This blog is part of our Digital Transformation for Manufacturers series. To see all content in this series, click here.
For manufacturers, managing product information is a big job. Not only do you need to provide important details for your buyers to make informed purchasing decisions, but you also need to keep that data updated and distribute it to various channels.
Product information management (PIM) software is a technology solution that helps manufacturers centralize product information and take on these challenging tasks. To explore why manufacturers need a PIM, we’ll cover the pain points of product information management and how a PIM helps solve those challenges.
The challenges of product information management
B2B buyers want to be sure they are choosing the right product to meet their needs, so lack of information can often be a barrier to purchase. According to our 2021 B2B Report, 57% of buyers say lack of product information on an eCommerce portal or site is their biggest pain point when making a purchase. Creating, managing, and distributing product information is important for helping your customers do research and make purchasing decisions.
But these tasks create many pain points for manufacturers. Manufacturers need to make sure content is accessible in a centralized place, customized for different distribution channels, and properly managed and updated. They need to be able to publish and share that content with key partners and distributors. And they need to enhance the information to tell the company’s story and show how their products are different from competitors’ products.
Using product information management software can solve many of these needs. A PIM will give your company a centralized place to manage crucial product information, like SKUs, prices, videos, images, descriptions, and specifications. In aggregating this data, a PIM also provides a way to syndicate your data to your distributor websites, marketplaces, digital catalogs, and other sales channels to reach your customers where they research products and make purchases.
The benefits of a PIM
So how exactly does a PIM make product information management easier? Internally, it streamlines and automates processes to produce operational efficiencies—and externally, it gets customers and third parties the information they need when they need it. Let’s take a closer look at the features and benefits of a PIM.
Digital Asset Management (DAM)
A manufacturing company has a lot of important digital assets, including images, videos, and technical documentation. Rather than maintaining these assets in multiple PDFs or spreadsheets, manufacturers can use a PIM as a centralized place to manage this information.
A PIM can ingest information from different sources, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or master data management (MDM) solution or a spreadsheet. This is helpful as manufacturers move away from legacy systems, especially during PIM implementation or in the case of mergers and acquisitions.
Data Validation and Workflows
When product data comes from different sources, it can lead to inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated information. A PIM creates the appropriate workflows to cleanse and validate data and maintain one source of truth. It can provide approval workflows across departments and product release workflows across channels, audiences, and product segments.
A PIM allows manufacturers to enrich their content, taking information and building it out for different audiences and channels. Through the creation of product configurators, videos and other dynamic content, a manufacturer is able to differentiate their products and show how they will meet a customer’s needs. A PIM also gives access to data analytics for manufacturers to strategically improve product information.
Syndication and Internationalization
Instead of sharing information through a hard-copy product catalog or face-to-face at a trade show, manufacturers can use digital assets and a PIM to streamline distribution. The PIM can automatically syndicate product content to third-party marketplaces and distributors for simplified selling. As a company broadens distribution, a PIM allows them to leverage internal system APIs for translation services or integrate into other third parties.
Before you launch a PIM
Implementing a PIM system requires preparation and change management. To set your company up for success and make the most of your PIM, consider these key planning steps.
- Internal organization: Make sure you have buy-in across all internal teams. This includes executives who set the strategy, product owners who install the PIM, data analysts who are responsible for data governance, business groups that will use the data, and technology users who can provide IT support and customization. A PIM is not a “set it and forget it” solution. Your people and processes need to be ready to maintain the system for optimal usage.
- Vendor evaluation: If you’re wondering how to choose the right PIM software, start with the requirements. What do you need your PIM to do? Consider integration capabilities with your CRM and ecommerce platforms, as well as opportunities for internationalization and expansion. The right PIM will have the tools you need now and in the future to grow your business.
- Prep work: Get your product information ready. Is it clean and accurate? What is the one source of truth? This is also a good time to refresh digital assets as needed. You can add photos, videos, and diagrams, or update copy to be more concise and readable.
- Training: Create a plan for employee training and communicate changes to your internal team and distributors. You’ll need to make sure business units know how to update data and start to establish governance standards.
A product information management platform is crucial for supporting your B2B buyers in research and purchasing decisions. For manufacturing companies that need to manage, integrate, validate, distribute and enrich product data, a PIM solves many pain points and makes it easier to execute these tasks. By capitalizing on the benefits of a PIM solution, you will be able to optimize the buying journey and empower your customers to purchase the products they need.
Ready to get started, but need some guidance? Contact our experienced and knowledgeable team here at Avoinos. Or download our Digital Guide for Manufacturers for a comprehensive guide to optimizing your buyer’s journey.