Features of the PIM system for marketplaces

A product information management system, or PIM, is a must-have attribute of any business that works with product catalogs. It applies to those who produce goods (industrial enterprises), establishes contact between the buyer and the manufacturer (suppliers), and presents the goods to a broad audience (offline and online stores). Each business has nuances of working with product content, and they determine the functionality of the PIM system. Marketplaces have perhaps the most nuances. They work with hundreds of suppliers and display many products from different categories on their showcases. Let's look at 4 key features of PIM for this business model.

What is necessary to consider when choosing a PIM for a marketplace?

1. Number of products

A marketplace is a trading platform where many sellers (merchants) sell their products. It would seem that the more sellers, the more profitable for the marketplace, so all efforts should be aimed at attracting them. But it is not so simple. In fact, with an increase in sellers, the assortment also expands. You have to be sure that your system will withstand such a load to perform operations with product content.

Hence, the main requirement for the marketplace PIM is high performance and fault tolerance. Such trading platforms have an endless grocery shelf, so the system must work without interruptions. Its stability should not depend on how many goods pass through it, how often the content is updated, or how many content managers are simultaneously involved.

For example, among the Scallium cases were large-scale projects that included 10 million SKUs! It implies daily updates of about 5 million offers, i.e., proposals of particular merchants. According to Scallium's observations, attracting users to the website depends on the system's speed. What's the connection? As a result of comparing different PIMs with more than 1 million SKUs (product units), the following pattern was found:
data processing without delays instant storefront data update
high speed of website products processing improved user experience
Scallium's PIM operates following this principle. Performance is ensured by an optimal page response rate of 500 milliseconds. In comparison, the user waits 3 seconds and walks away in less powerful PIMs. So, by choosing the suitable PIM, you can improve the user experience and motivate them to take new orders. It is an opportunity to increase the conversion of the showcase by 6 times!

2. The speed of content update

Hundreds of new product cards appear on the marketplace showcase every day, and all of them should have an attractive look. It is not enough to add a product to the system and proceed to the next one. You need to fill the page with different types of content: descriptions, photos, videos, 3D presentations, and reviews. Content managers can do this, but it requires additional costs. In addition, it is unrealistic to enter all goods into the system manually, even having a large team of specialists. However, the PIM system can offer a solution to this problem.

Ideally, the PIM functionality should adapt to the tasks of both content managers and merchants. It means that sellers are delegated all responsibilities for adding products they offer, filling in the corresponding cards, and updating them. Of course, if their actions are controlled, the content is moderated for reliability and compliance with the editorial policy.

By giving merchants access to the catalog, you can speed up content creation 2-3 times: the added products appear in the showcase and are displayed to users automatically. It is convenient and reliable since all operations with goods are monitored by a moderator as well as a category and/or personal manager. It avoids publications of low-quality content, adding duplicates, violations of censorship rules, and other illegal or incorrect actions by merchants.

3. Customization Flexibility

Continuing the topic of quickly adding products, we should note the importance of intelligent PIM tools. First of all, it is master data (MDM) and a smart catalog.

As part of the system, MDM divides products into categories and families, highlights models and attributes, and flexible customization. Master data describes digital passports, i.e., sets of features and characteristics for each product.
What characteristics does MDM deal with:
Consumer: properties that determine the usefulness and value of the product for the buyer.
Logistic: weight, size, container, packaging, etc.
Technical: properties of materials, functional names, symbols (articles), etc.
Multimedia content: photos, videos, 3D models, documents confirming product compliance with standards, etc.
The purpose of MDM is to create master data and keep it up to date and consistent. It is worth noting that MDM can also be a stand-alone system. Then its goal is more global: to manage product data in the purchase and sale channels. Master data is related to the smart catalog.

The catalog got this name because it instantly generates hints based on the entered name/model when working with product characteristics. For a merchant, this is the best assistant in creating product cards for standard models.

How smart tips help when working with characteristics:
adding information to the card, the merchant enters the name of the product, for example, "iPhone 10 r";
the system recognizes all possible names and models and issues a hint: "iPhone XR?";
if the merchant means this model, it can be confirmed by clicking on "Yes";
the smart system automatically finds all the characteristics associated with this model.
What if no such model exists? For example, when the merchant enters the request "Samsung 60 GB", the system will return the answer: "Sorry, there is no such model" and will offer to choose between the possible options "32 GB / 64 GB" or "create a new product."

This tool simplifies the work with both characteristics and analytics, including when setting prices for goods. The system will react to the merchant's actions by hinting at the overestimated cost of the model. All this dramatically simplifies merchants' work and those who check the correctness of the data they enter.

4. Offers' Format

One of the marketplace showcase features is that it does not display the products but offers placed by specific merchants. It can be individual products and bundles, i.e., cards with all the offers you can choose what you need. But for a marketplace with a multi-channel strategy, these standard features are not enough.

Different channels require another content format, sometimes even a different directory structure. Accordingly, the posted content should be displayed differently in each channel. The Scallium PIM system solved this problem by adding a channel option and offer converter: a web showcase, a mobile showcase, a cross-border (if the product is sold through Shopify), etc. Channel converters are special tools vital for significant marketplaces. Usually, they have several channels: partner platforms showcases adapted for web and mobile users, aggregators, advertising platforms, etc.

Moreover, each channel can work with additional distributors and bloggers and perform affiliate sales. By using the same data in transformation channels, marketplaces reach thousands of partner showcases, even for a limited time.

How PIM brings the marketplace closer to success

The world is changing every day, and all changes are instantly reflected in the trading activity and the e-commerce industry in particular. Today it is vital for a marketplace to adapt to new market requirements quickly: to advance in new niches, update the assortment following trends, create convenient conditions for suppliers, and improve functionality for customers.

PIM is a business tool that allows the marketplace to be flexible and scalable. Performance, fault tolerance, merchant access to the catalog, adjustable showcase settings, unique offers... With these functions, there are no restrictions in working with goods. The life of content creators and moderators is simplified, and the digital experience of both buyers and suppliers is improved. Marketplaces can work with any number of merchants and expand their assortment without limits, ensuring that it will attract new customers and positively impact their budget and reputation.

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