to sell to specific kinds of customers. Further, PIM reporting functionality covers product page completeness, so you know exactly which pages are optimized for success and which aren’t. A color-coded completeness scoring system makes finding the pages you need to pay attention to the work of seconds, instead of hours or days.
Long story short, conversions are driven by customers who are informed and empowered to buy. PIM allows you to harness the power of centrally organized and optimized product content and pass it to your customers.
7. PIM Brings Your Teams Together
“Communication is at the heart of e-commerce and community.”
Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard (source)
One of the biggest hurdles to smooth operations and productivity in ecommerce is the siloing of data. Some team members tend to rely on data or images they store on their own computers. Others fail to communicate and approved changes and other updates never get made.
Add to this the fact that creating and honing a brand message, and translating it into product pages that convert, requires numerous individuals across multiple departments working together. For example, specifications come from product managers, marketers write your descriptions, and digital assets come from your design department.
Your teams have to work together to ensure your brand message flows from your product pages.
PIM’s workflow functionality drives productivity by automating simple tasks and automatically assigning more complicated tasks to the correct team member. Further, workflow organizes tasks, notifying the next stakeholder when a required task is finished, driving processes forward in an orderly fashion. In short, workflow requires the communication your product pages require to convert customers.
The truth is for a brand message to resonate with your buyer personas, it has to be authentically powerful. The content that goes into crafting such a message can only be created when your teams work together, sharpening and polishing each other’s work. PIM’s workflow functionality makes this kind of productive collaboration a requirement.
8. PIM Incorporates Your Brand Message’s Keywords to Drive SEO
According to PYMNTS.com, 88% of ecommerce customers conduct online research before buying (source). With all of the millions of ecommerce operations online today the way to get customers to find you is with a strong SEO strategy employing keywords. Blogs and marketing content can help, but PIM offers an even better way to show up in online search results.
Drive visitors to your product pages by embedding robust keywords directly into your product pages.
With PIM, you can incorporate the keywords you want to target into every possible nook and cranny of your product pages. Obviously, you want to work keywords into your titles, but PIM makes it possible to work them into the metadata you search digital assets with and the alt text attached to your images and videos.
This incorporation process begins with PIM implementation, requiring input from the full range of your team members. Such a strategy means optimizing your product pages to perform immediately. Because you’ve already embedded keywords in them for search engines to find and display.
Diversity of opinion also ensures completeness, seeing to it that you leave no possibility overlooked. Such an SEO strategy is necessarily more robust, resulting in more conversions. This maximizes revenue, and virtually ensures market share growth.
Finally, with PIM, nothing is set in stone if you don’t want it to be. So, keeping pace with the tides of change is as simple as searching a product, making an adjustment, and pushing it out. PIM makes what was once the work of days or weeks take only minutes.
9. Deliver the Right Amount of Brand Message Content with PIM
You should be giving your customers as close to exactly the right amount of information. Like walking a tightrope, falling off either side is equally devastating. Give your customers too little information and they can’t make informed buying decisions. Give them too much and you may overwhelm them so much they leave your site, never to return.
Your brand message is only hindered by unnecessary or redundant information.
You may need to include seven or more pictures to ensure a complex product’s features are fully displayed. On the other hand, there’s no reason to include multiple images of a simple product that don’t offer your customers any more insight.
PIM ensures optimization of your digital assets for the ecommerce marketplaces, retail sites, and every other sales channel you sell across. This means no matter what platform they exist on, your product pages feature the right amount of information, images, and videos. Further, you can optimize content to change dynamically for mobile devices like phones and tablet computers.
Ultimately, you can’t keep those authentic promises your customers are paying for if you can’t deliver the right amount the compelling content. PIM makes that possible, while accounting for the fact that customers want product content to look perfect on their device of choice.
10. Sell More with More Than Just Static Images
Today, product pages aren’t complete unless they bring together product information with the compelling visual elements necessary to convert customers. Simply put, having a full selection of images displaying your product from every angle to show every feature is good, but far from great. Your pages need videos, CAD drawings, and especially 360-degree images.
Imagine you’re selling a complex piece of machinery, full of features that provide the benefits your customers want to buy. 360-degree images afford your customers the ability to rotate your products from a top-down or bottom-up view, so they can examine individual features with ease.
Did you know rotating images of this kind can be made up of as many as 96 individual images?
Managing and updating such a digital asset with folders becomes more and more difficult as the images becomes more and more detailed. But detailed images is what your customers need to make strong, informed buying decisions.
PIM with DAM capability solves this problem by treating 360-degree images as a single element, rather than a folder of list of pictures. This means updating or modifying a 360-degree image is significantly simpler, and pushing it out across all your sales channels is just as easy.
Ultimately, PIM simplifies populating your product pages with precisely the empowering product content you need to turn visitors into customers.
(Read everything you need to know about why your PIM system needs to include DAM functionality in the blog featured below.)
Your Brand Message with PIM
When you think of the key strengths PIM brings to your ecommerce operation, creating a stronger, more resonant brand message becomes much easier.
PIM standardizes your product information across all sales platforms, and the result is a coherent brand message.
With the clean data PIM ensures right from implementation, what you get is consistency of brand message.
PIM supports your SEO strategy with embedded keywords, so your products are easier for customers to find via search.
Workflow functionality in your PIM promotes teamwork and drives productivity. So your brand message stays sharp and your product pages convert.
PIM with DAM functionality makes optimizing product pages with digital assets simple. Regardless of how your brand message is honed for any given sales channel, with PIM, it’s easier.
Populating your multi-store product pages with PIM syndication functionality means what once took weeks or months now takes far less time. This leaves you free to hone your brand message.
Finally, PIM implementation means a shorter time to market. So the resources you once devoted to rolling out new products can be reinvested elsewhere.
All in all, with PIM, you can be sure your product pages convert. You’ll know your brand message shines. Your revenue is far likelier to increase. And growing market share will be far simpler.
Are you leveraging your assets to sell more online? Digital Asset Management (DAM) gathers and organizes your digital assets to create the compelling product pages that convert visitors into buyers today.
DAM stands for Digital Asset Management.
DAM is the business process of gathering and organizing digital assets you use to sell your products and support customers (source).
What is a digital asset?
While the definition expands with the development of new technology, a digital asset is any digital file that provides value to your ecommerce operation by helping you make sales. Also, it should go without saying that digital assets must also be searchable with attached metadata.
To illustrate, an organization may choose to have any of the following digital assets for each product they sell.
Ecommerce is completely visual experience, so without images of your products that show your customers what they need to see to make the decision to buy, you won’t convert them.
Alternate images like photos with a white background
Online retailers and ecommerce marketplaces require certain images, such as those with a completely white background. Without fulfilling these requirements, you won’t be able to publish product pages in the first place.
Informed buyers are the one who can see what your products do. This means you must show them in their operational context, so buyers know your products solve the problems they are buying them to solve.
Informed customers, like contractors and enterprise companies, require complete, detailed information. Knowing the exact specifications of your products empowers them to make informed buying decisions.
Showing customers how your products work in relation to the other products you sell not only explains their functionality. Displaying products in groups images helps with cross-sell as well.
Product sales often hinge on minute features that provide tremendous benefits to your customers. Ensuring your customers connect with a virtual representation of your products is the next best thing to them experiencing them in person.
Let’s be honest, these days images have taken a backseat to the moving imagery of video. Videos combine imagery with sound to provide your customers with a rich product experience that drives expectations leading to more conversions.
Are you managing your digital assets for sales success?
The trouble with digital assets is how many of them you end up with. If you aren’t storing and organizing them centrally, how can you use them to sell your products.
Let’s do a thought exercise to illustrate this point.
You have 20 products selling on 10 sites.
You want to double the number of products you sell.
Each product requires a minimum of 5 images.
To roll out 20 new products, you’re going to have to create at least 100 images per channel.
Total: 1,000 images
Remember, each channel is likely to have its own specific requirements in terms of image size and aspect ratio. But that’s just the beginning, because many of those 1,000 images will require multiple sizes.
All told, it could take you weeks or months to create all the images you need. At the same time, you’ll have to ensure organization, so none are lost or sent to the wrong site. But, what happens when you realize some of the images were incorrectly sized? How do you find images that were put in the wrong folder?
A product information management (PIM) solution with DAM functionality simplifies these processes radically.
Wait, you already have a system to organize your digital assets?
Regardless of what system you might be using or considering, if it’s not a DAM inside a PIM, one huge challenge presents itself immediately. Just as product information presented online lacks the visual element necessary to delight and compel customers to buy, digital assets viewed alone lack detail.
In this blog, we take a look at an exhaustive list of the ecommerce problems you’re facing right now if you aren’t using a DAM solution to manage your digital assets.
(Read everything you need to know about picking the PIM system that’s just right for your ecommerce business in the blog featured below.)
9 Ways a DAM Helps You Sell More
1. Improved Findability
A good DAM creates the digital foundation to make your images more findable, and thus the associated products, too.
If you’re using folders to organize images, you’re probably spending way too much time looking for that one image you know you have, but just can’t locate. Worse yet, if you can’t find the file on a shared drive, is it stored on your computer or someone else’s? Whose?
We all know how easy it is for individuals to become set in their ways. Someone takes a liking to a specific image and starts using it as a backup, even after the decision has been made to discontinue using it. How do you ensure outdated images aren’t loaded for use when you roll out new sales platforms?
DAM solves these problems by allowing you to attach metadata to files.
First of all, specific searchable metadata can be attached to each asset, streamlining search.
Second, you can use levels of categorization to narrow the scope of your search before you even initiate it.
Third, and most simply, with DAM you simply don’t have multiple versions of assets, so you don’t have to search through hundreds of nearly identical files to find the exact one you need.
2. Organization Reduces Turnaround Time
When content is organized, sales teams’ and dealer response time is dramatically improved.
Without centralized storage of digital assets, companies often end up with one of two organization scenarios playing out: a highly complex naming convention or less organization than is necessary. Let’s be honest, neither method really works all that well most of the time.
How many people are naturally fastidious enough to create and properly name each folder they have to put every image they create into in order to follow your company’s organization system properly? More often than not, shared drives become spaces where solid organization only exists in the places where someone takes the time to ensure it does.
DAM solves this problem with sophisticated file organization customized to your products, product lines, and categories.
With DAM, you can categorize digital assets by type, such as product photos, videos, logos, icons, banners, brochures, or data sheets. You can also organize them by file type, size, and aspect ratio. You can even cross reference any of these criteria. The bottom line is DAM makes locating the assets you want far simpler.
3. Missing Images Are Easier to Spot
As opposed to the tactile sales experience of the past, ecommerce as an experience is entirely visual. To convert the maximum number of potential customers, who can’t pick up and feel your products, product pages have to be optimized with rich, compelling images.
In line with standard industry practice, let’s say you decide your product pages need to have between 5 and 7 images at a minimum. Without looking at each of them one by one, how do you know which product pages are missing images and which aren’t?
DAM functionality built into your PIM means the interface will show you exactly which pages require attention.
PIM’s color-coded completeness scoring functionality runs on an easy-to-use interface, so you can find exactly where you need to focus effort in a split-second. PIM’s content grading functionality is configured to compare your product pages against the industry standard to maximize optimization.
4. Multiple Images Are Easier to Manage
Having multiple images helps customers make informed decisions. Having between 5 and 7 images on every product page brings more valuable for buyers.
The biggest change happening online today is the inevitable shift to mobile devices as most individuals’ primary means of accessing the Internet. In the ecommerce space, this means fully optimized product pages are going to need multiple versions of each image you attach to them.
To delight and convert customers, product pages have to be configured for dynamic display. This means images must be configured so they can change size according to both the size of the screen they are displayed on, as well as the specifications of the site the product page is populating on.
With DAM, you can easily retrieve all products that reuse an asset.
With DAM, renaming multiple digital assets becomes unnecessary because there is no longer any reason to store multiple different sizes of images. Instead, each unique image gets a unique name, meaning you’ve solved the confusion and headaches immediately.
5. Sizing Images for Different Channels
Even if you’ve been able to come up with a system that takes care of some or most of the concerns above without implementing a PIM with DAM functionality, it’s a good bet your solution doesn’t allow you to configure images for automatic resizing.
Remember, with the rise of mobile dominance in the ecommerce space, images have to change to fit any device a potential customer is using to view your product pages. Resizing hundreds or thousands of images for multiple devices and sales platforms is a job that can seem insurmountable.
DAM solves this by automatically adjusting digital asset size.
With DAM, you can simply upload a high resolution image, and software will resize it to fit the specification of every platform you sell across. This process happens automatically when you share individual or multiple assets at the same time. What once was the work of days and weeks, happens automatically in seconds.
6. Reduced Time to Market
A DAM simplifies and streamlines your workflow so your teams can get new products to market more quickly. This means less of the lost revenue you used to spend onboarding new products and more on-target product launches.
A DAM has role-based task assignment and approval workflow that helps your art and photography departments work in unison.
You can configure your DAM with roles assigned to specific personnel. This ensures changes made to any asset are made by someone with the authority to make changes or approved by that person. Also, you can set automated tasks that trigger when scheduled work is complete. All these steps get you to the finish line more quickly.
(Read everything you need to know about how workflow drives revenue for your ecommerce operation in the blog featured below.)
7. Image Tags for SEO
Image tags help drive conversions. When you stamp images with the keywords you’ve employed in your SEO strategy, your images will rank higher. This, of course, saves you time, but it comes with two other benefits.
First, your internal teams will be able to find assets by searching tags, when search engines index your product pages.
Second, your product pages will rank high in organic search results according to the keywords in your tags.
DAM allows you to find assets quickly and easily with image tags.
Tags allow you to attach information to assets with more detail than simple names, which often follow categories. Companies that sell large amounts of similar products will need tags with this kind of detailed information to facilitate not finding an image of a product, but the exact image you want.
8. 360-degree Images for Robust Product Pages
360-degree images are quickly becoming industry standard for optimized product pages, because they allow customers to see every angle of a product. Complex products often offer a variety of features, the benefits of which are the specific selling points product pages need to highlight.
360-degree images also put customers in control, and hence improving their shopping experience. These images ensure that they can experience more of the product feel in a virtual way, helping them connect more closely to your product.
To say these images are difficult to manage is an understatement, because they are composed of dozens of individual images. The more individual images they’re made up of, the smoother the rotation will be. Thus, the better an image is, the tougher it is to manage.
DAM dramatically simplifies management of 360-degree images.
While some companies opt for 360-degree views made up of 24 images, using 48 images for both top-view and flipped-view (viewing the product from the bottom) is far more common. That some 360-degree images incorporate as many as 96 individual shots demonstrates the ease of using a DAM to pull them together into one easily manageable file.
9. Increased Channel Coverage
Products are not sellable on marketplaces unless you meet channel-particular image specifications. A DAM helps you in quickly meeting the right spec. This means you can sell on more channels and capture more sales.
Let’s say you’ve solved the problems laid out above and successfully found the exact image you need. Now you want to export your assets to a retailer, ecommerce marketplace, or just your own D2C website.
Chances are you’ve already spent way too much time searching for the image. And you still have to ensure it meets the size and aspect ratio requirements of site you’re sending it to.
How can you be sure the asset is going to meet the requirements of any site you’re sending it to? Wouldn’t it be easier to send multiple assets to multiple channels all at once?
Think of how great it would be to perform all of these functions simultaneously with the peace of mind that comes from knowing everything was done correctly the first time.
DAM solves these problems by merging functions.
DAM combines the renaming, resizing, and syndication functions. This ensures you’re completing all required steps before you push digital assets out to wherever they need to go.
It All Adds up To Optimization
Ultimately, the function of a DAM is optimization. Optimization means the right digital asset is configured to meet the specific requirements of a given sales channel. Thus, meeting the goals of delivering a strong brand message, delighting visitors, and converting them into customers becomes far simpler.
Optimization work is arduous and time-consuming, so DAM is designed to do the heavy lifting for you.
DAM brings all your product content together. This provides you with a single source of truth connecting product information to the digital assets it describes.
With DAM you can be sure your digital assets are correctly dialed in to create beautiful, compelling product pages.
And DAM inside a PIM solution is the easiest way to ensure proper syndication of all your product content.
Let DAM do the work so you can focus on increasing revenue and growing market share into the future.
Using SEO to optimize product content for search is one proven way to drive ecommerce revenue. PIM gives you the tools to optimize your content for SEO.
One proven way to drive revenue is by optimizing product content for search with an SEO strategy. A search engine will eventually rank almost all product content built or syndicated for your own website.
An SEO strategy is critical to ranking on searches.
Searches can be done on Google, or through Amazon, Bing, or whichever retailer or marketplace you’re selling on.
Ranking high on these search engines is vital to drive revenue and growth.
There are many online resources that will help you optimize content for product pages. If you’re selling more than a dozen or so products, manually identifying, ranking and optimizing for all of their respective keywords is tedious and impractical for most organizations.
There are between 12 and 24 million ecommerce websites (source).
Google uses at least 200 different ranking factors (source).
Between 2015 and 2018, Amazon overtook Google by capturing 54% of all product searches (source).
A PIM gives you the tools you need to optimize your content for SEO at scale.
What is PIM?
PIM is an ecommerce software solution for creating a single source of product content truth. Use PIM to optimize content for richness, accuracy, and completeness. Finally, PIM syndicates content to meet requirements by sales channel.
Think of PIM as a central repository for all the content you use to populate product pages to sell your products online. It’s important to remember that product content means two things. It’s both the information essential to descriptions, feature bullets, and specifications and digital assets, like images, videos, and CAD drawings.
What does any of this have to do with SEO?
PIM’s foundation is a robust centralized repository for inputting, storing, organizing, modifying, updating, developing, optimizing, and syndicating product content.
The goal of PIM is to drive sales conversions by presenting potential customers with fully optimized product pages. These have to be bursting with all the information and images customers need to make strong, informed buying decisions.
Thus, in the ecommerce space, with the digital foundation PIM provides, your SEO strategy has the potential to accomplish not only what you know it’s supposed to, but the how as well.
Quite simply, PIM is the “how.”
The Four Keys of SEO
Minus all the fads, trends, and gimmicks, the correct practice of SEO comes down to just three main points. All three of these are driven by the product content PIM has been purposefully designed to manage.
You need to know which keywords people are actually using to search for products in the category you’re selling in.
What you want people to search doesn’t matter.
It also doesn’t matter what you think they should search.
What they used to search doesn’t matter either.
It only matters what they’re going to search.
2. High Quality Content
You have to plug your keywords into high quality content.
High quality content is:
Search engines hate redundant content. In the ecommerce space, populating your product pages with content you copied from the manufacturer is poor SEO practice.
Potential customers want to read content that tells them what they want to know. That content has to be accurate, up-to-date, and directly related to the keywords you’re targeting with your SEO strategy.
Both Google and customers want pages to tell them everything about the topic. Informed customers make strong buying decisions, reducing returns and increasing loyalty.
(Read everything you need to know about how high quality content flows from clean data in the blog featured below.)
3. Digital Assets
To hold potential customers attention online, you need to break up text content with, digital assets like images and videos. In ecommerce, the key is showing products from every possible angle, to ensure their features are fully showcased. 360-degree images are the new standard minimum.
Bridging the gap between the actual product and what the customer thinks increases conversions and reduces returns.
These days, nothing drives conversions like videos. Product pages that feature unboxing, assembly, and installation videos provide customers with the information necessary to make informed buying decisions. Videos that show product in use connect the reality of the product with the customer’s mental picture.
Finally, your product pages have to load quickly. And they have to be optimized for the mobile devices many customers tend to prefer to shop with these days.
Let’s get to how PIM makes this happen.
7 Ways PIM Supports Your SEO Strategy
With PIM, keywords can be incorporated into product management at any time from implementation on. This means you can hit the ground running from an SEO standpoint. Because the content you push out to your product pages is already optimized for search.
Because product launch involves multiple internal teams, coordinating and centralizing product content with a PIM allows everyone to contribute input. The result is a fuller, more robust, and better thought-out SEO strategy.
This more diverse view means you’re less likely to miss the keywords critical to driving views that lead to conversions.
Also, it should go without saying, but those keywords can be amended, adjusted, deleted, or changed. This way, you keep pace with changing trends. If after implementation your pages aren’t getting as many views as you’d anticipated, the solution is simple: adjust your products’ keywords in your PIM. It’s an easy way to bring in more traffic.
Further, with PIM, the keywords you choose to most centrally identify your brand with can be populated across product pages to present a unified message. Savvy customers shop in multiple online marketplaces, and noticing your central message varies from site to site may give them an impression of carelessness.
PIM makes sure your product pages present a unified brand message.
On the other hand, some product content needs to vary to match the buyers you target with specific channels. You can use buyer specific keywords can to target specific kinds of potential customers by target channel.
PIM allows you to tailor your brand message, niching your messaging where it’s most likely to resonate. This is important, because speaking your customers’ language, instead of trying to sell to them in sales speak they may find inauthentic and off-putting, is a recipe for success.
2. Product Tags
Product tags are short descriptors you connect to your products. They give more detail than simple product names, which are often reflective of broad categories. Think about the products you sell, and then think about how many different variations you sell of each.
Different types of customers search for the products they want to buy in different ways. Product tags provide your customers with the ability to narrow their searches down and find exactly what they want more quickly.
When supported by a PIM, product tags enable easy translation into SEO keywords.
An individual customer might search something like, “pliers,” while a contractor with a greater amount of knowledge and experience would be more likely to search, “5-inch needle nose pliers.” Building fine-tuned descriptions into your product tags allows potential customers to find your products via search much more quickly and easily.
Remember, search engines return results depending upon where you place keywords, so sprinkling them in various locations within your product pages will return better results. Simply incorporating keywords into product titles and descriptions is far too simplistic.
PIM lets you place keywords in every possible location a search engine might look.
3. PIM with Digital Asset Management (DAM) Functionality
Provide your customers with the fullest possible understanding of your products
Your customers will feel empowered when you give them the information they need to make informed buying decisions. Rich digital assets, such as 360-degree pictures, unboxing and installation videos, and CAD drawings, transfer that power of information to your customers.
Because you need to include these digital assets to achieve sales success anyway, optimizing them for search is the next logical step. With a PIM that includes a DAM you can attach metadata to digital assets. Like product tags, you can write that metadata to include keywords your customers search online.
(Read everything you need to know about how PIM with data governance functionality drives revenue for your ecommerce operation in the blog featured below.)
4. PIM Supports Automatic Image Transformation
These days a given page’s mobile compatibility impacts search results heavily. This is because, for many people, phones, tablets, and other mobile devices constitute their primary means of accessing the Internet. As such, search engines have begun to rank sites more highly if their content is optimized for mobile.
To be optimized for mobile, your product pages need to display content dynamically regardless of what kind of device a potential customer is using to search for and experience your site. As you might imagine, text transforms more easily for the mobile experience than do images and videos.
Ultimately, what this means is you need to be sure that your product pages can display with the smaller images necessary for product pages to display correctly on phones and even watches. At the same time, different retail and ecommerce websites require resized images to populate according to their specific requirements.
Product pages that feature a full complement of images and videos are more likely to convert customers than pages with limited digital assets.
PIM, with DAM functionality, automatically resizes images and video both for smaller mobile screens, and to conform to channel-specific requirements like aspect ratio and resolution. This way, no matter where potential customers find your product pages, your images and text tell the story of your brand you know is most likely to drive conversions.
Remember, while a search engine can’t distinguish a compelling product page from one that’s not driving conversions, they can see what potential customers are doing. If visitors are finding your product pages, but leaving them quickly without buying, search engines will assume the page did not provide the person searching it with what they wanted. Over time, pages like this will begin to rank lower, hurting your overall SEO profile.
5. Sales Rep Feedback Integration
Feedback from customers is incredibly important for understanding how well your product pages are performing, or why they aren’t. Feedback allows you to shape your brand messaging and more fully optimize product pages to drive conversions.
But even more important is feedback from the sales reps whose job it is to sell products, yours and others, to customers all day, every day. These are the people, even more than customers themselves, who know precisely what drives conversions and what doesn’t. Gathering their feedback and comments constitutes an invaluable resource.
Sales reps have their fingers on the pulse of today’s sales environment.
PIM gathers sales rep feedback in the form of the search terms they’re using on your sales channels. This provides a consistent feed of the newest material to guide updates to your sites with an eye to optimizing pages for SEO.
6. PIM Allows for Competitor Cross Referencing
Knowing how your competitors are succeeding at any given moment ranks among some of the most important information you can collect, regardless of your business vertical. With an eye to ecommerce and SEO, it’s a major win to draw sales away from competitors when potential customers search the keywords they’ve already cornered.
With PIM, you can do more than optimize your own pages for searches of the keywords you’re already ranking with. A little bit of research will tell you which keywords your competitors are outcompeting you with, and with PIM, you can plug them into your product pages.
More traffic necessarily makes for more conversions.
Instead of using your valuable time to build results organically with blogs and other presentations of lengthy content, potential customers will see your products alongside those of your competitors. Combined with the other benefits PIM affords you to optimize your product pages, appearing in searches of your competitors keywords might just be enough to redirect that traffic to your site.
To fully leverage this functionality, you should go beyond using the keywords you and your competitors are ranking with now, and predict the ones you intend to corner in the future. This way, even if you aren’t able to rank for those keywords using more conventional approaches, you’ll still see the traffic when potential customers search those keywords of tomorrow, next month, and next year.
7. Persona Driven Pages
Manufacturers have diversified their sales channels by selling on across as many platforms as they can, from ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, to retail sites like Home Depot, to their own D2C sites and multi-storefront operations. Simple math tells us that with more stores comes more chances of a potential customer finding one.
Simply, more stores means more likelihood of more conversions.
Because you intend to target a different, specific buyer with each of your sales channels, each is going to need a tailored SEO strategy. Think about it, different buyers are going to exist in different spaces online. Targeting them with the same strategy is only going to be so effective.
Instead, PIM allows you to tailor content by buyer and channel to maximize traffic and drive conversions. With PIM you can segment product content to feature the precise sort of search terms a targeted buyer is going to use to find the kind of products you’re selling. Visitors empowered with the information they need to make informed buying decisions are the ones most likely to convert.
PIM empowers you to empower your customers to buy.
PIM Drives SEO at Scale
Individual products require carefully articulated strategies to rank high in search results. These strategies have to include content optimized not only for the ecommerce audience, but also for the search engines that audience uses to find your products.
It’s easy to sell a dozen products across a few marketplaces manually. But as the number of products and sales channels you sell across increases, the number of optimizations you’ll have to do to stay competitive will increase exponentially.
PIM grows with your operation, to ensure you stay on top of your SEO strategy as your operation grows into the future.
In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the core challenges you’re facing running your D2C operation. Understanding these challenges, and how PIM solves them, are the keys to increasing your D2C sales revenue and growing market share today.
D2C or DTC?
Regardless of which abbreviation you use, D2C or DTC, they refer to the exact same thing: the direct to consumer advertising and sales model. Because you already know what those are, this blog isn’t going to focus on explanation.
Instead, because clarity is key to comprehension, it’s important to note why this blog uses D2C, not DTC.
First, DTC already means to many other things. Wikipedia’s DTC disambiguation page lists 27 companies, industries, methodologies, and even people already referred to as “DTC” (source). Second, D2C mirrors acronyms already in common use, such as B2B and B2C.
These reasons would seem to be enough to reject DTC in favor of D2C.
What are D2C challenges?
Think about why you decided to create a D2C webstore in the first place. What does the D2C model afford you?
These days, sales success is nearly synonymous with the word “niche.” Leveraging your niche allows you to speak as an authority to a very specific kind of customer. This empowers your site with authenticity that drives conversions.
So, because you want to laser-focus your product content on a particular kind of customer, the D2C model allows you to do this. But there are challenges:
Challenge #1: You own content creation.
With a D2C site, you’re now responsible for making sure your product pages are maintained as well or better than your retailer pages. You need to bring together detailed information about your products with presentation based on detailed information about your customers.
With regard to D2C product information, your users create content and move it into the ecommerce site you’re using. This means manually assigning attributes to each product and populating them with the corresponding pieces of information.
How can you ensure completeness and quality?
Optimized product pages have to be 100% up-to-date with the latest information and images to convert customers. One way PIM approaches this problem is by automatically assigning each product a completeness score. Your PIM, once configured to include all products and their attributes, will display a score for each product.
This way, you can always focus effort where it’s needed most.
Running a D2C site makes it possible for you to provide your visitors with a tailored and unique experience. An experience that is different than anything they will receive from a retailer site selling a wide variety of different brands.
PIM makes it possible to manage as much robust content as you’d like and syndicate it all to your site. Telling your product and brand story with whatever content you’d like is the result.
Use this freedom to your advantage to make your D2C site’s product pages as robust and compelling as possible.
Challenge #2: You manage and update content.
Success in D2C means constant focus on continuous improvement. Ecommerce platforms are designed specifically to display product information and digital assets to create aesthetically pleasing product pages. This also means these platforms aren’t created to manage and update product content.
Adding attributes, features, benefits, descriptions, images, videos, and anything else necessary to improve content is very nearly impossible. But with PIM, you simply update and push out new information wherever it’s missing or otherwise necessary for improvement.
Also, ask yourself: how many products do we sell?
If you were selling one product, managing and updating it would be simple. But you many not even know how many products you sell, so managing content means bulk-updating. Again, ecommerce platforms aren’t built to handle this specific task, but PIM is.
PIM connects products to their attributes at implementation.
This means you start from a robust digital foundation you use time and again when updating product information. Instead of updating one product attribute at a time, you simply make the desired change, and push it out everywhere at once.
Challenge #3: Your customers need a reason to buy directly from you.
Amazon, easily the largest online retailer in the world, held 43.5% of the U.S. online retail market in 2017 (source). It’s also 2.5 times bigger than its next competitor, JD.com (source), and 4.5 times bigger than its closest US competitor, eBay (source).
Why shouldn’t your customers buy your products from Amazon?
The answer is obvious: Amazon’s success means they sell just about everything. But if all I want is a drink of water, why use a firehose? You can fine-tune and customize your D2C site in all the ways you never could with an Amazon product page.
Amazon’s sheer size means delivering an authentic, tailored customer experience through their website is virtually impossible. Amazon’s product pages are standardized, so the only way you can make your products stand out is with the content you give them. Ultimately, Amazon sees sales as sales, be they of your products or your competitors.
Also, people who buy products from Amazon are less likely to focus on the fact they’re buying your products. The branding and presentation of Amazon’s pages mean customers focus instead on buying from Amazon. In the short run, this might not make a difference. But building customer loyalty should be the goal of everyone selling online.
A PIM driven D2C site boosts brand identity.
This is turn increases conversions, revenue, and the kind of long term customer loyalty that’s the dream of every business owner selling online.
PIM allows you full control over your product information and digital assets, so product pages can be optimized to deliver the maximum amount of value to your customers. PIM does this all while conforming precisely to your brand message.
Challenge #4: Where does your D2C site sit among all your sales channels?
Another undeniable advantage to running a D2C site is simply having one more place to showcase your products. There are somewhere between 12 and 24 million ecommerce sites online today. Of those, approximately 650,000 generate over $1,000 a year in revenue (source).
(Read everything you need to know about leveraging a PIM to drive revenue for your multi-storefront operation in the blog featured below.)
However, replacing one or more retailer sites with a new D2C site is a bad idea. Even if your new D2C is perfectly designed, it’ll take awhile to rank on Google. Your retailer sites should already be ranking, bringing in customers, and converting them. Don’t turn off a channel that’s already driving revenue.
PIM simplifies expanding across new channels, so rolling out a D2C site to compliment your existing operation requires less time and effort.
The bottom line is, having more sites is one way to increase market share and become more profitable. But don’t forget, there are several reasons why your D2C site needs to be unique.
Google’s algorithm hates duplicate content.
Copying and pasting product content from your retailer sites to your D2C site won’t work. Because your retailer sites are already established, copying them means Google is more likely to penalize you with lower rankings.
The single greatest benefit of a D2C site is having total control over content.
Simply copying existing sites is a waste, when you can instead sharpen and customize content to drive conversions. Ultimately, your D2C site needs to be a completely unique experience of your brand message.
Delighting customers with a compelling presentation composed of unique product content is what PIM was designed to do. PIM allows you to automatically update and push specific pieces of product information and digital assets to a particular site’s product pages.
PIM also simplifies growing market share by giving you the ability to build out new sites and channels on a robustly implemented digital foundation. This makes hyper-targeting the product content for your D2C site far easier than with Excel spreadsheets.
Challenge #5: Teams have to collaborate.
Manufacturers typically have just one person managing all product information and digital assets. However, it’s very unlikely that one person is the only one making updates and other changes.
Instead, they receive content from multiple people and departments and have to organize everything to populate on product pages correctly. Even for companies with flowing internal communication and strong team cohesion, this is a massive undertaking.
This only gets more difficult as you roll out more products across more channels and retail sites.
PIM simplifies this process dramatically, providing companies with a single platform where all product information and images can be managed centrally. This ultimately means individuals make changes to a single source of truth, rather than holding onto old, inaccurate information and images.
Challenge #6: Content has to be correct.
Everyone knows that people working in an organization have their own ways of doing things. Unfortunately, in the ecommerce space, this means people often have specific go-to descriptions and images they rely on. Because each person is working in their own environment, maintaining a single source of truth becomes difficult, if not impossible.
The result is product content with mistakes you thought were fixed.
You authorized updates to fix mistakes, but how do you know someone really made those changes? Was the change made in the one space you pointed out or everywhere it exists across all your channels?
Further, how do you know your teams aren’t using the descriptions and data they’ve come to rely on? If they don’t want to take the time to search through your system to find an updated picture or product specification sheet, they won’t.
PIM solves this critical problem with workflow functionality.
Workflow tracks each change made by user and according to permission level. Any changes made by a user with the highest level of permission are automatically approved. Changes others make go up to the user designated to approve them.
Further logging and tracking of all changes ensures you can skip trying to figure out where the mistakes are coming from and simply not approve them. This ensures you, the decision-maker, are the one who is ultimately in charge of all changes to your D2C website content.
(Read everything you need to know about how PIM workflow functionality increases productivity in the blog featured below.)
Challenge #7: Content has to be up-to-date.
One of the most time-intensive challenges of ecommerce is keeping your product pages up-to-date when improvements or attribute enhancements change products. Depending upon the kind and amount of products you sell, this can be an easily-planned-for annual update, or a constant project.
However, if you’re pulling data from PIM, it becomes possible to set up a feed to automatically push out new information as you update. PIM makes it impossible to miss an update because of your hectic work schedule or simply because someone forgets.
With PIM, updates simply can’t be missed.
Challenge #8: Which ecommerce platform are you using?
Last but not least, it doesn’t matter which ecommerce platform you’re working with. You can configure PIM to automatically modify product information and digital assets by the specific requirements of each ecommerce platform, sales channel, as well as your D2C site.
Finally, it should be clear by now that solving these eight challenges with PIM is a sure fire way to drive revenue and grow market share.
Bring in PIM for a D2C Win
Retailers and wholesalers bring in lots of visitors, but without a D2C site to compliment these there will be no space where you’re 100% in control. But you’ve already got a D2C site, right?
Great content drives an excellent user experience.
Maximizing revenue becomes a much easier goal to fulfill with total control of your brand and messaging. How people see your products comes directly from creating and publishing your own high quality content. So you want to create tons of high quality content for your product pages and continuously push it out across platforms.
Manufacturers need a PIM solution with three core functionalities.
PIM centralizes product content, because knowing where product information and assets are empowers you to create product pages that delight customers and convert them. Also, PIM optimizes product content, so you can be sure product information and assets are accurate and up-to-date. Finally, PIM syndicates product content, because product pages have to be populated with the content you’ve optimized.
Multi-storefront operations present differentiated and compelling product content tailored to the customers you want to sell to, maximizing revenue.
If you are running a multi-storefront operation, you are probably fine-tuning your stores’ experiences to the buyer personas. This is because most multi-storefronts are designed with the buyer personas they sell to in mind.
Let’s take for example, a hypothetical organization called “HVAC Superstore,” that among other products sells thermocouples. HVAC Superstore is targeting three personas: consumers, contractors and enterprises.
And based on these personas, the current strategy for most organizations is to differentiate on the following:
Calls to Action
In 2019 and beyond to continue to drive conversions, this just isn’t enough.
The bar has risen.
Progressive organizations are taking this one step further. And that next level centers on product pages. It may sound incredible, but content on product pages is often overlooked as a key differentiator across storefronts, costing real conversions.
Enter product content.
To maximize revenue in today’s global marketplace, content has to be differentiated and compelling at the same time across your multi-storefront operation. Simply put, to maximize revenue and expand market share, companies have to craft product content to sell to different kinds of customers.
From individual consumers to massive global enterprise corporations, if your content doesn’t speak precisely to them, you’re probably losing conversions.
Each multi-storefront represents a different type of buyer.
Product content that the buyer sees has to be compelling and uniquely targeted to the persona of the buyer. This targeting and storytelling becomes difficult as storefronts are introduced. But this is critical to drive revenue.
Unique and tailored content is the key to driving conversions.
(Read everything you need to know about tailoring product content in the blog featured below.)
What’s more, different customers naturally and automatically expect to see product content presented in a way they can immediately understand and respond to. Targeting different customers with a multi-storefront approach does this.
We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.
In most cases, the goal of an ecommerce operation or eCatalog is to:
Grow Market Share
In this blog, we’ll focus on realizing these sales goals with a product information management (PIM) solution that simplifies publishing across multi-storefronts. But first, it’s key to know exactly who you’re selling to. To illustrate this, let’s continue with our HVAC Superstore example by looking at a case study.
A 3-Part Multi-Storefront Case Study
A thermocouple is a common safety device like a thermometer that detects when a pilot light has gone out. The picture above shows a thermocouple for a water heater. Remember, HVAC Superstore has determined it wants to sell thermocouples to 3 kinds of customers:
An individual consumer is unlikely to buy more than 1 thermocouple at a time, whereas a contractor is likely to buy thermocouples for water heaters, stoves, or furnaces regularly. An enterprise construction company may need to buy 1,000 thermocouples for a new high-rise in one large purchase, or in combination with thousands of other products.
The point is, because of their individual needs, each type of customer in this case study is going to have a particular concern. Also, while there may naturally be overlap, that specific concern is more likely to be unique to that customer than not.
This customer’s primary focus is on getting their thermocouple at the lowest possible price, and will need to be assured of its quality.
The product page for this kind of customer will need to include several images, a guide explaining how to hook up the thermocouple, and a video to demonstrate installation. Further, the images will have to show the consumer exactly what the thermocouple looks like packaged, unpackaged, and, most importantly, what it’s going to look like after proper installation.
Multiple payment and delivery options are part of delighting individual customers. They’ll be concerned with warranties, returns, and refunds. Ultimately, the consumer is more likely to buy and less likely to return the thermocouple if your product pages make a clear, attractive promise your company and products can keep.
This customer wants to be certain the thermocouple is available for pick up immediately, or that delivery is available for precisely the right time and place. The contractor will also require the thermocouple to arrive in perfect condition, ready for installation.
The product page for this kind of customer will need to include all necessary installation information and precise specifications, like a CAD drawing. If the house where the thermocouple will be installed is in a city, county, or state with complex regulations about installation, your product pages should address this concern to maximize conversions.
Contractors are also knowledgeable, so product content has to include a certain level of industry-specific jargon to assure them your company knows everything about what it’s selling. Ultimately, the contractor isn’t going to buy your thermocouple if your product pages don’t assure them they won’t have to waste time, and lose money, waiting because the thermocouple is out of stock.
The Enterprise Company
This customer may have specialized pricing schemes to take advantage of buying at geographic or volume scale, or both, and certain specific delivery requirements.
Beyond product pages, enterprise customers are likely to expect a gated view of your site. Once logged in, they will want product pages customized to negotiated requirements. Enterprise companies will also expect your product pages to include a high-degree of product content to educate them about your thermocouples.
Notice how little the two paragraphs above actually discuss the product itself. The impersonal focus of the enterprise company is just one demonstration of the wide variability in customer-specific requirements.
You can’t sell to a person the same way you can sell to company, so your product pages have to reflect that fact.
Here is a breakdown of the differences inherent to the 3 kinds of customers in our case study.
Multi-Storefront Sales Tailored by Customer
The case study above is only an example, as ecommerce operations often sell simultaneously to many different kinds of customers. Obviously, the more store considerations you have to account for, the more multi-storefronts you will need, and the more complex your operations become.
Because customers range in size, even though there is some overlap, each tends to have a specific main concern. These main concerns are best met with product content presented in a particular way across a company’s multi-storefront.
An incomplete list of different kinds of customers and specific example concerns includes the following.
People shopping online tend to place price above all other concerns, but don’t forget to highlight quality and functionality in product descriptions. Individuals also like lots of images, but videos are the biggest sellers today.
Like individual consumers, students care about prices. But students are also eligible for discounts, so don’t forget to address those. Students also tend to buy one of everything per year, so highlighting a 1-year guarantee is key.
Contractors have to know products are available and will be delivered precisely on time. They’ll also need as much installation and regulatory information as necessary to opt for your products.
Nonprofits and NGOs are often focused on local, regional, national, and international issues. So your product content has to speak to their values concerning one or all of these.
News outlets focus on the issues their readers and viewers are concerned with. So your product content has to assure them those issues are important to you, too.
Public schools are highly regulated by local governments, so product pages need to include regulatory compliance information. Universities, on the other hand, are often focused on prestige. So they tend to associate with brands with strongly established reputations for high quality.
Like public schools, law enforcement is tightly regulated. But unlike them, selling to adults instead of children means your product pages will have to focus on quality over aesthetics.
Hospitals are subject to a heavy amount of oversight, because so much of what they buy has the potential to kill people. As such, your product pages will have to place extraordinary emphasis on compliance to ensure customers your products meet absolutely every regulation.
These customers will want to negotiate the best possible deal at scale, requiring a long sales cycle and development of a close business relationship.
Buyers of this kind are likely to be even more focused on scale than enterprise companies, because military equipment is subject to intentional destruction.
Finally, because governments are the most bureaucratic institutions on Earth, you’ll have to develop relationships with dozens, or even hundreds, of individuals and departments. This level of required detail means omitting even a single piece of product information on any of your product pages could be the difference between a sale and not.
Regardless of who you’re selling to, PIM is ultimately the solution for simplifying optimization of product content for all the product pages making up your complex multi-storefront operation.
Multi-Storefronts Tailored to Use Case
As stated above, multi-storefronts work because of an emphasis of focus on specific customer types, but that’s just the beginning. You can also use multi-storefronts to differentiate between any number of other varying factors, such as:
Above we looked at how you can set up multi-storefronts to serve different kinds of customers. But you can also arrange them to showcase a specific product or group of related products. Selling only a specific group of products together, with descriptions and images that highlight their connections, drives cross-sell.
Multi-storefronts simplify international expansion of operations by supporting different languages, currencies, and units of measure. Don’t lose customers who like how your products look, but who can’t read your descriptions.
Some customers prefer to shop online with a desktop computer and some like the flexibility of buying with a phone. Some customers have Android phones and some use iPhones. Don’t disappoint customers with product pages that look bad just because they prefer shopping with a phone.
Many products sell better at specific times of the year or are automatically associated with holidays or other events. Boost seasonal sales with multi-storefronts optimized to appeal to back-to-school shoppers or people who shop for Christmas presents year round.
Use multi-storefronts to set up sites with short-term special offers or temporary sales promotions.
Product Page Optimization
If you aren’t sure about the buyer persona you want to target with a particular product offer, set up multi-storefronts like A/B tests. That way you can determine how best to optimize product pages, to craft and sharpen brand messaging.
Ultimately, it’s the simple math that leads to groundswell. The more multi-storefronts you operate, the higher the likelihood that one or more of them will end up ranking highly on Google. Whether that happens or not, with more multi-storefronts comes more chance customers will simply find one of your stores. All that adds up to more conversions.
How PIM Helps You Avoid Common Multi-Storefront Mistakes
Succeeding in today’s ecommerce space is as much about figuring out how to do things right as not starting off by doing things wrong. Here is a list of common mistakes you can solve by implementing a PIM solution.
As of 2017, there were approximately 12 to 24 million ecommerce sites online worldwide.
Nothing is going to make selling online easy, but PIM makes it easier to organize product content. With regard to multi-storefronts, PIM removes the endless hassle of managing product information and images. In turn, you can focus on niching your sites.
Building a strong brand is hard, so delegate work to your PIM.
Setting up a successful ecommerce website can take up to 1 year.
Don’t use up your valuable time making sure all your product pages are optimized. Instead, sharpen the focus of your multi-storefront operation by tweaking your page designs and product presentation to drive sales. You can ensure you present visitors with accurate information and up-to-date images and videos with a PIM.
Achieving sales success takes time, so let your PIM do the repetitive work.
82.97% of ecommerce website content is duplicate in nature.
Mistake #3: Running an overly complex multi-storefront
This blog is full of reasons why a multi-storefront operation will drive revenue and grow your market share. But it’s important not to get ahead of yourself. PIM simplifies running even hundreds of sites, but ask yourself why you need so many.
Instead of thinking up ideas for new sites, make sure your sites are built on robust, revenue-generating necessity.
(Read everything you need to know about picking the right PIM solution in the blog featured below.)
The Bottom Line
If the goal of your eCatalog or ecommerce store is to drive revenue, you have to provide the tailored product content that converts for different kinds of customers you sell to. Simultaneously you have to keep your multi-storefront product pages optimized with accurate and up-to-date product information. The best way to do this is with a PIM solution.
With PIM supporting the product content syndication behind all these multi-storefronts, you can be sure your product pages are enriched and compelling. This is the case regardless of who sees them, where they see them, how they see them, when they see them, or what their specific likes and interests are.
Everyone who works with product content knows keeping information accurate and images up-to-date is difficult. Data governance is a sure fire way to stay on top of your product content, to drive sales success and grow market share.
Using data governance to help marketing departments drive conversions is a recent development.
Ironically, you can see this is true because statistics connecting data governance and ecommerce marketing are almost impossible to find. In any case, online sales still center around product pages. And those product pages bring together the following:
It’s never been more important to understand how data governance connects to product content marketing to drive sales success.
For example, using software to maintain product information and digital asset quality and completeness, making rich product pages, is just one way data governance applies to product content management.
In this blog, we investigate how to deal with data and the emergence of data governance specifically in regard to product content.
What is Data Governance?
You can think of it as a set of core practices dealing with data discoverability, maintenance, and security.
Data governance is a practice best suited for mid-size, medium enterprise, and global enterprise operations. Data governance plays a limited role in small and mid-sized businesses, because they typically place responsibility for master data management in the hands of only a few key individuals.
The History of Data Governance
In the heyday of client-server systems, recognizing the value of enterprise data became the innovation of the century.
Although nobody knows who coined the term ‘data governance,’ it came into use to help enterprises streamline processes for capturing, updating, and discovering data. Security joined this party a little later, when the importance and value of data became more apparent.
Data Governance, Enforcement, and Product Data
Ensuring data quality sits at the center of the relationship between data governance and product content. However, depending on the particular industry, needs can vary. As explained above, the focus should be on mid-size and enterprise brands, and as related to product data.
Within that context, the importance of implementing 5 key data governance principles becomes clear.
Identify everyone who has to use data for discoverability, decision making, analytics, and data maintenance.
Determine access security levels.
Entrust the work of updating content to the right stakeholders in the appropriate departments.
Enforce the necessary quality checks, in the form of system validation, at the point of data entry.
Put into place the necessary review and approval steps to verify data.
Product Data Isn’t Enough
Data is essential, but it’s rarely enough from a product marketing standpoint.
Elevating digital assets to the same level of importance is an ever increasing need. Because ecommerce is a visual experience, images and videos are critical to driving conversions.
Governance is essential for a marketing department to succeed at convincing and converting prospects into customers with brand messaging. It isn’t enough to do this with ease, unless the product is very industrial or scientific in nature.
A majority of departments need product data governance because they have to master not just data, but they also need digital assets. Product data are critical, for example:
This data doesn’t diminish the need for rich content, but this isn’t enough.
Successful organizations are the ones that have put practices and systems in place to govern data and digital assets.
(Read everything you need to know about why product information and digital assets should be stored together in the blog featured below.)
Data Governance Evolution
Although data is a necessity and key ingredient for robust product pages, it isn’t enough to generate visual interest in the product. Hence a product with complete data is not enough for SEO, marketing, or conversion.
This has led leading brands to adopt similar governing principles when it comes to rich content like product images, different product views, certification images, application images, 360 images, spec sheets, pdf documents, and installation guides.
5 Ways Data Governance Drives Revenue
1. Product Experience
Accurate, up-to-date content along with rich digital assets and enhanced content, delight customers. The bedrock of a solid product page is rich, enhanced content.
The core strength of data governance is improved decision making – with regard to PIM, this ability is passed to the customer. Once the customer is informed, they can decide to buy with confidence.
2. Time to Market
You can go live with your product quickly and with more rich content once you have a data governance process in place. This speed facilitates better planning across teams, so that product launches are more robust.
If you are targeting a launch window, taking advantage of a trade show, writing press releases, or otherwise focused on marketing, data governance will improve outcomes. You’ll know your content and product pages will be in top shape.
(Read everything you need to know about optimizing your product pages in the blog featured below.)
3. Buyer Satisfaction
When you ensure customers know exactly what they are buying, you minimize disappointing them with products that are different from what they thought they were buying.
The surest way to drive returns is to fail to meet customer expectations.
4. Repeat Business
Delighted customers not only convert, but return for the same experience by buying from you again and again.
The most important benefit of data governance is enrichment. Rich content is the leverage to deploy products across the full range of your multi-storefront operation: retail, marketplace, and website channels. Strong governance allows use of the same content to perform time and again across channels, further increasing sales.
For example, sales channels vary by product content requirements. Data governance speeds and simplifies this process, whereas operations not governing data are far more likely to have data spread across their organization that, due to that spread, is also more likely to vary from any kind of unenforced standard formatting rules.
Data Governance Implementation
Implementing a process that is either based on sound project management techniques, or by regular auditing, organizations can govern the creation and maintenance of, as well as access to, rich content.
Tips for organizations
Eliminate data silos.
Enforce validation rules that eliminate duplicate data.
Tie a simple approval process, using reliable methods, to ensure data owners directly perform or supervise data entry.
Review specifications when data changes annually.
Review new types of digital asset requests annually.
Fix inaccurate data: incorrect or incorrectly entered data.
Ensure the correct people make categorization and hierarchical data decisions.
Implement internal communication mechanisms around data.
Comply with regulations by having the data needed for attributes like Prop 65.
And all of the following should be required:
A spec-sheet, if applicable
An installation sheet, if applicable
A 360 degree photo
Several images covering different views
A rich description
An enhanced page comparing models of related products
Bonus tip for multi-lingual organizations
Enforce a process that updates the same content across all markets when updating content in one language.
Make Data Governance Work for You
Data governance is important for marketing to help in driving revenue. Data is the foundation for success, but it is not enough. Mid-size brands need to evolve into data governance so they include the necessary digital assets that to achieve full product page enrichment.
Publishing content is difficult. Some parts can be automated, and others can be accelerated with efficiencies. Workflow is a tool that improves efficiency.
Publishing content for ecommerce can be quite an undertaking, with lots of moving pieces. Parts of the process can be automated, while others can be sped up by building efficiencies. One tool that can help in improving efficiency in the publishing process is workflow and notifications.
Centralizing product data and images is incredibly valuable and helps the speeding up process in a number of ways. If you have multiple users and multiple departments collaborating on your product content development in a product information management (PIM) solution, workflow is a necessity.
Workflow drives production within teams, increasing their productivity and automatically delegating tasks. It passes notifications from individual team members, or entire departments, as they complete specific tasks. Tasks continue to be passed in this way until the full process is completed.
You can also tailor workflows to a team or a specific business.
A great example of this in the context of PIM is a new product introduction (NPI) workflow vs. a product deletion workflow. Different types of companies may also utilize different types of workflows.
For example, a small equipment manufacturer’s NPI workflow may consist of only product managers and a marketing team. On the other hand, a large consumer packaged goods manufacturer’s NPI workflow is likely to be much more complex. It may encompass many different departments, actions, and levels of approval.
Different Workflows to Increase Productivity
Product content workflows for each business are unique, since each business is unique. However, there are a few key ways workflow drives productivity for any business.
The most commonly implemented is the NPI workflow. Every company needs to introduce new products and every company struggles working across departments to release them.
A second commonly used workflow is the content update workflow. When a user makes a change to specific attributes in a database those changes are noted in this kind of workflow. Notifications are automatically sent to the user granted the authority to approve or deny changes. Overall, you can use it to maintain the quality and cleanliness of all product data.
(We cover this topic in depth in the blog featured below.)
Last, but possibly the most important, is the channel introduction workflow. This workflow comes into play when you are onboarding new products to a retailer or sending product information to a new retailer.
This is the newest challenge PIM workflow is helping organizations address. It allows them to get all required information out to retailers as quickly as possible while still maintaining accuracy.
Let’s look at each workflow in detail.
New Product Introduction Workflow
Building robust product data can be a massive challenge for manufacturers. Many users work to create product data. For example, your marketing team is writing descriptive copy, specifications have to come from your product managers, and everything needs to be approved by management.
Unfortunately, often times these departments are disconnected or don’t communicate with each other well. Workflow automatically notifies each team member when they need to edit or approve data for a new product. This eliminates the possibility of any user overlooking data or images that remain missing through the on-boarding process.
An NPI workflow connects your team digitally. Today, it’s easy for employees and their teams to become disconnected, perhaps because they only communicate occasionally on their phones or in informal meetings. This lack of communication can slow down and confuse normal business operations.
The NPI workflow facilitates communication, cutting the time it takes for employees and departments to complete their tasks. Its power comes in letting all users know where others are in terms of completing their task, so everyone knows what still needs to be done.
An NPI workflow builds a sense of teamwork within your organization. It allows your team to tackle what may seem like months’ worth of work in days or even hours.
Implementing workflow with your PIM can reduce your NPI process from days to only a few hours.
Not only does this workflow decrease the time it takes to complete the NPI content creation process, but it also improves the quality of the content created. Because each user has ample time to accomplish their assigned tasks, workflows eliminate the problem of working against an unrealistic deadline.
Content Update Workflow
A content update workflow is implemented to ensure product data and digital asset content quality is improved, or at the very least properly maintained.
Content update workflow is typically designed so that all changes to attributes that have already been populated are sent to a specific user for approval. The user who approves the changes is usually the content manager or another employee in a management role.
The content update workflow is important because often changes need to be made frequently. Without an approval process a user could make changes to data that are incorrect. Allowing these changes to go live reduces continuity across your brand, confuses potential customers, and can ultimately decrease revenue.
The content update workflow ensures all changes go through the right people. This ensures brand messaging stays on point, even as core content undergoes changes.
Channel Introduction Workflow
Manufacturers today constantly have the opportunity to open new sales channels via online retailers or distributors. Not only is this a new opportunity for manufacturers it also can be very lucrative. However, with new opportunities come new challenges.
One critical challenge that comes with selling through more online retailers and distributors is actually getting the content necessary for the retailer or distributor to post your product on their site.
(We cover this topic in depth in the blog featured below.)
PIM serves as a central repository for all of your product data, simplifying syndication of data. Some vendors employ practices to make it easier to meet each of your retailer’s specific requirements. Having centralized product data is great, but knowing which data and products you need to send to a retailer can be tricky. This is where workflow can help.
Workflow, when used for on-boarding new products, organizes your team’s tasks in the way you’ve determined is most efficient. A typical flow of activities would be as follows:
Create missing data
Share with the retailer
Don’t fool yourself, because a workflow that looks as simple as this can actually take teams weeks or months to complete. This says nothing of the tension that can arise between different departments attempting to work in parallel.
Workflow stops the blame game and kick-starts your organization’s collaboration.
A retailer on-boarding workflow prompts users to work on the new retailer only when necessary. In addition, you can make specific tasks a top priority for a given user. This streamlining results in the products being ready for the retailers in a fraction of the time.
Gone are the days of departments working on separate projects and seemingly spinning their wheels. A workflow tool provides the most value adding projects that are started and completed as quickly as possible. This speed to market allows you to capture sales though new channel partners quickly and even create new life-long brand loyal customers.
Benefits of Workflow
Improve Team Collaboration
PIM is valuable because it allows you to centralize all of your product content in one location. The only piece left to unify is your users.
Simply, PIM unifies your product data and digital assets, like images and videos. Workflow unifies the users of that PIM.
PIM without workflow leaves users working in their own worlds, unaware of the contributions and progress of other users.
The key is to have your team connected, to push and drive each other.
Workflow also notifies users when others have completed tasks relevant to their work. This allows users to effectively manage all their priorities. When your team can consistently track their collective progress, it further drives production.
Workflow within a PIM leads each team member to hold themselves accountable. Users work harder to complete their tasks knowing their team members can’t start contributing until they’ve done their part.
Eliminate Missing Product Data
Incomplete product pages missing dimensions, descriptions, images, and other content are a challenge manufacturers have faced for years. Making sure data is not only accurate but populated across all your channels, as your SKU count grows and your teams get larger, has always been a headache.
Workflow brings your teams together, filling potential cracks in your process.
Workflow solves this age-old challenge easily, by creating tasks for users, notifying them when attributes are missing required data. With workflow you can assign specific attributes and products to specific users. This way they’re notified whenever any attribute they’re responsible for is missing or incomplete.
This consistent flow of notifications raises the quality of your content and allows agile teams to handle more data in less time.
Why does accurate, complete data matter?
Data drives the search functionality on your site and your dealer sites.
Completeness ensures your customers have all of the information they need to make a buying decision.
Accuracy allows your customers to more easily find the products they are looking for.
Publish Products Faster
Getting your products published faster is a direct result of the NPI and channel introduction workflows.
In the digital world, posting your products online as quickly as possible is vital to success. With the implementation of PIM, and workflows to drive team productivity, you can minimize the amount of time it takes to publish products across all the channels you sell through in your ecosystem.
Ultimately, workflow is the PIM feature you need to ensure you get to market before any of your competitors.
Improved Product Pages
High quality product pages are important for two reasons.
Increased product page views
Maximized conversion rates
Workflow is the most effective way to assign tasks to improve the quality of your product pages.
Without workflow, it becomes very easy to push off tasks that lead to higher sales. Workflows give you the ability to remind users to complete revenue driving tasks like adding images, creating new features, and improving descriptions.