The placement of product information can be the difference between clinching a sale and turning a potential customer off for good. We explore how PIM supports this and many more critical moments in the customer journey.
How important is a picture of a wok? If you’re BSH Hausgerate GmbH, the answer is – very. To one customer, it tells the story of family meals or evokes the familiar smells of home. For another however, it is entirely irrelevant. The placement of this product information can therefore be the difference between clinching a sale and turning a potential customer off for good.
That’s because a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Pictures make the vital connection between brand and customer, delivering product information that helps them visualize how items might look or be used in their own houses, their own hands, their own lives. They’re critical to search success, as image results on Google or Twitter are more likely to be clicked on than plain text.
In BSH’s case, the company wants to use its product information to be able to tell user stories that demonstrate to customers various product features that could then be used across a range of different content. In particular, localization was important as different countries would want to use different features on a cooker and feel differently about about aspects such as energy efficiency.
As a result, it’s clear there is more to an image than just a picture. Images and their attributes, or metadata, are exactly the information managed by a Product Information Management system (PIM) play a huge role in advertising, ecommerce, search, and more. A PIM handles the central management and automatic updating of all your product data - from specifications to prices, customer service information to SKUs. Such a centralized end to end management of product data and other related units of information is integral in ensuring that the latest product data always at the fingertips or your workforce. This is turn means that it is easier for your teams to efficiently create powerful product stories and use cases to play out accurately across any channel.
Then there are compliance issues, which can be brilliantly managed through a PIM. Particularly in a social media led world where image rights are increasingly short term but can carry some serious clout. Images garnered from Instagram and Pinterest, two sources of valuable user generated content, have the potential to drive four times higher click through rates than those from elsewhere, and to substantially lower the cost per click.
However, managing and maintaining the rights to those images can be a complex process and getting it wrong can be costly – US based pharmacy, Duane Reade narrowly avoided paying a $6m lawsuit when it tweeted a paparazzi image of Katherine Heigl carrying one of their bags (although there was an undisclosed settlement).
Using pictures with out of date image rights may leave the company open to fines or even prosecution and misattributed pictures cause customer confusion and product information that stays live when stocks have been exhausted risks disappointment. But in the case of heavily regulated industries like pharmaceuticals, mixing up product information can have catastrophic effects.
Getting product information management right has many, many benefits for the organization. With multiple platforms against which to sell and promote, and many internal processes where organizing inventory is based on accurate product information, it makes sense to have a system that can manage the various pipelines. Nearly half of organizations believe that proactively managing product information increases the value of their products and sales.
But all too often, critical product information is held by different departments, in differing levels of detail and accuracy, on different spreadsheets. Transparency between systems and departments is key here, and something which PIM can be highly effective in facilitating. It can bring a simplicity that allows people to come together in to form a productive workflow and delvier accurate, centralized product data, supporting the output accuracy of their sales, marketing, and customer services colleagues.
A Modern Approach To Marketing Product Information is a comprehensive censhare whitepaper on how and why to implement a PIM, explaining how an integrated, semantic approach to product information can really liberate a business.
Using the example of a bike manufacturer, the whitepaper demonstrates how the semantic network in a PIM can help retailers navigate not just the release of a new bike frame, but all its related products (wheels, saddle etc.) as well as the correct accessories, and of course the supporting data and content for all of these items. This means that the creation and adaption of regional prices and localized content for outlets in different countries is made so much simpler and more efficient – it happens all in a single system being fed by a single, central database. This information also links to catalogs, websites, direct mail – any other collateral that makes use of the same product, whether it’s the image, description or simply the price.
Bringing together product information in an omnichannel environment is not just a luxury for top global brands – it is a necessity for staying competitive in your market. Increasingly, it is proving to be the pivot around which companies' product strategy revolves. In BSH’s case, the company didn’t just need to tell stories. Internally, it wanted a 360-degree view of its products and their features, improved data quality and to use fewer tools and interfaces to simply tasks for employees. Having successfully integrated censhare’s PIM across more than 3,000 users worldwide, the company now plans to integrate more capabilities, including translation and terminology management, on top of the 1,500 user stories it has already created.
To find out more about how to integrate a PIM system effectively, how it can work alongside some of the many other martech solutions organizations already use and its impact on futureproofing the business, download A Modern Approach To Marketing Product Information here.
Alternatively, visit our What is PIM page, to broaden your basic understanding of Product Information Management and its use cases.
censhare relaunches the brand to reflect its content leadership in the MarTech landscape.