News

product information management ecommerce
Case Study, Ecommerce Insights

What is PIM and Why Should Brands in Ecommerce Care?

When your brand decided to start selling on online channels, whether it’s brand.com or official store on e-marketplace — or both, uploading the product information on the channel is a crucial step for this venture and a lot of information need to be included to make up the product detail page.

For example: technical information about the product size, color, weight, and materials; usage information as to where to use, how to use, and instructional videos; as well as enriched emotional information to set the scene and lifestyle of the product’s users, including stories and imagery to help create an emotional connection with potential buyers.

Reebok website - PIM

A product page on Reebok’s website shows multiple angles of the product on the user and a brief description to help consumers establish an emotional connection with the product. Source: Reebok Thailand.

All of the above are what we called “digital assets” and you can imagine the mountain of digital assets you have to store somewhere in the cloud the wider your product selections are. Not to mention if your brand is selling on more than one online channel or if there are multiple teams from different markets needing to reuse the same materials for different purposes.

These are the scenarios many global brands can relate to and PIM is the solution to make sure brand’s ecommerce process is optimized.

What is PIM?

PIM is the acronym for Product Information Management or the process of managing product data, its information, and materials that are needed to sell and distribute your product.

Having a good, centralized PIM system provides you with a single place to collect, manage, enrich, merchandise, approve, and distribute information to multiple sales channels easily.

It’s an important aspect of scaling ecommerce business because it improves the product catalog management process and ensures the quality, accuracy, and completeness of your product information across all channels are the same.

Here is a way to visualize how PIM works:

How PIM system works

Does your brand need PIM?

If your brand is in the business of selling products online, needing to grow, as well as customizing and localizing product in different markets — while doing it all quickly and efficiently — you should be looking at PIM solution to prevent any further struggles while scaling the business.

Take a look at the quick calculation of product assortment below:

Assuming the administrative task of 1 SKU per channel per year is 46 minutes. If your brand is selling each 100 SKUs on three different online channels (a website and two e-marketplaces), you need 232 hours just to do product assortment per year.

(PIM) can automate up to 80% of the manual tasks, reducing the previous example of 696 hours per year down to 139 hours.

If you have a presence in three different markets, it reaches a total estimation of 696 hours (assuming all SKUs are active that year). Imagine if your brand is a fashion brand that releases hundreds of new SKUs each season.

PIM has the ability to boost product team productivity because, without it, your team will be spending most of their time going between multiple applications and platforms doing manual, repetitive tasks to keep up with the pace of growth and success.

It can automate up to 80% of the manual tasks, reducing the previous example of 696 hours per year down to 139 hours, clearing up your product team’s time to finally do what they were hired to do: which is to create new desirable products and sell them across different channels.

PIM also speeds up the time to market, as the product enrichment process can often be a busy flow between suppliers, offices across multiple geographies, and an intricate approval process workflow. Enabling a clear guide in a PIM system can offer each of the working teams a visible next step, improving productivity and collaboration between product information creation, approvers, departments and countries.

Why is PIM so hot right now?

PIM software market is growing at a rate of 25.3% annually and it’s estimated to reach $15.8 billion USD by 2021. The top reasons for adopting PIM are addressing customer expectations through the accurate distribution of product images and digital media.

Today shoppers are tech-savvy, attention-short, and cash-rich. Success in retail is all about the detail and if shoppers can’t find what they want or don’t see the information they need from one retailer, they will go to another website — and it might not be yours. An investment in making it fast and easy to collect then distribute information will ensure accurate product information and keep your consumers engage with your brand.

How to choose the right PIM?

Now that we established the importance of PIM for scaling an ecommerce business, there are few considerations that can help your brand determine the right PIM platform based on your business’ needs and make sure it helps them sustain your ecommerce business.

1. How many sales channels my products listed and published on?

If your products are solely on your own webstore then you possibly do not need a PIM system. But if you are selling on other sales channels (e.g. marketplaces, social media) then you need to have a centralized place to store, maintain and manage consistent information across all sales channels. More points to consider is how data are extracted and what are sales and marketing channels connected to drive impressions and sales?

2. How complex is my product information, taxonomy and relationship management?

It is not always about how many SKUs do you have, but also how many types of product information do you have? How they are structured, categorized and the hierarchy relation?

How can related products be associated (e.g. accessories, replacement parts, upsell, cross-sell, components, substitutes)? These factors need to be addressed and handled when choosing PIM.

3. Does the PIM offer the customization options?

Your PIM platform should be flexible enough to support content information that matched to your supply chain, exchange data with your ERP, system workflows and be able to present analysis data available to indicate the effectiveness of the product information.

4. Does the PIM workflow adaptable with your working process?

How easily can product information be tracked to maturity for approval and visibility of tasks to each department along the approval process. Which roles are allowed to create new content, approve content etc. How easy is this to administer ?

5. Where is the product content source for PIM to get from?

Generally, product information is generated internally in the company but there may be a case where it is from external source. PIM system should be able to handle all of your sources without manual intervention. How do we get product information into the PIM and how easy is this to do?

Want to learn more about choosing the right ecommerce platform and PIM system? Contact mandy@acommerce.asia for more information.

L'Oréal Social Commerce aCommerce
Case Study, Client News

How L’Oréal Uses aCommerce’s Social Commerce to Simplify Transaction and Increase Customer Engagement

For most consumers in Southeast Asia, social shopping is not a new concept. In the region where social media penetration rate is at 55%, the line between social networks and ecommerce is completely blurred. It has also become a key platform for B2C and C2C transactions. Unfortunately, only 17% of the analyzed brands around the world have made use of Facebook’s shoppable page.  

Our explanation to the surprisingly low number is rather simple — brands tend to shy away from social commerce because of the lack in integration to its existing ecommerce system.

But L’Oréal is an exception.

All over the region, the French cosmetics company has been fore-fronting at employing technologies to enhance the experience of its shoppers, including the recent partnership with Watsons which allows consumers across Asia to try on makeup virtually. In Southeast Asia, L’Oréal is capitalizing on the burgeoning Facebook of 338 million through the launch of the social commerce platforms with the region’s leading brand ecommerce enabler, aCommerce.

Why Social Commerce by aCommerce?

Given that social commerce in Southeast Asia is expected to flourish even more, it makes now the prime opportunity for brands and retailers to jump on board, experiment and lead ahead of the curve of social shopping.

aCommerce introduces the social commerce service to help brands find the right way to convert the existing followers on the brand’s social platforms into potential purchasers by allowing the targeted audiences to discover, browse, and buy directly from Instagram, Facebook, or LINE posts. The service also provides on-demand communication and a virtual interaction through chats, whether it be Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, or Line. Keeping all of the brand’s communication in one thread.

Growing social commerce demand pushes L’Oréal to look for an integrated tool

Understanding the growing demand for social shopping and the numerous introductions for features such as Facebook Marketplace and Instagram’s shoppable features, L’Oréal turns to aCommerce, who has been overseeing L’Oréal’s Facebook page in terms of ads and posts from the beginning, for a solution.

The brief from L’Oréal was straight-forward. The company wants a consolidated platform that will be able to integrate the orders and fulfillment of the social commerce demand into its existing ecommerce system.

The Implementation and Success from L’Oréal Social Commerce Facebook Page

With an integrated social commerce tool, L’Oréal is able to allow its potential shoppers to make a purchase via Facebook, Facebook Messenger, LINE official account. They will be able to order through discreet chat windows (as opposed to a phone call or a website).

L'Oréal Social Commerce - Facebook Platform
L’Oréal’s shoppable facebook page enables shoppers to order and make a purchase with the assistance on Facebook Messenger; L’Oréal Thailand

aCommerce also supplements the brand with content, messaging and tone-of-voice that are exclusively personalized to the consumer. It also allows them to have a direct chat with a Customer Service agent or “Beauty Expert”. In return, L’Oréal is able to secure the customer data that can be used to strengthen the relationship between the brand and customers, as well as increasing the engagement with the brand.

By offering a quick and responsive response through Facebook Messenger, L’Oreal is able to fasten the process of transactions and lower the Cost to Serve (CTS). The presence of its shoppable features also reduces the amount of investment that goes into setting an ecommerce website.  

Over a period of 5 months since its initial launch, the new social commerce platform powered by aCommerce seen a surge in customer engagement on L’Oréal Facebook fan page, with an average inquiry-to-sale conversion rate of 22%.

Want to learn more about what social media can contribute to your sales performance? Contact mandy@acommerce.asia for more.


Company Update

Learnings of the Month: Make Collaboration Better with Event Storming

Event storming is a relatively new phenomenon in the technology industry being practiced by a number of the leading tech companies and aCommerce is no exception. It is frequently used as a model that consolidates the ‘events’ (refer to a situation that becomes a cause for reactions) and ‘reactions’ (refer to actions to be taken and stakeholders to be involved) created from each task. Employing an event storming model can help to reduce redundancy, simplify workflow, and increase the effectiveness of team collaborations.

Read more