Thanks to the smart suggestions and intuitive experiences provided by pioneers like Netflix and Amazon, customers today expect brands to understand their needs and communicate accordingly. For 84% of customers, being treated like a person, and not a lead, is key to winning their business. To add to that, 72% of B2C customers and 89% of B2B buyers expect brands to understand their unique demands and expectations. Personalization is no longer a ‘good-to-have’ but a ‘must-have’ tick in the box for businesses across industries.
Once limited to targeted promotional campaigns, personalization now extends to the entire shopping journey wherein individual attention is delivered at every possible touchpoint. Brands today have ample opportunities to individually communicate with customers and establish a unique connection that could even lead to more conversions, acquisitions, and even brand loyalty.
However, there still remains a gap to be bridged. Many brands overlook the importance product data plays in delivering optimal personalized experiences. With the proliferation of handheld devices, easy internet access connected to multiple brand touchpoints, customer journeys have become more complicated than linear. Although businesses, irrespective of size or industry, are leveraging breakthroughs in disruptive technologies to deliver personalized customer experiences, Gartner states that only 12% of consumers feel that the current brand personalization efforts meet their expectations. So, there is an enormous opportunity for organizations to fill that gap with meaningful customer engagement tactics.
It’s Time to Get Personal with Product Information Management (PIM)
When it comes to customer journeys, accurate product information, a simple yet compelling purchase experience, and saving time are top priorities of today’s busy consumers. As customers today prefer to engage with brands directly for quick, accurate, and valuable first-hand information, they need zilch assistance from their human counterparts – and that’s where personalized PIM experiences come into the picture. It can help businesses catch up in a competitive landscape by creating enchanting, in-depth shopping encounters offering relevant information and facilitating convenience. A robust PIM solution can cater to multiple business needs to help brands add a personal touch to customer journeys with:
1. Tailor-made Omnichannel Engagement
Fundamentally, omnichannel engagement refers to an integrated multi-channel approach for delivering bespoke customer experiences. This means recognizing and connecting with customers seamlessly on offline and online channels – from brick-and-mortar stores to kiosks, websites, social media, mobile apps, chatbots, marketplaces, and more. Business success today depends heavily on a brand’s ability to be omnichannel-compatible. Studies have shown that brands can achieve a 5-15% revenue increase by offering personalized customer experience across physical and digital channels.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all in omnichannel (phygital) personalization. Each experience must be crafted to resonate with customer needs and individual channel specifications consistently. Brands must present contextual and relevant product information across channels and keep updating the information over time. And that is where PIM plays a vital role. By delivering data to multiple output channels in multiple formats/feeds, maintain consistent quality standards and product attributes, PIM makes omnichannel engagement easy for both B2C and B2B brands across industries. PIM collects product data from different sources, cleanses and consolidates it, and distributes accurate product data to all the channels relevant to the brand. PIM eliminates data silos and enables real-time inventory sync between online and physical stores. With a PIM investment, brands can ensure that product information remains consistent across channels for tailor-made and rewarding omnichannel engagement.
2. Simultaneous Product Launches
Brands need to have accurate product data, perfect timing, and expert positioning when launching their products. Inconsistent and inaccurate product information results in revenue loss and delayed product launch. Findings have shown that one in three businesses in the U.S. have either had products removed from their store shelves or experienced a delayed launch due to incorrect or inconsistent product information. PIM-enabled simultaneous product launches have the ability to acquire more customers and generate higher revenue by creating a significant buzz right at the product launch. PIM eliminates any scope of errors like mistakes due to manual data entry, communication issues, or scattered product information that cause product launch delays. By facilitating automation with advanced rule engines and activating notifications and workflow steps, PIM improves time-to-market and ensures hassle-free, synchronized product launches across numerous channels.
PIM users enjoy 4.7 times more output, maintain 75% greater inventory accuracy, and achieve 55% higher product-launch rates than non-PIM users. PIM allows brands to create product overview dashboards that provide better visibility of the product lifecycle and track all updates. With a robust PIM solution in place, brands can quickly identify products that can be simultaneously launched across multiple suitable channels.
3. High Adaptability with New-age Technologies
Both B2B and B2C businesses have witnessed unprecedented changes in the way they have engaged with customers over the last decade. Voice search, on-demand video streaming, augmented reality (AR), and AI-powered digital assistants have enabled immersive, highly personalized exchanges with customers. For leveraging these new-age technologies, all that brands need is a lot of structured data. For instance, advanced analytics can enable pattern recognition and personalized suggestions only when fed with accurate real-time data. PIM not only makes centralized and structured product data instantly available for such next-gen technologies but also simplifies the deployment process, thereby ensuring high adaptability.
As new technologies emerge, customer behaviors will continue to evolve and redefine the expected experiences. This, in turn, will coerce brands to hyper-personalize customer interactions and shopping journeys. A PIM platform supports the integration of new technologies such as AI, AR, and chatbots, helping brands design and deliver improved engagement, customer-centric search capabilities, and flawless buying experiences to meet their customer satisfaction goals.
4. Quick Customized Catalogs
Modern-day commerce is as dependent on product catalogs as it ever was in the yesteryears. Product catalogs always stay in work-in-progress mode, forever adapting and accommodating to new products, new channels, new geographies, and ever-evolving customer demands. Brands need to rapidly pivot and update product catalogs with new and/or latest information to ensure market dominance. Creating quality product catalogs is an arduous, time-consuming, and never-ending process that requires managing volumes of product data and multiple workflows.
PIM can come to the rescue by helping brands create, organize, and publish high-quality product catalogs in bulk for hundreds of sales channels and thousands of product varieties. PIM allows brands to define and map new product offerings for several locations and easily incorporate new products, pricing, and discounts. With PIM, brands can update product assortments, add/remove products, include new product attributes, and push updates to relevant sales channels effortlessly. By tracking cross-functional product data, PIM facilitates a robust information architecture that is essential for managing an exhaustive catalog of product data and SKUs.
5. Real-time Experiences
With personalized customer experience surfacing as a key differentiator, brands need a 360-degree view of their product data so they can make swift changes on an ongoing basis. Having a centralized hub to unite and consolidate data pouring in from multiple sources is critical for driving real-time experiences. Brand marketers can collect and analyze raw data and run algorithms to identify customer behavior patterns and accordingly position their products for immediate customer response and gratification.
PIM facilitates real-time, personalized, and relevant interactions on all customer-facing channels by being a single source of truth. Brands can leverage PIM to deliver outstanding product experiences by providing customers with real-time product information on consumer-facing portals almost instantaneously. PIM helps brand marketers manage content and marketing campaigns in real-time – all within one single, intuitive interface – and create innovative, customized buying experiences.
Enable Value-added Personalization
As businesses take advantage of advances in cloud, mobile, social, and other technological breakthroughs to deliver personalized, valuable, and immediate experiences, customers have more choices of products and channels than ever. To stand out in today’s crowded marketplace, it is important for brands to truly understand how customer journeys can be personalized more and more. Customers look forward to receiving personalized help and recommendations as they navigate the shopping journey. As Gartner observes, brands that focus on helping their customers with personalized messaging can expect a 16% more impact on financial outcomes than those that don’t. This makes even more sense when considering today’s customers with minuscule attention spans, fleetingly browsing through product pages. Personalized and useful suggestions not only attract eyeballs but also instill confidence in the consumers to make decisions that guide them along the purchase process towards a rewarding sign-off.
Investing in a robust and scalable PIM solution can help brands address the critical needs of their customers with a data-driven, real-time, always-on approach. With a modern PIM solution, brands can define product taxonomy, establish validations for business rules, and monitor change-management workflows. This ensures that all publishing-ready product data is clean and accurate and can add value to the customer journey. PIM solutions equip supply chain, marketing, sales, and customer service personnel with the data required for having meaningful conversations among themselves and also with the customers. With built-in automation, PIM can easily connect a single customer across devices and channels and run real-time campaigns across multiple touchpoints.