The Marketer’s Guide to PIM for the Omnichannel Era

Omnichannel marketing has revolutionized the way brands think about and interact with their customers. As technology spawns more marketing channels, customers demand more convenience from those channels. Today’s leading brands recognize this and capitalize by connecting and integrating all channels to create a customer-centric marketing paradigm. Omnichannel truly looks at a brand through the eyes of the customer.

Many brands are still transitioning from multichannel to omnichannel strategies. As they strive to deliver more personalized customer experiences, one constant remains: the need for consistent, compelling, intelligent and fluid content that can be readily deployed at every touchpoint.

Here’s how PIM helps marketers win in the omnichannel era:

Multichannel or Omnichannel?

First, a little clarification. The terms Multichannel and omnichannel marketing are often confused. While they sound similar, they are two very distinct strategies.

By definition, multi means many. Multichannel marketing refers to the number of channels or platforms that a brand deploys to reach its customers. These channels might include a brick-and-mortar store, print catalog, ecommerce website, mobile apps and voice activated devices, like the Amazon Echo. The brand determines these touchpoints and builds its marketing campaigns through them. Historically, the customer experience is not necessarily connected across these channels.

In contrast, omni means all. In omnichannel marketing, the customer is at the center of a connected experience across all of the channels utilized by the brand. Wherever, whenever and however the customer engages the brand, their interaction is a personalized and guided journey.

If we imagine multichannel as a series of doorways that the customer can enter, omnichannel is more like a bubble that envelops and follows the customer.

Think about your own experiences. If you’re 40 or older, you probably remember the days when you shopped your favorite retailer by visiting their store or ordering through their catalog. You had just these two channels at your disposal. Later, Internet shopping added a third, very convenient option to the channel-based approach. Each of these platforms offered the customer a path to the brand’s products — but each path was a separate experience. For example, each time you visited the brand’s website, you started from scratch.

Fast forward to the era of mobile devices, Internet of Things, and the glorious ability to shop anywhere — from the comfort of your couch, at the coffee shop, on the train, or in a park. Today’s trend has strongly veered toward the omnichannel direction, especially in consumer marketing. Omnichannel obliterates traditional one-size-fits-all marketing.

The Omniverse

In the “omniverse”, a brand collects information about you: purchases you made, web pages you visited, your Facebook “likes”, shopping lists and e-footprints. From that data, the brand builds a profile of you.

In turn, the brand reaches out to you with offers to catch your attention with special deals, things you might like, loyalty rewards and flash sales. Through artificial intelligence, the brand greets you wherever and whenever you pick it up  — on a site or app, or even when you are “in the vicinity” with location-based marketing that uses GPS tracking. In an omnichannel world, the brand picks up where you left off and never lets go.

Why PIM Matters

Nowadays, relying on disconnected or antiquated systems is a blueprint for doom. To stay in step with today’s customer, a brand needs to be quick and nimble. It requires an engine that can harness all of its product, financial, market and customer data. It needs a tool for end-to-end collaboration between all stakeholders for authoring, enriching and approving data. Agility® PIM’s unique, award-winning user interface brings products to life across every channel.

Right Content, Context and Time

Companies selling products or services today must excel at delivering contextual, comprehensive and flawlessly consistent product information to today’s ever-evolving and always-connected customer. With infinite channels, touchpoints, versions, and profiles, a brand must protect its customer relationships by anticipating every need and satisfying every want in a competitive climate where introduction times for new products have virtually vanished.

Agility enables a brand to integrate, optimize and syndicate product information quickly, accurately and efficiently:

  • Integration—Sophisticated and simple functionality moves unlimited volumes of data while assuring that all of it, regardless of source, is flawlessly consistent, accurate and analytics ready.
  • Optimization—User-friendly features allow end users to easily maximize the value of their data and preview it in each channel.
  • Syndication—Agility automates the simultaneous publication of enriched product content to any number of downstream channels, each with its own rules and restrictions.

Agility benefits every stakeholder:

  • Suppliers—Agility provides suppliers with a secure portal to onboard product data into your system, either directly or by automated processes. Uploaded data can be enriched internally and presented to the vendor for comments and approval.
  • Merchants and product managers—Agility allows users to ensure that each product is fully enriched and optimized for each market channel before the product “goes live”. AMI also provides financial data and other analytics as well as the ability to link cross-sells, up-sells and substitutes to maximize potential sales.
  • Content developers—Agility combines unparalleled data governance, efficiency and flexibility. End users can build flawless content from SKU-level specifications to product descriptions to marketing copy.
  • Translators—Agility builds around a base language, with the capability for language trees, side-by-side comparisons, histories and translated dictionaries.
  • Ecommerce—Agility allows optimization of all product content across the enterprise, delivering quick, consistent content delivery to website, microsites, external marketplaces and more.

Still trying to decide if PIM is right for you? Take our 3-Minute PIM Readiness Assessment—16 simple questions designed to help you establish if your business could benefit from PIM. Or, contact our product information experts and we’ll help you evaluate your business needs and determine if you are ready for a PIM software. Let’s start a conversation.