A key driver for most businesses is increasing the number of for-sale products available to customers, and quickly and efficiently getting those products to market. But for many companies, the struggle to accomplish this is real. You have great products and inventory, now let’s make sure your customers can buy them! There are many ways to streamline the item setup process, but once the data has been populated (hopefully accurately) comes the task of organizing products into multiple catalogs. What are some ways to facilitate this process and increase selling time? Product Information Management tools are here to help and can have a significant impact on your ability to sell products.
What kind of Catalogs are maintained in PIM?
The short answer is: Anything your heart desires! Companies use catalogs in different ways and the organizational makeup of each business will drive how data is assorted. Enough with the vagueness though, let’s jump into some real-world examples of what companies are doing today:
- Catalogs by Business Unit – Separate products by categories such as appliances vs. services vs. fashion.
- Catalogs by Banner – Are there multiple brands within the company? There are likely varying requirements across the banners and having separate catalogs make valid organization possible.
- Catalogs for Multiple Websites – If there are multiple downstream sites where products are distributed, catalogs can be created and maintained for the corresponding e-commerce platform
- Catalogs by Region – Maintain products for different countries such as USA vs. Canada or by territory such as East vs. West.
- Catalogs by Season – Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall are common examples of seasonal catalogs for trending styles.
- Catalogs by Sale Type – Use sales categories such as New Product, On Sale, or Clearance.
What are the Benefits?
Using catalogs such as those described above is a way to not only organize data in a relevant fashion but expedite business processes and therefore generate cost savings. Catalogs in a Product Information Management system can take advantage of the following features which enable streamlined organization and quick distribution to downstream channels such as e-commerce:
- Auto-Attribution: Hierarchy nodes are able to have preset values and features assigned to them which enable inheritance and Auto-Attribution when Products/Items are added to the node.
- Dynamic Assortments: PIM systems can automatically assign items to Dynamic Assortments based on existing product information. Criteria such as Brand, Vendor, Color, Season and many others in various combination can be used to identify how the item should be categorized and assorted without needing manual intervention.
- Assign in Bulk: When assortments need to be generated on the fly, users can quickly create assortments in bulk which eliminates the need to manually assign hundreds if not thousands of items into a category one by one.
- Downstream Publishing: Enriched product information for catalogs can be scheduled or use business-defined triggers to automatically publish to downstream channels, such as e-commerce.
- Catalog Sharing: PIM users who create catalogs are able to easily share them with others or utilize permissions to restrict access when needed. This allows for collaboration across the business and eliminates unnecessary rework.
- Level Variation: Assortments can be created on any level, such as at the product level to have attribution apply for all items under that product, or at the item level only for specific colors/sizes/ etc.
- Data Validation: Create various Workflow assignments and validations based on the catalog such as setting a Ready for Pub flag based on which catalog the product is a part of.
Product catalogs and organization give businesses flexibility to categorize products in multiple areas for increased exposure and provide the ability to keep relevant data together in a meaningful way. PIM solutions have come a long way in decreasing time to market, increasing process efficiencies and allowing customers to feel confident in the products/services they are purchasing. Start taking advantage of these benefits now!
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