Are you planning to implement a product information management (PIM) solution? If so, the pre-work process might be well underway.
Preparing product information for PIM is a crucial step in this process. The efficiency of sourcing, cleansing, and categorizing your product data can either set you up for success in the long run or create stress while implementing.
That’s where this guide can help you set the groundwork for the product data upload and achieve a smoother flow of data into the system.
Before that, if you haven’t given a thought about PIM, here’s what you need to know –
Why Do You Need a PIM?
The traditional approach for managing product information is riddled with challenges. For example, there’s a lack of transparency among internal teams; you have to deal with multiple sales channels and handle unorganized catalogs manually.
An intuitive solution to this fix was much needed, and we have one in the form of product information management. On many fronts, the tools made available to you by a product data management system are instrumental in creating a hub to manage all your product information collaboratively. With that in mind, let’s discuss how you must prepare your product information for PIM.
How to Prepare Your Product Information for PIM?
Follow these steps to prepare your product data to enable optimum PIM usage. Maximize the value you get from your product information management system with a complete range of product data sourcing, cleansing, and validation processes highlighted in this guide. Here let’s get started –
Start the process by identifying what you need to achieve with your PIM. This pre-work will help you determine the scope of the process; identify the product list, attributes, and assets needed for input.
Now that you have identified the information and assets needed, you must find them across scattered locations, including your ERP, DAM, eCommerce platforms, and catalogs from vendors or manufacturers. Then, collect the hidden information from every location and convert them into a format accessible to the PIM.
Product information management systems accept CSV, XLSX, and other Excel formats for importing. So, if you already have all the data in one place, the system interprets it and includes it in a centralized database. Alternatively, suppose you have been using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for product cataloging and to collect data about manufacturers and distributors. In that case, you have to convert the data before sending it directly to the PIM.
Sometimes, when your data sources are siloed, the information provided might not sync. That’s when you have to consolidate the information into one or more spreadsheets and folders. Work with your team across departments to gain a solid overview of your product data. Then, pre-organize every product file and categorize them into separate folders and spreadsheets by URL to have a transparent system of products to work with while implementing.
Given the input, data cleansing or scrubbing is all about rearranging it suitably. Say, data cleansing comes in handy when a supplier can’t directly use the data provided by the manufacturer in their ERP system or website. When your data comes in a range of formats and structures, make sure to –
- Normalize the attribute and labels to optimize the product information for PIM.
- Deduplicate to eliminate excess information and pricing discrepancies.
- Name the attribute in a way to easily link them to the specific product.
Categorize your data and define your catalog taxonomy before migrating it to the PIM. Classification is essential to sync your data to the PIM system and provide your customers with a better shopping experience. Therefore, you must have a standardized classification paradigm to be followed for classifying products and services. The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is widely accepted for this purpose.
Finalize Your Catalog Structure:
The product information must be imported into the PIM system with as much agility as possible. The catalog structure itself should match your industrial sector and be modeled as it will be featured across multiple channels and reflect the unique aspects of each product. PIM is a powerful tool and not a mere database interface. So an efficient catalog structure will help you fetch the best results from PIM.
You will usually be familiar with these catalog structures. For instance, a tree structure with pre-defined families, categories, and information fields can show a well-defined path for preparing product information.
PIM is all about a single source of truth for product data, but this can be achieved only when the information is accurate, valid, and complete. Therefore, you need to consistently validate your data for inaccurate information, duplicates, and whether it is up-to-date. At this stage, it’s understandable that it might feel overwhelming, especially when there is a massive volume of product data and assets to optimize. Worry no more.
We can help!
Vserve is a leading eCommerce management service provider and offers a broad spectrum of product data management services that can help optimize your product data before uploading on to the PIM. These include end-to-end solutions from product data sourcing to cleaning, classifying, and enrichment services. So, what are you waiting for? Book a free trial with us today for our product data management services!
Liked what you just read? Share your views in the comments below! We hope you will hit the Share button too and pass on all the information on PIMs.