This is the 2nd post of a three part blog series on the importance of master data in eCommerce.
Part 1: The customer – We looked at some typical enterprise data points around the customer and identify where that data typically resides. We talked about how to collect and reconcile that data into a single view of the customer – the elusive golden record.
Part 2: The product – We’ll look at some typical enterprise data points around product (or productized services) and the multiple systems that typically house that data. We’ll also look at PIM/DAM/MDM options.
Part 3: Bringing it all together – We’ll illustrate, though use case, how a documented inventory of managed data can be used to enhance the customer experience. We’ll look at the notion of a digital content model that includes integrated customer and product master data.
Part 2: The Product
Enterprise retailers and product manufacturers have a lot to consider when managing their product catalogs – Multiple locations, languages, persona messaging, culture images, price books, channels, network feeds, etc. Most also have to deal with multiple systems that contain different bits of product data – your master product record. SKU & price may reside in your ERP system; or multiple ERP systems if there have been company acquisitions. Inventory may reside in ERP, warehouse management systems (WMS) & Point of Sale (POS) systems. Product categorization, attributes & metadata may be managed in the eCommerce platform. Product copy, imagery, video and spec sheets may reside in the eCommerce platform but the master files may live in a nested folder structure on a network file share. Or, there may not be a formal location for master content. Have you ever had to chase down your Account Manager at your agency to have them resend the latest product shots for a merchandising deadline? Me too…
Today’s Product Managers and eCommerce Merchandisers can find themselves challenged with systems that are ill-equipped to perform the wide range of tasks necessary to drive a successful ecommerce business. A sampling of common tasks include:
- Adding & updating product within complex catalogs
- Ensuring that all the copy, imagery, categorization, tagging data is up to date & accurate
- Reviewing product across multiple channels to make sure that product presentation is optimized
- Managing multiple feeds to buying networks, recommendation engines, etc.
- And, all with the necessary quality control & governance
Ping ponging between multiple systems can make this all but an impossible task.
Can a PIM help your business?
As line of business system count and complexity increases there comes a point where a Product Information Management (PIM) system makes sense. A PIM can help extract product data from multiple systems, transform that product data into a single record and present it to the business user in a view that’s easy to work with. Built in workflows can be configured to automate processes and ensure data quality & consistency. Lastly, business rules can be configured to manage product data distribution to different catalogs, channels & networks. The PIM can offer that single view of the product, similar to the single view of the customer that we described in Part 1 of this series.
PIM | DAM | MDM
Don’t you love all the acronyms in our space?
- PIM: Product Information Management
- DAM: Digital Asset Management
- MDM: Master Data Management
There’s a lot of grey area and crossover between PIM and DAM. Most of the enterprise systems have all the functionality; sometimes in different modules. The MDM acronym is the overarching term for all enterprise data, often times represented by a data management suite.
PIM/DAM/MDM options in our space are growing. We would expect to see them represented formally in the Chiefmartec Marketing Technology Landscape at some point – Likely in the middleware section. Friction free customer & product data management is now a prerequisite for use within a high performing customer experience platform.
Up next: Bringing it all together
The next post in this series will show a use case of customer & product data alignment and how a content module is used to facilitate that.
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