In today’s experience-based economy, B2B merchants and manufacturers need to optimize their product information to deliver compelling product experiences wherever buyers shop or interact with their brands. According to the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Report, almost 70 percent of business buyers expect “Amazon-like buying experiences” and 67 percent “have switched vendors for a more consumer-like experience.”
Just like in B2C, every touchpoint in B2B eCommerce is part of that customer’s experience with the brand. Quality control across all channels is essential – and that’s where product information management (PIM) can help. PIM provides a one-stop shop for B2B merchants to manage the product data needed to market and sell their goods through all distribution channels, including websites, print catalogs, mobile apps, points of sale, and other channels.
Adopted first by retailers and B2C brands, PIM is now becoming more prevalent among B2B organizations looking to market and sell their products through multiple channels and locales.
Here are four ways that PIM can help B2B merchants and manufacturers create compelling product experiences in every customer touchpoint.
1. Enabling Omnichannel Product Experiences
B2B customers increasingly have a variety of ways to interact with merchants, including shopping on a company’s B2B eCommerce website, purchasing through a distributor, a marketplace, or browsing third-party print catalogs.
As Andy Hoar, the former principal analyst of B2B eCommerce at Forrester, said in a recent interview, “B2B companies stand to gain from migrating customers into an omnichannel environment, where customers can interact with sellers and receive consistent service across selling channels, including mobile commerce, desktop websites and sales reps.”
To succeed in this omnichannel space, B2B sellers need to make their products and services accessible to customers wherever and whenever they are ready to buy. The most efficient, effective, and productive way to accomplish this is to use a PIM solution to organize and manage product information. A PIM makes it easy for marketers to customize catalogs by channel and locale, as well as to scope and optimize product information to fit the customer experience in each channel. The result is an easier way to create a consistent experience wherever and whenever a customer interacts with the brand.
Using PIM as a “single source of multiple truths” helps to improve the omnichannel customer experience – regardless of where customers may be viewing products.
2. Supporting Cross-Border eCommerce Growth
Forrester predicts that cross-border purchases will account for 20 percent of worldwide eCommerce by 2022. B2B merchants need sophisticated PIM solutions to create and customize product data specific to individual international markets. PIM helps B2B merchants offer localized versions of their product information for local markets and for overseas buyers.
A PIM system that can handle multilingual product descriptions is crucial. Selling products overseas means more than just translating websites into different languages, however. B2B merchants also need to take into account local vernaculars, sizing differences, cultural nuances, images, regulations and other regional elements that affect the customer experience. All of this can be managed in a PIM solution.
3. Onboarding Product Data
According to Episerver, 98% of shoppers have been discouraged from completing a purchase because of incomplete or incorrect product information. How can you ensure you’ve got all the information you need? Ideally, suppliers and manufacturers have the definitive technical information about their products — but sometimes it isn’t readily available or it is delivered in an incompatible format which makes gathering this information from suppliers and manufacturers challenging. A PIM can streamline the product information onboarding process by offering an environment for suppliers to directly upload their product information, which your internal teams can quickly and easily enrich.
A robust PIM solution can provide the tools you need to onboard product information from a variety of sources, and help accelerate your time-to-market.
4. Streamlining Catalog Management
Traditionally, product information has been scattered around different departments, saved in multiple digital and hard copy formats, and only accessed or modified by certain employees or by using certain systems. With PIM, companies can consolidate and maintain consistent data – about everything from product specs to model variations – and improve the productivity of their marketing and eCommerce teams. This resource becomes increasingly valuable as companies scale up and expand their operations.
PIM helps streamline catalog management with capabilities that increase productivity and track that product information is complete and ready to be published. You PIM should have features such as mass editing and validation workflows that improve team productivity and aid in data governance. With automation in workflow and business rule processing, marketing and eCommerce teams will have more time to write compelling and emotional product descriptions to deliver a compelling product experience foundation for a great customer experience.
PIM: The B2B Product Information Hero
Maintaining complete and accurate product data across channels and locales and delivering compelling product experiences is critical to remaining competitive in an omnichannel world. PIM provides a robust set of tools and features that can help B2B organizations increase team productivity, speed time-to-market, and deliver the product experience needed to fuel a great customer experience.