As an online retailer, you’re probably aware of the challenges of updating and organizing your product information. Given the complexity of product details, online catalogs, and fragmentation of data across sales channels, things can get unwieldy quickly. You may find that your customers are frustrated by the inaccurate or outdated information and decide they can’t trust you. Fortunately, you can always use product content management (PCM) to control and streamline all of your product information. With this solution, you can enrich, manage, consolidate, and distribute product content quickly and easily.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at product content management, including how it works, the advantages of using PCM, how it differs from other solutions, and tips to implement it in your business.
What Is Product Content Management?
Product Content Management, or PCM, is a solution for simplifying the creation, organization, publication, and distribution of product information. You can use it to control all product data across every sales channel from a single location. PCM consolidates data and makes it easier for users to access information fast. Aside from managing images, videos, and brochure content, PCM can help you organize attributes related to supplier information, logos, product and stock data, and any associated materials for marketing purposes.
Your product content solution will simplify the complex and time-consuming tasks of organizing information related to your products. You can even use PCM to categorize, classify, and manage your online catalog. The right solution will help ensure a positive workflow from the initial manufacturing and logistics of a product right the way through to its sale.
Benefits of Product Content Management
There are few things more valuable than good organization when you’re managing a scaling business. Product content management delivers savings in time and money while ensuring you have the information you need to deliver a stellar customer experience. Your product content management tool can create consistency in your branding, make it easier to deliver a compelling customer experience, and ensure you have full control over your product feed.
Here are the key benefits of using PCM:
- Control: A PCM is a powerful solution for combining and controlling company product information. This ensures you can quickly and easily update web content as changes occur.
- Scalability: Another advantage of PCM is the ability to easily grow your business by adding new products with accurate, up-to-date information to your store.
- Loyalty: Because you offer your customers better resources and more consistent content, it drives a better overall experience, as well as a sense of familiarity with your brand.
- Time optimization: PCM software reduces the amount of time your employees and content creators need to dedicate towards each task. With a comprehensive content environment, you can get projects done faster.
- Fewer errors: Excel is great for many things, but it’s also linked to manual processes that increase the risk of errors. Replacing it with a central PCM database ensures that all information is correctly updated for all products on each channel.
- Reduced costs: Linked to the time savings benefit, easier management of content also optimizes working performance, reducing costs, and improving earning potential.
- Coherence: The product content writing system you use helps to convey a consistent identity and brand image. Having a PCM ensures that your identity and persona are fully aligned across all crucial environments.
Key Features of Product Content Management
So, what should a product content management solution contain?
The exact features you need for successful product content management will depend on your business. As the industry of PCM solutions grows more competitive, it’s becoming increasingly common to see the rapid delivery of new product updates and enhancements.
Typically, most PCM product content management systems include:
Product data management
PCM technology offers data management features that help maintain the company’s complete product catalog and ensure the consistency of the brand identity and strategy. PCM solutions also help you to create a single catalog of items from multiple manufacturers and suppliers.
Multichannel data alignment
When companies deal with an influx of data from different channels, it’s often difficult to maintain data accuracy and cleanliness. PCM solutions make it easier to track everything from collections to relationships between different types of information in a product portfolio.
A leading PCM solution will be equipped to handle and organize product information from one end of the product lifecycle to the other. With real-time visibility, you can track where products are in the existing lifecycle and push items through different marketing channels. You can even determine when products may need sunsetting or when the best times would be to implement sales and offers.
PCM solutions make it easy to grow your business and track your product content as the venture grows. The PCM system should scale up according to your needs, avoiding the mess and confusion that often occurs when the products in a business rise above a certain level.
Similar to the content management system or “CMS” that companies use for publishing content on the web, a product content management system can publish products to various marketing channels. You could manage aspects of your product within the site-building tools available on the market today, but these are often limited in scale and data access. PCM systems provide a seamless way to take your sales to the next level and implement new sales strategies.
Aside from helping companies track processes, publish product information to various channels, and assess the product life cycle, leading software solutions can also take certain responsibilities off your plate. Automation systems can ensure that all tasks are aligned within the workforce and automatically assigned to the right employees, including resellers and creative agencies.
Shopping for a PCM offering will be a personalized experience for each business.
How PCM Differs from PIM?
One of the more complicated parts of understanding Product Content Management is understanding how it differs from similar solutions. Enterprise content management products come in a range of flavors and sizes, designed to address different needs. You may have heard the term “Product Content Management” used alongside terms like Product Information Management, which seems similar. In reality, they’re two different systems with different capabilities and objectives.
Product Content Management is essentially the basic foundation of product content organization. PCM can collect and manage information for business leaders about their products, but it doesn’t offer the same depth of features as you can get from things like PIM solutions that cover a wider range of documents.
Product Information Management is a software solution that allows companies to store brand, supplier, and business information throughout the entire sales journey. Aside from collecting and managing product data, PIM tools also offer the ability to improve product information, distribute data through various channels, and drive better outcomes via automation.
PCM solutions are also frequently associated with “PXM” technology, which involves looking at the entire product and brand experience created by a specific company.
Tips to Implement Product Content Management
When set up correctly, PCM aids the creation of seamless customer experiences in a range of ways, from updating product content quickly to enabling information consistency across channels. Here are some tips to help you with its implementation.
1. Compile all product information sources
The first step to implementing PCM is to bring all the sources of product materials and information under control. You might have catalogs, listings, product descriptions, PDFs, videos, and other digital assets – try to compile and organize them in the simplest manner possible, so that you can easily feed all that data into a central repository without causing chaos.
2. Understand your product
What is the lifecycle of your products from design to manufacturing to official launch? Your business goals should define what you intend to achieve from the PCM implementation. A good idea is to map out all product stages and how you want to use the solution at each stage: data updating, profiling, cleansing, migration, etc.
3. Involve stakeholders
From suppliers to virtual assistants, everyone should be aware from the outset of their role in the PCM implementation process. Since product content management is responsible for organizing disparate data sources, the stakeholders of product information need to be in sync and clear about what they contribute to the PCM system. Consider scheduling time for educating stakeholders on how to use PCM after you’ve invested in a solution.
4. Create a PCM strategy
A PCM strategy involves setting smart and measurable goals and linking them to specific dates. Make it clear which channels and products the PCM will influence. Do you want a simultaneous content update on your ecommerce site and social media channels? Have you already synced visual assets and just want a tool to enrich our product descriptions? Create a roadmap for accomplishing these tasks and include people, data, and processes in your product content strategy. Only then will you be able to implement the solution effectively.
5. Select the Right PCM Solution
There are several PCM solutions on the market – so which is best for your company? Well, that depends on your business goals, size, budget, and various other factors. Ideally, you’ll want a product content management system that offers a centralized database, makes it easy to update and tweak information, and gives alerts when issues arise. Beyond these core features, the PCM should be capable of accommodating flexible data elements as your business needs, product complexity, and audience preferences change.
Best PCM Solutions for Enriching Product Information
If you’re looking to streamline the enrichment, collection, organization, and distribution of product content, you have to start using PCM software. Here are some options:
Sitecore Content Hub unifies content production, planning, management and collaboration in a single, integrated solution. You get a 360° view of your content repository (digital assets, product data, media, and other content) that makes it easy to keep control of your product information. The solution also enables the automation of layout creation to generate complicated product content. Use Content Hub to easily publish content to multiple channels and get a detailed overview of how product assets are used across ecommerce, social media, mobile apps, and more.
SuiteCommerce makes it easy to consolidate and manage both disparate and organized product data across all channels from a central database. You can use it to get a handle on product attributes, including marketing content, languages, geography, promotion eligibility, and categorization in a streamlined workflow. The tool also enables you to coordinate with supply-side stakeholders to efficiently maintain up-to-date product content, pricing, inventory, and promotions.
3. Synergy CMS
Synergy CMS allows you to dynamically update product content across sales channels, ensuring it’s always current. Also, it gives vendors the ability to manage and share digital product content, including videos, product manual, spec sheets, and other attributes. Moreover, it has an option for adding content to your custom or private label products – you can use it in conjunction with your CMS editor.
As your inventory grows, it can be challenging to catalog all the information for each product. Fortunately, PCM exists to help you create repeatable, efficient processes to drive complete, accurate, and impactful product content to every channel. You can even use it in conjunction with product content writing services to get more products out, fast. By making rapid updates to product information, the solution can indirectly boost discoverability, search traffic, and revenue.