Are you considering a Product Information or Product Content Management solution for your company?

Good, that means that you (and your organization) understand how essential product information is to digital growth. You may, however, be wondering “where do we start?” and “how do we ensure this vital implementation succeeds?” Keep reading.

First things first: Product information is the heartbeat of scalable eCommerce.

From small-to-medium sized retailers to the world’s 2nd largest brewer (we work with both), scalable eCommerce and omnichannel is possible for those who understand the following: the more complete your product information and the more consistent it is across channels, the more likely people will shop with you. That’s the case in both B2C and B2B.

Recap: reasons why you are investing in a PIM solution:

Clean up internal messes. After a certain volume of SKUs, it becomes really inefficient to create, enrich, share and publish product information across teams or departments.

Stick to one central source of “truth”. Your teams know where to find the most recent product content.

Automate product enrichment (with API calls, importing Excel spreadsheets from an FTP, etc.).

Get your products digital-ready and out to market in hours rather than days or weeks.

Create a reliable brand experience for your clients/customers. Whichever touchpoint or channel they turn to, they get the same, in-depth product information.

PIM implementations run into problems because every PIM project is different and every merchant’s product lifecycle is unique.

PIM projects vary vastly from one merchant to another. We use the idea of product lifecycle to understand each merchant’s specialized needs and how that content and data fits into your existing IT and eCommerce infrastructure.  

Start with a Discovery.

The Discovery Phase is more than just an information gathering exercise. It gives our two teams the time and space to build a trusting relationship focused on shared goals.

This series of two-day workshops allow us to understand your current product enrichment flow and how to make it more efficient and profitable.

Here are the questions we will ask to paint a picture of your product lifecycle, from creation to publication:

Product information creation:

  • Who creates it? With which tools? In an ERP? In a PLM?

Enrichment:

  • Who enriches it? How many departments are contributing?
  • What are the deadlines? Are your departments using a planning tool?
  • How does the enrichment happen? For example, with spreadsheets transferred by emails? Or is it dropped into an FTP server?
  • Is the flow the same for the product’s data and for the product’s assets? Are you using a Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

Publication:

  • How do you determine when the product is ready to be published?
  • What is the most important product information versus optional product information? In other words, what is necessary and what is extra?
  • How many platforms are you syndicating to? How many platforms do you want to syndicate to?
How to deal with existing platforms:

PIM vs. PLM: Can the PIM replace other internal solutions you have or does it need to be integrated to those existing platforms? For example, do you really need a PLM and a PIM? With a reliable PIM workflow, the PLM can often be removed to avoid superfluous steps.

PIM vs. DAM: If you are using the DAM as a software to centralize all of your assets, then the PIM can easily replace the DAM! But if you are using a DAM to manipulate and change the asset display, then inRiver (our PIM solution of choice) doesn’t yet support these features. You will therefore need to integrate the DAM within the PIM.

Too many steps in your product enrichment workflow = increased time to market and confusion.

At the end of the Discovery, we know:
  • The steps in your product lifecycle,
  • all of the inbound/outbound connectors,
  • the enrichment process you should follow,
  • and the solutions to integrate with.

The Discovery Phase ends once you have seen and accepted the outputs and conclusions. We can then add proper estimates for moving into the Production Phase and the time spent up front makes what follows smoother and clearer.

Absolunet is inRiver’s North American Partner of the Year 4 years running!
Danny Langlois is Absolunet’s PIM Practice Lead and one of 9 inRiver champions in the world!  

Next up: read more about syndicating your product information.

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