Both B2B and B2C companies have learned over time that providing excellent information about a product is vital for the customer experience. However, producing good content can be difficult, particularly if you have a number of channels. It is vital to ensure good data quality, create a uniform user experience for customers in all channels and have a simple process for uploading data from a number of sources. “That is why PIM, or Product Information Management, has transformed most e-commence projects that we have worked on”, says Søren Handlos from Knowit Experience in Copenhagen.
“If you offer your customers a well-organised, uniform user experience, which enables them to make a purchase decision via your online store in the best possible way, we know that we have delivered”, says Handlos. “At the heart of this is product data, PIM,” says business developer Jan Georg Lehmann-Røed, who recently supplied a complete B2B PIM project to one of Norway’s leading breweries, Hansa Borg.
PIM enriches the parts that ERP could not reach
“Before PIM, we used Excel and often fell into the trap of expanding the ERP system to include fields for sales descriptions or took fields which were intended for a specific scenario and used them for something else. In many projects, this forced the ERP system to be something other than it actually was, i.e. a product information system. By introducing PIM, one leaves the ERP system to do what ERP systems do best, i.e. process product-critical details while PIM deals with information,” says Handlos.
“Regardless of whether you want to present your products to the general public or have a method where your employees can find all the information they need concerning a particular product for internal use, there is little doubt that PIM as a product information system reduces the complexity and makes everyday life simpler.
How has PIM changed the world?
“PIM systems help the world to centralise the product information that is to be presented both to end users and internally within the organisation. In an organisation where product information is spread throughout the organisation, a product information system will always be needed. Product information such as images, technical specifications, documents, translations, prices and other financial information are spread across different divisions and departments within the organisation. A PIM will collate and centralise this product information from the various isolated areas within the organisation in a single product information database which everyone can share.
“PIM can also streamline the day-to-day work of those who are involved with communication, marketing and product development, as the most recent versions of text, images, sizes and shared products are collected together in a single system. With PIM, a marketing department can manage larger and more changeable ranges in a shorter period of time and with better results. In a digital world with constantly changing screen sizes, resolutions, media and user behaviour, PIM will be a vital tool in the sharing of information,” explains Lehmann-Røed, drawing on his experiences of the PIM project carried out with Hansa Borg.
How has PIM changed our e-commerce projects?
“PIM has changed our approach to projects where we work directly with the products of our customers. We can now help customers directly with product histories, as customers can easily gain access to their PIM system without any need to take into account large security holes by giving the customer direct access to ERP information.
What is required of our customers? What form of ownership is it important to have?
“The customer must be involved in the process where the various entities that are to have a life-cycle in PIM are designed. The most common entities that are used are generally products, articles and resources. “It must be defined at an early stage what product types are to be used and what properties the products are to have. This must be defined so that there is a clear distinction between products and articles, ensuring that the information process is as painless as possible.
In most cases, it is also necessary to take responsibility for the importing and exporting of data to/from PIM. PIM is a tool for centralisation and product information, but the customer must define which channels and needs they have for their products,” concludes Søren Handlos.