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6 Reasons to Invest in PIM

PIM - the missing linkProduct Information Management (PIM) is an investment, not a “cost.” This is so important it’s worth repeating: “PIM is an investment.” If you are a retailer of any size (small or big, it makes little difference), it’s likely your most painful challenges include the following:

  • Lost sales from out-of-stock issues
  • Lost time haggling over return disputes
  • Squandered hours reconciling product information promotion discrepancies across all channels

And, if you’re comfortable experiencing the following, then no change is needed:

  • Slower Time-To-Market for for new product introductions and the corresponding wasted dollars
  • Wasted time spent relaying basic product information to customers and partners
  • Overall brand erosion

However, for those who want to embark on a journey toward redemption, I will use this post to lay a good foundation and to demystify PIM.

PIM is a collaborative foundation for coordinating a company's business processes

Here are 6 reasons to consider transforming your business using PIM. Note that the priority order will vary by industry and situation.

1) PIM for Operational efficiency

This really boils down to a reduction in the number of call center questions regarding basic item information, a reduction in the number of instances when inventory levels are insufficient, and a reduction in the number of purchase order errors, resulting in incorrect shipments or adjustments.

2) PIM for New Product Introduction (NPI)

Introducing a new product requires the coordinated efforts of dozens of internal and external staff. It can be a fairly complex task. Even a simple product may require hundreds of attributes, all derived from multiple systems residing within and outside the organization.

3) PIM to Reduce the “Time to Market”

Studies have shown that high-performing companies generate, on average, 61 percent of their sales from successful introductions of new products and services. PIM will help you have a streamlined process for creating new products and distributing them to eCommerce and other channels in the ecosystem. The faster, the better. Why? Well, you will have them before anyone else and secondly there will be more time to sell them.

4) PIM for Business growth and improved customer satisfaction

The instantaneous nature of online retail impacts consistency and adds an additional layer of complexity to the management of product information. Customer satisfaction is (also) correlated to rich, contextual, and consistent product information across sales channels. Companies that lack this discipline experience brand erosion with consequental detrimental impact on overall business performance.

5) PIM to Improve your supplier performance

How would you answer your CFO if she asked for the average cost to on-board a product from a supplier? All things considered, my bet is that it would be in the neighborhood of $500-$700. But even if it is $200 you are still in deep water. In fact, with a bit of math you’ll figure out the incidence of this cost when considering the tens of thousands of SKUs that are introduced into the market every year. Forward-thinking retailers are leveraging an integrated supplier portal to enhance supplier collaboration. This saves precious time and manpower, often bringing down that cost to less than $5.

6) PIM for Omni-channel enablement

A retail omni-channel strategy cannot not contemplate the management of product information. This is because retailers need to collect information from multiple sources, optimizing content and facilitating timely distribution of content across multiple channels. Very often, though, information in stores, eCommerce sites, mobile apps, and print catalogs just don’t match up. Often, it is difficult to connect products and customers, resulting in poor customer experiences. This is a large topic that will be covered in upcoming posts.

Looking for more information on how PIM can actually lay the foundations to deliver on these promises? There is more in my previous blog posts here, here, and here. There is also a SlideShare presentation here. Finally, we have a new eBook called The Informed Purchase Journey available here.

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