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April 12, 2023
News

The pitfalls of inefficient product information management

The pitfalls of inefficient product information management

The world of e-commerce is growing at an unprecedented rate, and companies that sell products online are facing a multitude of challenges when it comes to managing their product information

At the recent Webwinkel Vakdagen event, we at KatanaPIM conducted a survey to better understand how companies are currently managing their product data and the challenges they face when selling online.

The results of our survey revealed that while Excel and Google Docs/Sheets are the most commonly used tools for managing product information among SMEs selling products online, there is a growing interest in dedicated product information management (PIM) software. While fewer companies are currently using PIM tools, those that are using unsuitable solutions are facing various challenges that prevent their business from scaling up and growing properly. 

In the following paragraphs, we will examine the issues that companies face when managing product information with different tools, and how PIM software can help solve these challenges.

The tools used by SMEs to manage product information

As shown in the chart, Excel is the most commonly used tool for managing product information, with 54% of respondents using it. Google Docs/Sheets comes in second place with 18%, followed by ERP systems with 11%. Other tools, including outdated systems or built-in PIM solutions, make up 9% of responses, and PIM software and other tools that were not specified make up 8% of responses.

Managing product data with Excel

Excel is the most commonly used tool for managing product information among the companies surveyed. However, Excel has some limitations when it comes to managing product data. It is primarily designed for tabular data, and while it can be used for more complex data, it can become inconvenient to use, especially as the data sets get larger. Most of the time it becomes prone to errors, especially if multiple users are working on the same document at the same time.

Managing product data with Google Docs or Sheets

Google Docs/Sheets is another popular tool for managing product information. While this does offer some advantages over Excel, such as the ability to collaborate in real-time, it also has multiple limitations.

Managing product data with ERP tools

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are typically used by larger companies for managing various aspects of their business, such as accounting, inventory, human resources, and customer relationship management. While ERPs offer many benefits, such as centralizing data and providing a unified view of the business, they may have limited functionality when it comes to managing product information, and may not be able to handle complex data sets or offer advanced features for managing product content (such as descriptions, specifications, multimedia files).

Managing product data with outdated or inefficient tools

Other tools that are commonly used for managing product information include outdated systems or built-in PIM solutions that are not scalable and cannot integrate with other apps. These tools can become obsolete quickly as they cannot keep up with the changing demands of the market, leading to inefficiencies, errors, and lost opportunities.

The challenges caused by outdated product information management methods

According to our survey, the most common challenges include updating and organizing product data (76%), selling on multiple channels (48%), giving customers a great experience (48%), increasing customer loyalty and retention (28%), keeping up with competitors (23%), launching products faster (25%), reducing product returns (19%), and keeping the business sustainable (11%). The good news is that PIM tools can help address all of these challenges and more.

In the following paragraphs, we will explore each challenge in detail and explain how PIM can help businesses overcome them.

Updating and organizing product data

Keeping product data up-to-date and organized is a major challenge for companies that sell products online. This challenge becomes even more significant as businesses grow and expand their product offerings. PIM tools offer a centralized location for managing product data, making it easy to update and organize information across all channels. This tool enables businesses to collect, enrich and validate their product information from a single place, and distribute the correct data on their sales channels. With PIM, businesses can streamline their data management processes and reduce errors, while also enhancing internal workflows and improving the customer experience by ensuring that the right product information is available at the right time.

Selling on multiple channels

Selling on multiple channels is another challenge that many companies face when it comes to managing product information. Each channel has its own unique requirements when it comes to product data, and managing all of this data across multiple channels can be complex and time-consuming. PIM tools can help businesses manage channel-required specifications and share them on the right place, at the right time, automating the process of publishing product data while saving time and reducing errors.

Giving customers a great experience

Giving customers a great shopping experience is critical for any business that sells products online. However, this can be difficult to achieve if product data is not managed effectively. PIM tools can help businesses deliver a great customer experience by ensuring that the right product information is available to customers when they need it. With PIM, businesses can provide customers with rich, detailed product descriptions, images, and videos, all of which can help increase customer engagement and sales. PIM also enables businesses to provide a consistent customer experience across all channels, ensuring that customers always have access to accurate and up-to-date product information.

Increasing customer loyalty & retention

Another challenge that companies face is increasing customer loyalty and retention. By ensuring that customers receive what they expect and are satisfied with their purchase, they are more likely to come back and refer the shop to friends and family. When customers are pleased with their experience, they are more likely to leave positive reviews, leading to more loyal customers. A PIM system can help ensure that product information, such as descriptions and images, are consistent and accurate across all channels. This consistency builds trust with customers and makes it easier for them to find what they're looking for. When customers feel confident in their purchase, they are more likely to come back and remain loyal to the brand.

Keeping up with competitors

Keeping up with competitors is a challenge that all businesses face, regardless of industry. In the world of e-commerce, this means staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies, and providing customers with a shopping experience that rivals that of the competition. PIM tools can help businesses stay ahead of the competition by providing access to the latest features and functionality for managing product information. With PIM, businesses can stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards and best practices, ensuring that they are always one step ahead of the competition.

Launching products faster

A PIM system can help automate product data entry, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring team collaboration. This makes it easier to create and launch new products quickly, without the need for time-consuming manual data entry or corrections. A PIM tool can also help businesses respond more quickly to market changes, such as price updates, new product launches, or changes in product availability. With all product data stored in one central location, updates can be made quickly and efficiently, and the changes can be instantly reflected across all sales channels.

Reducing product returns

Reducing product returns is a challenge that can have a significant impact on a business's bottom line. One of the main reasons for product returns is inaccurate or incomplete product information. PIM tools can help businesses reduce product returns by providing accurate, complete, and consistent product information across all channels. By using PIM, businesses can provide customers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions, reducing the likelihood of product returns and improving customer satisfaction.

Keeping my business sustainable

Sustainability is gaining increasing importance in the world of e-commerce. Companies that sell products online need to consider the environmental impact of their operations and take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. One way that PIM can help with sustainability efforts is by reducing the return rate of products. As mentioned above, when customers have access to accurate and complete product information through PIM, they are more likely to make informed purchasing decisions, resulting in fewer returns. This can help reduce waste and transportation related to the return process, which can have a positive impact on the environment.

Reflections

Our survey at the Webwinkel Vakdagen revealed that companies selling products online are facing a range of challenges when it comes to managing their product information. From updating and organizing data to reducing product returns, these challenges can have a significant impact on a business's success. The good news is that PIM tools can help businesses overcome these challenges and improve their operational efficiency and customer experience. 

We feel incredibly thankful for the chance to connect with businesses at the fair and learn more about the tools they are using and the obstacles they are facing. Thanks to this event, we discovered that the importance of proper product information management is being recognized more and more, and we're thrilled to be a part of this growing market!

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The pitfalls of inefficient product information management

Get your product information together and scale your business

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Get your product information together and scale your business

Try KatanaPIM

Get your product information together and scale your business

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