How to Avoid Product Data Pain
Managing product data is not easy. Of course, product data is vital because it powers online shopping: e-commerce websites, third-party marketplaces like Amazon, catalogs, and anywhere else consumers are purchasing products online.
Accurate, compelling, and complete product data files are critical to drive sales and delight your customers with a pleasant user experience. What’s challenging for digital marketers, however, is managing and updating all product data across all channels.
The Trouble with Omni Channel Product Data
Marketers are typically not managing just one product data file, but separate files for their websites, key accounts, and their brick and mortar stores. Each channel has its own unique product data requirements with specific format and data specifications to ensure everything runs smoothly from the front-end user experience to the back-office. Not to mention, third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Wayfair, Zulily, Google Shopping each have their own product data specifications. It’s exhausting, but every data file must be accurate, up-to-date, and compelling to encourage consumers to buy.
Why should you care? A recent study from Episerver found “98% of shoppers decided against buying due to errors in a retailer’s site content.” These days, consumers have many options and will buy from the retailer with the most complete and compelling product data. They’re not sticking around while you update incorrect inventory, fix inaccurate product measurements, or clarify that your product comes in more than just one color. They are DEFINITELY not clicking “shop now” on items missing product imagery.
Luckily for marketers, Product Information Management (PIM) systems manage and optimize product data. Today, we’ll walk through common product data challenges, and how a PIM system improves your data management process.
How is product data used?
Just about everything a visitor sees on a product detail page is driven by a product data file. It’s less common that a marketer is updating each page manually, ensuring specifications are correct and updating inventory. Instead, the marketer feeds a product data file to the website, dynamically updating tens or hundreds of products at one time. (See why it’s so important for this data to be correct?)
Product Data-driven Examples include:
· Product name
· Item number
· Product description
· Images and alternate images
· Weight & dimensions
· Shipping options
This data is exported to website and third-party marketplaces on a regular basis, so consumers have the latest pricing, inventory and product information.
Product data challenges
Without a central product database, product data is often housed in multiple files and systems, compiled in different file formats, and managed by a team of individuals. When pricing or inventory changes or you’re running a new promotion or featuring a new product collection, updating the product data across files and systems in a timely manner is a hassle.
All marketers deal with a lot of moving pieces - product data doesn’t have to be one of them!
Third-party marketplace challenges
Third-party marketplaces, like Amazon or Wayfair, all have their own unique data requirements. If marketers don’t follow each marketplace’s exact unique spec, they risk their products not being listed and lose the opportunity to sell to a very large market.
A PIM system lowers this risk by making it simple for the marketer to match their product data fields to each marketplace’s data spec within a single system. Many, like Product FastLane, also let the marketer select the product data that applies to that particular marketplace, instead of sharing the same content on every one. Get more products on more marketplaces with a PIM system.
Product Information Management (PIM) systems
A Product Information Management (PIM) system is a central database for all your product data.
Marketers can import item codes, descriptions, specs, pricing and images into a PIM system. Once in the PIM, products and images can be searched and filtered, updated, and then automated to share to your website and third-party marketplaces, or supplied to key accounts and retailers.
PIM systems come in different flavors and functionality, but we built our PIM system, Product FastLane, with digital marketers in mind.
We wanted to make it easy and streamlined to create compelling product descriptions, run effective marketing campaigns and get the best ROI possible from our PIM.
We also built-in functionality to help marketers optimize product descriptions, titles, and other data points for search engine optimization (SEO) to get their products in front of a broader audience. PFL has the features that e-commerce marketers need, without the unnecessary complexity of other systems. (Not sure how to compare PIM systems? Check out our post on Picking Your Perfect PIM Here)
Avoid Product Data Pain
Too many marketers today battle spreadsheets daily. Looking for a lifeline? A PIM system can help busy marketers optimize product data. Spend less time managing your product data and more time enhancing your product data for happy customers.