Product Information Management (PIM): How it Can Help Grow Your Company
How many times have you wanted to be able to sell products from your website that are not yet in your inventory module? For many companies, that is a common occurrence. However, most of the purpose-built web stores for Sage ERPs can only see and sell products that are in the Sage inventory module. This can be a significant deterrent to sales. Suppose you have a supplier with hundreds of thousands of products that you would like to be able to sell. Obviously, you don’t want to add all of those products to inventory, and then find that you don’t sell many. Now you have two choices:
- Miss out on the sales you could make, or
- Find a solution that allows you to place items for sale on your website, and possibly your POS, that are not in inventory
This is where Product Information Management (PIM) comes into play. A PIM allows you to subscribe to Master Product Data from multiple sources such as Vendor systems and / or your ERP, and then publish to multiple sources such as your web store, mobile app or POS. Now you can sell products from your web store that are not in your ERP because you have connected your eCommerce to the PIM which contains data from the vendors you subscribe to, as well as your ERP. In this scenario, the PIM is subscribing to data from both Sage and your supplier’s price list and pushing data in the form of orders into Sage. Here’s where it gets interesting. If the integration to Sage is set up correctly, as the customer places an order for an item that is not in inventory the system can automatically create the item in Sage, then create a purchase order to the supplier to have the product drop-shipped to your customer. This creates an excellent user experience for your customer, and an efficient, automated workflow for you.
So, how would this work? First, you need to decide on where you want to publish the product data: ERP, POS, mobile, eCommerce, CRM, and manufacturing, to name a few. This will dictate the data structure. Second, you need to subscribe to your data sources, such as ERP and Vendor data. The quickest way is to create an integration to your ERP inventory so that you are storing master data in the PIM and transactional data in Sage. The integration will need to be two-way so that Sage and the PIM are always in sync. Now you can either get CSV files direct from your supplier, and map and then import the data, or create a direct integration to their inventory. Either way, each order that goes in will need to be automatically monitored to ensure that all the products on order are in the Sage inventory. If one or more is not in inventory, then the integration tool should automatically create an SKU for that product. By setting this as a drop-ship product, the system would see that it has no product in stock and the integration would create a purchase order back to the supplier that it was sourced from.
For modern businesses, an omnichannel approach – providing a seamless shopping experience from desktop, mobile, or brick-and-mortar – is becoming critical. Without incorporating a PIM or Master Data Management (MDM), It is impossible to create an omnichannel experience for your customers – one where, no matter how they reach you, the information about them and the products they want to purchase are identical. The quality and timeliness of your product information can make a vast difference between converting and losing a prospect.
Customers now take a multi-stage approach to their shopping activities. If they sense any irregularity in product information, it just takes seconds to change their mind. For instance, a potential buyer likes your product and visits you, but experiences inconsistency in product search results like product descriptions and pricing on different channels. Will he make the immediate buying decision? Maybe, not. This is something an organization cannot afford to ignore.
For more information on how CyberSense can help you implement PIM into your eCommerce Strategy, email Bill Parkinson or call 519-851-8515.