Step-by-step: How do you organise
product content creation for a
larger product range?
Good product information is built up from different kinds of data, such as descriptions, USPs, images and product attributes. In the case of larger product ranges, it’s a lot of work to provide all the products with appealing product information that convinces potential customers. I’m often asked how an organisation can best go about it. Can a PIM solution resolve this too? Is it a solution to expand the group of people responsible for product information?
What is exactly the right information for your brand?
There are a number of things to consider. The first point really speaks for itself. It starts with looking at what type of data need to be included in the product information you assemble. There are two important approaches:
- What product information motivates a customer to make a purchase? (A description? What kind of features? Information about applications, and so on).
- What kind of product information is needed within the organisation? (For example, consider the product information needed for logistics and reporting).
When you have drawn up a format for product content (the “golden record”) that satisfies these requirements, you have a sound yardstick for defining product information in your own organisation.
How, then, do you produce this product content?
The second point is the difficulty of mapping out how the product information is developed.
Is a new product “born” because this product is created manually in a system? Or is a new product created automatically in a system, for example, by uploading a supplier’s price list with new products into a PIM or ERP solution? It’s important to investigate whether other sources are available that can help in gathering product information in your sector. For example, GS1 for food and DIY, CNET / Icecat for electronics and TecDoc for the motor sector.
Who actually gets involved in product content?
The third point is to identify in your organisation who, and in particular what roles or departments, are involved. Who “produces” what product content, or aspects of it? Who is responsible for all product content and its quality?
Once you’ve gone through these three steps, you’ll know what quality standard your product information needs to meet. And you can see what is needed to reach this standard.
Automation can make light work. Look for ways of improving how product content is produced.
Hint: Sketch out the product information development process. That will map out your organisation’s product process, so you can see what source and what department is involved when. You can often make efficiency improvements in this process. The best starting point is to look at what parts of the process can be automated.
A few examples: Can suppliers upload digital price lists? Are there content brokers available? Can suppliers themselves upload and optimise product information?
It may well be that the organisation can already automate a lot of the work that is currently carried out manually. Then look at what content remains to be manually created or that needs to be optimised by your organisation. What departments are still involved, in what order can they best work together? Can departments work in parallel with each other?
Save time. Research how you will carry the improvements
Look to see if you can incorporate this “product process” in your existing product management solution without a lot of customisation. If that’s not possible, it may be worth investigating the market to see if there is a PIM system that can make the process easier. With a larger array, you can quickly make out a conclusive business case. The time you save will naturally give you a shorter time to market.
You can also use the time savings to optimise your product content even more to create great product content. For, example, to increase your Internet “findability”. Potential customers will be persuaded to buy your products on the basis of your product information. Or to deepen/expand the product range.
At ConnectingTheDots we are still often asked “Does our organisation need a PIM system?” or “What can I use a PIM system for?”. To answer this question we start by explaining what a PIM system actually is.
Retailers and wholesalers often have to deal with many different suppliers. These suppliers all provide price lists or product sheets in their own way. To complicate things even further, the frequency of deliveries varies from one supplier to another, and some work with gross prices and others with a discount.
Good product information is built up from different kinds of data, such as descriptions, USPs, images and product attributes. In the case of larger product ranges, it’s a lot of work to provide all the products with appealing product information that convinces potential customers.
I often come across businesses that are wrestling with the improvement of their product content. Usually, after internal discussion, the outcome is that more product specifications are added to products to improve the product info.