Product data is one of the most important factors for successful online sales. Whether users add products to their shopping cart or move on, whether Google draws attention to offers from the web store or whether personalized campaigns boost sales - product data is the decisive factor.
We explain the typical challenges companies face when it comes to product data management (PIM), provide tips for optimizing the procedure and recommendations for choosing the right software support.
Definition: What Is Product Data?
Product data refers to all information that describes a product. Examples of product data include information such as product name, brand and price, but also images and videos on the function and appearance of a product. The data is stored in various systems, for example in ERP and CRM systems or web store software.
Product data forms the basis for product information. This puts the pure product data into a context that is appropriate for the intended use.
Examples of Product Data
In the company, product data is generated, processed and stored in different departments. In some cases, information is taken over from manufacturers; in others, data must be provided by suppliers. Customers also generate relevant product data.
- Marketing: video, images, long text & keywords
- Logistics: Dimensions & weight
- Customer: Rating & comments
- Sales: Availability & delivery time
- Manufacturer: Product ID
Function of Product Data - Why Is It Important?
For 85% of online store customers, detailed product descriptions are the most important decision criterion for choosing a provider, according to a study by IFH Cologne. Nevertheless, the importance of product data and product data maintenance is still underestimated in many companies.
In the days before digital transformation, they actually played a subordinate role, but today companies pay dearly for negligence in product data management. After all, reliable, consistent, and up-to-date product data are prerequisites for data-based optimization - all the way to sales increases.
For example, immense costs can be saved if product descriptions or classifications are created automatically for large assortments. However, this is only possible if the quality of the product data is ensured.
Search Engine Ranking
Google also evaluates product data in the product data feed and decides on this basis which providers are listed with their offers prominently as shopping recommendations. If you have only entered the correct product name and brand, you are giving away visibility and potential sales. This is because Google selects suggestions based on far more criteria.
Optimization of the Business Strategy
Reliable product data management is also important for the overall strategic orientation of a company. This is because managers are increasingly making data-based decisions about which new products to include in the range or which changes to the business model are promising. Which products were slow sellers? What are the commonalities of key account purchases? In order to make meaningful evaluations, analytics applications need meaningful product data.
Personalization of Products and Marketing
For their part, customers expect personalized offers in more and more industries. To ensure that the lover of sneakers does not receive offers for high heels, companies must optimize product data management. They must collect information on past purchases and returns as comprehensively as possible and ensure that product data is linked to customer data. In this way, they create the basis for personalized offers.
Optimize and Manage Product Data - Product Data Management and Product Data Maintenance
If product data is not updated quickly enough, is partly incorrect or is not retrieved everywhere, this can be due to very different causes. However, companies that want to optimize the management of their product data always benefit from two measures: the use of PIM software and strategic data management.
Introduction or Change of PIM Software
From a certain assortment size, we believe that Product Information Management is mandatory. An appropriate software system prevents data chaos and helps to manage even large amounts of product data clearly. Otherwise, product prices will continue to be stored in the online store, master data in the ERP system and product descriptions directly in the CMS.
A PIM system creates a single source of truth for product data. It brings together existing data from different source systems and makes it available to all output media in the latest version. Redundant data storage and inconsistent data are avoided. At the same time, time-to-market is reduced because the PIM system can provide the product data automatically.
Data Management Review
Product data management should not be viewed in isolation or as a purely technical challenge. To operate product data management successfully, companies need a holistic strategy in data management. Companies first need data governance before they can introduce and optimize individual elements of their data management, such as product data management.
The introduction of a PIM by itself cannot solve problems caused by inefficient processes and a lack of user competence or undefined standards. In order to take targeted and effective measures for product data optimization, companies should survey the status quo of their data management and evaluate systems, data quality, processes and employee qualifications.
Software for Product Data - Selection and Integration of a PIM System
When choosing software for product data, companies make a far-reaching decision - often for the next eight to ten years. To make matters worse, many departments have different requirements for product data, existing IT systems limit the choice of suitable solutions, and the differences between providers are not always easy to identify.
Therefore, companies should take their time when screening potential software providers. At Parsionate, we divide the decision-making process into seven steps in which we work together to find answers to key questions.
1. Define Scope
Why should product data be optimized - what are the goals to be achieved with the introduction/change of the PIM system?
2. Identify requirements
What requirements should the system meet? Which of these are must-haves, which are optional?
3. Create a shortlist of potential providers
Which providers offer the desired range of functions? Which providers perform particularly well in market analyses?
4. Contact vendors and review pitches
Which vendors are best at meeting the specifications? Which ones offer additional value?
5. Evaluate pitches
How can pitches be systematically and comprehensively evaluated?
6. Recommendation of a vendor
How can a favorite be optimally presented to management in a decision template?
7. Decision for a vendor
How can a final decision be made for the product data software?
Frequently Asked Questions About Product Data
AI-based software solutions that generate automated product descriptions from product data have been available for several years. The results are particularly good for simple descriptions. Other AI applications can automatically categorize product data, identify and eliminate duplicate records. Advanced AI applications use product data to monitor the market for trends. The applications alone are not enough to optimize product data, but they can be an important component of a strategy.
There are many causes of poor data quality. Interfaces from ERP systems to output media do not work properly and some data formats are not being read. Employees do not update data regularly or the system does not recognize redundant data records. Poor quality of product data is usually based on poor quality of data management as a whole.
The term product data feed is used in e-commerce to describe data sets containing important information about products in an online store. This raw data includes descriptions of the product's price, function, and appearance, among other things. A prominent example of the use of product data feeds in online stores: they are read out by Google, for Google Shopping or Google Ads listings.
Better product data?