inRiver PIM inRiver helps to simplify Product Information Management (PIM) for Retail, Manufacturing and Distribution industries. inRiver PIM Solution helps …
As the eCommerce store begins to grow, most of them face the same problem of managing and handling large scale product data. If all the product information is scattered, then the efficiency of your team will be low, errors will become common and the customer will begin to lose trust in your product. That’s why more and more online stores are implementing PIM – a management tool designed to avoid all these issues.
What is PIM ? PIM stands for “product information management”, a management tool that centralizes all of company’s product information. All the data from your product catalog is stored. There are many fields that you can add to PIM like :
- Basic information about each product.(name, brand, price etc.,)
- Technical information.
- Information on sales channel and market places like (Amazon, Flipkart)
- Stock availability.
- Reviews for each product.
- Product catalog, datasheet etc.,
PIM not only stores the information about your products, but does much more than that. Suppose if you have modified any product, PIM allows you to modify that product with new features on all sales channel at a time. In this way PIM can store and alter data as needed to carry out the daily tasks. So PIM acts as a middle ground. It makes importing and exporting product data incredibly easy.
8 Ways a PIM will save your time :
1. Reduces the use of spreadsheets :
Suppose if you have thousands of product descriptions to keep up to date, uploading the same on a spreadsheet would be time-consuming and also has chances of leading to human error of entering wrong data. PIM helps this type of task to be done more accurately. With PIM, users will save time by entering a large amount of data in lesser time and more correctly. This will help the right department to retrieve the correct data easily.
2. Automation :
Automation is another benefit of PIM technology. Instead of uploading data manually, companies can automatically get the correct information from different sources. As a result, you will be able to create a richer product experience, a better user experience and a high rate of return on investment. When you want to launch a new product or create offers for your product, PIM makes it easy by its automation capabilities. The automation feature of PIM takes less time to complete the herculean task.
3. Helps to optimize marketing :
As PIM centralizes all the information on your products, it provides you with information about the sales volume and other marketing statistics. It helps you to know
* which different sales channels are giving you better results.
* which keywords are working optimumly.
*life value of each product.
This information helps your marketing team to take the right marketing decisions on time. Timely taken the right decisions will increase your sales.
4. To reach milestones :
Through PIM you can track your business progress to reach your milestone in business. You can keep an eye on the product (sales), team performance and productivity. If you find certain things are lacking and creating hurdles in achieving your milestone, you can find those faulty points and rectify on time. PIM helps in time management to do such rectification. Things rectified on time will optimize your progress.
5. Unit growth :
PIM software facilitates businesses to easily assess the efficiency of various teams and units. If one unit is efficient, its data can be shared with a less efficient unit, to speed up the growth. As all the data is centralized by PIM, with less time you can enhance the growth of a less efficient team/unit.
6. Reduced errors :
As PIM store accurate information, it reduces the chance of sharing incorrect information. The reduction of errors means companies spend less on time and cost. Delivery of products, purchasing procedure and information of inventories are all optimized using the data in PIM. As a result, the customer can enjoy complete satisfaction after procuring your product. As PIM solutions are easy to integrate, companies save time and money on management and marketing.
7. Enhances your customer experience :
As PIM maintains the whole data centrally, it is the single source of product information for each product across all the channels of marketing. When you notice any data errors, PIM will help you to improve them by eliminating the inconsistency. This will help in enhancing customer experience by quickly correcting the issues and then immediately pushing the changes to all channels.
8. To expand your business :
With PIM you can automatically publish new or updated product content to all selling channels quickly and accurately. As PIM is connected with eCommerce platforms, it allows you to easily localize product details for websites. By having PIM, you can save your business expansion cost and it is time-efficient.
Finally, PIM makes it simple by providing everything in one area. It is easy to search, access, update, find and share product-related information. It makes it easier not only for employees but for teams, management, consumers and the company at large. PIM facilitates, not only manage a large amount of data but also makes it easy to work with. It’s time to conquer data and use it as a stepping stone for the future growth of your e-commerce business.
When working with product master data management [MDM] and Product Information Management [PIM], one important thing is product classification. There are two types of product classification standards 1. Internal standard classification 2. External classification standards. Internal standard classification, is using your own internal classification being product grouping and hierarchy management within your organization. External standard includes
1.UNSPSC 2.eclass 3. Etim 4. GPC 5.commodity codes or HS codes.
Here we discuss about the first three external standards :
It stands for the United nations standard products and services code [UNSPSC]. Mostly used for the UN Development Programme [UNDP]. It is a global standard for classification of product and services. This standard is often used in public tenders and at some marketplaces. It has five levels of hierarchy with eight digit coding numbers. UNSPSC competes with a number of other product and commodity coding system like eclass, GPC etc.,
The levels allow users to search products more precisely. The five levels of classification are : [segment, family class, commodity, business function]. Each level contains a two character numerical value and textual description.
UNSPSC classification example :
The UNSPSC can be further extended by adding a 9th & 10th digit after the commodity number. These numbers can indicate business relationships to the supplier such as rental/lease. For instance the classification code is “43-20-15-01-14”
Segment: 43 information technology broadcasting and telecommunication devices and accessories.
Family : 20 components for information technology or broadcasting or telecommunications computer equipment and accessories.
Class : 15 computers accessories
Commodity : 01 computer switch boxes. Docking station.
Business function : 14 retail.
- Each level including the lowest “commodity” level of the UNSPSC hierarchy has a unique number assigned to it. For any given UNSPSC number, you can tell which segment, family and class the particular commodity belongs to.
- Along with UNSPSC, companies can create their own taxonomies.
- Also having a unique number for a given commodity doesn’t create confusion while translation of the commodity’s description in any language.
One of the standard classifications is eclass. It is suitable for different industrial branches, internationally successful and available in multiple languages. Eclass classifies a wide range of industrial products and was developed by leading German companies. It represents a standard for the exchange of information between suppliers and customers and especially represents the procurement markets for buyers. Eclass operates on the principle of a hierarchical system and classifies products and services into four step category [main groups, groups, commodity classes, properties]
Classification example for the computer doc station.
19- information, communication and media technology.
- Computer system.
92- Computer system accessories.
- Docking station.
Similarities between UNSPSC and eclass :
- Both UNSPSC and eclass have four levels of hierarchy.
- Both support multiple language
Compared to UNSPSC, eclass has one more advantage. The standardized classification system under eclass, helps to perform statistical evaluation. It also helps to find, seek and describe products in a targeted manner. For this reason standard sets of properties are attached to the four levels of classification structure. These properties are used to describe the classified products.
It stands for European Technical Information Modes. Etim is used for the classification and technical description of products in the electronic industry. The central association of electro technical craftsmen [UNETO] in Netherlands, developed the basic model of this. The Etim standardization was initiated in Germany and has so far been supported by the association.
Similarly, Etim provides product information from one source – the manufacturer. The main aim of this type of classification is to make sure that there are no ambiguities or misunderstandings when it comes to sharing the technical characteristics of products. So Etim helps manufacturers send product information to their wholesalers in a streamlined way.
Benefits of Etim :
- Reduces the risk of errors in product data.
- Model is multi-lingual and translations are provided automatically for international markets.
- Information can be sent either digitally or in print.
- The consumers get better, more accurate product information.
- The model is a reusable template.
ETIM uses the following way to classify products:
- product groups
- Product classes
- synonyms [alternative keywords]
For example : EG000009
Here G stands for group. A string of six numbers that identifies the type.
The following are the industries that are adopting Etim:
- HVAC and sanitary
- Building construction
- Ship building.
Likewise, we see that Etim is a free and open standard. However, Etim international allows companies to become influencing numbers of the association that allows them to vote on changes and improvements to the Etim standard.
Need for classification :
Even if you have already sorted your products into your own classification, and use this classification in your web shop, as a search tree. Customers and partners may ask you to additionally sort the products according to standard classification such as Etim, eclass etc.; above all the wholesalers want the industry to sort their products into standardized classes in order to offer their customers products from different manufacturers via uniform classifications.
Thus the need for classification is to create a uniform and logical system, to manage product data. And also to facilitate problem free communication among different subjects. For instance, you and your partner use different words to say exactly the same thing. Thus the classification of products and services can prevent misunderstanding and unite classification.
Therefore, Data collected for product classification, is always available with the clients. And so, the customer can find exactly those products that meet his requirements the most on the market.
Catalog Management is the process of managing your eCommerce Product Catalog to ensure the integrity and quality of the product data across different sales channels. A product catalog is a detailed list of inventory of a store, which consists of product images descriptions, specifications, price, and more. The process of organizing, standardizing, and publishing this information to multiple sales channels is what product catalog management is all about.
Companies need catalog management to keep up with the huge stock of SKU’s (Stock Keeping Unit) for different sales channels. It is hard to maintain the integrity of huge quantities of product data and time consuming to keep track of the update in product data which results in incorrect and improper product data representation.
Common Challenges of Catalog Management
Product types make SKU management more complex because products vary by attributes like size or color. Products come in a different part or as a single individual part, keeping track of the hierarchy of product parts can be hard to manage.
Managing across multiple channels
When selling across different channels besides the company’s own website is a difficult task. Public market places such as eBay, Overstock, Amazon creates a challenge for cataloging the products; in the sense that each product is formatted in a different manner while listing. So it becomes hard to keep track of often resulting in publishing duplicate or incomplete product data.
Dealing with third party data
Data from different sectors like distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers come in all sorts of formats. It is a humongous task to transform each and every detail into a single internal standard format. It requires large teams who spend weeks compiling, updating, and publishing the product data which could also result in the wrong and inconsistent data for customers.
Capacity to handle infinite data
As your e-store gets established, it will have more product data coming in. It will get hard to organize data that is not in control. Expanding the product catalog becomes a challenge which in turn affects the day to day activities of the e-store stunting its revenue growth.
Consistent Data Quality
All of the above challenges affect the quality of the data. Maintaining your product data while simultaneously expanding the catalog, communicating with suppliers; and also publishing on multiple sales channels will be a hard task. With inconsistent product attributes such as wrong spellings, missing information, wrong descriptions, or attributes, it can be overwhelming to maintain a consistent standard.
These are the reasons why you need to invest in a strong data management system like Altius InRiver PIM. So, this centralizes the data with a single view; with an efficient and consistent way of managing the product data across multiple channels.
Altius InRiver PIM
Altius InRiver PIM saves investors and e-business owners from spending enormous time cleaning up product data; enabling to list rich, high-quality product data across all of their channels.