Analysts argue that we have covered a “decade in days” in terms of digital adoption due to a noticeable shift in customer behavior in favor of digital, affecting preferences and purchase decisions. The decreased in-store footfall and on-the-go consumption are expected to continue as consumers worldwide maintain low out-of-home engagement. According to McKinsey, more people expect to make a portion of their purchases online post-pandemic than before.
But the boom of eCommerce is not linear for retailers. New paradigms like selective shopping for essentials, larger baskets, reduced shopping frequency, polarization to sustainability, and a shift to curbside pickups and subscriptions. Customer loyalty in the new normal has also been redefined. Customers are pickier than ever, and they consume data through multiple channels, spending a good amount of time in each. The pandemic-infused fear has upsurged an urgent demand of knowing before trusting. And brands need to gain this trust by allowing them to take charge of their journeys and follow through with adequate information dissemination.
Let your customer take charge with Product Information Management (PIM)
Earning the trust of today’s tech-savvy customers with shorter attention spans requires a carefully planned buying journey geared through accurate product-related data. When customers get the information they need, they can command their engagement the way they want, across the channels they prefer. They can check all boxes at their own pace. And most importantly, they become confident in the brand, its authenticity, and customer care.
A robust PIM solution is a flexible, scalable, configurable, and easily deployable platform that helps structure and consolidate data from different sources and streamlines the customer experience at a personalized level. It enables retailers to reach the right audience at the right time and with the right message by improving the product catalog management process. This ensures the quality, accuracy, and completeness of product information across all channels. Completing products with detailed descriptions, full attribution, and multiple digital assets and publishing products that are 100% buyer-ready leads to high conversion rates and better customer lifetime value (CLV). It helps online retailers present product information in a way that’s complete, accurate, consistent, easy to digest, and increases loyalty in today’s intensified retail landscape. Therefore, PIM forms the bedrock of any retailer’s information management and marketing strategy.
Forge loyal relations by optimizing the product information journey
To connect emotionally with your end-users, you need to personalize omnichannel shopping experiences with PIM-enabled branding strategies. From automating processes to ensuring real-time data consistency across channels, a centralized hub for sourcing, editing, and merchandising data across the enterprise can craft unique loyalty programs.
- Be fast, flexible, and transparent — Keep customers informed about the latest developments with complete visibility of product-related information. Manage data flexibly by publishing the same content in restructured formats adapted to the channel of choice. You can also reduce the time-to-market by providing fast access to product data critical for a product launch or introducing a new variant into the market. This way, you can help customers navigate your offerings, consume only relevant content, save time discovering the right product, and eliminate shopping cart abandonment and brand hopping.
- Create omnichannel retail experiences — An omnichannel shopping experience is critical for increasing customer satisfaction. The simple reason is the proliferation of mobile devices and distribution channels and the abundance of options at the customer’s disposal. Customers ardently research across web pages, factsheets, marketplaces, applications, etc. They engage with brands in multiple ways, and they demand personalized service across each. PIM can equip you with data at your fingertips to create, monitor, and manage this multi-channel ecosystem. It can drive traffic and increase conversion across all sales channels by configuring and feeding information from the repository to all touchpoints, including electronic catalogs, in-store kiosks, etc.
- Automate processes and boost campaign efficiency — You can truly connect with individual customers only when your agents are relieved from mundane, repetitive tasks to focus solely on customer satisfaction. If low-skill data management processes like formatting, filing, import, export, storage, review, and updates are automated to provide great speed and accuracy, customers take center stage of decision-making. PIM can streamline product information management and save time and energy while content is updated and repurposed repeatedly. You can input from external sources and engage with an end-user while PIM seamlessly handles the backend office.
- Augment product data consistency — With PIM, you can build brand consistency with digital assets and incorporate them into eCommerce campaigns across all channels. You can manage more data about more products at the same time without error. A consistent, correct style, voice, tone, and message of your brand across all channels is critical for earning a customer’s trust – be it existing or new. One small mismatch or a slight inaccuracy can result in immediate brand hopping or doubts regarding your retail services. You can avoid all such cases by enabling the central view with PIM and editing product data from a single place. This way, you can easily add more channels and ensure collaboration between the stakeholders.
- Analyze market trends — Customer analytics is an integral part of customer satisfaction. Without understanding the intent of the customer, you cannot forge long-term associations. PIM can help you read through market trends and grasp early signs of customer behavior through configurable, user-centric dashboards that showcase relevant, use-worthy information, the status of critical workflows, and offer important notifications. You may even dish out custom reports relevant to your data stewards or business people at any point in time. It can even automate such processes to deliver near real-time insights. This way, you can secure the visibility of your products, identify performance metrics, and eliminate bottlenecks.
Change is the only constant, and PIM can help you adapt!
Retailers constantly fight to capture customers’ attention and convert them into loyal buyers while they fleet interchangeably between channels. In this strife, data is the hook between retailers and customers. Consistent, accurate, and timely product information can instill the trust that’s critical to achieve long-term customer loyalty. PIM can help your customer feel confident in their buying decisions by managing information across the purchasing journey. Retailers that offer instant and personalized shopping experiences with PIM can successfully attract, retain, and delight customers.
Vandana Singal is Director, Solution Consulting at Pimcore Global Services (A Happiest Minds Company). Pimcore is an open-source platform for product information management (PIM/MDM), digital asset management (DAM), content management system (CMS), and eCommerce. She has extensive experience in managing presales, product development, and multifunctional teams.