Mantra for Retailers: Streamline Product Information to Delight Customers

In his third guest blog post here on this blog Rajneesh Kumar of Pimcore examines how this in-house PIM solution facilitates the way sales teams, online marketers, logistics departments and other units can work in perfect unison.

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Managing retail is a complex business. It starts with keeping all the attributes of your product information consistent across all platforms. That’s because your customers are everywhere today. They check out your products online and in store. They express themselves on chat boxes, send emails asking straight questions, buy using desktops/tablets/mobiles, call customer care and use all the devices at their disposal interchangeably in doing so.

Ergo, your product information should better be accurate, high-quality, comprehensive, consistent and up-to-the-minute at all times, across all platforms. As your business expands, number of products increase, the chances of botching up only get higher.

In this sea of complexity, one of the key differentiators in your growth story can be the PIM solution you implement. Pimcore’s PIM can be an answer to your retail needs, here’s why:

Retailers’ Needs Answered with Ease:

In today’s changing consumer dynamics, where 72% of businesses have named improving customer experience as their top priority, a robust product information management system is vital for retailers.

It’s no secret that retailers are grappling with the ever-changing product information requirements. They know it very well their customers are deluged with choices. If they don’t give their customers a consistent experience across all digital touch-points irrespective of the time, date, location, phase in the customer life cycle, they stand to lose. With Pimcore’s PIM, integrating different systems, breaking down silos and managing data efficiently can put you on a trajectory of growth.

A PIM Solution that’s Simple yet Mature:

At the core, it’s all about managing the details about your products, like SKUs, specifications, core product data, digital assets, content, omni-channel data, metrics, and the works. And Pimcore does it like no other PIM software.

Be it the drag and drop approach, quick and easy data entry and management or a context sensitive navigation, it’s a breeze to maintain data assets on Pimcore. Its unrivaled interface too, makes it simple to manage data from multiple domains within one consolidated platform. Besides, Pimcore can be a great fit with CMS, DAM, and Commerce, which can immensely curb your time-to-market.

Unmatched Data Integration, Management and Delivery:

As a retailer, your business’s success will always hinge on your ability to integrate, manage and deliver properly. Pimcore’s data integration is unique in every sense. It has the capacity to integrate into just about any IT environment. This is due to its API driven approach and “connect anything” architecture, so whether it’s Oracle, SAP, Navision or anything else, you can look forward to a seamless integration.

Having rich product information in a flexible and agile data model, which is user-friendly, consistently organized, aggregated, classified, and ready for translation is one the biggest virtues of Pimcore.

Retailers can expect a lasting information infrastructure support, which will secure them for the future and ensure data integrity.

Pimcore Helps in Carving Impeccable Customer Journeys:

In retail, user’s perspective reigns supreme. Every possible trajectory of a customer’s journey must be thought through distinctly and mapped out. Everything that a customer is capable of doing, the touch-points they might engage through, all their possible actions, the way they see it must be taken into account. And Pimcore’s PIM can be of excellent help in doing this. It will act as a powerful link between your data and your customers in every step of their journey. It can subtly guide them, which will eventually lead them towards decision making.

Wrapping Up:

Customer centricity may be the driving force in today’s retail environment, but that doesn’t take away the importance of other stakeholders such as suppliers, sales teams, online marketers, logistics departments and other units. It’s pertinent that they all work in perfect unison, minus any silos, in order to contribute towards creating a great customer journey. Pimcore’s PIM can give you a leading edge in making it happen.

Rajneesh KumarA digital marketer and growth hacker, Rajneesh Kumar is currently marketing manager at Pimcore Global Services (PGS), an award-winning consolidated open source platform for product information management (PIM), web content management (CMS), digital asset management (DAM) and e-commerce. He is well versed with web analytic tools, paid media marketing and has hands on experience on seo techniques, organic promotion and content marketing.

MDM Will Go Cloud

How cloud is changing MDM (Master Data Management) is a subject examined in a very read worthy article by Julie Hunt published recently. The article is called How Does Technology Enable Effective MDM?

In here Julie says: “Adoption of cloud-based MDM or MDM-as-a-Service is on the rise, opening up new dimensions for how organizations take advantage of MDM and data governance.”

Julie’s article is part 3 of a six part series on the “New Age of Master Data Management”, so I may touch on a dimension that is covered in the upcoming articles. This dimension is how business ecosystems must be a part of your organizations MDM roadmap, and that dimension is, according to Gartner, the analyst firm, covering 8 underlying dimensions as told in the post From Business Ecosystem Strategy to PIM Technology.

Working with MDM in a business ecosystem context does require MDM in the cloud of some sort. Inhouse Mater Data Management and Product Information Management (PIM), which may be on premise or in the cloud or perhaps a hybrid, is only the beginning. Collaboration with business partners in a sophisticated environment will be controlled by a cloud solution.

More on this concept is explained in this piece about Master Data Share.

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From Business Ecosystem Strategy to PIM Technology

Recently Gartner, the analyst firm, published a paper with the title 8 Dimensions of Business Ecosystems.

Right now, I am working with the Product Data Lake service, that is aimed at supporting business ecosystems when it comes to sharing product information. Our take at business ecosystems seems to fit quite nicely into the 8-dimension model.

Business Ecosystem
Source: Gartner

Participants in supply chains must adapt a business ecosystem strategy when it comes to handling product information. An inhouse Product Information Management (PIM) system is only the beginning. This system must be an active part of a digital ecosystem as explained in the post Passive vs Active Product Information Exchange.

This digital ecosystem must be able to support different degrees of openness as public, private or hybrid and embrace engagement of diverse participants having various types of relationships. How this is achieved for product information sharing was touched in the post Product Data Management is Like an Ironman.

The value exchanged with product information was examined in the post Infonomics and Second Party Data. We do that by acknowledging the diversity of industries and complexity of multiple ecosystems as exemplified in the post Five Product Classification Standards.

As stated in the Gartner article: “Success will require a strategic integration of technology, information and business processes.”

Learn how this is achieved when it comes to Product Information Management (PIM) at Product Data Lake Documentation and Data Governance.

The Relation of PIM to Retail Success

This is the second guest blog post from Rajneesh Kumar. In here Rajneesh examines how PIM and MDM have become a crucial aspect of retail success.

Today, every product has a variety of information. And each piece of product information is vital to influencing buyers since every buyer does in-depth research before zeroing on any product. When you deal with tens of thousands of products and their different data types and attributes, a streamlined product data becomes even more critical to ensure a higher sale.

Just think about any online store, and you will get the idea what magic product information produces in the presentation layer of marketing and sales channels.

A product information contains many components and maintains huge catalogs, bringing together the attributes of products with merchandising elements such as images, videos, audios, descriptions, and bundles. These key product facts induce greater product salability across multiple platforms to your customers— while maintaining brand visibility and consistency. When these elements are represented elegantly at the customer-facing end, it can even impact the overall customer buying experience.

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Another factor is time-to-market. Retail sector has become a fast-paced industry where every day 4Ps of products could be changed and refreshed. You need a process that works like a well-oiled machine to keep your customers updated and engaged— across the board. And, you can better engage with buyers when you have a:

  • Fully centralized system— Define, create, and sync master data of product information across multiple channels
  • Rock solid operational capability— Use master data in day-to-day operations without any delay
  • Analytical capability— Reports and insights to make faster, accurate decisions

Beside that, PIM addresses the dynamic nature of constructing and reconstructing compelling packages and offers in an environment that any user can work in, regardless of their programming skills. PIM platform makes product visualization—easier; workflow management— quicker; mass product updates— faster; and integration with content tools (WCM, DAM, eCommerce, etc.)—seamless.

A flexible PIM/MDM platform enables you to harmonize product information lifecycle, including appending, modifying/updating, deleting, validating and securing access to the product information. With a single source of reliable product information, it makes easy to enrich product information across all touchpoints such as website, mobile app, social, in-store point-of-sale, and physical store. Simply, PIM and MDM have become a crucial aspect of retail success.

As digital marketer and growth hacker, Rajneesh Kumar is currently marketing manager at Pimcore Global Services (PGS), an award-winning consolidated open source platform for product information management (PIM), web content management (CMS), digital asset management (DAM) and e-commerce.

Betting on the Next Gartner MDM Magic Quadrant

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Master Data Management Solutions 2016 came out early in 2017 as reported in the post Who will become Future Leaders in the Gartner Multidomain MDM Magic Quadrant?

So, it may be about time to take some bets on the next one.

First question will naturally be if Gartner is able to get the report out this year? Last year it was scheduled for November 2016 but was two months late into the next year, maybe due to some struggling with the vendors, who also are clients at Gartner, based on the form of a single MDM quadrant opposite to earlier years multiple MDM quadrants for customer and product MDM.

The scheduled date on the Gartner website is 10/31/17, which to none US people reads at the 10th day in the 31st month in year 17.

MDM BrandsNext question is if there are new entries or vendors dropping off? Another market report from Information Difference had a somewhat different crowd as examined in the post Varying Views on the MDM Market 2017.

In the comments to this post readers have posted questions about Magnitude Software, TIBCO Software and Riversand Technologies. Are they in danger? And who might be new entries?

Finally, of course we can have a guess on who will be able to brag about being the leaders. Will Informatica and Orchestra Networks be followed by other ones? Riversand was close last year in that visionaries space. Stibo Systems moves in from the challengers room.

Feel free to have your bet, or set the odds, in the comments below.

7 Considerations to Choose Digital Asset Management Right

Today’s guest blog post from Rajneesh Kumar is about Digital Asset Management (DAM) and 7 key factors to consider when choosing an in-house solution for that discipline. 

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Digital assets are an enduring force of great value. They are the fuel of the new economy as organizations strive to be increasingly digitally driven. The way ocean of digital assets is rising, it is essential more than ever to optimally manage every type of digital content.

Organizations today put so much effort to deliver responsive, personalized and engaging experiences. Digital content has a very important role to play here. And, digital asset management (DAM) solutions are becoming a strategic priority for organizations to manage rising volume of content, streamline and automate processes for efficiency and quality.

Digital asset management supports solutions (web content management, eCommerce, and campaign management) by managing omnichannel brand and rich media content across all channels.

It also helps store, access, distribute, repurpose, and monetize digital content.  In fact, a good DAM contributes directly to the bottom line.

Organizations recognize this fact. And they are looking to transform their digital asset management solutions to improve marketing and sales performance for higher ROI.

But, it depends on how big their assets are, how distributed they are and how much integration they need to do.

Organizations must make an informed decision before choosing any DAM solution. They must choose a solution that fits well with their structure. And, it must also enable them to adopt the solution quickly with business benefits.

Here are 7 key factors to consider when choosing a DAM platform:

Implementation- Digital asset management plays a critical role to improve brand consistency across campaigns and channels. It serves many roles inside and outside of an organization. Thus, it must support greater automation in managing global or local versions of assets, various renditions of assets across channels, and integration with key systems of engagement.

Integration- A digital asset management solution should integrate well with the existing infrastructure of the organization. It should be easy for creative workflow and approval, collaboration, and version control. Your DAM solution must also allow you to take advantage of deep integration with campaign management, marketing automation, and marketing technology platforms to boost marketing agility.

Management- It should offer the deeper capability to efficiently manage a diverse set of content at reduced cost and lesser hassle.  Because, DAM is a creative innovation lab for your marketing and sales team. It must reduce time spent searching for assets, streamline approval processes, make it easy to collaborate better with external stakeholders, and provide better visibility of current status.

Infrastructure- DAM should be compatible with existing as well as modern infrastructure (like cloud and mobility) so that unnecessary cost can be avoided in the long-run. A next-generation DAM system must take advantage of the cloud and mobility to make access and sharing easier among all teams wherever and whenever they require.

Security- It must provide robust security, metadata, and workflow capabilities — along with the scalability to support or add n-numbers of assets.

Rich media capability- Today, rich media is created in bulk. The DAM solution should provide strong support for audio, video, and images (with the format conversion capability as well as previews and editing capabilities on images and rich media) to support today’s responsive, cross-channel digital experiences.

Adoption- The DAM platform must be easily adopted by both internal and external teams (using role-based accessibility) so that business value can be realized as soon as possible. It must empower teams for better asset reuse, avoid duplication of effort and rework, and reduce the number of digital assets that are created but never used.

The bottom line is: It is not about what digital asset management platform you choose. But it is more about how a DAM solution enables you to create value around your entire asset cycle— improving collaboration, strengthening brands, accelerating campaigns, and increasing the ROI. Plus, delivering amazing customer experiences that you always strive for.

As digital marketer and growth hacker, Rajneesh Kumar is currently marketing manager at Pimcore Global Services (PGS), an award-winning consolidated open source platform for product information management (PIM), web content management (CMS), digital asset management (DAM) and e-commerce.

Varying Views on the MDM Market 2017

The Information Difference MDM Landscape Q2 2017 is out.

In the survey behind the vendor with the happiest customers was Agility Multichannel, followed closely by EnterWorks, then Stibo Systems, then Orchestra Networks and Informatica.

If you look at the positioning below these are by the way the ones with highest score on the technology axis (vertical) – but are not rated in the same order on the market strength axis (horizontal).

MDM Landscape Q2 2017
Source: Information Difference

The pack of vendors is organized by Information Difference only somewhat in line with Gartner as seen in the post Who will become Future Leaders in the Gartner Multidomain MDM Magic Quadrant?

Riversand and Tibco are not positioned by Information Difference, nor is Magnitude Software, which is the new wrap of Kalido, that had Andy Hayler of Information Difference as a founder.

Gartner did not position Agility Multichannel, Viamedici, Profisee, Terradata, Veeva and Talend in their quadrant.

All in all we see a market with a lot of unsettled business also considering exciting newer players as Reltio, Semarchy and Uniserv.