PIM systems have fast become an essential element of commerce, particularly for businesses with complex channel structures or those with several departments providing or working with product data through different business workflows.
PIM systems provide a central repository for product information, a single true source, and the tools to set up efficient workflows and processes for your business to operate like a well-oiled machine in managing products through their lifecycles.
Challenges with PIM systems
Some challenges come with PIM systems both in their implementation and ongoing management that can limit the value a PIM should provide. These are not to do with the functioning or quality of the software - but the crucial and unavoidable considerations of sourcing and aggregating product data to feed into a PIM and keeping that data up to date as products change over time.
Challenge 1: Aggregating data sources to populate a PIM system
A common and sound reason for introducing a PIM solution for many organizations is that their product information is currently spread across various systems and folders in silos throughout the business. Introducing a PIM brings this together in one central location and defines a single source of truth.
Aggregating these existing data sources, depending on how well the data has been maintained over time, is a large job requiring high levels of technical skill and a time frame, depending on the complexity, of many months. As PIMworks put it - "The most challenging thing about PIM is the transition phase. We are talking about huge volumes of product information, digital assets, and such data vastly spread over multiple ERP systems, spreadsheets, and databases."
Putting poor quality data into a PIM creates a situation hard to clean up over time, making it a risky business. One often suggested approach is to spread out data migration, focusing on setting up and migrating one family of products into the PIM at a time as you continue to work through aggregating and cleaning the remaining products family by family. You want this process to be happening at a fairly rapid pace as a longer time frame brings with it increased cost and resources, and while you are paying for the PIM, it takes some time to reach a point where you see the full value of the system.
Challenge 2: Keeping the data in the PIM system high quality
The product catalog is living and breathing with constant changes, such as new products being added, products being discontinued or out of stock, and new information for products being changed.
For many retailers, distributors, or marketplaces, a large part of their data is sourced from vendors or partners, with ongoing updates received frequently through spreadsheets or sourced from FTP folders. Different solutions are available here, from having a staff member of your team uploading and validating the supplier data manually to the PIM each week or month that it comes in. Alternatively, some PIM systems have Vendor Portals, which can be a good solution if your vendors are willing to upload data to them and will remember to do so frequently. In general, keeping the product data quality at a high level with a PIM system without an onboarding solution is achieved through having clear workflows in place, a skilled owner of the solution, and ongoing work to maintain the high operating level.
How Does Vesta solve these challenges to Improve the Functioning and ROI From Your PIM?
When working with PIM systems, Vesta is sometimes referred to as a “Pre PIM,” performing the essential functions that form the bridge between the original data source and original data source format - to the PIM system and the PIM format. This has several benefits as follows -
Speeding PIM Implementation Time
Vesta eCommerce specializes in onboarding product data from any source, including vendors or internal systems, then cleaning and structuring that data ready for any PIM or eCommerce platform. To do this, Vesta develops cleaning profiles for each data feed to standardize, optimize, and categorize the data into the desired structure for the PIM system.
Once profiles are set up, large amounts of product data can flow through the cleaning process automatically before being validated for any checks, which must be met before data is accepted into the PIM. This speeds up the time to have your PIM system fully functional and delivering maximum value for your business and reduces the resource needed within your internal team to prepare the data for migration.
"Vesta are experts in streamlining the process of data sourcing and validation and setting up workflows to maintain data accuracy over time.
For us, working with Vesta means we can speed up a client's timeline significantly to get them up and running with their Jasper PIM sooner""
Jon Marsella, Jasper PIM, CEO
Fill your PIM with Quality, Accurate data
A PIM plays an important role in improving product data quality by centralizing it, establishing a lead or first source for data, and moving businesses forward from having siloed data across different systems. To reach that point of operation, Vesta helps migrate your product data from its current sources and condition into a cleaned, validated, and high-quality state. Vesta does this by:
1/ Normalizing vendor data into the PIM
2/ Cleaning/ Classifying existing data attributes
3/ Structuring data within a PIM, so it aligns with the eCommerce vision
4/ Configuring attribute structure
5/ Validation, catching duplicates, missing attributes, and other rule-based criteria
"We wanted one true source of data and the PIM was the best solution for that. But we couldn't work with the PIM until we had prepared our product catalog. This meant pulling information from various sources, getting it into a standard format, and organizing it into a strong architecture of categories and variants.
Vesta came in and helped us with that as we had no idea where to start. They guided us through the whole process step by step and made it easy."
Shane Fellowes, Product Manager, Sebel
Maintain high-quality data in your PIM system over time
Data accuracy is maintained over time, as changes in price, inventory, or product details are continually sourced from vendors or other data sources, taken through the data cleaning profile in Vesta, validated, and automatically updated into your PIM system. Work in the PIM will not be overwritten. Information is kept fresh and consistent with brand guidelines automatically, without needing a PIM owner to spend many hours uploading, quality checking, and altering records over time.
Investing in a new PIM solution requires consideration due to both the cost and resources involved in shifting business processes to a new system. The addition of Vesta to the implementation plan can reduce that risk and increase the ROI equation by reducing the resource needed, speeding up the time to value, and putting the systems in place to ensure the product data is kept accurate and up to date over time.
Contact one of our friendly team today to find out more about how Vesta can help your company put automation systems in place to migrate data to your PIM or maintain your product data quality over time.