This is a guest post from Katharine Mancini of Akeneo partner MRM Commerce
Over these last few months, we have seen a great shift in online purchasing behavior, defined by the closing of brick and mortar stores, which has forced shoppers to rely more heavily on online shopping.
This change in customer behavior requires companies of every shape and size to reconsider their business models and take a hard look at their omnichannel commerce capabilities. From engaging with eCommerce for the first time to bringing in-store items online and assessing online catalogs, both newbies and well-versed commerce businesses must take a hard look at how they sell. As a result, nearly every business is looking to reduce complexities that are often illuminated by relying more heavily on commerce.
From the complexities surrounding sourcing, management, distribution, and business models, you may think there are just as many complex solutions. Luckily for all of us, there is a one-stop-shop solution to managing all types of complexity — Akeneo PIM!
So how does PIM help you simplify the many complexities that can plague eCommerce? Allow us to explain…
1. Sourcing Complexity
We have seen already an unprecedented rise in demand for products like cleaning supplies and PPE (Personalized Protective Equipment). Businesses that sell these products have been scrambling to onboard new suppliers and vendors that can produce products at the quick speed at which they are becoming relevant and irrelevant. This can create an issue for your business, however. Different vendors may categorize the same product in different ways, leading to challenges with establishing consistent product information and sorting criteria. With Akeneo PIM, you can mitigate the issues caused by inconsistent labeling and data from multiple vendors and sort through the technologies that each vendor employs, helping you determine the different language that vendors’ technologies are using for the same products.
2. Management Complexity
As we mentioned, COVID-19’s impact on demand for PPE and cleaning supplies is unprecedented. For more context, in March of 2020 alone, the sales growth for aerosol disinfectants and multipurpose cleaners rose by 385% and 148% respectively. With such a large influx in demand, businesses are struggling to keep up due to their reliance on people and processes managed by person-to-person communication. Akeneo PIM allows you to optimize your workflow by moving away from outdated solutions and processes that are subject to human error. In their place, they leverage a business-wide governance model through a PIM that helps to validate data, establish a universal set of rules to govern products, and provides a dashboard to manage product performance.
3. Distribution Complexity
An increase in both supply and demand will cause you to consider how and where you are disseminating information about your product data. It is crucial that you publish consistent, accurate, and relevant data through your channels, whether that be your own website, a 3rd party marketplace, search engine, or otherwise. As you experience changes in supply and demand, there is a greater likelihood of errors with respect to inventory accuracy and product description as you add more items to your site. With a PIM, you can integrate your website and your marketplace, assuring that you have a central location to manage products efficiently. A PIM can also help you with data translation and copy. It is critical to assure that the copy you are putting out at a rapid rate is correct with respect to data, grammar, content, and sentence structure. Leaving all four of these variables to human error causes too great of a risk, digitizing these with a PIM eliminates worry, confusion, and backlog as your catalog fluctuates rapidly.
4. Business Model Complexity
Shipping products from different places can lead to a great amount of complexity and human error. As your business grows due to your increased catalog size and demand, you may have to take a harder look at your business plan, and whether it is still working for your business. Your company needs may change, and quickly. Akeneo PIM can help you manage your logistics effectively at scale.
Manage eCommerce complexity with PIM
Complexity in your product catalog is inevitable. With a PIM acting as a master catalog or organizational tool for all your product information, it ensures a positive and consistent commerce experience for your customer. As you work through the upswings and downturns of demand, both reducing human error and boosting customer experience is more critical than ever. Akeneo’s PIM offering will help you orchestrate the acquisition, enrichment, and distribution of consistent assets, leading to a more efficient leveraging of data, and an improved overall business model.
MRM Commerce is focused on end to end commerce, from commerce strategy and digital transformation to commerce visual and interaction design, Amazon/marketplace optimization, and commerce platform implementation for platforms such as Salesforce and Magento. We help brands grow meaningful relationships with people through commerce.