Whilst helping to provide better quality data and a user-friendly interface, data management processes like PIM can combat common efficiency challenges faced by many businesses. will outline the benefits of adopting a PIM system, and highlights the advantages to both business and customers. James Barlow, Country Manager of UK and Ireland at Akeneo, outlines the benefits of adopting a PIM system, and highlights the advantages to both business and customers
Global eCommerce sales are set to soar to 22% of all retail sales in 2023, up from 14% in 2019 – making the global eCommerce market worth more than $6.5 trillion. It should come as no surprise that eCommerce retailers are looking to gain a competitive edge through boosting customer loyalty. One of the most successful ways to improve loyalty lies in improving the customer experience – not just online, but across all points of sale.
For example, many customers still prefer in-store experience. Although 65% of eCommerce traffic results from mobile devices in 2019, only 53% of sales originated from mobile. Instead of all-digital offerings the UK has seen hybrid services like Click & Collect flourish, with 34% of retailers experiencing their in-store earnings increase. This suggests that customers want flexibility in purchasing goods, along with a high-quality experience at every point of interaction with the retailer.
At the heart of a good retail experience is high-quality and consistent product data. However, this data can be difficult to collect, disseminate, and manage. That’s where a centralised Product Information Management (PIM) facility comes into play. Through helping to provide an easy-to-navigate user interface and timely high-quality data, a PIM can combat common retail issues.
One example of where a PIM is useful is when launching products to new markets. During a new market launch, businesses often encounter inconsistencies in localising product information. Putting a PIM solution in place lets both B2B and B2C businesses make sure their localisations are consistent, ensuring that their online offerings are understandable, add value, and bring tangible benefits to their new markets.
Driving up conversions and revenue
Research shows that using a PIM can deliver a 20-50% increase in conversion, contributing to a significant increase in profitability, revenue and success. PIMs drive conversion because, as mentioned earlier, one of the most important ways to drive up sales in the current climate is through making sure that the customer’s impression and experience of a product is consistent throughout the entire sales process. Providing a customer with the same product experience across social media, marketing, websites, and in-store is key to driving up brand messaging and customer loyalty, which are essential to retail success.
Regardless of how many products they manage, using a PIM allows retailers to catalogue all of their offerings in one central location when bringing them to customers, which is key to helping create that consistent experience that drives conversion from first seeing a product on social media to buying it.
Improving your internal efficiency
Old manual systems, such as organising product information in spreadsheets, cost a substantial amount of productive time for retailers, and are also prone to errors. PIMs, on the other hand, enable businesses to automate these labor-intensive internal processes, which can improve productivity and morale greatly among teams. This lets online retailers direct their time and resources away from manually logging and maintaining online data, allowing them to spread more resources across the rest of their business.
Through providing an intuitive and centralised store of data, a PIM also allows teams and departments across the entire company to track product management processes. This helps teams in coordination, improving the efficiency of a company’s internal processes.
Slashing customer returns
Returns are a major hurdle for retailers, and if improperly handled they can make a major dent in the revenue and reputation of a business. Recent research suggests that 65% of returns are due to errors from the retailer’s own end; one of the most common drivers is from inaccurate product information, which means buyers are mis-sold items. Poor localisations and translations of information are a common source of inaccurate product information.
This makes a PIM a strong solution for retailers. Through centralising and homogenising all aspects of a product’s data – including descriptions, images and technical details – PIMs allow for localised online offerings up-to-date and accurate, regardless of where they’re being sold.
In practice, this means that along with cutting down the typically time-sensitive job of inputting product information for localisation, PIMs also boost the bottom lines of organisations. Retailers who have integrated a PIM system into their online offerings have seen their returns drop by 40% on average.
Streamlining eCommerce for the 2020s
Keeping up with consumers can be tough; the job of retailers doesn’t need to be made any harder, so any measure that speeds up getting a product to market should be embraced. A PIM is an ideal tool for this as it makes the information available on a product at all levels of a company, and provides a single point to change that information. A PIM can reduce costly internal processes that hinder getting a product to market, and as a result cut a product’s time-to-market fourfold.
PIMs are helping businesses manage their product inventories, thus cutting down on their costs, while at the same time helping to drive up sales through increased conversion rates. Unsurprisingly, the PIM market is growing, as retailers, distributors, manufacturers and vendors alike are using the technology to align their products across their online and offline distribution platforms to keep pace with rapidly-changing consumer buying habits.
By James Barlow
Country Manager of UK and Ireland