This blog includes an accompanying podcast featuring Akeneo’s John Evans, senior director of demand generation, and Emeric Koda, sales manager for Southern Europe. Listen below!
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” Benjamin Franklin may not have had modern business in his mind when he first thought up those words, but the sentiment remains true to this day.
In modern commerce, constantly emerging new products and shifting customer demand means your product catalog and assortment are never finished. Whether it’s the current pandemic or just a change of seasons, your catalog is always shifting and changing to accommodate new needs and desires from your customers. That means you need to be able to rapidly pivot and update your catalog without allowing errors in product information to reach your customers, or inefficient, unproductive processes to burn time, money and other valuable resources, slowing your time-to-market.
That’s where Akeneo PIM comes in. It’s designed to help you adapt and update your product information, making sure you stay on top of quickly changing market trends. With the power of PIM, you can more easily and efficiently get new products to market, update catalog assortments for market or seasonal needs, and even add new categories to help you meet shifting market demands.
Keep your catalog current
What happens when products become obsolete, or demand for different products that didn’t exist one day does the next? You need to be able to easily and efficiently update catalogs with new products and product information. Manually updating catalogs with new product information can be time-consuming and difficult to accomplish quickly, especially if these market changes have left you with a smaller or more distributed team, as many companies are experiencing right now.
Akeneo PIM’s flexibility and adaptability help you quickly and easily update product assortments by adding or removing products from your catalog, adding new product attributes, and pushing updates to the relevant sales channels.
Turner Price, a foodservice wholesaler, originally looked to Akeneo PIM to ensure that ingredients and allergen information is 100% accurate. Since the advent of COVID-19 and closure of restaurants — their primary customer — Turner Price pivoted their business and in just over a week, modified their product catalog with additional information required to facilitate selling directly to consumers.
Reposition products and communicate your brand values
Another phenomenon we’ve seen during this pandemic is the rise of repositioning products for different uses, or simply offering new products that consumers are currently seeking. Examples we’ve seen include positioning a neck gaiter as a mask, and clothing brands who began making masks out of the material used in their shirts. With this shift comes the urgent need to update product descriptions, technical specs, digital assets, and more pieces of product information in order to adapt the product catalog.
Furthermore, with the uncertainty about what’s next, consumers have become more attentive to and focused on what products they purchase. Brand values have emerged as an important buying criterion (read more about how this has risen in importance in our new global B2B survey). Buyers and shoppers want to know where products are made, are they ethically produced or sourced, sustainable, cruelty-free, and so on. This new product attribute and reference information, including images and information about suppliers or materials used, now needs to appear in addition to the “traditional” information in your catalog.
Akeneo can help you rise to the occasion and keep customers in the know by easily and efficiently adding new attributes and rewriting descriptions in one central system and rapidly populate them to all sales channels in context. Akeneo customers like Made.com, for instance, have attracted attention and acclaim for using PIM to make information about brand values the centerpiece of their brand strategy.
Prepare for new selling paradigms
Another pandemic-induced phenomenon is the closure of retail outlets and the need to ship all items. If items aren’t available for shipping, some sellers are offering click-and-collect or BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) with curbside pickup. This also has implications for product information in terms of accuracy and the systems where it needs to be shared.
The key is keeping your customers informed and aware of what’s happening with their purchase. That way, their expectations stay realistic, and your relationship with them stays intact. But providing accurate shipping time estimates means being able to easily find and communicate lots of different pieces of product information, including dimensions, weight, and assembly instructions. Without a dedicated solution to handle this information, errors and inconsistencies can abound, further hurting your relationship with customers.
Midwest U.S. farm supply store Rural King used Akeneo PIM as part of its buy online pick-up in store offer. By being able to efficiently collect and enrich the right product data to support the program, Rural King’s BOPIS program resulted in an increase in online sales as well as in-store foot traffic.
So, while we all hope for the pandemic to subside soon, Ben Franklin was right about change. Being prepared to handle change and rapidly adapt will serve us all well.
Want to learn more about how Akeneo PIM can help you adapt your product catalog with ease? Contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of PIM experts!