In our last article, we talked about the benefits of adopting a product information management (PIM) system. However, one of the main difficulties for startups is deciding when to adopt one. The benefits are obvious and many but implementing a system into your business at the right time is crucial to optimising your return on investment. If you implement it when your business is too small, you could be spending valuable resources on a system you don’t need. But, if you wait too long, you could be wasting time and money by using an inefficient product management system. In this article, we’ve outlined some of the key indicators that your business is ready to implement product information management software.
You have a high-volume of products
One of the most obvious indicators that your company is ready for product information management software is that you have a large product range. PIM does many things, but at its heart, it’s a way of organising your products. The biggest advantage of PIM software, like OnetimePIM, is that you can easily organise thousands of products and give the product information a uniform structure. This will improve your employee’s ability to access information quickly and provide it to the customer.
Some PIM system providers suggest that 1,000 products is the ‘magic number’, but we think it’s different for every company. The question you should be asking is: “Can we handle our product information efficiently?”. If the answer is no, you are ready for a PIM system.
You have a lot of information about your customers
Customer information is crucial to the success of eCommerce businesses. The more you know about your customer’s shopping and browsing habits, the better you can target your digital marketing efforts. Like product information, customer information can be rich in data and time-consuming to collect, store and understand. A PIM system can be used to centralise and organise this information into a useful tool for the marketing department. Instead of having endless folders of spreadsheets, the information will be in one place.
You use multiple marketing/sales channels
One of the biggest challenges facing a company with a large and developing product portfolio is the management of different sales and marketing channels. For example, if your company made an improvement to a product line, you would have to change the relevant information in every description, brochure and datasheet. This is relatively simple if you only sell products through your own eCommerce site, but imagine you sold through multiple online marketplaces, brick-and-mortar shops and in multiple catalogues. In this case, every small change to product information creates a huge workload. A PIM system can streamline this process by acting as an information source for every marketing and sales channel.
Your product line has multiple product relationships
Any business with a large product range will know that product relationships are an excellent way of promoting more sales. For example, if you have a best selling product, you can use it as a way to springboard products that aren’t selling as well. This is a strategy used by many successful companies, especially in eCommerce. The only problem is, keeping track of these product relationships can be complicated in a large and ever-changing product range (more on that below). Using a PIM system, you can implement product relationships into the product information structure. For example, if your company sold beauty products, you could search by ‘treatments for women aged 40-60’ and see all of the products in this relationship. This provides your marketing team with an effective way of creating campaigns.
You have a dynamic product range
A dynamic product range is one that changes regularly and is constantly being developed. A good example of this is consumer electronic products such as TVs, video games, mobile phones, laptops, etc. These manufacturers are constantly updating and developing their products, which means they need an effective way of keeping the product information up-to-date. As soon as new models are rolled out, the product information needs to be updated. This provides marketing and sales teams with immediate information, so they can then inform both existing and new customers.
You have multiple suppliers
Outsourcing is an effective way of keeping costs down and improving the quality of products and services. However, despite the obvious benefits of outsourcing, there is one major drawback - it can be complicated to manage multiple suppliers. There are many challenges involved with outsourcing to multiple suppliers: tracking deliverables, communication, invoicing and payment, risk management and more. Your PIM system can be used as a project management tool to improve the management of your suppliers.
There are multiple sources for your product data
A PIM system is a centralised location for all of your product data. If your company has multiple sources for product data, a PIM system will streamline many areas of the business and save time and money. For example, if a customer requests a specific piece of information about a product, the sales team could waste valuable time looking for the most up-to-date information, if it’s not easy to find. If it’s in one centralised database, there is only one place for them to look, which means the customer will be satisfied and the sales team have more time to focus on selling products.
Your products get returned a lot
Some industries have to deal with a large number of returned products. In the online clothing industry, customers will often buy multiple sizes and send back the products that don’t fit. Any customer behaviour like this creates a huge number of returns that need to be processed and put back on the ‘shelf’ to sell. The management of returns is much easier with a PIM system because they can be automatically inputted into the system and added to the stock level.
You work in multiple languages
A versatile PIM system can handle product ranges in different languages. This can be helpful if you have suppliers in different languages or you sell your products in different countries. All of your product information can be stored in multiple languages, so it can easily be accessed in any situation.