User Guide: How Staff Leverage PIM to Streamline Operational Workflows
Recently we discussed the inner workings of a PIM solution, and how it unifies internal systems and workflows for mid and enterprise businesses. However, the benefits of a PIM truly shine when they are tied to the specific team(s) and/or individuals(s) who will directly leverage the tool to manage and promote products. By taking a look at how specific responsibilities tie together in a seamless workflow, it becomes easy to understand the benefits of PIM’s features and functionality. Adding on the fact that a native Information Platform as a Service iPaaS centralizes product data across all business applications, it becomes a no-brainer for mid and enterprise businesses looking to scale or optimize their international efforts.
How a PIM Streamlines Commerce Workflows and Teams
By understanding the entire workflow and checkpoints products go through, solutions to workflow problems become apparent. The beauty of a PIM solution is that the work of many disparate teams across an enterprise-grade product catalog(s) may be handled far more efficiently and potentially, with a smaller team.
Role #1: Data Importers
These folks live and breathe spreadsheets which everyone loves (said with mild sarcasm). Their days are typically filled by manual manipulation and working their magic to try and import, sync and correlate product data from multiple sources. The life of a Data Importer can be greatly changed with the implementation of a PIM. During the onboarding process, information is mapped and imported into the PIM, lessening the amount of manual vetting and manipulation. The role of a Data Importer is not reduced, but rather the amount of product information they can handle will increase allowing for the business to expand. Once the initial mapping from client data to PIM is complete future imports can be self-service with the use of SFTP or S3 drop offs or direct import, making scalability easier. Plus, at least with Jasper PIM’s iPaaS, this information will be pushed to a company’s technology stack and other roles put the finishing touches on data before presenting it to the public.
Role #2: Product Building Team
Depending on how your organization is structured, this role may or may not be combined with data imports. No matter the case, the Product Building function is responsible for ad-hoc product creation on a manual basis which is separate from mass imports. This team will spend their time in the PIM making manual adjustments to imported data and ensuring it conforms to style guidelines, vet for errors and assuring assets are properly imported and configured (e.g., language, currency, photography, pricing, supplemental materials, etc.) to help streamline the rest of the workflows.
Role #3: Merchandisers
These are what we call “PIM Power Users.” Merchandisers spend time manipulating data created by Data Importer and Product Builders in order to categorize, sort, tag and present specific subsets of products to the ecommerce platform. By using key PIM features (see below), advanced elasticsearch parameters and powerful bulk editing features, Merchandisers can create product associations, dynamically update categories or featured product sets for easy use by a Marketing team. Merchandisers can also easily maintain healthy catalogs in the PIM by managing product revisions, discontinuations, updates, and so on.
Role #4: Marketers
Marketers use product information provided by the Merchandisers to create campaigns and promotions within the ecommerce platform (Magento, Bigcommerce and Shopify), on-site search providers (SearchSpring, Nextopia and ATTRAQT), distribution channels (multiple ecommerce storefronts, Amazon, Ebay, Google Shopping, etc.) and even marketing automation tools. The Marketing team can function confidently when creating landing pages, banners, campaigns, etc. and syndicate products easily because they are aware that the previous teams are not only dealing with a central set of product data, but that the teams before them have been able to successfully touch each data point.
How a PIM Completes Commerce Operational Workflows
By using a PIM that provides native Information Platform as a Service (iPaaS) functionality, you’ll finally have a closed loop commerce workflow. An iPaaS provides a two-way sync for product data (e.g. sales details, customer details, inventory, etc.) via custom APIs to a long list of business applications and systems so product data is always up-to-date and accurate. Here is a list of functionality, features and application types we support to help streamline your entire commerce workflow. If you’re interested in learning more about what a PIM and native iPaaS can do for you business, feel free to reach out!