Adobe expects 2022 to be the first trillion-dollar year for e-commerce. With the recent surge in global e-commerce sales, user penetration is expected to reach 63.1 percent by 2025. This is primarily due to the rapid advancements in technology that is driving e-commerce growth across the globe. In such a world, e-commerce agencies are increasingly depending on Product Information Management (PIM) systems to develop, maintain, optimize, and manage product information across customer channels.
From streamlining unstructured product data to ensuring real-time data syndication across channels and everything in between, PIM has emerged as the go-to platform for e-commerce players, large and small. As consumers take total control of how they want to engage with brands, e-commerce agencies must do all that it takes to stay relevant across multiple touchpoints and win.
To tackle the rapid changes in customer behavior, e-commerce agencies must expand the role of PIM beyond core operations to:
Make the most out of their clients’ data – Sales is no more limited to mere transactions. Brands have realized the importance of enhancing customer experience to nurture relationships that eventually lead to sales. So much so that product return rates have surfaced as one of the key performance indicators for e-commerce businesses. As managing large volumes of customers’ product data can get overwhelming, most e-commerce agencies leverage robust PIM solutions to deliver accurate, personalized product information that facilitates upselling and faster resolution of customer issues. PIM compiles and collects customer data from multiple sources and automates the creation of one master record that serves as the single source of truth for sales and marketing managers. By matching and merging information records and implementing data quality rules, PIM creates a universally available repository of accurate and consistent data that is traceable, reliable, and is updated across customer channels. The result is great product data that leads to excellent user experiences and stronger customer relationships.
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Boosting revenue and loyalty
Boost revenue – When customers are happy, e-commerce companies stand a chance to win a bigger share of their spending dollars. PwC claims that customers are willing to spend up to 16 percent more if they enjoy superior experiences that are tailor-made for their needs. To get a bigger share of the customer wallet, e-commerce agencies leverage PIM to transform operations, streamline workflows and increase automation. This, in turn, boosts sales and revenue. An efficient PIM solution also aids in maximizing selling by creating, maintaining, and optimizing multiple versions of product information and corresponding digital assets for different channels, markets, seasonal demands, and customer segments. With automated translation functionality, an advanced PIM system can also translate product information into multiple languages so that e-commerce companies can sell their products in numerous geographies and cater to a more extensive customer base. These functionalities, along with its inherent capability of managing product SKUs, make PIM the preferred tool for most content marketers.
Build customer loyalty – No matter how great your brand is or how competitive your prices are, customer loyalty is majorly driven by customer experience, says Gartner. However, customer loyalty has undergone a radical shift in the recent past, and customers today are more skeptical than ever. For 70 percent of consumers across gender, age, and income groups, trusting a brand is more important than ever. As customers indulge in product reviews and comparison-shopping, brands must present a trustworthy and unified view of product information across the value chain. e-commerce agencies are fast realizing that publishing accurate, consistent, and reliable product information across all channels is critical for building trust and loyalty. A Dun & Bradstreet study shows that nearly 19 percent of businesses have lost a customer due to incomplete or inaccurate information, and another 15 percent failed to sign a new deal for the same reason.
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Keeping innovation front and center
Keep abreast with the latest advancements – As a fragmented digital commerce environment continues to challenge the e-commerce business, successful adoption of newer commerce technologies helps e-commerce agencies stay afloat. Leveraging a PIM solution, e-commerce agencies can adopt a headless commerce approach that makes them future-ready and enables them to develop and implement new solutions quickly. Businesses can stay nimble, platform-agnostic, and keep up with the latest advancements in technology and new market trends. Brands can attain a higher level of flexibility and independence in managing user experience while delivering outstanding customer experience at scale and speed with PIM powered e-commerce. On the other hand, e-commerce players are also exploring product data enrichment opportunities using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). With the increasing complexity and volume of product information, e-commerce leaders are interested in leveraging PIM and AI integration to optimize product data and deliver hyper-personalized customer experiences while reducing costs.
Ease innovation – McKinsey believes that innovation is inescapable and critical to business growth. Although we have seen the rules of the game change, the goal is still the same – to delight customers at every step of their shopping journey with tailor-made products/services and personalized experiences. Therefore, innovation is key, and so is accurate, reliable, and relevant product data. Sound product master data is the foundation behind driving innovation in the fields of contactless commerce, virtual try-on, unified commerce, and converged digital experiences. This is where a robust PIM solution can make all the difference. PIM enables a 360-degree product view by connecting rich product content and digital assets to promote customer-centric experiences. It delivers clean and updated product information across multiple channels, leverages automation at scale, and ensures frictionless customer journeys while allowing e-commerce agencies to fuel digital and social commerce innovation.
In the end, it’s all about trust
Analysts say that improving ROI tops the list of CMO priorities in the next 12 months, and getting product data right is the first step in that direction. This explains why brands and e-commerce agencies are investing heavily in PIM solutions. PIM helps them provide the relevant product information at the right time to their highly demanding customers. As digitally native consumers seek relevant and valuable product information in real-time, e-commerce leaders must take control of the complete customer lifecycle to drive brand loyalty. No wonder Forrester predicts a 30 percent increase in marketing spend for customer retention programs as CMOs move the needle on the trust quotient.
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Rakesh Kumar, Senior Vice President, Pimcore Global Services