Whether we’re talking about online or in-store shopping for retail items, it’s all about the customer experience (CX). From the time the customer enters the store until the moment they check out, a seamless experience is what will make customers keep coming back for more. A big part of a positive CX is providing customers with complete information about the products they like. Instead of asking for specifics every time, buyers want the information available at their fingertips. This is where Product Information Management (PIM) comes into play.
The modern world is well underway. At this point, sales staff shouldn’t depend on outdated systems like spreadsheets to get information on items. Customers don’t have time for clerks to wade through pages of printed data, especially when they know they no longer have to.
Alternatively, many companies already use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to manage information. However, the ERP’s massive ecosystem often makes it too complicated to use in a front-end retail setting. This is why channeling ERP data into a more customer-friendly system, like PIM, can help.
What is Product Information Management (PIM)?
Simply put, Product Information Management (PIM) software is what companies use to manage all data related to the products they sell. PIM uses data gathered from ERP and other sources, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and vendor updates, to provide customers with up-to-date and accurate product information.
This includes an item’s price, current stock, and even variants. It serves as the main source of a company’s product catalog. From a glance, a salesperson can inform a customer about a product’s price, available sizes, and variants (colors, etc). In online stores, PIM ensures that customers readily find all this information as soon as they click on an item. This makes it very convenient for customers ready to buy.
In addition, PIM can also track information on each product’s movement. It can note how many items were sold, as well as how many were returned or exchanged. Once collated, this data can help manufacturers gather more insights into their product’s sales performance. PIM also carries a product’s marketing information. This includes helpful online attributes, such as related keywords, Amazon product descriptions, and mobile-friendly product summaries.
Why Do You Need PIM for Your eCommerce Store?
PIM makes it easier for online stores to store and display information about the products they carry. Specifically, using the software in conjunction with your ERP and other data-driven software can lead to the following benefits:
Leveraging More Accurate Data
Customers already in the buying mood will only need to confirm that the store has the exact specifications they need. Once the store indicates an item is available in the size, color, quantity, and price a buyer wants, it’s pretty much a done deal. Conversely, stores that say that a product is available when it’s not can put customers off. For this reason, online stores that can consistently maintain accurate and updated information usually have more loyal buyers than their competitors.
Improved Omnichannel Experience
An omnichannel presence provides customers a convenient way to communicate with online stores. They can start a sales journey with a simple email that can progress into a chat or phone call with customer service. However, the success of an omnichannel experience depends on customer service’s ability to provide accurate product information to customers.
Better Marketing Strategies
The success of marketing strategies and promotions depends on how well they deliver a great customer experience. When companies launch or promote products, the market will likely show some curiosity about the products. When these customers have instant access to product information, they are more likely to buy on the spot. PIM can display far more than just basic product information like price or availability. It can also provide compelling visual information, unique value propositions, and even upsell or cross-sell.
PIM Revolutionizing eCommerce Customer Experience–With Help From a Merchandising Tool
The longer a site makes buyers wait for additional information about a product, the slimmer the chances of closing the sale. This is what makes a PIM system invaluable. However, delivering a value-added customer experience remains a primary responsibility of the store merchandiser. The choice of products to highlight and how items are categorized is a decision not to be taken lightly.
Companies that can adapt to changing market conditions and reflect these changes in their merchandising strategy hold a definite edge over their rivals, especially in highly-competitive industries.
When the market turns, these brands have the flexibility to rearrange their catalog into something that accurately reflects what’s trending or what’s hot.
Alternatively, the marketing team can also promote slow-moving products to reduce inventory. Enhancing this part of the customer experience, in particular, can lead to increased sales. This can lead to more satisfied and, ultimately, more loyal customers.
Having analytics features helps determine which items are getting attention and which items need help moving. This knowledge increases a merchandiser’s ability to make the right call when dealing with hundreds of products that are all vying for attention.
In addition, knowing what items are in stock can help customers make purchase decisions faster. This is where smart merchandising and catalog software comes in. Instead of having someone scurry to the warehouse to check what products are actually available, the software provides that information automatically to merchandisers. This allows them to organize the products and rearrange them any way they wish–or any way their customers wish.
Merchandising with customer experience in mind means helping them to easily access the online catalog and view an up-to-date list of products. If they can find what they’re looking for online and to be available, they should be more than happy to buy it.
Of course, PIM software might not be readily accessible or affordable for many startups and small businesses. This makes cloud merchandising software even more indispensable for companies who need a more cost-effective solution.
Innovate Your CX With Smart Merchandiser
PIM software helps organize, manage, and maintain product information for your online catalog. It does its job, and it does it exceptionally well. However, the ability to further refine product catalogs will need more than just PIM. Sellers carrying hundreds of products can benefit from software that can easily rearrange online catalogs based on recent customer demands. Similarly, they can feature slow-moving items on the front display to increase exposure. Having an application that can perform specific categorization changes on the fly can help generate better awareness and improve the customer experience.
Zobrist’s Smart Merchandiser is a powerful tool that provides online merchandising teams with an easy and efficient way to organize product catalogs. It allows brands and companies to adjust their online merchandising strategies that conform to changing market conditions. This is especially helpful for brands that carry dozens or hundreds of individual products.
Built-in Analytics Shows the Way
Smart Merchandiser also features an insightful analytics tool also helps companies make more informed decisions on which items to highlight. With automated tracking, Smart Merchandiser alerts the merchandising team which items are fast-moving and which ones need boosting. As a result, the brands can easily switch featured items or rearrange their catalogs.
Interested in learning more about Smart Merchandiser? Ask us about a free trial. This is the best way to experience a great tool that help increase your conversion rate by 20% and your productivity by 70%.