19 December 2012

Why PIM first

Why you should implement your PIM before you start your e-commerce, Signage, In-store, Catalog or any other Product Marketing project

There are several reasons why you should choose to implement a PIM-system (Product Information Management) first. Some of you surely realize that you need to organize your sometimes-not-so-structured texts, images and metadata, and that you need to get your assortments structured before going to market. Some of you are about to enter the e-commerce universe and some of you want to get your DM or catalogs out at a faster pace.

Product Information Management
Inside inRiver PIM
Imagine you were about to set up a warehouse to store hundreds, maybe thousands of products. Which would you do first? Would you buy the products, load them in that warehouse as they arrive, and open up your stores around the country? Or would you buy the storage-shelves, the trucks and the warehouse infrastructure first so that you can sort and easily find the products you are selling?

If you chose the first one, try getting all those products out to distributors and customers while they are standing on a loading dock, in your trucks or stacked in unsorted piles in that warehouse. Tricky? Most likely, yes.

Now try this: PIM is all about structure, searchability and time-to-market. For me it's rather obvious that these factors come first. Setting up a PIM system is in many ways similar to placing those shelves in a structured pattern with the right measurements and specifications to organize the products you are planning to sell.

A few examples:

The more customer-adapted, correct and rich your product data is, the easier it is to attract the customer. Images missing? Sales go down. Not the right feature description? Deal lost. OK, but don't most e-commerce solutions handle all that? You wish! There are "All-in-one" solutions - however, they cost a lot more, usually take longer to implement, and last but not the least: what happens if you want more than one single e-commerce channel? What happens if you also want to do printed matter, catalogs, in-store displays or signage with you product data? That's when a separate, multi-connnected PIM is the way to go. Do your homework once, enrich your product data in a PIM, automatically feed your e-commerce solution with that data, and feel free to use that data anywhere.

Catalog, printed matter and DM 
If you start by structuring all your product data in the PIM software, you will ensure that fresh, updated product descriptions, images and meta data pour in to your InDesign templates and snippets with a single click. Change a text or upload images in your PIM, click the update button in InDesign, and see how the whole catalog rewrites itself in just a few moments. Yes, moments. Not days. This simple "click of a button" makes all the difference to your time-to-market, freeing up time to work with the content QA at the source, in the PIM.

Signage and In-store display
If you're doing printed signage and in-store display, PIM offers you the possibility to e.g. print locally, even from a printer in-house. The data you print will always be the most recent information provided by your product management team. If you're going digital, LED-displays, on-shelf signs or digital billboards will always show the latest, most updated information. Even with the possibility to actually change things as they are running in-store.

With your product data in order, enriched from the start and subsequently adapted to your different channels, chances are you will win that deal or attract that specific customer.

That´s how I see it.

Bye for now,

Martin Stenke
Business Development Director at inRiver


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