Build the Right Ecosystem to Unlock & Accelerate Digital Transformation

A guest blog by Vik Gundoju, StrikeTru

The pandemic has accelerated the role of digital channels in customer journeys. Driving this disruption is the marketing challenge where customers are operating “outside the marketing funnel”. An explosion of product choices and digital channels, combined with a super-informed consumer, has resulted in the traditional concept of the marketing funnel failing to capture all touchpoints and buying ‘moments’. Rising expectations for deeply personalized content and channel-agnostic shopping has highlighted the need for PIM software that interoperates and integrates with an enterprise’s commerce technology stack.  

As a result of these trends, PIM customers are looking for solutions and providers that can help them build the right ecosystem of value to create winning digital customer experiences.

According to Forrester, a “PIM is only as powerful as its connections to the ecosystem, and the same is true of PIM vendors.” Therefore, a highly connected PIM solution is a must-have for companies these days to effectively leverage their eCommerce technology implementation.

What are PIM Connectors?

PIM Integrations or Data Connectors are pre-built components that sit within a tech architecture and help orchestrate various data flows going into a PIM system, and from the PIM to various marketing and sales channels. In other words, Connectors help automate the flow and reconciliation of data between data sources and destinations.

Where do PIM Connectors fit into eCommerce?

Today’s pace of eCommerce leaves no margin for error. Hence, automation is vital to boosting productivity to sustain eCommerce growth. Automation is not a luxury but a necessity to scale data management operations that save organizations a great deal of time spent on repetitive and manual tasks. One example of the benefit of this automation is City Furniture who increased productivity by 50%

1.PIM for eCommerce – PIM creates a single source of trusted product data by aggregating it from multiple sources, cleansing, enriching, governing, and maintaining it consistently. Now that your products are enriched in the PIM, you now need to deliver it to all your channels, syndication or eCommerce platforms. 

Here are 4 key benefits of integrating a PIM with eCommerce platforms:

  • Improve product SEO: Increase data quality. Simplify ecommerce category, product attribute, reference data, and digital asset management. Increase product discoverability, and improve site search and selection processes.
  • Seamlessly syndicate catalogs: Sync product data from single PIM to one or more ecommerce stores
  • Spend less time on manual work: Automate repetitive tasks. Save time. Eliminate error prone manual product catalog transfer and update processes.
  • Go-to-market faster: Get to market before the competition. Sell more, capture better ROI. Get your products in front of your customers.

2. PIM and DAM Integration – Are PIM and DAM better together? The answer is YES. Companies who are dealing with a large amount of product information, and are looking to manage, organize, and distribute a vast amount of digital assets will benefit from a tightly integrated PIM and DAM solution.  Key benefits include:

  • Deliver better product experiences with up-to date product data and digital assets centralized from various sources
  • More findable, recognizable and useful product data that’s easily accessible to both upstream & downstream systems and departments
  • By combining product data with digital assets, all stakeholders can readily access a single version of the most complete product content that is ready to go to market
  • Elimination of duplicate efforts resulting from disparate folders & versioning issues, and quick syndication of ecommerce-ready product content, tailored for unique channel specific requirements

3. PIM for Distributors – A common challenge faced by Distributors leveraging the Affiliated Distributors (AD) eContent database (AD is the largest contractor and industrial products wholesale buying group in North America.  It provides independent distributors support and resources, like the AD eContent Service program that enables its members to accelerate growth and compete better. Distributor members of AD have access to over 1 million SKUs with rich product data, images, and other digital assets.) is aggregating large volumes of product content from AD and systematically maintaining high-volume product content on an ongoing basis. Industrial distributors typically have tens of thousands of SKUs in the ERP but are able to list only a subset of them on their website. Other challenges could be: 

  • Working effectively with large datasets – on a daily basis
  • Matching AD, ERP, Wholesaler, and Manufacturer Price Sheet SKUs at scale to eliminate duplicate SKUs
  • Seamlessly synchronizing product content to ecommerce and other digital platforms

Here are some key benefits of using a pre-built connector to AD eContent:

  • Easily enrich product pages: Use the rich product detail from the AD database including products, variants, groupings, rich titles & descriptions, images, spec sheets, etc. to boost ecommerce environments.
  • Cloud-based: Centralize and manage all product content including AD eContent in the cloud. Eliminate issues associated with using legacy systems and spreadsheets.
  • Content automation: Automate content tasks including ongoing load, categorize, enrich, notify, and publish actions. Rules to map AD SKUs to a client’s unique categories, groups, variants, to improve titles and descriptions, to remove special characters, etc.

4. PIM for cross-border selling – Cross border commerce, international commerce, borderless business – call it what you will but going global with your eCommerce business has become a necessity if you want to succeed in other markets. Statistics suggest that global eCommerce is expected to total $4.89 trillion in 2021. If you’re serious about expanding, localization is an absolute must. But before going global, going native with your website’s language can be the difference between a sale or lost sales. Localized product content matters the most when you’re considering going international with your eCommerce store. 

Here are some key benefits:

  • Easily submit single or multiple products for translation
  • Track status of submitted translation requests
  • Cancel submissions and documents
  • Helpful error handling and notifications
  • Support for all the locales supported by Akeneo

5. PIM for Powersports – The pandemic generated increased demand for products by people who want to spend more time outdoors. This increased demand created a new group of consumers in the Powersports segment, resulting in a surge in sales of sporting equipment which presented great opportunities for Powersports dealers. According to a report by PJ Solomon the total market grew by 18% in 2020, and accelerated to 25% in the final quarter. According to Global Market Insights, the online Powersports market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 4.5% until 2026. This uptick has helped dealerships recognize the need to accelerate digitization and streamline their online presence to meet market demand head-on. 

One of the crucial ways to list a large catalog online, introduce differentiated product experiences, lower operational costs, and enhance eCommerce scalability is by integrating sufficient PIM practices. Powersport dealers can become self-reliant along the complete product data management lifecycle by automating the collection of OEM and parts catalog data from ARI, cleansing and curating it in PIM, and syndicating it to all sales channels. They need an eCommerce environment powered by a powerful PIM to migrate away from poorly designed and marketed, templated sites to rich and engaging eCommerce websites.

There are many other use cases similar to the examples listed in this article. What’s common across them is the need to have tight integration between an Akeneo PIM solution and the relevant commerce systems it supports, including eCommerce platforms, digital asset management systems, translation systems, and industry-specific resources, in order to create and deliver the best possible product experiences. StrikeTru specializes in Akeneo PIM implementations and developing connectors to Akeneo PIM. Check out our wide range of connectors that are available on the Akeneo Marketplace.

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