Online spending also increased in the first half of 2018. Every company with a webshop will therefore see new opportunities. Upsell to existing customers, perhaps diversification to other product groups and certainly international e-commerce ... such as Germany for example. Just expand a matter of the webshop or set up a new one, right? Until you start to wonder if your webshop can handle that amount of product information, and how you are actually going to keep up with it.
Of all retail goods in the Netherlands in the first half year of 2018, according to Thuiswinkel.org 10.2% sold online. Dutch consumers spent € 6.75 billion on products during this period. The Food / Nearfood product group increased by 39%, Health & Beauty with 22%, Shoes & Personal Lifestyle with 21%, Telecom with 18% and Toys with 18%. Every entrepreneurial company that does e-commerce will see opportunities and want to seize them.
The role of product information
You don't just buy a new winter coat or a flash smartphone online. Product information is needed throughout the customer journey. From findability in Google, engagement and conversion on your website to service and return handling afterwards, good product information makes the difference. Because the more information you can offer, the better you will be indexed in Google and the faster consumers will find the right product on your site. And so buy faster.
Rich product information is a condition for your e-commerce success. And that bar gets higher and higher, thanks to toppers such as a Coolblue, Bol.com but also one Amazon. There, the consumer receives an optimal presentation of products, with video, 360-degree photos, product reviews, recommended combinations, alternatives, accessories and product specifications. If the consumer then comes to a webshop with minimal product information, then the comparison is made quickly. As a webshop without good product information, you can only distinguish yourself with price.
Grip on your product information with PIM
Certainly at smaller web shops but also at surprisingly large brands, managing product information is a manual process. Suppliers occasionally mail a CSV file, or a Dropbox or WeTransfer link with images that someone then downloads, updates and uploads. Great to do with a handful of suppliers, until you expand. Not only new suppliers, but also in distribution channels such as Amazon, for example, and in languages. If you have a ERP package you may still be wondering if that cannot provide a working solution. The answer is very simple: an ERP package is not meant for that. And you will notice that in the difference in external and internal information needs that you try to run through the same pipeline. That will collide and slow down.
A Product Information Management system, simply called PIM, is a standard solution for this situation. It collects all product information in one central location, offers multiple enrichment solutions and distributes to all channels. Typical are the webshop, mobile webshop, print and Point of Sale (POS). A PIM works together with your ERP package, in a leading or following role.
The benefits of PIM
As a new system in your infrastructure, PIM is of course an investment. But you also get a lot of value and opportunities in return. These are the five biggest benefits of one PIM system:
- From a self-made wood rope solution you go to a methodology to manage product information. It is a proven solution that makes work easier and more efficient. That gives room to grow.
- Now quality is a vague concept, but accuracy, compliance and data governance are not. How do you ensure that the product information is correct? Equal across all channels? And complies with European legislation? PIM.
- With PIM you can link products and offer them in the right place and at the right time as an accessory, combination or alternative.
- Speed of publishing. Nice in English: the time-to-market. With a PIM you can quickly set up an efficient supplier portal, on which your suppliers can log in and submit product information. Subsequently enriching and publishing will follow processes that can be partially or even fully automated.
- More conversion. You use product information for your marketing: SEO and SEA. The more accurate your product information, the more effectively you can use these resources. In the web shop you notice the impact of product information completely, with a longer time on the website, lower bounce rate and higher conversion in the web shop. And because your customers have more extensive product information at their disposal, there will also be fewer returns.