Agility multichannel PIM Blog

Agility Multichannel Blogs gives you insights to all the latest developments and also give you the tips and tricks for all your work related hassle.

Personalized Shopping Experiences Begins with PIM

Personalization, data and bridging the physical and digital shopping experience were among the top themes at this year’s NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show, where industry leaders convened to discuss the latest trends reshaping the future of retail.

Today, with a single click or tap of a button, consumers can order virtually anything they want and have it delivered in mere minutes to their doorstep. Technology innovation is enabling a significantly improved, anticipatory shopping experience in the future – one that blends the physical and digital. Data analytics and AI are bringing new possibilities for automating and optimizing retail operations, product and inventory management and more importantly, to deepen customer relationships by building personalization engines.

Ecommerce now accounts for more than three quarters of overall retail growth, and U.S. eCommerce sales are projected to reach US$666.28 billion in 2020. Clearly, if you are a retailer that hasn’t jumped on the eCommerce train you are living in the past [Read More: 5 Reasons Why Retailers Need a PIM]. As the competition rages on for consumer attention and share of wallet, savvy retailers and brands must prioritize on personalization to deliver a seamless shopping experience.

As such, investing in data analytics and more specifically in a product information management (PIM) platform is crucial for driving commerce success. A robust PIM delivers a single source of content for messages to be personalized and disseminated across multiple channels and at different touchpoints along the customer journey.

Consider these tips for commerce success:

  • Enrichment never stops: The product enrichment cycle is never-ending. Many small teams struggle to keep up with the demands of completing products with rich descriptions, full attribution, and multiple digital assets. Gain greater visibility to product data quality and completeness with a proper PIM solution. 
  • Automation is key: We may not have terminators, but the scope for automating product enrichment is limitless. Leveraging PIM software to automate enrichment based on business rules not only speeds the process but increases conversion rates with more complete product content.
  • Consistent product channels: Providing consistent, complementary, compelling and correctly targeted product content everywhere it’s needed is essential for driving sales and building customer loyalty.  A PIM solution enables a retailer, distributor, or manufacturer to integrate, optimize and syndicate content efficiently to websites, microsites, external marketplaces and even printed catalogs.
  • Continuous analytics: Establishing an analytical feedback loop and having quality metrics is essential to stay ahead of the game.

Ready to take your commerce strategy to the next level? 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 solution.

Related Resources

PIM for Retail

Five Reasons Why Retailers Need a PIM

Choosing a PIM: What to Watch for

Why PIM is Primed for the Print Revival

As we roll into a new decade, you may be assessing your company’s marketing strategies: “Where can we find an edge?” you ask. May we suggest an “old reliable” that’s time-tested, impactful and, despite rumors of its demise, remains still viable. That medium is print.

According to U.S. Postal Service research, print is thriving, but in a different way than in its past. It’s true that while the volume of direct mail materials has declined 29.85% since 2006, direct mail response rates have actually risen by 173% for house lists and 194% for prospect lists. Personalization is a key driver for this growth, as is the trust factor that print holds over digital channels.

The Case for Print

Here are seven considerations for rethinking print in your marketing mix:

  1. Print offers something different. Today the average person receives 107 emails but just 2 pieces of mail per day. As consumers continue to connect more and more facets of their lives via digital — banking, shopping, making appointments, interacting, etc. — a printed piece in the mailbox becomes a novelty. Think about when you receive a greeting card in the mail or, rarer still, a personal letter. You might smile when you find it. You can open it at your leisure. Since so much of “junk mail” has vanished in favor of email marketing — and so much of that is unwanted spam — an eye-catching printed piece stands out.
  2. Print has a tangible presence. A shopper’s memory of a web page lasts until the next click. Emails are opened immediately and forgotten. A printed flyer or catalog is likely to be retained for 17 days. You can hold it, browse it, mark it up, bring it with you while shopping. The merchant can include a promotional card or small item to make a printed piece more engaging. Many companies take exceptional pride in their printed catalogs as a significant brand statement — a weighty presence on the shelf.
  3. Print allows greater freedom of expression. Web pages and apps are restricted by their wireframes and templates, creating a certain level of monotony for the user. The print is less confined. Using a proper Product Information Management (PIM) system, a designer can flow content and images to a page template, then work “outside the lines” to create dazzling, attention-grabbing visuals. Print allows trendy colors and fonts and special effects like gradients to shine at their best.
  4. Print can be personalized. Personalization goes beyond merely addressing a piece to a specific customer. Today, a business can harness its powerful PIM system combined with advanced analytics to create personalized versions of direct mail pieces in smaller lots. For instance, a national tool retailer can mail tailored editions of its monthly mini-catalog with different offers based on the individual customer’s buying patterns. These pieces build a “just for me” wow factor with customers.
  5. Print gets a response. According to the 2018 DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail achieves a 9% response from house lists and 5% from prospect lists versus 1% or lower for email and social media. DMA data indicates that 79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately versus 45% for email. 
  6. Print and Digital work well together. Digital remains the most common and cost-effective way to interact with customers, but print reaches where digital cannot. A customer can filter email but not the conventional mailbox. Direct mail plus email boosts conversion rates by up to 28%. And direct mail can raise the effectiveness of other channels by up to 450%. Many marketers use their print catalogs to drive customer traffic to their websites and apps.
  7. Consumer Data Security Laws are on the rise. And compliance is a headache for digital marketers. Since Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018, consumers’ digital privacy has garnered attention worldwide. A similar California law went live on January 1, 2020. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislatures in 25 US states and Puerto Rico have more than 100 active consumer data privacy bills or drafts on their collective dockets. Some of these state laws are highly restrictive. Together they make up a byzantine puzzle of regulations. As a possible alternative, the US Senate is considering uniform federal legislation; the Federal Trade Commission is watching as it is the national enforcement arm. While governments debate how much protection is appropriate, “think tanks” like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have offered their opinions. Many consumer advocacy groups fear that a federal law will be weaker than state laws, while many trade organizations support the idea of a national standard.

The implications for digital marketers are clear: More laws mean more complex regulations, more documentation of opt-in/out processes, more proof of compliance and tighter restrictions on what/how much/how long customer information can be retained by retailers, distributors and other organizations who reach consumers via the digital space. The laws also cover data brokers, who collect and re-sell consumer information. While direct marketing is subject to certain provisions of these laws, compliance is much easier as consumer consent is not required. Laws such as GDPR figure to take a big bite out of email marketing as companies scramble to comply. In turn, data security laws present an opportunity for these companies to reconsider print as a viable option. Customers trust print because it is virus-proof and bears no inherent risk of identity theft.

A robust and versatile PIM software should serve both digital and print needs. From a single source of content, messages can be personalized and disseminated across multiple channels and at different touchpoints along the customer journey.  So it’s time to rethink print as a valuable option for the personalization era.

Considering if a product information management (PIM) system is right for you? Take our 3-Minute PIM Readiness Assessment to help you determine if your business could benefit from a proper PIM solution. Or simply contact our PIM experts and we’ll help you evaluate your business needs.

Related Resources

The Marketer’s Guide to PIM for the Omnichannel Era

Choosing a PIM: What to Watch for

NRF 2020: How Retailers are Bringing Products to Life with PIM

Attending NRF 2020: Retail’s Big Show on January 12-14 in New York City? Join our Agility team to learn why Product information management (PIM) has become a priority technology investment for retailers to meet the needs of today’s always connected consumer.

The ability for retailers to deliver contextual, comprehensive and flawlessly consistent product information is now table stakes. With infinite channels and touchpoints, a retailer must anticipate evolving customer needs in an increasingly competitive retail landscape where introduction times for new products have virtually vanished.

Meet with our PIM experts in-person at NRF 2020 at Agility Multichannel booth #464, located on Level 1 on the Expo Show Floor, to talk through your product information strategy and performance.

  • We’ve partnered with Salesforce to showcase the power of PIM with Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
  • Experience the full breadth of capabilities with our Agility v8 demos – the industry’s most advanced and adaptive PIM that provide an unparalleled user experience.
  • Take our 3-minute PIM Readiness Assessment (and get instant results) to determine if you’re ready for the benefits a “proper” PIM solution can offer.

A PIM should be the bedrock of any retailer’s information management and marketing strategy.

By leveraging a PIM system to deliver accurate, granular and rich product content, retailers are empowered to deliver personalization services and facilitate individualized digital experiences that today’s consumers expect. Read more: Five Reasons Why Retailers Need a PIM for Retail.

Our PIM experts, Richard Hunt, Dawn Zassick and Ted Allen MillerunHunt will be on hand to show you how Agility PIM brings products to life across every retail channel. Schedule a meeting with us to learn more.

The Power of Product Data for Commerce Success

Agility & Allied Electronics

The customer journey has changed significantly over the years. Today, there are many more steps and touchpoints, which makes the chance of an abandoned sale far greater in the digital customer journey. In fact, one in five customers who fail to make purchase when shopping online blame incomplete product information (source: Nielsen Norman Group).

As such, consistent product data across all touchpoints in the customer journey is instrumental for driving commerce success by removing doubt and ensuring conversion. Today, products acquire ever-growing volumes of data and content throughout their lifecycle. For instance, when a product is first introduced, there are part numbers and product descriptions and during its growth phase, there are product comparisons and short-form videos. As it matures, there are likely to be product stories and information on bundles and kits.

Watch the B2B Online presentation of our Dawn Zassick and Stacey Ostermann of Allied Electronics & Automation on why product information is crucial for driving customer engagement and conversion.

According to Stacey, it’s critical to have rich product data to drive conversions and sales. This begins with thinking about product data as a strategic asset to drive findability, trust and authority: “The story behind how Agility PIM can drive your business is compelling. Product pages have the power to turn browsers into buyers. All of the rich product data that’s curated in your PIM lives in product pages. It’s the customer’s first impression of your brand and can mean the difference between someone clicking and adding to cart or clicking away from your website.”

Hear how other companies are using Agility PIM to succeed in commerce.

Looking for best practices and benchmark data to help build a stronger PIM business case? Our team is here to help – contact a PIM expert today!.

Agility Scores 3 B2B Excellence Awards: Supreme Software, Expert Choice & Great User Experience

agility awarded as PIM solution

As we wrap up the year, it brings us enormous pride for Agility Multichannel to be awarded with three awards by FinancesOnline, the fastest growing independent review platform for B2B, SaaS and financial solutions.

These accolades speak to the enormous impact that Agility PIM is making on the industry in helping retailers, global brand manufacturers and distributors take control of their product information journey. We’re proud to be recognized for our ongoing innovation and market leadership. This year, we’ve set a new standard in PIM with Agility v8, the industry’s most advanced PIM platform. In designing and modeling the PIM experience on the best eCommerce experience, we’re empowering B2B companies to compete and thrive in the age of the always-connected customer.

Recognized for our excellence in the B2B industry, we scored the highest marks in three categories:

  • Supreme Software 2019This award is given only to top B2B products and represents the highest possible level of service. It highlights the vendor’s extensive knowledge of the industry they’re selling to and the needs of their customers.
  • Expert’s Choice 2019 – This award is given by our team of experts to products that we think show especially good quality in terms of satisfying the current needs of the B2B and SaaS markets and helps companies they currently face with solid and efficient solutions.
  • Great User Experience 2019 – This award is granted to products that offer especially good user experience. We evaluate how easy it is to start using the product and how well-designed its interface and features are to facilitate the work process.

To learn more about Agility PIM, watch our customer success stories.

Video Highlights: 2019 Agility and Kalido Magnitude Customer Conference

We’ve just concluded another engaging and successful Agility and Kalido Magnitude Customer Conference, where our customers convened to exchange new ideas, share best practices and forge deeper connections.

Watch the Highlights

Key Takeaways:

  • We debuted Agility v8 and Kalido v11 – our latest PIM and MDM offerings for customers to experience the full breadth of capabilities.
  • Customers around the world including as TimCo, Allied Electronics, HD Supply Whitecap, CED, and Gopher Sport presented case studies on how they’re taking advantage of Agility features and functionality to streamline work processes and manage their entire data needs. Hear their stories.
  • In the UK, Michelle Beeson, shared the latest research on changing buyer behavior and how organizations must use data to create more relevant and consistent experiences, to continue to win serve and retain customers.
  • In the US, Forrester’s Allen Bonde delivered a riveting keynote on why there’s never been a more exciting time to reimagine what’s possible with B2B commerce. Watch the replay of his presentation: More Choice, More Convenience (and More Content!) Redefine B2B Commerce Strategies

Stay tuned for updates on next year’s events – visit the User Conference webpage for more details and event photos.

How Customers are Driving Value from their Agility PIM Investments

Our customer success is our top priority and we’re constantly seeking direct feedback from our customers in support of the partnership that leads to their success. This was exemplified at our recently concluded Agility & Kalido Magnitude North American User Conference.

Watch the recordings of some of the customer presentations below and access customer success stories to learn how customers around the world are getting the most value out of their Agility PIM investments.

Allied Electronics & Automation

“We recently upgraded from an older version of Governance to Agility’s new AMI user interface and are already realizing the benefits. One advantage we have already realized is giving our Content Manager’s more control by allowing them to import/export data in and out of the system independently which has enabled them to enrich data much faster. We’re also working towards building more choice lists and validations…. Each of these abilities allows Allied Electronics & Automation to deliver a great customer experience which is my team’s priority.

Stacey Ostermann, Director of Digital Product Content

 


HD Supply White Cap

“We had siloed and inconsistent data. We used Agility PIM to enrich, govern and grade our data such as the ability to cascade block data down to the product data. We’ve now built a consistent model of success enabling us to work smarter, not harder.”

Jessica Alley, Senior Solutions Architect

 

To learn more about how Agility PIM can optimize your product information strategy and performance across your organization, request a demo.

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 solution. Let’s start a conversation.

Forrester Keynote Replay: More Choice, More Convenience (and More Content!) Redefine B2B Commerce Strategies

Our Agility & Kalido Magnitude North American User Conference just wrapped with Forrester Vice President, Research Director Allen Bonde delivering the keynote address titled: More Choice, More Convenience (and More Content!) Redefine B2B Commerce Strategies. Allen shared his insider perspective on why there’s never been a more exciting time to reimagine what’s possible with B2B commerce.

Today, B2B commerce is being disrupted in the same way consumer models have fundamentally changed as digital transformation takes hold. The rise of new options for buyers, including marketplaces and new digitally enhanced selling motions for manufacturers and distributors are creating new pressures — and generating massive opportunities as well.

Watch the full keynote video on the state of omnichannel commerce and how consumer-style experiences are shaping the future of B2B relationship and you’ll also get a peek into Forrester’s newly released 2020 B2B Predictions!

 

How Agility PIM Drives Product Content Performance

Product Information Management (PIM) is essential for driving commerce success, but there’s a wide disparity in solution capabilities among vendors. For product and marketing leaders, investing in the right PIM platform is a crucial decision — and one that requires understanding how PIM can optimize your product information strategy and performance across your organization.

Agility v8 provides a crucial hub where internal and external stakeholders can collaborate to integrate, enrich, preview, approve and syndicate product content and analyze its performance.

Watch this short demo video to learn how Agility unites and dramatically improves the process for every role involved the transformation of products for Commerce.

Key topics:

  • How content managers can improve SEO and product findability through consistent categorization and attribute values
  • How product managers and merchandisers can maximize product sales and margins
  • How asset managers can easily preview digital assets in context of the products they represent
  • Improving product translation, localization workflows and more

To learn more about Agility PIM solutions, let’s have a conversation.

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