Use PIM Component Expertise to Create Perfect Product Pages

Product Information Management (PIM) is software that provides a central space to create, manage, and syndicate product information across sales channels in a unified manner.

Internally, PIM comprises tools to store and share product information across multiple systems, and to facilitate workflow.

PIM can store all product information:
  • Product Descriptions
  • Configurations
  • Logistics Information
  • Reviews
  • Warranty Details
  • Prices

This makes PIM a reliable, all-in-one source of product information. Content is the king of ecommerce, and quality, tailored content that ensures a delightful customer experience is built on product information accuracy.

PIM delivers this accuracy to your product pages.

PIM Essentials

At its core, PIM offers companies the flexibility of working with every platform for product information retrieval and distribution. Companies must ensure customers receive complete, accurate information to make purchase decisions.

PIM and its standard elements make this possible.

Your PIM must syndicate product information easily.

Product information syndication is crucial, because storage spans individuals, teams, and their devices. For example, bulk editing ensures information consistency.

Editing information on marketing channels and platforms one by one takes forever. This also leads to product information inconsistency and increases the chance of including errors on product pages. Make sure your PIM can edit product information across digital channels simultaneously.

A good PIM is also highly flexible and configurable.

Users should be able to view product information by channel to make adjustments according to specific channel requirements. Your PIM should also integrate easily with other systems to turn out quality product content.

Content analytics is another element your PIM must have.

Analytics allow you to monitor product sales performance and fix problems as they arise.

Your PIM has to include a Digital Asset Management (DAM) feature.

DAM in PIM allows you to optimize digital assets, such as images and videos, for specific channels. Your DAM should be able to transform assets for seamless syndication across all the channels you use regardless of what their specific requirements are.

Define Your Objectives

What do you want your PIM to do?

Answering this question will allow you to structure your PIM to support your marketing strategy and organizational goals. PIM capabilities are numerous, and performance tends to vary from one organization to another.

Start by defining your central business objectives.

You may want to simply deliver quality product information or improve internal team coordination. Maybe you want to expand across channels, reduce time to market (TTM), or improve your entire customer experience.

It’s essential to set goals and define how success will be measured.

It’s no use investing in a PIM if you can’t understand its impact. Ultimately, you have to define how your PIM will support brand growth, because if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Determine Your Implementation Parameters

Ask yourself how you’re going to implement processes with your PIM.

To define implementation scope, you need to consider your preferred channels, your operation region, and current TTM.

Either of two models can determine how to handle product information.

1. Model all product information from the outset.

or…

2. Start with subsets of product information and increase in subsequent phases.

Large companies tend to opt for the second method, because they prefer beginning with a particular product line or region. The second method allows for process testing to ensure proper functioning well before full implementation.

Other companies may prefer the benefits of full information centralization by rolling everything out at once. While both methods include pros and cons, your decision should rest on your company’s current and future needs.

Implementation Strike Team

Successful PIM implementation requires a strike team.

Even for a small ecommerce operation, it’s unlikely one person will be able to handle all the requirements of implementation. The tasks of implementation are as different from each other as the knowledge and skills required to complete them successfully.

You will need:
  • An executive sponsor to see everything through
  • A project manager overseeing daily tasks
  • A product manager to gather all your product information
  • A group of individuals to input all the information
  • A marketer to write your product page text
  • A designer to supply images
  • A tech who knows how your ERP system will integrate with your PIM

Determine Your Product Catalog Structure

The only way to build a strong catalog is by using accurate product information regarding all of your offerings.

This means your product categories, attributes, how they vary, and their use regarding different customer touch-points.

PIM offers a broad range of options.

You can structure your catalog virtually any way your company requires. But craft that structure carefully, as the success of your PIM implementation depends upon it.

Your catalog structure should reflect the attributes of the specific sales channels you intend to use.

The structure should also support different product categories, attributes, and how these may vary.

Finally, incorporate the catalog must include the relationship of a given product to another as well as metrics for different online sales areas.

Workflows and Mechanisms of Integration

Getting the most out of your PIM depends largely on the strength of the workflows you set up.

You need to think about which teams interact with what product information, as well as what each team’s core function is. Consider how each team will use your PIM and how processes need to be ordered to maximize efficiency. Also, define permissions carefully so the right people have access to the right information, nothing more or less.

Proper understanding of the entire workflow will guide business operations and increase efficiency.

Previous work processes may need updating for the way processes will work after PIM implementation. You may want your PIM to support processes you think you can’t change, but those processes might be the most in need of overhaul.

Remember that one of the greatest strengths of PIM lies in eliminating the placement of product information in silos.

PIM workflow support provides for information sync, driving accuracy in real-time. This kind of integration helps streamline your entire ecommerce operation.

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

It’s important to ensure that your PIM includes DAM capability.

While some companies have modified DAM to mimic PIM, the result is often clunky, incomplete, or both. Moreover, PIM and DAM may seem similar in function, but they are actually fundamentally different.

PIM centralizes and facilitates syndication of product information, while DAM specifically handles digital assets.

Some assets, like company logos, may not even relate to products. DAM ensures proper management of images, videos, and documents attached to specific products. PIM allows you to store and manage these digital assets alongside product information.

Long story short, PIM is not DAM and DAM is not PIM.

Why Is DAM Important?

Digital consumers absorb media of all kinds every second they spend online.

The rise of digital technology and acceleration of innovation have only increased this digital consumption of media, driven by market and popular trends.

Media files include:
  • Animation
  • Videos
  • Interactive ads
  • Games
  • Audio files

Navigating these media has become a challenge companies and their customers share. Today’s digitally empowered consumer doesn’t want a rich digital customer experience, they expect one.

Companies that don’t meet and surpass customer expectations are doomed to suffer dwindling sales.

Customer expectations include access to the high-quality media content necessary to convince them their buying choices are correct. This is the key to conversions, because disappointed potential customers won’t give you their money.

Digital assets are more than just files, as they also include metadata about the asset.

You can use digital assets to product strong, searchable content only if the right metadata is associated with it. Searchability saves your teams time and makes it easier for customers to find you in the crowded digital marketplace.

Enrichment Tools

PIM integrates with multiple resource planning systems to extract product information for storage as product attributes. This allows marketing teams to enrich product descriptions and assets for syndication across sales channels.

PIM systems are specifically designed to support information syndication regardless of the particular formats various channels require.

With PIM, information can be enriched from internal and external sources. Internal sources include your marketing department, while external sources are your suppliers, external information bases, and agencies.

Information from both sources increases product information accuracy, driving sales.

Product Attributes

The description of product attributes directly affects purchase decisions.

It’s important to properly manage both the tangible and intangible attributes described on your product pages.

Tangible attributes include:
  • Size
  • Feel
  • Packaging
  • Weight
  • Quantity
  • Material composition
Intangible attributes include:
  • Quality
  • Aesthetics
  • Reputation
  • Price
Customers expect products and services to have certain specific attributes.

Points of parity refers to the way in which a given company’s products are similar to those of another.

Some companies go a step further and incorporate “points of difference.”

In a bid to differentiate their products and services from the competition, they discuss the ways in which their products are superior to those of their competitors.

Optimizing your product information means including both types of information.

Ultimately, product attributes discuss product quality, features, and style/design. All three should add value in the eyes of your customers.

PIM Analytics

PIM implementation allows access to powerful analytics tools which detail product content performance.

Product information quality, as well as team performance, can be analyzed. Management can see all activities taking place across the system and how much time they require.

With analytics, you can quickly search, find, and fill in product information gaps, along with finding errors. These gaps are not limited to text, as your images, descriptions, and translations may be missing crucial information, too.

You can also conduct analysis by product groups.

Management can control the accuracy and overall quality of product information with analysis by section, language, or geographic region.

Analytics also covers your syndication channels by ensuring the right product information is pushed out. You can also streamline searches by field and create multi-variant tests using different versions of standard documents.

This will go a long way to improve content quality, even that of custom content.

Audit Trails

This core PIM function provides a time-stamped record of every change or operation your team undertakes.

By automatically tracking actions, from sales made to customer service complaints, optimization becomes far easier. Audit trails also support product information maintenance, helping to quickly identify errors for correction.

There are two approaches to audit trails:

Progressive

Tracks and monitors all actions from beginning to end

Retrograde

Tracks results back to the starting point

The purpose of using audit trails is to maintain a log of all information modifications.

Monitoring all modifications acts as a check against unauthorized or mistaken changes. You can monitor specific entities in the PIM for modification.

These include:
  • Items
  • Media assets
  • User groups
  • Products
  • Structure
  • Supplier catalogs
  • Structure features
  • Structure groups
There are two ways to retrieve audit trails.

1. Call up a given audit trail from the context menu to display specific changes.

or…

2. Display an overview of a given audit trail.

Regardless, every PIM has a default audit trail configuration.

Users can create specific queries to search for specific entities or users and a search window will display the results.

Bells and Whistles

PIM options and tools include more benefits than spreadsheets or manual solutions could ever offer.

By unifying product information in a single repository, companies can derive maximum value by delivering quality product information. This reduces the risks and delays that come with displaying outdated or incomplete information.

The flexibility the PIM system affords allows for significant customization.

With an expert team, you can configure your PIM to include the specific functionality you need to manage all of your product information. However, it’s always best to make sure you add only what you need, meaning only what you’ll use.

Opting for a standard PIM that satisfies all your ecommerce marketing and distribution needs is ideal.

Now that you know all about what a PIM is, click here to see what CATSY can do for you.

Product Information and Images Should Be Stored Together

Product information, such as product attributes and images, can’t be separated when creating quality custom content. The average visitor to your site sees the images before reading anything. If you fail to impress your visitors right off the bat, you make it harder to convert them into customers.

It’s safe to say quality product information and rich images make for engaging copy. And this great copy naturally leads to increased sales. Thus product information and images are central to the success of any ecommerce business. And storing them together in a centralized database makes for easy retrieval by users.

Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) make retrieval easy. Instead of spreading product information and images around, they are collated and stored in a central location. Basically, PIM and DAM create one product information source for your operation’s content needs.

It isn’t enough to describe a product with words. You need images, so customers can form mental pictures of what they want to buy. The question every shopper asks is, “What will this look like?” Providing rich images answers this question quickly and easily. This converts lookers into buyers.

Remember, the downside of ecommerce is customers can’t touch the products. So ecommerce business owners have to make up for this by including the best pictures possible. Your product images are key elements for your product pages. If images are blurry, unattractive, or the wrong size, your customers will lose interest.

PIM and DAM: the Perfect Combination

PIM is the processes and technologies that manage product information centrally. The focus is on the data required to market and sell products on one or more digital channels for distribution. PIM uses automation to bridge data sources and sales channels for the management and distribution of product information. Simply, you can use PIM to manage your product catalog centrally and therefore efficiently.

DAM is the efficient storage of digital assets. It provides a way to centralize, track, manage, and share digital content among internal teams. Each digital asset includes the metadata necessary to fully describe it. This completeness drives the positive online customer experience.

In short, PIM is used to store product related information. DAM is used to store digital assets, like images, that aren’t necessarily related to just one product. However, PIM can sometimes include functions to act like DAM. But make no mistake, both systems help increase operational efficiency and make product information easier to find. As the digital world becomes more complex, ecommerce companies need to combine PIM and DAM to maintain competitive market edge.

Product Information vs. Product Image

The content attached to a product that defines its complexity is product information. Because a brand can only influence customers’ purchase decisions with the correct information, selling different products requires different content. Obviously, managing product information can be a herculean task without the ability to organize centrally.

Product information serves as a guide through the buyers’ journey, and chances are your customers already know what they want. But incomplete, low quality product information can point them in the wrong direction, costing you sales. You need to publish superb and complete product information to convert lookers into buyers.

Product photos communicate your product information in a way text can’t by itself. An image grabs attention much faster than text, especially when the image is large and colorful. Rich images also capture attention because shoppers will want to reconcile their expectations against the color, size, and style of your images. Success is matching the images on your product pages with the picture in the customers’ heads.

Product images also provide customers with the information they need to fulfill their aesthetic needs. Product images help satisfy the need for understanding a product’s physical appeal, showcasing qualities in a way that builds emotional and psychological connections with your customers influencing them to buy from you.

It’s also critical to allow a zoom feature for your photos. If customers can see a large amount of detail, there will be less chance they will miss something about your products. Zoom helps eliminate disappointment.

Another bonus is the boosted product appeal that comes with complete product information drives up traffic on your site. This is critical, because maximizing the connection between your products and your brand in the minds of your customers, results in brand loyalty.

Statistics have revealed that a large number of customers said the quality of a product image is very important when selecting a product to buy. Long story short, complete data and rich images drive higher engagement and sales.

Today’s Visual World

We live in a highly visual age, a time when everyone’s phone comes with a camera. This focus on the visual increases the importance of product photos in telling a brand’s story. No wonder, as social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, that embrace image sharing have become central to marketing and sales.

Increased care must be taken when storing digital content like images, which require product information to make sense. Clear product information must be communicated so customers understand your message as perfectly as if they were in a brick and mortar store. Also, ecommerce brings with it the tremendous scale of product diversity, meaning you will have more product information to manage.

Ecommerce puts the customer in the driver’s seat and they increasingly demand more consistent product information to make informed decisions. Customers don’t accept excuses from brands delivering anything short of their full expectations. The message is clear: fulfill your customers’ expectations or lose them.

The Importance of Storing Product Information and Images Together

A lot of customers research products before making final purchase decisions. Thus product information and images are centrally important, so take care and pay attention to the importance, completeness, and accuracy of that data.

But, how do ecommerce business owners benefit from the storing product and images together? The goal is to save your customers’ time. If you don’t store product information and images aren’t together, retrievals can often result in dead ends. Manually entering complete product information with matching images for everything your business offers will cost you hours. And it won’t even guarantee sales.

Product information maintenance involves automated processes that increase efficiency. With automation you can easily keep product information up to date with current trends. Automation means your business processes run faster, and the amount of errors and time wasted fixing them are reduced. Finally, you can easily update old images and push new ones out across your internal teams and external sales channels centrally.

Storing product information and images together goes a long way toward increasing team collaboration. Because product information and images are easily accessible, making content becomes less of a chore. Explaining the accompanying cost savings is obvious, as centralization reduces redundant work making employees more productive.

As a result of the superior data management PIM offers, organized product information can be shared across all customer engagement platforms easily. Thus delivering accurate information at the right time with a minimum of wasted effort becomes simple.

Ensure Consistent Delivery of a Winning Customer Experience

According to eBay, “it is not enough to sell on all platforms; you need to develop creative new ways for customers to engage with your brand.” If visitors come to your site and can’t get all the information they want, they’ll likely lose interest. Frustrated customers move on to an offer that can give them what they’re looking for.

Storing data on separate systems can lead to a fragmented, inaccurate display of product information. These broken promises will negatively affect your brand image. On the other hand, storing product information and images together will lead to a single source of product content truth, guaranteeing consistency of information.

Customers have access to the virtual world on the go and at virtually any time. They connect digitally to multiple channels and see varieties of the product they’re thinking of buying. This is why brand consistency across channels and platforms is key: to always communicate an identical message. When a company manages its product information with PIM, customers have easy access to superior, accurate, rich product information, which leads to seamless delivery of a brand experience which meets or surpasses customer expectations.

According to research conducted by Augment, customers return 22% of products purchased online because they received something other than what they expected. And, of these, 23% are receiving the wrong product entirely. This dissatisfaction is the result of communicating incomplete, inconsistent, and incorrect information to customers. The central storage of product information and images reduces this, driving customer satisfaction, further driving sales.

The more reliable and complete your product information and images are, the more you can control your customers’ experience. Ultimately, customers get the products they expect, increasing the chances of a repeat purchase from you.

Increase Sales

Ecommerce shoppers are awash in options, so more often than not the brand that stands out will be the one they choose. According to Nchannel, “thirty percent of US online adults cited that they would consider buying from an online retailer they had never previously purchased from, if the retailer offered detailed product information.” This means comprehensive product information gets you closer to closing a sale, driving profitability.

Without proper management of your product information and images, your operation will be less efficient. Good product information and high-quality product images communicate your brand style making it more recognizable. Improved visibility drives improved sales.

The increase in social media has brought the need for high-resolution images to generate more shares and views on platforms. As you consistently deliver complete product information, with rich visual imagery, you help give your customers a better shopping experience. In the same vein, departments and teams have access to complete information, enabling them to deliver quality customer service.

Ultimately, these increase conversion rates and increase your profitability. This is because delighted customers are loyal customers who will keep coming back to buy.

Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When you are at the top of search engine results, you enjoy the benefits of more impressions and clicks. This is because shoppers rarely explore more than a page or two of their search result lists. If you don’t consistently produce unique, engaging product content, it’ll be hard for your site to rank high in search results.

Accurate product information and high-quality images communicate the style of your brand and make it more recognizable, improving visibility. In order to attract more visitors to your site, search engine optimization is critical.

SEO goes a long way to ensure a brand ranks high in search engine results when customers search keywords related to your product or business. This gives you the edge over your competitors. Your search engine ranking will increase if your site contains useful product information that meets the needs of your target markets. If more people can find your site across different platforms and locations, more of them will buy.

Quality data minimizes the duplication of content, meaning your message will be free of outdated images and information. The added visibility SEO provides improves the image of your brand in the minds of your customers and generates more traffic to your site.

Increase the Quality of Your Product Content

High-quality product content leads to increased conversion rates. The popular adage “content is king,” coined by J.W. Click and Russell N. Baird could hardly be more applicable to today’s ecommerce world. Today, quality content composed of accurate product information and rich images indeed rules.

Media in the form of digital assets have become popular, creating a more appealing picture that drives engagement. You can sustain customer interest by delivering quality product content. Centralized storage of product information and images makes this possible.

Further, with PIM you can easily make custom content to appeal to different customer segments, creating a unique experience for them. Industry specific content allows you to narrow in potential clients with hyper-focused tailored content. It should be obvious that it’s difficult to achieve personalization without proper data management. Think about the sheer number of pictures you are currently trying to manage, for example.

High-quality product information, with complete descriptions and plenty of images, has the capacity to reduce shopping cart abandonment and product returns. This increases sales and improves customer loyalty. The production of quality content drives conversions, if only simply because the correct image will be tied to the appropriate description. These simple mistakes are often the biggest killers.

How likely is it you have lost customers because your product information was incomplete, inaccurate, or not compelling enough to attract their attention? Without PIM, it’s very likely this is the case.

Pull It Together To Win

Managing a huge amount of product information without automation can be a frustrating hassle. PIM delivers an easy way to tie centralized, accurate product information to rich, compelling images. This marriage helps build trust in your brand at every touchpoint.

Just like your typical brick and mortar store, an average customer decides to trust your offer or not the first time she sees your site. How will you make her trust you just enough that first time to make a purchase? How will you drive repeat sales? It all boils down to the quality content you push out across all the platforms your customers interact with.

An ecommerce product offer without an image is like a bride in black clothes in a dark room: invisible. Thus, without rich images you lose customers before they even have a chance to buy from you. And we all know they will head directly to your competitors’ websites.

Strong online content contains accurate product information and colorful images, increasing a site’s pageviews. Remember, one product photo is worth a thousand online sales, as most customers complete a purchase only when they’ve seen rich images. Storing product information and images together makes it easy to provide customers with multiple views of each item. This creates a complete mental picture informative enough to allow them to buy.

Nothing is worse seeing poor quality photos of the product you want to buy, especially when the description is impressive. How can you deliver product information corresponding to your product images without storing them together?

Companies wanting to remain competitive use PIM and DAM to facilitate workflow and deliver great customer experiences, driving repeat purchases. With PIM, your product information is complete and easy to find, while DAM helps differentiate product experiences.

At the end of the day, consistency matters across your ecommerce operations. Unified storage of your product information, delivering a consistent shopping experience, is key. Hence, your product information and images have to be stored centrally, so they can communicate your brand message consistently.

Now that you know why product information and images need to be stored in one central location, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.