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E-commerce : why should you include a PIM in your omnichannel strategy?

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Omnichannel
15 May 2019

Going omnichannel has become a practical necessity in the e-commerce world. Brands want to be sure they have optimal visibility and are gradually widening their positioning to reach different clients by way of different channels. This means adapting sales and communication strategies that ensure the experience customers have remains positive and coherent. Nonetheless, 78% of retailers today confess that the brand experience they offer is not uniform across channels.

Why not?  How can this be fixed, and where should you start?

Products, experience and omni channel

In a digital, omnichannel environment where information is immediate, it has to be crafted. Customer exchanges have to be consistent across all channels, but also personalized so that they are ultra-pertinent. Everything stems from the products at the heart of the brand and the information surrounding them.

There is a good reason for this: when product information is not harmonized by omnichannel logic, there are inevitable consequences …

¾ of site visitors noticed inconsistent information related to a single product on different channels leading 87% of them to delay their purchases (Product Information Report, Shotfarm, 2017).

A consumer who finds coherence lacking across content and media presented on different channels will experience « cognitive dissonance », as they will be unable to piece together the different product information. This can impact customer loyalty, and the brand image may suffer too.

That’s why it is essential to treat the coherence of information linked to products with extreme care on all channels. It helps to make the experience of clients interacting with information or photos that tell them about a product a harmonious one. In e-commerce, the term ‘product experience’ truly takes on its full meaning, as the information search becomes a key phase in the run up to making a purchase.

The omni channel product experience ingredients

No matter what the mix of channels a brand chooses to position itself on, the quality of product information – and thus the product experience – must be irreproachable.

The harmony and consistency of content between channels, the accessibility and precision of data, a uniform brand identity… these essential ingredients of a quality omnichannel product experience imply clear smooth internal processes so content is centralized, vetted and fine-tuned, before it is published.

The obstacles getting in the way of transversal product valorization

Unfortunately, there are numerous obstacles which get in the way of properly valorizing products on all channels. First of all, collecting information related to products can prove to be complex, especially if internal processes and relations with suppliers are not optimal.

Things get even more complex when the information required varies for different channels. It’s the case, for example, with marketplaces which have prerequisites (visuals on the left, limited numbers of characters for a product description…).

In this kind of situation, it is not uncommon for product information contribution processes to be fuzzy or nonexistent which results in delays and wasted efforts. The resources and time spent opening new sales channels can be very costly, especially when product information has not been centralized.

How does the PIM respond to these omni channel issues?

In this complex omnichannel context, the job of tools such as the PIM is to make the life of e-commerce merchants easier. The PIM presents several advantages :

  • It gets rid of product information silos for each channel ;
  • It enables you to update all your channels in real time ;
  • It automates team workflows (the information enrichment process) which are then adapted for each sales channel
  • It enables you to meet the specific referencing criteria of different channels.

By centralizing product information in a unique tool, making it available in real time and easy to connect, you can in fact open up new sales channels in just a few clicks. The PIM consequently reduces Time to Market on all channels. This goal is a key driver of omnichannel strategies for e-commerce companies.

The benefits for international strategies are just as good : by enabling you to centralize translated product offerings, the PIM facilitates the sale of products on new markets.

The PIM also enables you to present information in different ways according to the specificities of different channels. When it comes to print communication materials, for example, the centralized product information in the PIM enables you to edit web to print catalogues and brochures with ease.

So at the heart of an omnichannel strategy the PIM provides a central source of reference for product information. Integrating new key contributors, opening new sales channels, producing new web to print communication materials : with so many tasks made easier, e-commerce merchants’ substantially gain in efficiency and save valuable time they can spend optimizing their omnichannel strategy.

The PIM hits the mark when it comes to optimizing the product experience, but it is also the perfect tool to accompany e-commerce players implementing evolving strategies in terms of new technologies and channels.  To meet new customer expectations for example, you can link product catalogues to customer interaction scenarios via chatbots, and as new voice channels become available it will be possible to link voice descriptions too. With the PIM you are already fully equipped for the future of omni-channel communication !

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