Whether you’re a distributor, wholesaler, or manufacturer, you rely on your master catalog of product data. It’s your lifeline. It’s how you communicate and work with your partners, both resellers and retailers.
But do you currently manage your master catalog the best that you can? Is your data quality where you want it to be?
It’s probably not. You know you need to improve it. In this post, we’ll discuss how a Product Information Management (PIM) system can significantly improve your master catalog and help you seize new selling opportunities.
In the early 2000s, B2B sellers’ biggest (and most costly) hassle was transferring their print catalogs into electronic data. Today, your problem is managing and maintaining all of that electronic data.
As your form new relationships with partners and expand to sell to new sales channels, your web of product data has become messy. You might have extensive spreadsheets spread throughout the company. Or, have one “silo” system in place that is poorly integrated with all your needed channels.
No matter how you’re doing it now, the quality of your data is suffering. Your process of updating and sharing are slow. All of this affects your ability to do business well, and it isn’t cost effective.
That’s why you need a Product Information Management (PIM) solution. You’re probably familiar with the term, but maybe think it’s only necessary for B2C. Why it certainly does help with B2C, there are PIM solutions robust enough to handle the complexities of B2B.
A PIM application takes all of your product data from your various locations (ERP, POS, Excel, online sales channels, other catalogs) and centralizes it into one location where you can edit and manage all of it at once. You can then create separate buyers catalogs or publish sets of product information to your various sales channels, all from one master catalog.
A PIM application then becomes the foundation of your business. Your lifeline (or master catalog) is then easily able to push out clean, accurate data to wherever you need it to go.
Below, we’ll go through three main benefits of using a PIM application and their impact on your B2B business.
Improve Relationships with Other B2B Companies
No matter your place in the supply chain as a manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler, you need to strengthen your brand image. It determines whether or not someone decides to buy from you or from your competitor. Your brand is a composite of the products you sell and how easy you are to work with.
A big part of building your brand is your master catalog. Your master catalog represents the products that you sell. How flexible you are in sharing your catalog defines how easy you are to work with.
In this digital age, companies can easily research and compare suppliers and distributors. Those companies with the highest quality data and are the easiest to work with are going to procure the most relationships. They’re going to have the most success.
It’s critical that you’re utilizing the best solution for your product data. A centralized Product Information Management (PIM) application helps B2B sellers build a flexible structure for their product information.
You can import data from your backend systems like an ERP or other catalogs. Then edit, maintain, and create new buyer catalogs all from one place. This centralized location can also easily be accessed by anyone who needs to work with your product data.
You’ll be able to manage your product data quality. Only send out your very best. You’ll speed up your processes through a PIM’s automation. You’ll be so easy to work with that other companies will want to work exclusively with you.
Retailers are always looking for ways to expand their product line. The best way for them to do that is establishing relationships with distributors, wholesalers, and even sometimes manufacturers. This means that they’re going to need to leverage your product data from your master catalog.
Retailers present their product information differently for consumers than a B2B seller would for business customers. They rely on rich product descriptions that attract and inform a consumer. Their descriptions have to stand out in competitive market spaces and win over consumers with many different options.
If your data’s quality isn’t up to snub, retailers aren’t going to want to work with you. They don’t want to have to make tons of changes and additions to your product data to make it market ready for themselves. It’s too time-consuming and risky. They’re going to choose the vendor with the best quality product data.
A PIM application makes it possible for you to ensure you’re handing over high quality data. You’ll have processes in place to make sure you don’t miss glaring errors. You’ll also be able to create templates for your different retailers to speed up the process.
Retailers are told that poor product data from suppliers is just something that they’re going to have to deal with. When yours isn’t, you’re going to stand out. It’s an opportunity you’re not going to want to miss out on.
Sell Directly to Consumers
You already know the benefits if you could sell your products directly to consumers. But, you also recognize that doing so is harder. You know how hard retailers work to provide rich product descriptions to meet high consumer expectations.
You’re either settling to just be a supplier for retailers. Or, you could be trying to sell directly on your site without success. Your lackluster product descriptions won’t be noticed by consumers quickly browsing through a sea of similar products.
What’s holding you back? It’s your ability to transform your product data into rich product information that is market ready. With the systems you have in place now, you don’t have that capability to compete directly with other retailers.
But, you’re just itching to ramp up your website for consumers or to list on marketplaces like Amazon or eBay.
You need a PIM application to sell successfully to consumers directly. A PIM application allows you take your product data from your ERP system and add or transform it into consumer-facing product information. With capabilities like bulk editing, concatenating, and expression building, creating rich product descriptions becomes easy and feasible for you.
You already know the pay-off of selling directly to consumers and a PIM solution will help make that possible.
What to Do Next: Start Researching PIM Applications
As a manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor, your master catalog is your lifeline. It’s how you communicate with other businesses to form new relationships and expand to new sales channel. Today, your hassle is managing your master catalog and maintaining high quality product data.
A PIM application helps you edit, manage, and create separate buyer catalogs all from one master catalog maintained in a centralized location. Not only can you improve your B2B selling, but you can also successfully sell directly to the consumer.
Interested in learning more about a PIM’s capabilities and benefits? Check out nChannel’s Product Information Management (PIM) solution for manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.