June 24th 2020
Works at Bluestone PIM, passionate about digital transformation
The majority of business sectors are suffering a slowdown due to COVID-19, but not eCommerce – in fact, many sellers are experiencing increased demand. Those who haven’t transitioned to online, often face a choice of mobilizing all their resources or shutting down.
Embracing the new reality is hard for traditional sellers. What can they do to make it easier and save their business from a downfall?
Fast track of progress
Bricks and mortar will not stay, my fair lady.
Ever since its beginnings, eCommerce has been growing at an incredibly steady rate.
Just a couple of months ago, the dominance of eCommerce appeared inevitable, but it was still in the relatively distant future. It seemed that bricks and mortar had plenty of time to prepare for the new reality.
Now that’s no longer the case.
If you can’t respond quickly, you might as well give up. See this excerpt from Cluep’s report on social conversation trends in the US from late March / early April — the time when social distancing prompted many Americans to develop new home fitness routines:
“The closing of Gyms, Spin, Pilates, and Yoga Studios has been faced with a dramatic shift in their overall business models. With consumers being forced online, this was matched by an initial 142% flood in health and home fitness related posts and conversations. Further evidenced by the selling out of popular home fitness equipment on Amazon and manufacturers such as Peloton, Nautilus & NordicTrack struggling to keep up with orders (SpectrumNews, 2020).”
“For those brands unable to mobilize quickly enough to take advantage of the early spike in demand, our research shows the party may be over with a dramatic 183% fall-off in related conversations with many consumers quickly adopting their fitness routines to their new normal.”
So what are the prerequisites? What do you actually need to be fast?
If you want to sell your products through a digital channel, you need digital product content. This includes descriptions, pictures, videos, product relations, and other types of content that bricks and mortar typically have little use for. It is now absolutely indispensable, and you need to get it ready quickly.
This means that your product page needs to stand out, be of impeccable quality, and leave no warning signs for your customer.
If you have a large portfolio of products, this consistency is even more important and harder to achieve. The question is then: how can a business develop great content, and do so at a scale?
Efficient workflows for product content
It centralizes the information
PIM provides a central hub for all your product information, including text, media, attributes, relations, labels, and more. Instead of juggling content from various systems, such as your ERP software, eCommerce platform, and maybe even loose Excel and image files, you have everything in one place.
It establishes a solid data model
Having a data model is extremely important because it will enable you to keep a consistent format for all your products. You can process product information much faster when you are able to select from pre-set attributes (features) instead of typing them out. You can also use advanced validation rules to keep your data clean.
It integrates with other systems
An API-first PIM is capable of exchanging any of its information with external systems, such as ERP, eCommerce platforms, CRMs, price comparison services, and so on. With that, you can easily syndicate your product content to any channel or marketplace where you want to sell. For an API-enabled system, it’s just a matter of days.
It can employ automation and machine learning
PIM input and output channels
Getting it right
Product content quality issues are solvable, but they can take a lot of time, which many businesses simply don’t have now. It also pays to lay the foundation right the first time round, as experience shows that building systems upon systems is only a temporary solution.
A sales company really needs to do everything in order to put product information at the center of their business. Instead of supporting workarounds and creating unnecessary dependencies in their tech stacks, they can consider PIM as a technology with the potential to provide a wide-reaching, permanent solution. The extra efficiency, fast data processing, as well as the speed of adopting new channels, provide the competitive advantage that is much needed in the time of today’s crisis and beyond.