An overabundance of information can overwhelm employees and portal users alike. Integrating a Product Information Management system (PIM) with your Customer Management System (CMS) allows you to make the most efficient use of both platforms, decrease the burden of product information management, and create a positive buying experience.
This article discusses tools that can help you meet these goals. It outlines how they can be employed to efficiently manage information and enhance the experience of customers who search information on your portal.
What’s the Difference? PIM vs. CMS
A standard combination of tools used for product data presentation is a PIM and an eCommerce platform. Although the eCommerce platform focuses on the efficient handling of the purchase process, it lacks the ability to build engagement among page visitors. To engage the user in a unique way and manage user experience when involvement grows, we should consider adding a CMS to the mix.
By combining PIM and CMS, companies may obtain relevant data structures and lift out data for internal use (or hand them over to clients).
A PIM constitutes the main source of information on a company’s product range. Owing to the PIM, product data can be structured for easy management and product catalogue development. It should be borne in mind, though, that a PIM is "a system for other systems". In other words, it conveys information to the company’s tools, not to the end user.
A CMS, although it allows us to supply information to other systems, is primarily designed to deliver content to the end user. With a CMS, you can create a complex portal offering a wide range of information types targeted at various audience segments. It’s designed to showcase customer information and manage website content. However, in principle, it does not possess advanced product information editing capabilities.
Looking at these two systems, the potential for great synergy can clearly be noted. These platforms are mutually complementary and can generate measurable benefits. Let’s discuss the advantages of a CMS-PIM integration and the ways it can enhance the sales process.
Examples of PIM-CMS Synergy
1) Creating a strong information hub
Due to their very distinct nature, both systems are perfectly complementary. Using PIM data, you can have the widest possible scope of product information delivered to the customer. Next, after the data have been sent to the CMS, selected information can easily be presented via your choice of product pages, entire catalogues, or even by setting up a product comparison engine on the website.
A sample product website developed on e-point’s CMS
This combination allows you to create a powerful information hub that facilitates presentation, including high-precision data, and drives faster product launches.
2) Using PIM to provide data and CMS to create history
The nature of the PIM does not allow us to create product narratives the way we can with any CMS. A well-developed CMS portal can guide the customer throughout the entire purchasing process, incrementally adding the relevant information but never overwhelming with too much detail. This is achieved with the advanced website edition options included in a CMS visual builder. By using a CMS, we can design a multichannel experience; here, PIM serves as the ideal tool for reaching multiple audiences with product information.
An edition of a page with a product catalogue in e-point’s CMS
PIMs have their own CMS systems, yet their website editing capacity is limited. Layouts are usually predefined, which may work for simple sites. More complex portals, however, may struggle with GUI consistency problems, which automatically leads to customer experience issues.
Enriching the Customer Experience with PIM + CMS
1) Decrease the risk of customers going to competitors
Comparing product information online is a standard procedure; customers engage in an Internet search before they make a purchase or even visit a store. Any portal that wants to successfully sell to interested customers must have good product data. This increases the likelihood the customer will find all their desired product information, which reduces the risk of them visiting a competitor’s site (and possibly choosing the competitor’s product).
Thanks to PIM and CMS integration, product data can be easily downloaded while websites are being developed, which facilitates the creation of information-rich portals. Such portals encourage customer purchasing decisions.
2) Simplify the customer journey
Although a large product portfolio may help build a wide customer base, it can also be a source of clients’ problems. Lots of information and a complex customer journey can cause customer disorientation. There are various ways of simplifying the client journey; an example can be found our article on simplifying the customer journey while dealing with a large product portfolio.
Integrating your CMS with PIM provides more flexibility in operating product data. Thanks to that, key information may be placed on fewer pages, thus significantly shortening the customer journey to the product. Integration is also useful while developing websites for A/B tests. Fast data downloads allow for easier analysis of which information is the most relevant to customers; this knowledge, in turn, boosts conversion.
Moreover, an integration of two content management platforms is an opportunity for aggregating all relevant information in one place. Consequently, the customer does not have to make the extra effort of searching information in two separate sites and PDF catalogues. Instead, they can obtain all they need after a website search.
Reducing Time-to-Market Using PIM-CMS Synergy
1) Unburdening the marketing team
Creating product pages directly in a CMS system without automatically downloading PIM information can be burdensome for the marketing department. In this situation, information needs to be meticulously copied from one system to another; this extends the product presentation time to the user. Also, the data must be manually updated across all the places where marketers have entered product information.
Automatic information downloads from PIM to CMS may considerably speed up the process of developing product pages. This integration offers an opportunity of creating just one product page layout which, based on the product code, will transfer PIM information to the CMS’ visual components. One template may be used for thousands of product pages, significantly speeding up marketing efforts.
If, on the other hand, a product family should require it, a CMS enables us to create a dedicated template highlighting the nature and features of a given product group; such a template can be designed in about fifteen minutes. Each template can later be quickly edited, which enables a dynamically response to changing market circumstances.
2) Supporting data handling for multiple markets – and faster growth
Owing to its ability to easily launch and adapt portals, a CMS facilitates fast PIM product data publication in new countries and markets. The editor can publish product data in multiple languages, which greatly boosts sales potential in new markets. The process of downloading multilingual data is also significantly accelerated.
Moreover, the risk of errors while publishing product information is diminished. Automating the process of data downloads provides certainty that the data has been transferred to the CMS quickly, safely, and without customer-misleading errors.
These factors will stimulate the growth of your business and speed up product launches.
If you would like to see an example of an integration between PIMCore and e-point's CMS in practice, contact us for a presentation. We will demonstrate how you can ensure a better purchasing experience and how we can help you develop a portal to drive sales.