If you’re running an automotive aftermarket business, then you know that product information is key. You need to make sure that your customers have all the information they need to make a purchase, and that can be difficult when you’re dealing with a large number of products.
In just a few years, much has changed in the world of automotive aftermarket creation, engineering, and production. Between suppliers, business partners, internal departments, and end consumers, there has been a tremendous rise in data usage across the horizontal and vertical value chains. The increasing importance of data and its management for the automobile accessories market can’t be overstated not just for manufacturing and technology but also for sales and marketing.
To avoid discrepancies, a centralized data management platform is required by manufacturers that regularly deal with a variety of suppliers, service providers, and tier-two providers. Product information isn’t simply a collection of warranties and dimensions any longer. Because there are so many new automobile models and brands being released on a regular basis, purchasers now have the need for sellers to find compatible cars for each “custom-designed” product.
The importance of data accuracy and consistency in product catalog design has never been higher. From broad features (product category, product group code, part number, and so on) to particular properties (marketing, pricing, characteristics) to fitment criteria and digital assets, the amount and variety of information involved in the process are tremendous. Manual consolidation or reliance on outdated spreadsheet programs to manage all of this data might result in a lot of redundant retrieval and maintenance time.
That’s where a product information management tool comes in. In this article, we’ll talk about the different methods of PIM and how to use them in your automotive aftermarket business. We’ll also discuss some best practices for making the most out of your PIM software solution.
How To Manage Product Information
How do you make sure that all parts of your organization have access to the correct data while still maintaining high levels of consistency? How can you keep everyone on the same page when it comes to product information updates? What steps can you take to ensure that workers may locate items promptly and simply without relying on an ineffective search engine? These are some of the most frequent pains reported by eCommerce firms. Fortunately, there is now a simple solution: eCommerce product information management (PIM) software.
The following are the three most frequent approaches for managing product catalog data:
- Manual Management – This is the most basic approach to managing product information. It usually includes Excel spreadsheets, hard copies of papers, and file folders. It also consumes a significant amount of time by employees entering products into their system, delaying company operations. Because there is no centralized product information database, the risk for human error and inconsistency is incredibly high.
- Custom-Built PIM – Customized software developed internally by a business may be time-consuming and expensive to produce. They need a lot of resources to establish information management systems from the ground up, which is frequently required to change as new corporate needs or industry standards emerge. It’s also not scalable since there’s no method to ensure that the same high quality is maintained as a company expands.
- All-In-One Platform – All-in-one PIM platforms are commercial offerings produced by third-party vendors for integration with your current systems that include product information management, inventory control, order fulfillment, POS integration, and CRM.
However, if each of these platforms is being utilized to its full potential, there will be an issue with underutilization. Businesses frequently cease using the tool or utilize it for only a few available capabilities, resulting in time and money spent needlessly.
How To Use PIM In Your Auto Aftermarket Business
A PIM solution can automatically update all digital catalogs at your disposal instead of manually providing product information. A single source of truth for product management is provided by PIM software. It contains things like product specifications, product descriptions, videos, picture galleries, price lists, digital assets, and more. This program may automate the transmission of information updates to a network of digital channels and systems to guarantee that nothing goes unnoticed during data entry.
Automating not only saves time and ensures accurate data, but it also eliminates the risk of human error that may lead to inaccurate information being sent. There’s no room for human error when everything is handled through a product information management tool because there’s no longer any place for it.
Here are some best practices and methods for product information management to get the most out of this procedure.
Tagging and Categorizing
Use tags to organize your items by size, color, weight, and other important features. This will allow you to find them later when you’re looking for something specific or just want to update the information of a certain product that needs an edit. Categorize your products based on their function: do they contain any unique characteristics? How are they put to use in conjunction with each other?
It’s crucial to keep consistency in mind while tagging and classifying products. Try not to use multiple labels, tags, or category names for the same features or qualities.
Catalog Management Process Mapping
Managing an eCommerce catalog is a difficult task because it involves many stakeholders. The first step in recognizing these complexities is to map out the catalog management process. It’s also an excellent method for determining how well the procedure may be done and where bottlenecks occur. You must answer these three question groups to make an accurate inventory map:
- How many steps does your standard catalog management procedure take? How often do these activities occur (daily, weekly, monthly)? What is the relationship between them?
- What is the process for putting together your catalog, and who’s in charge of it? How many individuals are involved in the catalog management process, and what their role is (buyers, merchandisers, managers, product marketing teams)? What impact does each individual have on the overall procedure?
- What solutions or tools do you use to manage your digital product catalog? How may you modify them, so they are more efficient and precise?
Keeping Your Product Database Accurate and Up-to-Date
Maintaining an information database is critical when it comes to optimizing your product catalog. To guarantee that your eCommerce system is up to date on a regular basis, you’ll need to keep it updated. Outline all of the roles and authorize flows for each user. Each stakeholder should understand their position in the product catalog management process and what they are permitted to change. This promotes a clean procedure, which reduces the risk of mistakes caused by misunderstandings.
Verify the inventory database and any other pertinent databases to ensure that any changes were implemented correctly. This is critical because it ensures that data is correct before releasing new catalogs or making online updates. You don’t want incorrect product information to be seen by your consumers.
If you’re thinking of adding another eCommerce platform to your business, you should first assess your current data structure. Is product catalog information readily manageable, collectible, and arrangeable? If not, you’ll need to perform some data movement or internal data organization before proceeding.
Any potential problems or errors along the way, as with any form of data management, requires time, patience, organization skills, and planning.
The advantages of utilizing a product information management system to keep your product catalogs up-to-date are obvious and outweigh the risks by far. The most significant aspect in this equation should always be consumer pleasure, but how you maintain your data is a choice between expense, efficiency, and quality. A PIM solution may help you add rich content to item listings, enhance product messaging, and even manage your marketing campaigns.
If you’d like to learn more about how to automatically update your eCommerce business’s product catalogs with a PIM system, contact Illumaware. We are always delighted to assist.