Today, business is more about delivering outstanding customer experience. PXM software is not only a tool that can help you offer that experience, but it is also the foundation that supports a customer experience focused business strategy. However, what distinguishes PXM from other product information management software? Is it the same thing as a PIM tool, or is it an entirely separate entity?
In this guide, you’ll score an in-depth explanation of what differentiates PIM from PXM. As a plus, you will also learn how this knowledge can help you access the whole new level of customer satisfaction.
PIM vs. PXM: What’s the Difference?
Other than a change in the middle letter of the acronyms, PIM and PXM some vital differences. However, don’t look at them as separate entities. In actuality, the matter is more nuanced than “PIM is this and PXM is that.” The complexity can get lost in the interchangeability within the PIM industry.
Regardless, PIM and PXM refer to software that streamlines any business. The distinction lies in the objective. Let’s break down both PIM and PXM in detail to understand this distinction.
What is PIM?
Product information management is software that focuses on product data. This data forms the foundation of any business or store. More specifically, PIM gets all your internal resources fully aligned with the process of authoring content. In other words, everything you would need to create and design successful product pages – PIM consolidates.
When trying to meet ambitious goals, sellers often run into obstacles. It’s nearly impossible, if not inefficient, to expand using spreadsheets and files for product data. Then, when you take into account sending load sheets to retailers and manufacturers, it gets messy fast.
PIM solves this as a database that imports and exports product details. It is one source, one copy of up-to-date information. Centralization is a key component here. PIM’s capabilities include storing and organizing all the information necessary to construct your store and product pages.
Product information management has opened up even more freedom to scale one’s business. With cloud computing services like PIM, ecommerce marketers, and product managers can do their job more effectively.
Not only is everything they need on the same, secure interface, but PIM also fosters collaboration.
Why is PIM important?
Generally, PIM has significant implications for your business’ organization. But there are more comprehensive reasons why PIM is helpful, if not inevitable.
First, let’s understand the reasoning behind the creation of PIM.
Before going to market, there is a series of tasks that must be complete. If you’re a product manager, you know this. Before a product is ready for the real world, there’s a lot more work behind the scenes than people realize.
These tasks can be grouped into five components:
Outside of its general meaning, marketing refers to the content that people see when they fall upon a product page. It includes the following aspects:
Copywriting: Copy can include anything from product descriptions to brand storytelling.
Product Titles: Creating the product title is hugely important for SEO and findability. Usually, a title consists of the company’s name, followed by any descriptive factors (color, type, version, material, specs), any keywords, and finally the basic identification of the product.
Example: New Horizon Grey Cotton Casual Activewear Running Joggers
The length must be long enough that people can get a clear sense of the product before even clicking on it. Not too long though.
Bullet Features and Benefits: Although this falls under copywriting, bullet features are an integral part of ecommerce product descriptions. They’re perfect for skimmers, get straight to the point, and plainly state what the product is and does. SEO loves bullet features and benefits because of how informative they are. People may not know what specs they want, but they know what benefits they want to get from a product.
Think of someone shopping for shoes. It’s more likely that someone will search, “gym shoes for comfort” rather than “gym shoes with orthotic insoles.”
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the product management process: Visuals. At least 67% of shoppers value product image quality, certainly more so than descriptions. Taking rich, detailed pictures ensures that visitors know exactly what they’re buying. To display the product properly, there are a few different types of photography.
In-use or in-action photo: This portrays the product doing what it’s meant to do. As such, it presents customers with a visualization of life after buying it. That way, they can think about a product more concretely when you put it into context.
Lifestyle photo: A bit different from an in-use photo, a lifestyle photo takes on a narrative. In other words, it’s like brand storytelling, but for the target audience. Generally, lifestyle photos show people with the product in a natural, everyday setting. There is less attention to the product itself than the experience it promises.
Infographic: Although it goes by many names depending on the marketplace, an infographic tells the product story through graphics. Think of Amazon’s Enhanced Content. An infographic compiles photos, features, and information in an aesthetically pleasing, organized format.
Exactly as it sounds like, this type of visual engages with the user. Today, anything interactive is a hit online. Interactive content helps you stand apart from other businesses, according to 88% of marketers. Interactivity is a form of engagement. So visitors to your store may stay longer, improving your site’s performance.
Video: Today, video marketing is a winner in all metrics. Businesses who add product videos to their store report a boost in conversions.
360-Spin Images: The goal is to recreate an in-store shopping experience digitally, and 360-spin images are for exactly that. With every click, a visitor can view various perspectives of a product. It’s almost like assessing it in your own hands. Nielsen research has proven that shoppers enjoy the rich visuals and multiple-viewpoints of 360-spin.
While it’s not necessary to display all of these visuals, remember that visuals drive conversions. As we will get into soon, the richer the content you provide, the better the experience for prospective customers.
The following documents are key to customer relationships and improving satisfaction.
- Specs sheets
- Installation guides
- Instruction manuals
- Warranty guides
These materials include more administrative things to compile. That being said, such documents are critical for retailers, manufacturers, and of course, a customer. people looking for a product must have access to all the information to make the best choice. They need to know what a product’s specs are compared to other products, how to install or use, and if they are risking more by buying than they are benefiting.
Product managers must also deal with the logistical side of product shipping. This means planning for packaging products in the inner pack, the master case, the shipping case, and the pallet. It means organizing the units, both shipping and assembled. These things must be kept on-hand in order to make the proper orders for necessary materials.
- Dimensions, weights, and units
- Shipping units
- Assembled units
- Software or hardware type (i.e. CPU, RAM, version)
- Capacity (i.e. voltage, power, memory)
All of these processes make up the backend of a product management system.
Disorganization behind-the-scenes impacts the show
Before the days of PIM, marketing or product managers would struggle with organizing, searching for, and compiling all the product info, from assets to logistics. To send to retailers and manufacturers, it’s necessary to format all the data into spreadsheets. From what you can see above, all of these tasks are time-consuming. In fact, such tasks would take up so much time that product managers would lose out on marketing opportunities.
PIM emerged to alleviate this issue. Why not have one system that automates all of the tedious tasks? Then, whoever previously did the job can focus on marketing. That’s why PIM is so critical today.
In order to keep up with the demands of the growing e-commerce industries, businesses need a better way to do things. With PIM, introducing new products is faster, as is selling on new sales platforms.
Where is PXM in all this?
The idea is more nuanced than just PIM vs. PXM.
Product experience management not only builds on PIM, but it is its counterpart. PXM takes the primary, detailed product information and turns it into customer experience-driven content. In other words, PXM is a layer superimposed over PIM, but with a focus on providing a compelling customer experience. That’s the critical difference between PIM and PXM.
Features of Product Experience Management Software:
- Streamlined customer experience at all entry-points
- Raise brand presence
- Connect emotionally with customers
- Telling a story with products
- Distribute relevant and contextual content
- Unify different sources of product information
Most PIM software companies today offer limited functionality. In other words, it’s not enough to warrant calling it PXM.
That’s why a lot of confusion comes up when discussing these two systems. Most PIM software neglect to offer a multifaceted approach to product management. Nor do they execute a customer experience strategy. Beyond providing accurate, detailed data, such PIM software services don’t venture into the land of personalized content creation.
By adding a way to organize digital assets too, PXM proposes a better option. Enhance your content in the same place as the rest of the product details.
What does that mean exactly? What is customer experience and what does it have to do with PXM? Let’s go in-depth about product experience management to understand its implications.
What is Product Experience Management?
There are two sides to any organization: the behind-the-scenes and the live performance. The internal and the external.
The same goes for PIM and PXM. As mentioned previously, PIM centralizes product truth (among other tasks). It’s the foundation of any internal business processes. Lack of internal organization leads to tragic errors externally. After all, most returns happen because of inaccurate product descriptions. PIM eliminates that.
If PIM is the back-end, the server-side, if you will, then PXM is the front-end. PXM is customer-focused.
You have all the neutral, detailed product information in your hands. Now, it’s inevitable that you contextualize it into an online experience that engages anyone who stops by. Tailoring content to your target audience is key to conversions.
That’s the role of PXM. Such software optimizes for conversions because it’s personalized, tailored to the buyer persona, and enhances that critical moment at the narrow base of the sales funnel. Content becomes contextual, unique, and relevant using PXM for the best customer experience.
Think about it this way. PIM is like your closet. All your various articles of clothing are there, organized (hopefully) by type, or maybe color. When you go out, you tailor your outfit based on your destination, right? So what you wear depends on where you’re going, when, for what, with whom, what the weather is. Each situation is like a buyer persona. PXM would be the mechanism behind your outfit choice.
“But is PXM really necessary?” You may ask. “Is the effort in personalizing to different types of people really worth it?”
To answer this, let’s dig deep into customer experience in detail.
How to Use PXM for Customer Experience
“The customer’s perception is your reality.”
Today, shopping has changed vastly compared to a decade ago. Most of the population worldwide prefer online shopping. At least a quarter of Americans buy from online stores every month. The standards for an online ecommerce experience are completely in contrast with those of in-store.
That’s why it’s more important now than ever to match the expectation. What do people expect when it comes to shopping online? A digital experience that makes buying memorable, compelling, and valuable.
This is especially true now that bringing the best experience home is the top priority.
Great customer experience is the goal. An experience that is digestible, pleasing, and consistent across many platforms. To accomplish this, it’s necessary to consider insights into the target customer behavior – research, shopping data, click-throughs – and fuse those insights with the brand vision.
What is Customer Experience?
It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience –
“Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner.
Some say customer experience is the new king, not content.
Customer experience, or CX, is when businesses focus on the interaction they have with their customers. It’s about putting yourself in the shoes of prospective buyers in all manners. How do they view your brand? What about your products, are your customers satisfied? Is your content strategically personable and geared toward a specific persona? All of these factors are important, even down to the technical aspects of loading speed and online store usability.
Why is Customer Experience Important for Ecommerce Today?
The market is oversaturated. That’s no secret.
The longtime customer loyalty of the old days has shifted. In fact, businesses must embark on smarter efforts to attract and please customers. Cheap prices and quality products aren’t the main priority anymore. In 2020, leveraging CX is the only way to distinguish your brand from others. Especially when 70% of experience satisfaction is based on a customer’s narrative. With that in mind, it makes sense why 36% of businesses implementing CX plans overshoot their goals – that’s a huge success.
When more than half (55%) of people would literally spend more money for a better experience, the answer is clear. Perhaps CX really is king. Content is important, but only as a part of a larger CX campaign.
Product Experience in PXM Drives Customer Experience
“If you are not taking care of your customers, your competitor will.”
Under the realm of CX, there’s product experience. This is how a customer perceives a product, what impression remains with them.
Product experience for ecommerce is an art form. It describes the interaction between the product and the user. In simplest terms, it is how well the product performs – particularly in relation to the customer. Does the customer feel like the product accomplished its purpose? Is he or she satisfied with the results? To what extent did the product meet expectations?
Product experience management is a way to tailor the product’s effect on the target user. It’s no longer just about what need or problem does the product address. It’s increasingly more about how well it does. Of course, it’s always an on-going process of quality assurance and improvement – but that’s where the interaction comes in.
In order to have and maintain excellent customer experience, an exchange with the customer is a given. Be it through surveys, interviews, or other interactive tools.
Benefits of Good Customer Experience
The statistics already speak volumes. But let’s layout the overall advantages of utilizing PXM to ramp up the customer experience.
- Increase lifetime customer loyalty
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Watch your revenue rise
- Lower churn rate (the rate at which business loses customers within a specific time period)
In action, customer experience takes into account your business vision, customer research, internet trends, and competitive insight. Together, these things fuse products with context. This fusion is the secret to connecting with customers.
As you’ll soon find out, PXM is a way of targeting all these points.
7 Ways that PXM Upgrades Your Brand Experience
“CXM (Customer Experience Management) = The art and science of coaxing lifetime loyalty from daily transactions.”
The following features of PXM make it easy to boost your customers’ experience with every interaction.
As the most useful feature of PIM and PXM, centralization knocks out several issues already. Centralizing in ecommerce means consolidating all the things you need to work optimally. For a successful business, all data and team members must be on the same page – literally and figuratively.
Centralization ensures accuracy.
With one software on which all your product information resides, there’s less disorganization. Especially when data comes in from a variety of sources. The product data you receive and send out will always be in the same place, continually updating.
Just by creating a more accurate system, your ecommerce business is in a better place. Mistakes, redundancies, and wrong information are the main culprits that lead to bad customer experience. These issues destroy customer trust, increasing returns.
Imagine how much of an impact centralization alone has on your brand image.
Automating manual tasks is another massive benefit that PXM brings to the table. As a busy seller, business owner, or product manager, it’s critical to prioritize your time.
Remember all the steps involved in the process of selling and marketing a product? Needless to say, it is time-intensive. Taking into account a plethora of products and variants, you have to repeat the same tasks tenfold (plus some). This can all take a lot away from your vision.
Let’s take photography, for example.
So much time is spent doing the following:
- Setting up and planning photography
- Organizing the digital assets of many products
- Linking them on spreadsheets
- Creating duplicates of the same photo
- Manually transforming photos to adhere to different sales channels
- Continually updating even after publishing
It’s all too much to handle, and it doesn’t guarantee a good experience.
Automation optimizes your time.
PIM manages the organizational aspect. You can automatically link digital assets with products, transform one or a couple of photos to various aspect ratios, and keep assets findable on the PIM database.
Now, the PXM side comes in to optimize the experience for your customer. Selling on different sales channels means having different types of customers. With that in mind, PXM makes it easy for you to publish customer-tailored digital assets per channel. Now that your hands are not longer full just trying to keep it together, you can enhance the quality and richness of your photography.
After all, how can you focus on your customer experience when you aren’t having the best experience yourself? With automated tasks, you spend less time on manual processes. The time instead goes into your customers.
This starts by knowing who your customers are.
3. Know Your Buyer Personas
“In the simplest terms, buyer personas are examples or archetypes of real buyers that allow marketers to craft strategies to promote products and services to the people who might buy them.”
Adele Revella, CEO of Buyer Persona Institute
What are buyer personas?
In a nutshell, a persona is a theoretical customer you would like to have more of, based on your previous or current customers. For example, you take into account the most common demographics, shopping behaviors, and even engagement styles on your sales sites. Such factors can span across age, gender, income, occupation, location, and more.
After all, every product has a purpose. Already, you might have some idea of the types of people who will find value in your products.
However, it’s a bit more complex than figuring out who needs what.
- Some people don’t know what they need.
- Your product might have more than one usages
- Different people may be drawn to each of your sales channels
To figure out your buyer persona(s), it’ll take a lot of research and some behavioral psychology. Put yourself in the shoes of your persona to understand their values and goals. Know how ready they are to take action.
Why set up buyer personas?
When you market to a broad audience, you may be putting more effort without resulting in generating quality leads. This strategy isn’t an optimal, efficient way of increasing conversions. Rather, it’s better to concentrate your energy toward a very specific group of people who are likely to convert, no matter how small the population might seem.
- Reduce sales cycle time
- Receive better leads
- Improve customer relationships
- Increased traffic to your store
- More sales with every click-through
Think about it. If you keep your focus towards the general population, only 15% of people who visit your store will be interested in it. Even if you have a high click-through-rate, your actual sales are lacking. People are finding your products will bounce off your page. It just isn’t relevant to them.
Now, if you solely direct your content towards those within the 15%, you may have fewer clicks overall. However, more than 70% of those clicks turn into buyers. Why? Because you recognize that they have a need for your product, and you are addressing them directly.
Have multiple buyer personas in your arsenal.
Just because you get specific doesn’t mean you’re missing out on traffic volume. In fact, it’s good practice to establish more than one buyer persona, especially with a multi-storefront enterprise. Chances are that each sales channel draws in different types of people. Use that knowledge to cater to each platform to its expected persona.
For example, if you sell comfortable, orthopedic shoes, you can market them to the older population on one site, as well as to people with high-activity occupations on another. This is a simplistic example, of course. But recognize that much of your marketing messages will impact people differently – and the more relatable it is, the more likely someone will think, “This brand really understands me.”
The ways in which you could enhance customer experience by buyer personas are extensive.
How to use buyer personas to fine-tune CX:
- Determine the most common touchpoints
- Analyze past customer data
- Assess major engagement points (where are people clicking?)
- Base content on the persona
How does PXM help target buyer personas?
It’s difficult to keep track of multiple buyer personas when you have many sales channels. A platform that organizes them while centralizing all of them in one place is perfect for this. On PXM, customer experience skyrockets because you are able to establish persona-based content per sales channel.
Now that you know your buyer personas, next comes tailoring content to them. You do this by personalizing the content. PXM streamlines this by allowing you to organize all your buyer persona profiles. You get a birds-eye view of all your sales channels, and with the knowledge gained from researching your customers, you can personalize your communication with each persona.
Personalization has a direct influence on conversions.
Knowing who and where your customers are in the buyer’s journey allows you to meet them where they are. Many businesses see up to a 70% increase in revenue from implementing a personalization strategy. When it comes to customer relationships, personalization can save those bonds from diminishing. About 98% of marketing professionals find that personalization improves customer relationships.
Why personalization is important?
- You are showing you care about the individual customer
- People feel more inclined to engage with personalized content
- It satisfies the customer’s needs by giving them the right product at the right time
Consumer behavior analyses show that about half of shoppers make impulse buys when companies implement personalized marketing tools. Even more, 88% of marketers attest to great increases in metrics from personalization. Things like using people’s names in newsletters and using past product searches to present the right products when upselling and cross-selling; these are sales-boosting tweaks.
What does personalization entail?
Today, being personable is so popular in ecommerce. Many businesses may feel like huge, faceless entities. However, when the audience receives personalized and personable content, it feels more intimate. It feels like you are addressing the individual directly.
Personalization has changed the marketing landscape from annoying spam emails to engaging, relevant marketing that is specific to whoever is receiving the message.
Once you know who, you can tailor custom content to meet them where they are. When it comes to your sales website, personalizing landing pages to the visitor is key. Use your customers’ behavior to personalize your product pages to them. Personalizing factors like upselling and cross-selling, ads, banners, and call-to-actions have a huge impact on one’s buying decision.
With PXM, you can organize your content to match the buyer at each point. As a result, custom content will optimize for the most viable person to appreciate the experience of shopping from your brand.
5. Collaboration from anywhere
No matter how much work needs to be done, a team-based effort is absolutely key. Especially in today’s climate, it’s vital to keep your teams connected.
With the current COVID-19 situation, most work has shifted to remote-work, if possible. Fortunately, with online ecommerce businesses, it can be a relief that work doesn’t have to stop. However, the unexpectedness of any situation shows how prepared you are. In this case, you might realize the importance of intercompany communication with face-to-face contact.
At Catsy, we recognize how critical collaboration is when it comes to ecommerce. Creating and marketing any product for a great experience is impossible with the help of many people. That’s why PIM further accentuates work-experience with its workflow.
How does PXM workflow improve the customer experience?
Workflow provides the following benefits:
- Faster processes
- Save time for better content creation
- Actively collaborate
- Automate updates
The workflow creates a PXM that drives consistently original content. So much of the time, businesses waste energy on repetitive tasks. When the tasks are automated using workflow, it opens the doors to better quality product pages.
Teamwork drives accuracy
In the digital realm, a product page represents the product experience. If you want to enhance your customer experience, a PXM workflow makes this possible. With the collaborative effort, you can publish up-to-date content that engages, informs, and converts. A steady stream of exceptional content is the key to valuable interactions with your brand.
By breaking down barriers between teams – marketing, product design, analytics, customer service, copywriters, you allow for the best work possible. A consistent brand message arises from company cohesion. That means having a means of quick communication and group decision-making. With PXM workflow, all teams are on-board, no matter where they are.
Staying organized makes for quality content
Finally, organization is the basis for all well-oiled processes. Product information management drives the organization, and its product experience management features take it further. By keeping everyone on top of priority tasks, productivity reigns. Organized product data leads to better work performance because everything is easy to find. Consequently, this results in original, speedy content.
A workflow on PIM/PXM makes planning for customer experience simpler. Doing so lets everything you’ve done so far (product design, customer research, data analysis, content strategy) fall into place.
Literally, context refers to the factors surrounding a given situation. Things like time, place, and purpose all fall under context.
When it comes to marketing your brand, it can feel like a lot to keep track of. There are so many different modes of reaching an audience – different devices, digital interfaces, and other touchpoints. However, that is precisely why it’s more important today than ever before to contextualize the experience to your prospective customers.
What does contextualization really mean?
While personalization is about the individual and how to target their wants, needs, and values, contextualization is a little different. It’s more about the behavior of your buyer persona. The goal is to estimate potential behavior with the help of data.
With the influx of data today, it can become overwhelming to sift through it. However, gathering data about your buyer personas is a large part of user research.
How does contextualization improve customer experience on PXM?
Improving your conversions and ramping up sales is a lot more than simply putting products out on the interweb and whoever wants them buys them. Certain decisions can really impact how people react to your marketing strategies. Contextualization helps you make the most optimal decisions.
Contextualizing content improves customer experience because it is…
- Tailored content
All of these characteristics combine to provide your target audience with the right content at the right time and in the right place.
How you implement a strategy is based on the research you uncovered about your personas. What devices do they commonly use? What products have they recurrently viewed? Where are they residing location-wise? How do they commonly interact with your sales channels? Using past data about your stores and about your previous customers helps you make enhanced choices for prospective customers.
Clearly, this can be a difficult process to traverse. For that reason precisely, PXM like Catsy exists to help you strategize. Using the data you’ve garnered from customer research, you can make detailed conjectures about each target persona per sales channel. Then, customize your content to the digital channel.
Delivering a good product isn’t enough. Contextualizing the product to fit into a customer’s life – that’s the objective. To do that, you need to utilize all the tools in your arsenal.
7. Multichannel PXM for Customer Experience
From what we know so far, getting to know your customers means collecting a ton of information. Particularly important is data about where your target customers are coming from. This includes both marketing and sales touchpoints, or more specifically, before and after buying.
Possible touchpoints for optimal customer experience on PXM:
- Personal website
- Sales channels
- Social media
- Email newsletter
- Social media
- Paid ads
Full control of all your sales channels
After all the work, you have the opportunity to send content out to various places to improve people’s experience of your brand. With all the data you have on your customers, you can optimize for your most frequent touchpoints.
With a system that grades content, you ensure your multichannel experience is under your radar. You oversee everything in your content. Automatic grading and content readiness reports drive conversions and sales. This means eliminating errors, making product pages robust, and directly addressing the target persona at each touchpoint.
Creating quality content that is specific to each channel is sure to attract the perfect customer. As such, this will draw in more traffic, leading to a boost in your sales.
Product experience management (PXM) in ecommerce is the combination of many things: user research, design, data, organization, and so on. When together, the result is beautiful. All the effort on PXM transforms the customer experience. It changes how people interact with your brand from one of the buy-sell to a symbiotic relationship.
The age-old adage “The customer is always right” has never been more true than now. If you hope to convert, get a boom in sales, and grow your customer relationships, you need to start with the experience.
The addition of product information management geared toward product experience can be a revolutionary move. Not only are gaps filled and laces tied in your organizational system, but so is the outward value of your brand. Taking out all the struggles of compiling data, syndicating spreadsheets, and unifying your teams gives you the chance to shift gears. Now, you can focus on something more.
If you want to know how to improve customer experience, here’s your answer. Pour your efforts into the experience your brand emanates, and customers will give you more than you ever imagined.