Nearly 45% of holiday shoppers peruse options serendipitously—both online and offline—to decide what to purchase for friends and family. Forty-eight percent of shoppers still frequent physical stores for the ability to easily see and touch products. If you are a brand manufacturer, if your products are not there—where they can be seen, touched, and clicked—you can be almost certain that you are losing sales and possibly customer loyalty.
So, what can you do?
Streamline product management to get to market faster
Having a central product information management system makes it easy to bring products to market quickly. Your central store of product information can be the home base for the product story, along with all the details and imagery, tagged and categorized according to its place in the assortment. Product and marketing managers can have a single source of the truth and don’t have to waste time compiling information—that may be inaccurate or inconsistent—from disparate sources. They simply share information and export what they need—to every channel where it is needed.
When you have a product information management (PIM) solution, taking a product to market can takes days or weeks instead of months. Your new products can be on the shelf in-store or live on a website and ready to order in hours—and you can scale volume based on demand.
Help customers make purchase decisions
Sometimes it feels like a “race to the bottom.” Your retailers are asking you to lower your prices because they are feeling squeezed by Amazon, online competitors, and other retailers in their quest for market share.
However, you can work with your retailers to help your customers make purchasing decisions. When you have high-quality product information categorized and tagged, it’s easy to show customers how to combine complementary products, select replacement products, or compare products across price points.
You gain a competitive advantage and increase revenue because you and your retailers are providing product information that guides the customer toward the ideal, comprehensive solution.
Build a reputation for reliability
It is common knowledge that keeping a customer is cheaper than acquiring a new one. So, while your sales team is busy getting new business, you can use your product marketing process to ensure that you satisfy the customers you already have.
If the product information that you have provided to your retailers is accurate and complete, your end-customers will know that they can trust that information when they are making purchase decisions—time and again. You will build a reputation for authority and knowledge by providing enriched product stories across channels and markets.
When you have a central source of enriched product information, you have a goldmine of unique and flexible content that’s easy to optimize into product stories for each channel and market. You will rise above the industry standard to achieve a competitive advantage that will serve you well and build brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Marketing Manager, inRiver
Dealing with an increasing number assortments, products and channels, marketing professionals now turn to product information management (PIM) platforms for managing the situation. As much as these platforms are the solution for achieving a great structure for the information being channeled, there is one important component that is often missing: the ability to plan the information flow.
Most people have heard of the seven Ps to success. It simply states that “Proper Prior Planning Prevents P*ss Poor Performance”. With that phrase in mind, it is not hard to understand that having a good plan in place makes all the difference. Yet despite hearing it so many times, putting a plan on the table can be hard to achieve.
Good planning needs to be preceded by setting some reachable goals, but as the famous author Stephen Covey put it: "Stop setting goals. Goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them”.
Since the start, the focus of traditional product information management has been on managing product data integrations and flows. However, the real need of the marketing professional is the ability to create, plan and release great product stories. There are a lot of tools on the market that help a product-selling organization plan activities, but what use is such a tool if you cannot plan the actual work ahead?
This is why a few PIM vendors have added a planning functionality, providing a crucial component to the whole product release process. This new approach combines PIM and MRM/planning – a powerful combination that puts the marketer in charge of the entire product marketing process from beginning to end, making planning a natural part of the process.
Creating a great customer experience in any channel is extremely dependent on the content that is provided. The richer, more accurate and more timely the information is, the better. With planning capabilities available in a PIM, vendors can now start their product marketing process by planning campaigns, assortments and any other marketing activities in the same platform as they manage the product information. Having set the project scope, milestones, budget and schedule as the metrics to determine project success from the start, users can easily see the full plan and critical path ahead. Based on this, they can easily keep track of, enrich and publish the right content into the right channel at the right time.
Do not let poor planning get in the way of success when it comes to creating quality product content across all your sales channels, for a world-class customer experience.
Henrik Béen, Chief Product Officer