Ecommerce has grown significantly over the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down. According to Statista, global retail ecommerce sales equaled about $5.7 trillion in 2022, and researchers project them to reach $8.1 trillion by 2026. These numbers make it clear — online retailers should expect more competition in the coming years.
To meet demand and acquire more customers, ecommerce businesses need effective product data management strategies. This approach can enable you to list items more quickly than your competitors and build trust with customers. However, retailers often wonder where they can attain this type of product information for sharpening ecommerce content.
Retailers have several resources for retrieving valuable product data, such as third-party software solutions. Although many retailers rely on this option, it’s not without limitations. Learn about software solutions and discover an alternative ecommerce strategy from Virtucom Group.
Why Online Retailers Choose Software Solutions
Some retailers contact their suppliers directly when attempting to attain more product data. This choice is logical since product information transfers from the supplier’s software system into the retailer’s, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Requesting complete and accurate data from suppliers can be tedious for you and the supplier, often resulting in delayed time to market and lost profits.
Third-party software solutions allow retailers to collect product information from suppliers more efficiently, making them a popular option for ecommerce. The following are some types of product data management software:
Content Management Software (CMS)
CMS provides a digital space to create, modify, publish, and store content. It can house raw product data but also gives ecommerce businesses more flexibility in handling information.
Product Information Management (PIM)
PIM refers to a set of processes that enables a business to access, collect, and store all product information. It provides a centralized interface for all data related to products. PIM can only store raw product data sourced from the supplier.
Digital Asset Management (DAM)
DAM provides a well-organized system for storing and managing digital assets specifically. You can house various materials in a DAM system, including videos, audio files, images, and user manuals.
Challenges of Using Software Solutions
Software solutions make sense for product data management in certain contexts, but online retailers may notice some difficulties with these platforms. Before settling on CMS, PIM, DAM, or a similar solution, consider some of their disadvantages:
The upfront costs of installing and launching software platforms can be expensive. For example, licensing for PIM software can range from $450 to $850 a month or $15,000 a year. This may not seem like much for a larger business, but costs can add up quickly for smaller ecommerce sites. Setting up this software also requires many employees, which can stifle productivity and diminish revenue until your business is integrated with the system.
Even with software solutions, online retailers need to review and edit raw data from the supplier. If you sift through thousands of products, you can expect the process to take a while. For this reason, software solutions can impede master data management, creating more work for retailers and their suppliers.
Retailers must be patient when implementing software solutions because it may take a while for employees and suppliers to make sense of it, and multiple instances of trial-and-error are bound to happen. In a fast-paced ecommerce environment, businesses often can’t afford to wait this long to list products — consumers that may otherwise turn to your store for items are buying from competitors.
Using software solutions means relying on suppliers to input product data accurately every time. If you don’t catch these mistakes, you risk having product content with discrepancies or missing attributes. These problems won’t go unnoticed by shoppers, who may opt for a competitor if they can’t get the information they need about products from your site.
Managed Product Data Service: A More Effective Ecommerce Strategy
Given the constraints of software solutions, you may wonder if there’s a better option for product data management. An alternative that bypasses many of the pitfalls with software solutions is managed services, like those offered at Virtucom Group.
Unlike software solutions, managed product data services involve a team of experienced content specialists who collaborate with suppliers on behalf of retailers to obtain data that meets the retailer’s specifications. Once we retrieve this information, we normalize and cleanse it, providing retailers with content ready to publish on the ecommerce site. What’s more, it requires no IT integration.
The human aspect of managed service differentiates it from software solutions, as your business knows you partner with a team of dedicated specialists that work diligently to meet your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about boosting your ecommerce strategy with managed product data services.