Long gone are the days when Product Information Management (PIM) was an afterthought while scaling an ecommerce operation. Driving targeted traffic, delivering excellent customer service and fulfilling orders are all inextricably linked to product information.
A new generation of B2B buyers used to shopping online at home now expect similar experiences when procuring goods at work. Consumer branding and UX has set new standards for B2B ecommerce as a sales and marketing channel for new and existing customers.
The development of ecommerce goes hand in hand with existing channels such as print catalogue supporting each customer touch point from a call to customer services to checking out online. Each interaction is a chance to encourage the customer to buy which means that product information has be consistent in every case.
A PIM platform is a dedicated place to manage product information without having to duplicate actions and data when updating print, digital and internal systems. This speeds up the time to make these updates and get products out to market. In fact the time saving is remarkable at about x3 to x4 quicker.
As ecommerce for B2B becomes more important the resources needed to power this extra channel can also increase. The reasons behind the big jump in product data management efficiency is largely down to friction being removed when it comes to ensuring data accuracy with a PIM.
With smart PIMs like Pimcore workflow management combined with a central place to onboard and publish product data is a formidable combination not yet seen within organisations still using ERPs and spreadsheets to do the same job. A PIM becomes a necessity as ecommerce becomes a new place to update every configuration of every product in real time.
Why has B2B lagged behind B2Cs explosive advancement in ecommerce? A B2B buyer maybe purchasing a whole seasons worth of goods all with multiple variations. This customer may also have an existing relationship and expect favourable terms coupled with questions for customer services. A modern PIM automates personalisation so that the best deals will be made available with seamless product information across internal and customer facing channels.
Exploring new markets overseas and online is often faced with operational challenges many of which have been overcome with new standards set during the digital transformation of consumer commerce. Omnichannel has become much more than a buzzword as sellers go to where the buyers are rather than the other way around.
Business models have also evolved with B2B ecommerce. By not undercutting retail customers on price brands are able to sell direct to consumers with a PIM sitting neatly in between all websites that need product data. The complexity of B2B commerce can be simplified with digital while offering more choice to customers.
Product information management platforms add structure to data which is ideal for technologies like A.I. and machine learning. Voice and chatbots are now credible channels for B2B sales, marketing and customer service. An open source PIM can integrate into future third party applications as your business scales.
Digital marketing drives ecommerce and product information is the fuel that creates engaging content for brand experiences that attracts new customers. While proving a seamless buying experience for existing customers marketing to a wider audience via marketplaces like Amazon and social media such as LinkedIn can be better coordinated from a single place.
It is possible to run an ecommerce websites with large inventories without a PIM it just takes more work with less chance of product data accuracy. The only drawback is the time it takes to implement it as a new scalable system. With a clear roadmap to standardising your product information data you can take the first step to streamlining your processes.