When you are selling a beautiful and classic piece of jewelry online, the customer gets much more than e.g. a 14 karat gold ring with 3 embedded diamonds.
Likewise, if you offer an exclusive piece of furniture, you sell more than just an armchair with woollen upholstery and round wooden legs. You also sell the story of the design awards won, the designer's bio, information about the special breed of sheep, which has provided the wool for the furniture fabric, your country’s culture and more.
This is all information that your customers expect you to make available, and which also conceals highly complex, interrelated data.
How the PIM system handles your metadata
When telling a customer about the genuineness of the gold, the wood quality, etc., you are using what is known as metadata, i.e., product data not directly linked to a specific item, but to be used across several items, typically coming from external sources.
Further examples of metadata might be general brand information attached to specific products or on images (size, keywords, rights etc.). It might also be brochure data (descriptions, cover images, general text, etc.) that one does not wish to include on a specific product that must appear in numerous different brochures.
If you, as a distributor of design products or dealer in any other product with metadata, have to handle such data manually and across different databases and systems, you are faced with a time-consuming task when you want to include new products, or update product information in particular. Simultaneously, there is a great risk of presenting outdated information to customers. The more scattered the data, the more manual work it takes to maintain it.
An alternative to trying to juggle product information across systems is to use a Product Information Management solution, also called a PIM system. For the distributor of design products, this means that when the description of the designer’s artistic career needs to be updated, it only has to be done in one single place, namely in the PIM system, and then the change will appear everywhere on the website and in the webshop where the designer is mentioned, as well as in all other sales and marketing materials.
When is your product data complex?
Metadata thus increases the complexity of your product data, and it is precisely an assessment of that data's complexity that is crucial to deciding whether you need a Product Information Management system or can settle for a manual solution.
There are several other factors that contribute to high complexity, including:
- A need to share specific across many products
In this case, maximum time savings can be achieved if you are able to update product data in one central location rather than having to adjust it everywhere that a given product is mentioned.
- The number of languages used to communicate with your customers
Each additional language adds significant amounts of manual work if you do not have a PIM system to help you manage product data.
- Variations in the types of product data you need to include for different product types
If you record the same six types of data for all your products, it is possible to manage it manually, but if there are differences in the types of data included for different product categories, it will be difficult to handle without system support.
- Working with configurable products, i.e., that can be varied with different “subproducts"
Highly configurable products or variants of products increase complexity by creating various combinations of product information that can be difficult to manage manually.
Download the guide to choosing a PIM system
Assessing data complexity is just one of the things to be taken into account when you are searching for the best way to manage your product information.
With the free whitepaper “Five crucial questions you need to answer before choosing PIM” we can guide you through the decision process.
By Christina Grundmann. - April 2017