B2B PIM 1 | Inform buyers thanks to Product Information Management
Improve time to market in B2B Manufacturing and B2B Retail
PIM B2B 2 | Product Awareness and B2B Marketing
In the B2B Manufacturing and Retail B2B sector, each product carries with it a substantial set of information, attributes and properties which potentially define infinite variants for it: we are not talking about back-office data, but rather essential information which will transform our target buyer into a customer willing to purchase the products which meet their needs from us.
A buyer who is increasingly looking for an answer to the business requirements of their company on the digital channel: if we do not provide that information on our product and offering right then, they will continue to look, until they end up purchasing from a competitor.
How can we make sure we do not miss sales opportunities due to poor, outdated or inconsistent information on our sales channels?
Providing information on the product to increase its perceived value
In B2B Manufacturing and Retail B2B, reaching new customers and markets requires the creation of an alternative to the traditional physical trade fair, with the creation of a 24/7 "digital trade fair": a place to communicate accurate and relevant content on the products and services which interest customers at the exact moment they are looking for them. A place to create the digital identity of our product, without which the product would, indeed, no longer exist.
Digital presence, in other words “making oneself found” on the digital channel, is the starting point for a new method of interaction with the buyer, who must be able to be informed about the offering and new products in a timely manner, and be able to finalize the purchase either through the support of the sales staff or with a self-service method through the B2B e-commerce site.
The basis of the digital presence is the display of a complete and updated digital catalog which fully exploits the company's offering and supports customer engagement: correct and exhaustive product information, alongside content which is richer in storytelling terms, to highlight the advantages of the products and increase their perceived value with a view to sales with higher margins.
Creating a digital catalog
Digitization of the catalog is often the first step required in a digital transformation process, certainly in the B2C and B2B retail environment, but it is just as important in the manufacturing sector, whether we are talking about finished products or components, where the different combinations can give rise to a huge number of variants, attributes and information to manage.
Alongside the product information, each company will indeed find itself having to manage:
- Multiple channels, from the web to hardcopy catalogs
- Channels for sending retailers product information
- Multiple countries, and therefore multiple languages and translations
- Multiple suppliers from whom information on products and components must be gathered
Poor management of these factors inevitably leads to an unsatisfactory customer experience: a customer who is not suitably informed on the features and advantages of a company's products is likely to be lost.
Building a product information master database to reach new markets
In many companies, product information is distributed across many systems and files, fragmented between different work teams (technical department, marketing, IT ...), who still work in silos.
As the first step in a digital transformation process, breaking ground on a Product Information Management (PIM) project aims to create and display a centralized and uniform product catalog, with up-to-date and complete product information, for optimized management of product information flows, enrichment and onboarding of new products.
Reaching new customers and optimizing product information management times in order to improve the time to market are the main business goals achieved by our customers, whom we accompany on this path thanks to our expertise in PIM projects and catalog digitization, as well as our relationship with the best partners for this process such as Informatica and Stybo.
A master database with all product information is therefore created, a container in which to bring together all input channels containing the product data (ERP, PLM, DAM, industrial standard third-party management systems, various data pools on servers ...) and where they are organized and updated through optimized workflows in formats which are consistent but specific for the individual output channels, so that they can be used from an omni-channel point of view: digital catalog, hardcopy catalog, for resellers or the retail channel.
Through the new data structure, the digital presence thus offers more ways to browse the catalog, so that every customer can search for the specific product or solution to their problem as quickly and efficiently as possible:
- Product browsing by hierarchical sales categories, on the basis of the taxonomy and architecture of the information in the catalogue, organized on multiple levels
- Browsing by dynamic categories, in other words temporary ones or those aimed at specific business requirements (such as usage contexts, field of application...), which allow the product to be presented within multiple contexts
- Product search-based navigation, which is becoming increasingly common in the B2B field as well, using the searchandising approach, in which SEO optimization through search keyword analysis is key to ensuring business opportunities are not lost
- Browsing by customer-specific product catalog, in which the customer can find the products they have previously purchased or products which are the result of customizations they have requested in the past, which over time lead to specific and dedicated catalogs
No less important, naturally, is search optimized also for back-end operators working on the PIM tool, which allows the catalog to be updated faster.
The creation of a single master catalog with all product information and corresponding attributes is essential in applying push marketing, product recommendation and suggestion logic, with a cross-selling and up-selling goal thanks to the precise correlation between products, between products-accessories and products-spare parts. Greater flexibility in the process and the possibility for the marketing department to embellish the catalogs creates sales opportunities, significantly improving the customer experience.
The advantages of a Product Information Management project
The adoption of a Product Information Management (PIM) solution in the B2B and B2C environment, when supported by a strategic project, allows:
- Centralization and management of product information, making it available in an efficient manner to the company's team and operatives and significantly reducing manual work for management of product data.
- Implementation of information visibility and access logic in a manner consistent with the organization and corporate structure, supporting the SEO strategies with the tool and following its instructions to optimize their potential.
- Automating and exporting product information in standard formats, in keeping with the industrial sector (e.g. ETIM).
- Optimizing and automating the management of multi-language content, in order to expand the number of supported languages and thus markets.
- Automation and streamlining the management process for product-related assets.
This therefore makes it possible to achieve a lower time to market than competitors, reaching new markets and customers thanks to efficient communication of the digital catalogue.
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