The consistency of product information is crucial for providing customers a fluent and coherent interaction across all sales and marketing channels. Poorly coordinated product information significantly weakens the competitiveness of businesses in both the B2C and the B2B realm.
GS1 studied data from 12 leading companies in the United States and found that 50% of the analysed data contained errors. These findings paint a bleak picture of the challenge that the majority of businesses are contending with. Inadequate data leads to a poor customer experience, which has a direct impact on sales.
Many business executives struggle with the concept of product information management as a whole, and the challenge may seem overwhelming, even impossible. We have observed that even most Finnish companies admit that they are unsure about their product information. There are probably several reasons for this.
Many businesses need to process product information from numerous different sources and in a variety of different types and formats. These are then distributed to several geographic markets, translated into multiple languages and processed by different people in different parts of the business. The result of this is an incoherently presented set of product information across different channels.
The way in which information is presented across sales channels directly impacts the customer experience. In the marketing of one product, there can be significant differences between channels, which prevents the formation of a consistent product experience. Without centralised product information management, the website could mention a dress, while the retail store calls it a gown, and direct advertising is used to market a formal gala outfit.
PIM systems for centralised product information management have been developed for solving precisely this problem. Using a PIM system, businesses compile all the product information from various sources and in different formats and standardise it into a consistent message to be distributed based on the needs of each channel and customer.
PIM systems allow businesses to confidently manage their product information across all sales channels from e-commerce to retail stores, price lists and search engine marketing. With the help of a PIM system, companies can provide a consistent and reliable product experience wherever they market their products.
Four steps towards high-quality product marketing that serves customer needs:
- Recognise the importance of well-managed, versatile and high-quality product information in the management of your customer experience. When your digital strategy incorporates consistent and accurate product information, you will make it increasingly likely that the information serves your customers.
- Choose the product information management system that is best suited for your company. Depending on the nature of your business, your sales channels and the other systems you have in place, this could be an MDM, a PDM or a PIM. A system designed for product information management will help your business focus on the overall product experience of the customer, instead of you wondering whether information has been updated correctly in each channel.
- In case of international business, make sure that your translation process is incorporated in the product information system. This can mean manual translation process using the system functionalities or a full integration to a translation service provided by a translation partner or something in between.
- When the background systems are in order, you can focus on the customer and on developing the customer’s product experience. A proper solution allows for efficient and consistent product information management, which means that executives can stop worrying about inaccurate and poor product information contributing to a weaker customer experience.
About the author
Minna Andersson works as a Head of Sales and Marketing at Canter. She has worked with digital services in marketing and sales, communications, and brand management in various positions in international teams for over twenty years.
Canter is a software and services company with a tight focus in Product Information Management and Publishing Automation. Canter designs and delivers solutions based on modern technologies which help its clients grow the value of their digital capital, improve their operational performance, provide consistent product experiences, and succeed in multi-channel commerce. Canter has two software products Adeona PIM and Adeona Sales Tool.