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Originally published on Information-Management.com
Written by Malik Azeez, Director of Project Information Management

With increasing online availability of almost any product from household basics to pet food, consumers are highly motivated to make their purchases in the comfort of their homes and on a variety of digital gadgets.

In one recent survey, 62 percent of US consumers shop online once a month. Every organization is competing to convert visitors to buyers with the most attractive and pertinent product information. There is also a plethora of products in every category with specifications that uniquely address their own consumer base.

The consumer of today is not easily driven by one attractive element of a product. They want to be equipped with enough data about a product to make an informed decision.

The key to a clean product portfolio lies with the manufacturer. Manufacturers hold the source information on a product, as the parts and specifications come to them from various source systems, suppliers, internal departments, etc.

Collating the attributes of a product at the manufacturing stage eliminates redundancy and provides more reliable content that can be pushed into the various proceeding channels. The onus on said channels to verify the data is reduced, if not eliminated.

The other growing challenge to manufacturing is keeping up with the customer trends and being able to innovate their product offerings. This is only going to get more dynamic, which means there is a critical need to have a system that can do the following:

  • Easily update the new product data, and syndicate downstream or upstream
  • Detail analytics of old vs new product
  • Automate processes to move the new product data from start to finish
  • Retain the audit trail of critical modifications
  • Easily integrate with newer suppliers, source systems, applications, etc.

The other noticeable trend in today’s online shopping is quicker order fulfillment. A recent survey shows that nearly 40 percent of consumers would abandon their order if the delivery takes longer than a week. This means the manufacturing companies are hard at work trying to balance their production capacity with the consumer interest in a product, while innovating a new product at the same time.

Now, it becomes really important to have strong cross-sell/up-sell/bundle campaigns on these online markets, which again require a product management system that can guide through such opportunities.

Data Strategy
PIM (Product Information Management) plays a crucial role in bringing together reliable, consistent and single source product data, which can directly relate to the expectations of an online buyer. Through the various features available in PIM, an online marketplace is able to showcase a product with all the relevant information, be it region, language, engineering notations, etc. It also helps immensely to automate the processes, and therefore reduce the time-to-market.

This single-source-of-truth system makes it easier to build an online campaign for up- and cross-selling, handling product returns, and deriving analytics on trends across channels.

PIM is undoubtedly a valuable solution to build this eco-system for an efficient manufacturing process flow, better product data, improved online presence and higher revenue growth.