With evolving business channels, technological advancements, and modern-day customer expectations, futuristic eCommerce is now all about connections, experiences, and conversions. Empowering potential customers with product data is a prerequisite for eCommerce success. Along with providing self-service mechanisms and a seamless omnichannel shopping experience, it is of utmost importance to enhance product data and standardize product information to improve relationships with partners, stakeholders, and customers. This is where product catalog management (PCM) can make a significant difference. Highly functional catalogs in eCommerce are instrumental in expanding product lines, attracting and retaining the right customers, and reducing time spent on managing inventories. The first step towards advanced catalog management starts with delivering comprehensive, accurate, and relevant product information, especially for businesses managing multiple sales channels.
Poor catalog management comes with its fair share of disadvantages, including inaccurate product information, resulting in lesser sales and a higher volume of returns. An analysis report by Grand View Research shows that the global catalog management system market is expected to inflate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5% from 2021 to 2028. The predicted growth in the global catalog management system points out that, going further, it will be essential for enterprises and brands to augment, enrich, and validate product data in real-time to enable a futuristic eCommerce platform. A strategic approach to PCM will help brands and enterprises deal with futuristic technology demands, accelerate growth, and generate a higher return on investment (ROI). Here are some reasons why efficient PCM is important for all eCommerce players.
- Improves agility and collaboration: When it comes to business growth, relationships between wholesalers, dealers, vendors, suppliers, stakeholders, and end-users are crucial, especially in eCommerce. Managing the entire catalog portfolio and ensuring required product information for each group can be an overwhelming, time and resource-intensive task for brands to make successful business partnerships. For instance, efficient implementation of product catalog management on an advanced omni channel platform will not only increase the brand visibility but also pave the path for business growth to the next level. This will open up new self-service capabilities for stakeholders, enabling profitable partnerships, while standardizing product data to ensure agility and collaboration in the best possible way. eCommerce businesses are expected to provide faultless product details across channels for each group of business stakeholders they are dealing with. It is integral for modern enterprises to organize data and product information; an advanced product information management (PIM) platform can augment digital catalogs and sharpen the competitive edge, ensuring zero hassles and improving agility.
- Enables clarity and compliance: eCommerce businesses with huge product lists on multiple channels and platforms must focus on quality data and compliance. That said, a steady flow of information between the stakeholders, suppliers, vendors, and customers is critical to ensuring compliance with requirements and standards. Conflicting or irrelevant product information in the eCommerce catalog can negatively affect the business value and put brands on the compliance radar. By using efficient PCM tools, brands can easily publish and control relevant information on their website through a content management system (CMS), improving clarity and adhering to the changing compliance requirements. A robust PCM system plays a vital role in keeping product information accurate, relevant, and customized as per the guidelines of the respective marketplace. Deploying a PIM tool will ensure clarity and high-level product data management, helping eCommerce players to produce sub-par product data to minimize the complexities. An advanced PIM empowers a business to keep the product information precise, relevant, and personalized.
- Boosts customer retention: Every tier of customer expects to be informed about the product in the most attractive way possible with graphics, rich text, and all the information that would help them make an informed decision. Structured product information is the key to driving sales and running a value-driven eCommerce platform. Managing PCM is integral to any eCommerce player to organize data and suitable product categories, enabling a smooth flow of product information to attract customers back to the platform. Difficulty in accessing relevant product details may delay or even alter the customers’ buying decisions, and businesses may end up losing a potential selling opportunity. It is essential to augment a digital product catalog and sharpen the competitive edge by using an advanced PIM system to retain customers. This will increase customer engagement, generate awareness, and assist them in making purchase decisions. Also, a well-organized and intelligent product catalog system enables customers to explore the products online with ease and optimizes their buying experience.
- Supports global retailing: eCommerce marketing is a vast ecosystem, and with business expansions, brands are often concerned about managing their ever-expanding product portfolio. With a robust PCM system, this does not remain a challenge and reduces the prolonged time-to-market issues hindering business growth in different locations. Having an excellent PCM strategy will allow businesses to support a more significant number of products that can reach a broader market faster. This will enable eCommerce businesses to easily cross location barriers and push their sales channels without any problems. And using standardized product catalogs will help enterprises adapt to different locales, channels, and languages. Efficient PCM helps optimize time and costs of managing massive product data, ensuring accurate, standardized, and consistent product information. Maintaining the product catalog on a content management system (CMS) can be tiresome when the market grows, and the listings inflate. This is where implementing a PIM tool becomes an absolute necessity for eCommerce businesses to manage their product catalog across multiple platforms and channels.
- Enhances scalability and performance: Ensuring up-to-date product information is crucial to delivering relevant and faultless business across distinct eCommerce marketplaces. With various product models and versions coming onto the market, it is a top priority for eCommerce players to ensure that their product catalog is scalable. Without a standardized catalog management process, expanding the online presence for new product lines or sub-brands can be challenging. Businesses will spend time and effort manually organizing product information for different audiences and sales channels. This is where PCM systems play a pivotal role in improving scalability and performance by enhancing efficiency and reducing time-to-market. To improve eCommerce catalog management, enterprises should focus on automating data validation and quality assurance. This will enhance the overall performance throughout the channels by implementing a well-executed product scalability model with less maintenance expenditure and zero downtime impact. Using a PIM system will streamline product information and standardize data for suppliers, stakeholders, and user groups, organizing product data into one centralized space, eliminating duplication, and enhancing performance.
Ensuring flawless data management and more
Highly accurate data and well-organized inventory will not only help eCommerce players in marketing their products more effectively across multiple channels but will also improve product discovery and sales conversion. As product catalogs are becoming the engine that propels eCommerce, several industry players are seen adopting and investing in new-age technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-enabled catalog management systems. PIM tools that are AI-powered can empower eCommerce players with flawless data management, superior collaboration, and automated importing and validating of the catalog content. Advanced PIM offers a range of flexible and customizable catalog management solutions to meet digital operational and scalability requirements. This includes organizing, structuring, and updating product information, empowering the businesses to enhance their omnichannel presence. It is critical for companies of all sizes to react to market trends in real-time with less turnaround time per catalog, augmenting speed-to-market.
(The author is Mr. Dietmar Rietsch is CEO of Pimcore. A serial entrepreneur with a strong sense for innovation, technology and digital transformation. He is a passionate entrepreneur who has been designing and realizing exciting digital projects for more than 20 years, and the views expressed in this article are his own)