5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Solution to Manage Your Product Content

Content is increasingly driving retail sales, and consumers appear to have an insatiable appetite for more and better content to inform their purchasing decisions. The challenge for brands and retailers is not just creating that content, but how to successfully manage your product content across multiple touchpoints, channels, departments, and customers.
newly released research report from Forrester discusses the changing product information management system (PIM) landscape and how vendors, including Edgenet, are innovating to:
  • Deliver empowered customers the rich, relevant, continually updated content they demand “to help them through each step of the customer journey, regardless of purchase touchpoint.
  • Merchandise with speed and relevance to grow market share.
  • Merchandise at scale with PIM solutions that “automate the onboarding of content, enable efficient governance of product information, provide a merchandiser-friendly content enrichment workbench, and automate the distribution of collateral to all sales and marketing channels.
As a partner for 8,000+ brands and suppliers and Fortune 500 retailers, at Edgenet, we know how important it is to choose a vendor with the depth, breadth, and experience to meet your organization’s near- and long-term needs.
Unlike other vendors, Edgenet has been setting content standards since 1990, including our earliest software innovations in the m2o (Made to Order) space, a leap that first enabled brands to make the shift from manual orders to Big Commerce. From there, Edgenet has evolved into a single solution for the complex process of collecting, managing, and sharing product content across the full Product Content Ecosystem.
Because of our experience mapping data, we have a more complete picture (and solution) than other, more traditional PIMs on the market. And where we’ve seen customers be most successful when it comes to choosing the right partner, as well as having a successful implementation, is when there’s a cross-functional team of marketing, sales, IT, eCommerce, and supply chain involved.
We also know that’s easier said than done. But it helps to know where to start.
When beginning the process of researching, make sure you understand what need you’re trying to fill. PIMs can provide much more value than serving as a repository for your product content, with capabilities spanning from visual content storage and management, to formatting and syndicating data for specific retailers, third-party sites, and standards. It can be helpful to list your needs in a tier system, searching for functionality by priority. Is your product content image-heavy? Do you want to manage your product content and sell your products from the same platform? Do you have specific companies you want to do business with?
Here’s a checklist to help you and your organization ask the right questions, understand your product content management requirements across the enterprise, and select a PIM that’s right for you.

1. How is your brand managing the product experience for your customers?

In the new world of retail, an enjoyable product experience is worth its weight in gold.
With more online and offline competition in retail, product content is king. If you’re looking to create a single source of truth for collaboration in editing and changing product content to feed into the consumer experience, there’s a PIM for that. Managers and merchandisers looking to delight customers with quality product content can make use of a PIM that specializes in managing customer-facing product content.
With a PIM, your team can manage your product content in a single, collaborative space. They can manage specific categories of data, whether they be marketing, personalization profiles, or individual sales channels. The product experience begins with these workers, utilizing these tools to make a truly enjoyable buying experience. Using a PIM to manage your product content will ease the workflows of content management, improving relations between teams and team members collaborate in one space, making it easier to improve the product experience for your customers.

2. Does your brand require a single source of truth for enterprise information?

Omnidomain (or MDM) PIMs are most useful to brands that want to view all their data in one convenient place. These PIMs specialize in unifying all data across your enterprise. Not only does an omnidomain PIM aggregate and store your product content, it stores it alongside any information you want to incorporate from your CRM or ERP. All your customer and company data, accessible and editable in one convenient portal.

3. Are you duplicating work by filling out multiple spreadsheets for all your endpoints?

It’s no secret that loading product content into multiple spreadsheets for each retailer or data endpoint is a tedious process. Sending the same items to different retailers in different formats means duplicate work and lost time (and money), and can be even more difficult if the retailer has a comprehensive taxonomy structure to fit your data into. With a PIM, the process is simplified by using a single portal for all your endpoints, especially if that PIM has access to the taxonomies of specific retailers. The system is then able to validate your data and check it for accuracy within the correct formatting, saving you time spent on duplicate work and on checking for correctness. With real-time feedback and data analysis, you can sit back and let the PIM do the rest.

4. How do you export your product content?

Product syndication refers to the export function of a PIM. Your chosen PIM (especially a syndication-focused PIM) will send whatever aggregate data you’ve uploaded straight to your preferred endpoint. The more advanced PIMs will format your data based on government or retailer standards, such as GDSN standards for product content put in place by GS1 for certified GDSN data pools. For example, Edgenet is a certified GDSN data pool that manages every type of product content (marketing, private, GDSN), validates it against a robust taxonomy and global data standards. Edgenet also provides product content export function via Edgenet Connect, a syndication tool that sends the validated data to retailers. PIMs that pay attention to changing standards are especially valuable, as they alert their customers about changes, and are able to update

5. Which parts of the product content ecosystem do you need to manage?

If your needs can’t be covered by a single-focus PIM, a hybrid PIM may be what you’re after. Some content management systems are sold as more of a suite of eCommerce products, providing value in other areas of the content ecosystem, be it by merging marketing and merchandising, or simply managing visual content. These may seem similar to omnidomain PIMs, but they are really two robust products in one, rather than a single portal for storing enterprise information. Hybrid PIMs can include print content hybrids, DAM hybrids, eCommerce platform hybrids, marketing lifecycle hybrids, and product lifecycle management hybrids. DAM hybrids are especially common, as product content usually encompasses visual content.
PIM Selection, Simplified
There is a PIM solution for every brand, no matter how simple or complex your needs are. Need help? Contact one of our content specialists for help understanding what’s right for you.

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