As a product content manager, uploading and updating product information like titles, descriptions, pricing, and imagery should be a relatively small and easy part of your job. However, as your number of SKUs increases, the amount of time you have to do creative, skilled product content strategy and management shrinks. And that stinks.
Let’s dive into all the fun stuff you should be getting to do on a daily basis and talk about the single most helpful tool you can implement to improve upon the manual, outdated, or overbuilt product information management system that’s turning ecommerce data entry into a full-time nightmare for you.
Product Content Management: Beyond Ecommerce Data Entry
There is much, much more that goes on behind the scenes before a product content manager gets to the task of ecommerce data entry. And it all begins with strategy.
Product content strategy is a mix of retail merchandising and good, old-fashioned content strategy. It’s all about coming up with the plan of just how you’re going to use ecommerce to get your products out on the market. During this strategizing phase, you’ll be working to outline your target audience via the development of unique customer personas, defining their journeys, concocting a multi-channel strategy to convert them into happy customers, and figuring out how the heck you’re going to manage and publish the product content that makes this whole thing work.
Whew. That’s a lot—and we haven’t even gotten to the execution.
After a content strategy has been developed for key individual products or product groups, a product content manager moves on to the, well, management part of the process.
Product content management is the execution of the product content strategy. It is a “hybrid discipline” that combines bits and pieces of everything from retail merchandising to product data management (or “master data management”) to content management.
This includes big tasks like executing product lifecycle management workflows from the introduction through the sunsetting of products, publishing products and product data to what seems to be an ever-growing list of channels, and anything else you can think of that pertains to the upkeep of data for each and every product.
As you can see, content management is so much more than simple ecommerce data entry. Yet, that’s what the role often gets reduced down to in companies that are using manual, outdated, or even enterprise-level product information management systems that just don’t fit their unique needs.
In Product Information Management: Theory and Practice, Abraham Jorij writes that companies spend about 25 minutes per SKU when they have to manually update data. That’s 20 human-months for every 10,000 SKUs! With the help of product information management (PIM) software, you could cut those 25 minutes per SKU down to just four.
4 Ways PIM Software Streamlines Ecommerce Data Entry
That single most valuable tool to turn ecommerce data entry back into a one-off task instead of a full-time job that we promised you at the top? It’s product information management software.
Here are four challenges most product content managers have faced and how PIM software eliminates each of them so you have the time and energy to get creative again.
Challenge 1: Spending a Large Amount of Time Managing Small Data Changes
During the lifecycle of a product, one member of your ecommerce team might source it and add it to the catalog, another might outline the specs for the description, and yet another might handle all the publishing. As time and touchpoints increase, errors are bound to happen and updates will need to be made.
Whether it’s calculating new prices, adding prefixes to product titles, or correcting spelling mistakes—making tiny yet constant tweaks and updates to thousands of products is a huge time killer for product content managers.
Solution: Editing in Bulk and Establishing Workflows with PIM Software
Most PIM software will give you the ability to make bulk edits to your data. So instead of manually editing each product title, you would be able to select the products within the software and add a prefix like “New” to all of them at once. Whether you have tens or thousands of SKUs to keep up with, it’s almost unimaginable how much time you’ll save by eliminating mindless ecommerce data entry tasks like this one.
In addition, a good product information management system should empower you to set up your own workflows so certain formatting is applied as soon as new items are uploaded. Plytix’s user-friendly PIM, for example, allows for a great amount of creativity and freedom when it comes to developing this organizational structure. That means no templates and no restrictions—just limitless possibilities to optimize product data.
Challenge 2: Distributing and Optimizing Data on So. Many. Channels.
Chances are you’re selling not just on your own ecommerce platform but on marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba, Google Shopping, eBay, Etsy, and countless others. Each of these platforms has a specific set of requirements for product listings—and then there are those special little things you like to add to set your product apart from the competition.
As the products and platforms add up, so does the amount of time a product content manager has to spend creating, updating, and managing all that product content.
Solution: Setting up Reusable Templates and Feeds for Distribution Channels
PIM tools with reusable templates or, better yet, smart data feeds allow you to create rules for each distribution channel. So when you go to export products, your data is automatically formatted to match the requirements of its final destination—all without making a bunch of changes to your master data.
Whether it’s sharing product data with resellers and collaborators, creating a catalog, or updating products across tons of ecommerce channels; a good PIM system saves you valuable time and gets your products to market four times faster.
Challenge 3: Repeatedly Catching Errors After Products Are Already Published
Sometimes, you might need to upload or update products on the fly without using the bulk distribution methods described above. That only makes it all the more frustrating when either you or, worse, a customer finds that the live listing is incomplete or incorrect.
Shouldn’t there be measures in place to keep you from entering the wrong data or skipping over fields when it comes to listing products?
Solution: Using PIM to Get it Right the First Time Around
When you use PIM software, completeness and verification tools catch incomplete and incorrect product content before it ever makes it out into the world. Some may even have a feature that lets you see how your product listing is going to look before you hit the publish button.
And that improvement in accuracy isn’t just for your peace of mind—it has some real ROI. Companies that invest in a PIM solution see as many as 23 percent fewer returns.
Challenge 4: Figuring Out Whether All Your Hard Work is Paying Off
So you’ve implemented PIM software and have finally taken back the hours you need to create and implement an effective product content strategy. But are you able to show your boss that their investment and your hard work is moving the needle?
Solution: Investing in the Only PIM with Analytics You Can Actually Read
Say goodbye to the zoo that is analytics with Plytix—the only PIM system where you can manage and analyze your data all in one place.
Built for content nerds instead of techie folks, Plytix empowers product content managers to segment products in whatever way makes sense for them. You’ll also be able to access the most relevant metrics from all your third-party channels on one custom dashboard.
It’s Time to Quit Your Ecommerce Data Entry Job
Product content management is a full-time job, but the ecommerce data entry portion of it absolutely shouldn’t be.
You have a whole host of important product strategy and management responsibilities. It’s time to stop wasting your intelligence and your energy manually entering and correcting product content all day long.
If not for your own sanity, adopt PIM software for the success of your organization.
Kosin Huang, a senior analyst at the independent technology research and consulting firm formerly known as Yankee Group, found that annual business improvement averages 25 percent in companies that deploy PIM solutions.
Having a PIM strategy is becoming a differentiator among retailers vying for valuable customers and high-quality suppliers. Make a great impression and boost your supply chain success—get started with Plytix.