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Our NRF 2018 Takeaway: Unified Commerce Begins with Next-Generation PIM

By Abnesh Raina

There’s a good reason that NRF 2018 is nicknamed “Retail’s Big Show”: more than any other retail event, NRF sets retailers’ agenda for the year, from strategic priorities to the nitty-gritty of technology implementations. Retailers attend NRF with very specific agendas in mind as they meet with technology vendors, and that was certainly the case this year for PlumSlice.

In nearly all our meetings with retailers, unified commerce emerged as a key theme. And while unified commerce has typically focused on integrating physical and digital channels, there’s much more to it than that. Unified commerce really means having a single view of the customer and a single view of the product, no matter what channels you sell on (bricks or clicks). Unified commerce includes both internal channels as well as Amazon and other third-party marketplaces, too.

As retailers peel back the layers on their unified commerce strategies, they’re taking a close look at all the investments they have made in modern forecasting, supply chain, and replenishment systems, and they’re realizing they have a problem.

Avoid the GIGO syndrome in unified commerce with PIM

All the emerging predictive analytics systems depend on product attributes, but retailers have no good way of making sure the data is clean and well managed, unless they invest in next-generation PIM. Remember the “Garbage In, Garbage Out” (GIGO) acronym? Unless retailers can feed clean, accurate product information into their unified commerce channels, all they’re doing is replicating incomplete or inaccurate data across multiple channels at scale.

Forward-thinking retailers realize that PIM is a priority for unified commerce. They know they must embrace next-generation PIM to syndicate content to internal and external systems, ensuring that they feed clean data and attributes into all these systems so they can derive the maximum ROI. And while this is essential for a unified commerce strategy, retailers also realize all the immediate ROI benefits that PIM delivers to their ecommerce systems, such as reducing complexity and enabling syndication. Let’s take a closer look at two of those benefits.

Reduce complexity with PIM

Retailing today is extraordinarily complex, from the number of SKUs to item onboarding, complex supplier relationships, high SKU turnover, data issues and many more challenges. PlumSlice helps handle this complexity by easily configuring multiple workflows that can operate in serial or parallel at different stages within each workflow, with data governance and validation rules that the retailer controls. The software has a dynamic data model, which means you can easily add new fields, attributes and values, all through point-and-click configuration through the user interface. We simplify the complexity of product information management, to ensure that retailers get the right product, and the most accurate information, in front of the consumer every time – driving sales and profitability.

Enable seamless syndication

PlumSlice also automates the process of syndication, allowing retailers to publish product content across a variety of external systems, including their own e-commerce site, microsites, 3rd party marketplaces, even feeding information to Google so the right products appear in Google’s Shopping Search. For retailers to thrive, they must make their products available across a variety of digital channels and be able to start selling on new channels rapidly. PlumSlice enables them to do that, and they can also easily experiment by setting up interfaces to new sites directly through the software’s interface.

If unified commerce is a strategic priority for 2018, remember that any successful strategy must include next generation PIM – in fact, we believe that unified commerce begins with PIM. The good news is, next-generation PIM will inevitably bring additional benefits to your organization as well.