Tag Archives: product information management
Over the past few years, we have assisted an increasing shift in customer behavior. Pervasive internet connectivity – along with the exponential adoption of mobile devices – has enabled shoppers to research and purchase products of all kinds, anytime and anywhere, using a combination of touch points they find most convenient. This is not a passing fad.
Consumers expect rich data and images to make purchase choices; business users require access to analytical data in order to make mission-critical decisions. These demands for information are driving a need for improved product data availability and accuracy. And this is changing the way businesses go to market.
A staggering number of stores and manufacturers are reforming their models to response to this challenge. The direct-to-consumer (DTC) model, while not new, is rapidly becoming the center stage to address these challenges. The optimal DTC model will vary depending on specific and contextual business objectives. However, there are many strategic benefits to going direct, but the main objectives include growing sales, gaining control over pricing, strengthening the brand, getting closer to consumers, and testing out new products and markets.
It is my contention that while the DTC model is gaining the deserved attention, much remains to be done. In fact, among many challenges that DTC poses, the processes and activities associated with sourcing product information, enriching product data to drive sales and lower returns, and managing product assortments across all channels loom large. More precisely, the challenges that need to be overcome are better exemplified by these points:
- Products have several variations to support different segments, markets, and campaigns.
- Product components, ingredients, care information, environmental impact data and other facets of importance to the customer.
- People are visual. As a result, easy website navigation is essential. Eye-catching images that highlight your products or services (perhaps as they’re being performed or displayed as intended) is an effective way to visually communicate information to your customers and make it easier for them to evaluate options. If information and pictures are readily accessible, customers are more likely to engage.
- Ratings, reviews and social data, stored within the product’s record rather than in separate systems.
- Purchasing and sales measurements, for example, sales in-store, return rates, sales velocity, product views online, as well as viewing and purchasing correlations are often held across several systems. However, this information is increasingly needed for search and recommendation.
The importance of product data and its use, combined with the increased demands on business as a result of inefficient, non-scaling approaches to data management, provide an imperative to considering a PIM to ‘power’ cross-channel retail. Once established, PIM users repeatedly report higher ROI. It is likely that we’ll see PIM systems rank alongside CRM, ERP, CMS, order management and merchandising systems as the pillars of cross-channel retailing at scale.
For all these reasons, choosing the right PIM strategy (and partner) is now a key decision. Get this decision wrong and it could become an expensive mistake.
Guest Post by Dale Denham, CIO at Geiger
The CFO and CEO want “Big Data”. However, everyone needs actionable data, including the CFO and CEO.
The problem lies in the little data. The little data is all the data that is floating all around your company unorganized including your duplicate customer records, your unmatched product numbers, and so on.
At Crestline, we have more data coming in today than ever before. We are utilizing this data in exciting ways to better serve our customers. Yet we still have room to improve in efficiency, data quality, and better understand the story behind the data.
Recently we implemented Informatica Product Information Management (PIM) which has been a huge success for our ability to deliver new products quickly to our customers through our web site and our print catalog. In the first 3 months of 2014 using our new PIM, we’ve exceeded the total products added and updated through all of 2013! We’ll be sharing our story at Informatica world May 12th in Las Vegas along with giving out some great giveaways from our fantastic selection of promotional products.
Beyond sharing our Informatica PIM success story, I’m most excited about the data governance track as we, like most people, can do a better job with our overall data governance. Having a chance to engage with and hear success stories on data governance from expert practitioners will help deliver more value to our organization.
It will also be fun to hear legendary Ray Kurzweil paint a mind-boggling portrait of the future of humanity, but the real value is in the breakout sessions and networking. Join me and hundreds of others as we descend on Las Vegas to get more from our data and use data to support our strategic initiatives. If you do come, be sure to join me at my session “Best Practices for Product Information Management in E-Commerce” to get some great tips as well as perhaps a very cool promotional product.
- To learn more about the conference and keynotes, click here.
- To register for Informatica World, click here.
Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Geiger.
Every company wants to see a “time to market improvement.” The wisest companies know this is only possible once you’ve mastered your internal data. One such company is Saint-Gobain, a Netherlands-based distributor of building materials. Saint-Gobain has accelerated and enhanced their customer’s multichannel experience using Informatica Product Information Management (PIM). Using Informatica PIM, Saint-Gobain has unleashed the potential of their information in the following ways:
- Ecommerce product introduction: Before using Informatica PIM, it took about one week to update a product to the website – now it is done within a few minutes.
- Everywhere commerce: The mobile app helps construction workers, on-site, to learn the details and stock availability of nearly 100,000 products and parts.
- Cross-selling: In addition to selling roof tiles, Saint-Gobain is also offering additional materials and tools as an up-sell.
- Retail stores: In addition to direct distribution, St. Gobain also sells through retailers. These specialty retailers need to create individual customer quotes which contain potential cross-sell and up-sell items. With Informatica PIM the retailers can create these custom quotes more effectively.
In the video below, Ron Kessels, Saint-Gobain’s Deputy Director of E-Business, talks about how they bring products to market more quickly while creating more opportunities for up-selling building supplies.
If you’d like to learn how your retail business can bring products to market more quickly, consider attending the Informatica World 2014 RETAIL PATH. This collection of sessions will show how to create unique customer experiences with relevant information, analytics, and relationships between data and people. In addition, the pre-conference MDM Day offers a track on “Omnichannel Commerce and Supplier Optimization”.
“Opportunity for the large community to share experiences, lessons learnt, and help those that are starting the MDM journey get on the right track.”
Next month, Informatica will host its third MDM Day conference. Our past two events in Las Vegas and London have been huge successes thanks to the active participation of our customers, partners, and colleagues. The conference is structured to provide opportunities for you to share your ideas, provide guidance to our product management team, and learn from other customers’ MDM and PIM journeys.
When: February 12th, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Westin Times Square
How: Register Here
The Product Information Management (PIM) solution from Informatica is used by large international manufacturers and retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Otto or Puma. The latest version of the Product Information Management (PIM) solution from Heiler Software is available now. “With PIM 7, our aim is to help our customers be the first to bring their products to market and sell more with highest quality product information”, said Rolf Heiler. Watch the video and visit the microsite to learn more on the business values of PIM 7.
PIM 7 gives the answer to the four key challenges of our customers, based on frequent collaboration within the user group and and our market research:
1. Improve conversion, reduce return rates with quality data
Conversion rates and return costs are key factors for success in e-commerce. 40% of consumers intend to return something when ordering. 40% order more variations of a product. According to Rolf Heiler “Quality data is of the most critical importance for managing these key performance indicators. Informatica PIM 7 integrates with the industry leading data quality solution from Informatica, our customers can enhance the quality of their data and accelerate their processes. Product Information Management helps our customers in B2C and B2B to grow and transform their business model towards the future”.
Our new PIM 7 enables our customers to establish clear standards for data quality, track the KPI over time, and communicate the data quality improvements and business impact both internally processes and to the partners. PIM 7 allows all user within the company and partners, to collaborate on achieving the improved conversion rates and up-selling.
2. Reduce time-to-shop with an ease of collaboration
Did you know that according to Gartner 90% of the business critial information is outside your enterprise? Imagine how important collaboration is. Heiler Software offers its customers speed, agility, and the ability to get to market quickly, thanks to its comprehensive collaborative options, that open access to processes for all roles relating to product information through an easy-to-use web interface. “For our customers, time-to-market also means, time-to-shop. How long does it take to make new or modified assortments available on web platforms?” Schuster finishes by explaining that: “With PIM 7, all key functions are now also available via web access. We have also enabled access to these collaboration capabilities on a wide range of mobile devices, allowing our customers to sell their products faster.”
3. Make the data available to the enterprise with Service API
Large international companies tend to have a complex hybrid and heterogenous IT ecosystem. Thanks to its comprehensive Service API, our PIM 7 makes product data available for to all consumers. Examples include product searches in a call center, integration with mobile apps, or access to product data within an ERP solution. Based on the new web services, Informatica’s customers and partners can also adopt enterprise standards, such as SAP Process Integration (PI), quickly and directly.
4. Improve industry reach
PIM 7 also opens up new possibilities in the area of data modeling. An enhanced, flexible data model ensures that heterogeneous product assortments and complex hierarchies can be mapped with ease. Thanks to the data model enhancements, it’s now even easier for Informatica customers to fulfill their specific requirements, for example, for even better web shops and mobile solutions.
Summary of PIM 7
As a summary Informatica Enterprise PIM 7 comes with integration of the industry leading Data Quality solution from Informatica. It allows a 100% web based collaboration of all business critical product data processes. The comprehensive Service API for lists, media, meta, enumeration & management of data makes product data available to the enterprise easily. It provides a high standardized and flexible product data model for quick time-to-value.
All of the key information about this solution and details of its potential applications are available from Informatica online at: http://www.informatica.com/pim7/
When seeking to justify an investment in Product Information Management (PIM) and building the business case, companies can investigate which key performance indicators are impacted by PIM. The results of the international PIM study demonstrate that a return on investment (ROI) from an Enterprise Product Information Management (PIM) solution is possible within the framework of a multichannel commerce strategy.
1. Search engines
60% of web users use search engines to search for products. (Source: Searchengineland.com)
The results of the international PIM study show that a return on investment (ROI) from an Enterprise Product Information Management (PIM) solution is possible within the framework of a multichannel commerce strategy. Over 300 retailers and manufacturers from 17 countries participated in the extensive study by Heiler Software. The study delivers more than 30 pages of measurable results. One such result is that PIM leads to a 25% faster time-to-market thanks to SEO products. (Source: www.pim-roi.com)
3. Shopping cart abandonment
90% of shopping cart abandonments occur because of poor product information. (Source: Internet World Business Magazine)
4. Product returns
40 is the critical number. 40% of buyers intend to return a product when they order it. 40% order more variations of a product. 40% of all product returns are due to poor product information. (Source: Magazine Wirtschaftswoche 7.1.2013 and Return Research – average German mail-order market)
5. Print impacts online
Printed catalogs lead to a 30% boost in online sales. (Source: ECC multichannel survey)
6. Cost savings in print catalog publishing
PIM enables a saving of USD 280,000 by automating manual print catalog production. (Source: LNC PIM survey 2007)
7. In-store sales and customer service
61% of retail managers believe that shoppers are better connected to product information than in-store associates. (Source: Motorola Holiday Shopping Study 2012)
8. Margins with niche products
80% of Heiler PIM customers say they sell at higher margins by pursuing a long tail strategy and increasing assortment size. (Source: www.pim-roi.com)
9. Social sharing
Social sharing generates value. And, on average across all social networks, the value of a social share drives $3.23 in additional revenue for an event each time someone shares. (Source: Social commerce numbers, October 23, 2012)
Do you have to justify your MDM or PIM investment? Does your CEO ask for ROI and business cases? Justify ROI & gain quick wins with these key steps that will help you build your individual MDM or PIM business case.
Gartner analysts Andrew White and Bill O’Kane wrote in their 2012 Magic Quadrant of Master Data Management for Product Data Solutions Report: “The usage and focus (that is, MDM use case) of the product master data — ranging across use cases for design (information architecture), construction (“building the business”), operations (“running the business”) and analytics (“reporting the business”).
In response to the initial questions, I have recently published a white paper “Build Your PIM Business Case” which summarizes important key factors based on ten years experience in this market, analyst reports, and recent research. It aims to support project managers when they have to define their MDM business with product data. Here is a brief outline:
1. Understand the big MDM picture: Define a first milestone and data domain to start with. Product data has direct impact on business results like conversion rates and product returns, to name two examples.
2. Think strategically, but act operationally: Define a target for a quick win. An example may be to update your online store with the most important product category or to expand your multichannel strategy by adopting a new channel. Get management support or a CEO commitment; at least one of the management team should be an official sponsor of the project and the strategy. MDM is a strategic thing. Data is a competitive advantage.
3. Follow steps recommended by analysts and experienced consultants. Gartner Research developed eight steps for building a PIM business case. I attended a Gartner session on it at the latest MDM summit.
4. Focus on implementation style and methodology: The successful PIM project relies on a specialized consulting methodology. It should cover three key areas: business processes, technical implementation, and professional project management. More details from our Senior PIM Consultant Michael Weiss, along with the Heiler PIM Implementation Methodology, can be found in the white paper “Build your PIM business case” on the top right form.
5. Measure performance and results of PIM: Choose KPIs that match your company and industry – based on the best practice KPI list from the PIM ROI research. Ask your vendor or integrator for examples and work with some important benchmarks. Pick those which best align with your vertical and industry.
As revealed in Ventana Research’s latest Value Index study, any small-to-medium size business (SMBs) can become more efficient and effective if they use Informatica to manage data. As a Product Information Management (PIM) focused MDM vendor, Informatica can help SMBs to maintain and synchronize product information, streamline operations, implement data integration, as well as visualize, monitor, control, manage, and update product information. In addition, it can help them to achieve operational excellence, boost productivity, and increase revenues in sales and marketing.
With a Product Information Management (PIM) solution in place, any SMB will have the tools and ability to efficiently manage their business and serve consumers online. The key to online success is to be found online by consumers. By leveraging your Product Information Management (PIM) solution with proper search engine optimization (SEO), you can increase your chances of being seen by consumers.
Following these top 5 ways to supercharge your SEO with PIM will not only improve your ranking in search results, but it will also give you the ability to publish your product information to multiple channels, target countries, sites, and languages independently, and allow different websites to contain different content; all while effectively supporting your channels’ SEO strategy.
1. Turning Product Information into Searchable Content
A Product Information Management (PIM) solution provides the ability to manage meta-information relating to your products and product categories. The more descriptive and unique your meta-tags are, the more likely it is your product will appear in a search.
2. Manage your Media Assets properly
Media assets, such as images and videos, provide a valuable visual appeal to important content. A Product Information Management (PIM) solution easily enables you to manage names and populate the ALT tags for your assets. These simple and practical techniques provide an efficient way to search for your media assets.
3. Rank Higher with Rich Text
A Product Information Management (PIM) also offers rich text capability in all description fields, creating a more valuable and memorable online shopping experience. Search engines will also take the rich text in HTML into account when weighing your site’s rank in search results.
4. Use Automated Search Engine Feeds
Sending feeds to search engines like Google is just a way of letting them know where your website is and which pages are important. Having a Product Information Management (PIM) allows you to manage all of your product information, media assets, and SEO for all of your sales channels in a centralized location, then feed that information automatically to search engines.
5. PIM + SEO = SUPER Long-Tail Strategy
Customer experience is the interaction between an organization and a customer as perceived through a customer’s conscious and subconscious mind. It is a blend of an organization’s rational performance, the senses stimulated and the emotions evoked and intuitively measured against customer expectations across all moments of contact.
In layman’s terms, customer experience is simply how easily (or uneasily) a customer interacts with your company, or in this case, your ecommerce website.
Why is this such a big deal to retailers? Simple – if your customers absolutely hate browsing and shopping on your website, do you think they’ll continue to buy from you? Not a chance. And in today’s competitive market, you can’t afford to not give shoppers the best customer experience possible – because they’ll just go buy from a company that does.
So, how can you offer your customers an exceptional shopping experience? The answer is product information management (PIM)! Read on to find out just how a PIM system can improve customer experience…
Show me the product information.
Provide your customers with as much information as you can about your products.
Today’s shoppers research everything and are able to shop elsewhere almost immediately if they have any problems or doubts. They won’t go out of their way to find the answer to a question they may have, so you’d better make sure you have enough information for them to educate themselves and feel comfortable with the purchase they make. Don’t risk losing them by withholding important information!
How PIM helps: As you can imagine, managing and maintaining this much information for each productcreates quite a bit of work. A PIM system allows you to easily and efficiently manage all of this product data in one central location, then distribute it to all of your sales channels. Not only does this save you a lot of time and money, but it enables you to provide shoppers with even more information.
It’s all about the images.
Provide lots of high quality product images and videos.
The major drawback to shopping online is that consumers don’t have the ability to really see a product. They can’t try on a blouse, feel how soft a blanket is, or gauge the size of a sofa. Online retailers should help combat this by offering multiple images, or videos where appropriate, to give shoppers a solid idea of what the product really looks like.
How PIM helps: Media assets are managed within the PIM system and can easily be assigned to the corresponding product.
Everyone loves choices.
Recommend similar products or associated add-ons and accessories to make shopping easier for your web visitors.
Having a “You May Also Like…” section is a great way to help shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for, as well as cross-sell to them.
How PIM helps: Products can be easily categorized in a PIM system. Products that are in the same category may show up in a “Similar Items” section of your site, or items can be grouped to form complete “looks”. Instead of having to manually group these products together, they will automatically be displayed together, in every channel.
Enable quick comparisons.
Make is easy for people to compare similar products.
Everyone wants to make sure they’re purchasing the right product, especially when it’s a big ticket item where even the smallest different in specification matters. Make it easy for shoppers to compare similar items – they’ll appreciate it!
How PIM helps: As mentioned in the previous tip, a PIM system enables similar products to be categorized and displayed together. In this instance, the PIM would automatically display grouped items in a comparison chart (or however you choose to display the comparison).
Allow customers to review your products on your ecommerce site.
Including customer reviews on your product pages is a great way to establish a sense of loyalty and trustworthiness in your brand, as well as encourage customer engagement. When it comes down to it, shoppers are going to be more willing to trust another shopper over your sales-y product description. According to ratings company Reevoo, a shopper who reads reviews is 200-300% more likely to make a purchase than a customer who doesn’t read reviews, and 67% of customers trust reviews even more when they see both positive and negative ones.
How PIM helps: A PIM system stores all of your product data, including reviews, which can then be distributed to all of your channels.
Taking into account how crucial enjoyable shopping is to the overall online customer experience, I’d say these features are definitely something you may want to look into.
By improving customer experience, retailers will see their websites become much more engaging, interactive, and ultimately effective. This kind of environment encourages shoppers to spend more time (and money!) on your ecommerce site.