March 14, 2019
Most technology decisions are born out of necessity, but the systems are not. We build systems on considerations of scaling, boundaries of the product function, ability to interact with other systems, architecture, resilience, reliability and consistent performance. A product information management (PIM) system is the example of one such specialized system. As commerce has moved away from the world of brick and mortars, the BOM of a store morphed into catalogs. Sears dominated the category of catalog-based selling category, and singlehandedly showed the world the power of remote selling. The key to Sears success in commerce was the ability to create, design and distribute a catalog of your products. Access and ease in use naturally lead to the expansion of a business.
In the world of eCommerce, the catalog is again a critical pillar. And the need for a system that creates product information, maintains the product and tracks a product throughout its lifecycle is inevitable. An eCommerce system, in particular, may utilize a partial catalog. Content which includes a description, copy, pictures, videos, price, and other aspect contribute towards a delightful buying experience for your customer. However, your catalog and product information will face various demands by other systems that are entirely different from that of your internal site. Let us look at some of the other systems at play and their expectations of your online catalog.
An order management system (OMS) needs a full catalog of products that comes through a web-based commerce system, Retail POS, and any other sales systems. The OMS needs to be in sync with the catalog in order for the purchase to be fulfilled. The pricing details, including the SKU level info, should also be in place. A PIM system should be the sole supplier of data to both the OMS and the web commerce systems. This will keep them in sync, so an order that gets into the OMS can be validated along the existing catalog. The typical expectations for a PIM system would be:
Affiliate channels usually augment eCommerce sales through their power of distribution. Given that these are external systems there are a few definite considerations that a PIM system should cater to in order to create a consistent commerce buying experience across affiliate channels. These considerations are:
Marketing channels are very similar to affiliate channels in that they’re external facing and feed accuracy is very important. But, each type of channel within the marketing channel has its own nuances and the considerations of the PIM feed should be in that context. The list of nuances and expectations, while not comprehensive are as follows:
eCommerce & CMS are the mainstays and primary channels of distribution and orders for an online and retail operator. The details are many but here are the main items to be aware of when making a PIM decision:
While the above considerations mentioned are very system specific they miss covering the business model side needs. In a typical B2C eCommerce model, the requirements from a PIM are quite detailed but for B2B remains open. If the business model was B2B there would be a few additional aspects that are important for a PIM to fulfill and these would be the following:
Deciding if a PIM is right for your eCommerce business model is just one component of a much larger conversation regarding your eCommerce story. The experts at Object Edge partner with and advise enterprise companies about these and other decisions that produce successful digital transformation. Schedule a time to talk with us by clicking here.
About the Author: Rohit (Roy) Nallapeta heads pre-sales consulting for Object Edge. Previously he has held various positions as a product manager, delivery lead and business analyst at Object Edge. His experience spans retail, banking, healthcare, and eCommerce areas. He contributes to this blog on subjects of eCommerce, retail and technology trends.
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The Oracle 19A release is significant for the commerce enthusiasts following Oracle Cloud Commerce. Some sought after features and admin related changes are included. Check out this highlight reel of new features and functions.