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Product Information and Digital Asset Management – An essential initiative for every brand and retailer who wants to sell online

December 2, 2014 No comments
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Product Information Management has taken a new meaning in the ecommerce world. It now goes beyond keeping technical and product information deep inside enterprise software accessible only to a select few

PIMS is now about being flexible, easy to use, and easy to contribute, easy to access. An everyday use system that many users within an organisation can leverage to manage and use the product information and digital assets held by the business. Ideally users with little of no technical knowledge should be able to use and navigate the system with ease. External authorised users and agencies should be also having access to the digital library for use in catalogues, direct marketing, online publishing, social media and ecommerce.

What is PIMS and Digital Asset Management and how is it relevant to retail and ecommerce?

For every product that we stock or sell, we may have information, descriptions, technical specifications, ingredients, photographs, videos, audios, blogs, articles and other digital content.

It is not uncommon for us to have this information and digital assets strewn all over different files and computers, handled by different employees in different departments. There is an opportunity for every retailer and eretailer to better manage these digital assets in a coherent, secure and easy to access form.

Rationale: We invest a lot in creating digital assets like photographs, videos, audios, banners, emailers and written content. We need to manage and maintain these assets, as we would do for any other assets in our business.

While some retailers may have retail systems that also carry product images and descriptions, these may or may not have the following features:

Library Management of all previously take photographs and all photographs taken of the product whether published or not

Product Descriptions that are suited for product packaging, ecommerce, social media and the customer contact centre

History of changes made including who made the change and what change was made

Workflow Management. When content is written by one person, edited by a second and published by a third, there needs to be a workflow management process that allows each party to edit and/or approve the changes and the content

Integration of the product information and digital asset library with the online store. The legacy systems, if an, being used by various retailers may not allow for automatic publishing to the online store. As a result, data and photographs may have to be manually exported and imported in the content management system of the online store

How do Smaller Enterprises (SMEs) go about managing their digital assets and product information in a cost effective and easy way?

Most of the systems out there are geared to larger enterprises, requiring huge time and money investment. This also locks the customer into using a system on a sustained basis, thereby reducing the chances of the customer taking advantage of sometimes better competing systems.

Some ways to manage your content and digital assets

1. Subscribe to a SAAS platform that serves all the key elements of your digital asset management on a SAAS basis on a monthly subscription. For this you may consider platforms like www.filecamp.com

2. Get your custom PIMS developed.

Using an open source like www.akeneo.com or https://www.pimcore.org/en/product/product-information-management, you can get your PIMS developed. This would require a software company or a programmer with the appropriate skills and knowledge to develop this for your business

3. Use the shopping cart CMS

A majority of smaller eretailers may use the back end content management system (CMS) of their shopping cart e.g. Magento. This needs to supplemented by having all your content kept on one drive and managed manually to a large extent

While searching for a PIMS for your business, search online for Digital Asset Management, Digital Library Management and Product Information Management.

Summary

Product Information and Digital Asset Management covers:

Keeping your photographs, videos, audios, product specifications, fact sheets and relevant information in a central place

The ‘Central Place’ can be a highly sophisticated (and expensive) software or can be a Software as a Service (SAAS) provided by a Digital Asset Management (DAM) provider or a system created specifically for your company using one of the several open source platforms

Investing in a Product Information and Digital Asset Management system will help archive and protect your digital assets so that these can be used for multiple purposes including for ecommerce, customer service (Call Centre Support), field sales, in store demos, catalogues, direct marketing and social media

For more information contact the author Ajay Miglani ajay@ndslindia.com
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