Product information management is all around us. When we shop online we are using a component of the product information management (PIM) puzzle. When we shop at Lowe's or any other brick and mortar store we are also benefiting from product information management.
But how exactly?
When you shop on Amazon.com or any other online store you're using the data that was collected through a PIM platform (or PIM methods – more on that later) to make your purchasing decision. Everything is PIM data, from the shoe size, product photos, the sku numbers, color options, pricing, related products, etc.
When you visit your neighborhood Lowe's to purchase a new faucet for the downstairs bathroom you're benefiting from the PIM data that was pushed to Lowe's from their partner portals.
Take Delta for example. They offer many of their products at physical and online Lowe's stores. Delta is responsible for giving Lowe's the data needed to help customers buy the products. Delta will provide product photos, sku numbers, stock availability, manufacturer notes, packaging specs and more all within their supplier portals so Lowe's can sell their products.
Does everyone use partner portals?
Unfortunately, not everyone uses partner portals. In this case we are giving Delta the benefit of the doubt and hoping they don't send Lowe's mounds of spreadsheets and DropBox folders of assets. I call these "other PIM methods" and they are not recommended for a great product experience. They can lead to errors, inaccurate product data, missing information and decreased productivity.
But for those that do use partner portals they are reaping the benefits of a seamless product experience. Their marketing and product teams can update the product photos and specs as needed and push them to their partner portals so partners such as Lowe's can have the most accurate and updated product data for their physical and online stores.
Accurate product data leads to more sales
Here's a real world example of product data gone wrong. I was shopping on Amazon.com for a new pair of workout pants. I was browsing through the options and stopped on Champion's Women's Jersey Pocket Pant. I was looking at the available product options and noticed a pretty big misstep on their part. Their "granite heather" option had the wrong product photo. Not just the wrong color but a completely wrong photo altogether. It was a photo of a Halloween costume.
In my case I didn't buy the pants, err the Halloween costume. I found it quite amusing and content for this blog post but any other person would just move onto the next option. In that situation the sale is definitely lost.
When you have the right product data in the right spots you're able to drive sales. If I am in an organization that is using a product information management software solution I'm able to ensure the right data is available for my partners, distributors and customers thus increasing the odds of a sale.
Let's say you're shopping at Best Buy for a new washing machine and you see very limited information on the product you are looking to buy. Chances are that you will not be informed enough to buy it. More or less you could forgive the wrong photo but you can't make a purchasing decision if you don't know the information that is vital to making the purchase. Such as the dimensions, washer capacity, energy consumption, etc.
If that information is nowhere to be found, onto the next product you go! That's potentially another sale lost because of PIM errors.
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So product information is just a bunch of product data?
Now that we've discussed how we interact with and benefit from product information management, we need to understand what it is in the context of software options and how to avoid these kind of hiccups.
Product information management as it stands is the process of managing product assets, data, skus, media and any other related content all within a unified platform and then pushing that data to the correct portals, distributors, channels, markets, regions and partners. By utilizing one centralized PIM platform you can rest assured that the Amazon and Best Buy episodes do not happen. You can also be confident that your partners have the most up-to-date product data, the sales team has the right assets needed to sell the product(s), your eCommerce presence is accurate, you get to ditch the spreadsheets and DropBox folders and best of all – increase revenue and productivity.
Quality and consistency of product data across all channels is the dream. You want the latest product data available at every channel so purchasers can make informed purchasing decisions.
Propel's product information management solution can do all of this and more all while being built on the world's most secure cloud platform. See it all first-hand with a demo of our PIM offering and experience product information management on Propel.