Why Time to Market is So Important and How PIM Can Help
‘Time to Market’ is how long it takes a business to take a product idea, develop it and have it available to buy on their eCommerce site. The quicker a business can get its product to market, the more competitive they can be within their industry. Here we will take a look at how effective PIM (Product Information Management) can reduce your time to market.
Why Time to Market is important
Whether you are launching a brand new product, restocking a previous best seller or updating an existing product, getting it to market quickly is crucial to your business’s success. As well as making your business more competitive, getting your products to market faster will also enable you to take advantage of the following:
Reduced stock-holding times
Does your distribution centre often receive products that are not ready to be listed for sale online? The longer they sit there, the more time (and money) is wasted. Speeding up your time to market with more efficient product information management can go a long way in preventing wasted stock-holding time.
Drop shipping is becoming an ever more profitable and popular way of selling. Instead of keeping goods in stock, you simply transfer your customers’ orders and shipment details to a third-party. After that, a manufacturer, wholesale or another retailer ships the goods out to your customer.
It’s a great way to reduce time to market, however, a speedy product data process is paramount, in order for it to run smoothly.
Increased selling days
Reducing your time to market, through improved, streamlined product information management will ultimately give you more time to sell your products. More selling days means increased sales revenues, and you're more likely to gain a significant advantage over competitors in your industry.
Improved marketing operations
Creating launch schedules and having better processes in place will allow your marketing teams to plan more efficiently. This is because of the fact that the availability of required information and assets will be sooner and more predictable. Because of better quality data being available sooner and on a more predicable schedule, they'll have everything they need to create a killer marketing plan for your products.
A great way to gain your customers’ loyalty is to have the newest product first on your eCommerce site. Be one step ahead of your competitors. Whether it’s a big brand release, with crucial early tech adopters to capture, or the latest fashion trend, being ahead of others in the market will help you gain new customers. And their experience this time will affect more than just this first sale. Keep them happy, gain their trust and they’ll come back to you time and time again. They will know you’ll be the first to meet their needs.
What affects your time to market?
There are a number of factors that can affect how quickly you can get your products to market. Starting with issues in the development stages, to logistical operations, such as delivery dates. The creation, availability and distribution of information related to your products can also greatly impact your time to market. Here we’ve outlined some of the potential hold-ups at each stage:
Sourcing product data
When getting data for a product, a number of questions will arise:
- Where is the data coming from?
- What format is it coming in?
- Can your business process that data easily?
- Does it need converting?
- How will the data map onto the structure for storing and processing it internally?
Sourcing product data can be simplified using a PIM platform like Pimberly to automate all processes related to data collection, processing and distribution. Creating workflows will allow you to customise and automate any information you would usually process manually, thus saving time, while also enriching and standardising for more accurate product data.
The optimisation process
Optimising data for your eCommerce site can be a lengthy process. Therefore it is a key area to address in improving time to market. It involves gathering all product data (including digital assets like images) and presenting it in a way that is useful to customers viewing your eCommerce site. Product information must be accurate, detailed and relevant. There are several parts of the process to consider including:
- Product onboarding – Creating technical details (size, weights, dimensions, etc.), product photography, copywriting for product descriptions, translations for sites in other languages, search engine optimisation for greater visibility
- Digital asset management – Processing and preparing digital assets can be complex but is essential to improving productivity for processes like copy-writing, marketing and SEO
- Marketing optimisation – Writing descriptions, optimising content for search engines, performing quality checks, adding extra assets for A/B testing on site
- Data quality and standardisation – these elements are crucial for enabling eCommerce sites to allow intuitive filter and search features, helping customers find exactly what they are looking for.
- Category decisions and checks – Products needs to be in the most relevant categories in order to offer a better eCommerce experience for customers
Visibility and Control over your Product Data
It is crucial that you know how far along your product data is in the optimisation process. PIM software will help you to gain a clear picture of completeness. You'll know which areas you still need to work on, in order to move things forward. This proactive approach to PIM will prevent hold-ups and bottlenecks, ensuring no wasted time or work.
Distribution of data to sales channels
Once you've created and formatted product information, it then has to be published to your various sales channels. Again, this can create a number of problems and hold-ups, therefore increasing the time to market. You need to consider:
- How product information is being published on your eCommerce site
- Differentiating and formatting your data for different selling platforms like online, mobile, in-store
- How data is distributed to sales reps (both field sales and in-store)
- Sharing data to other retailers and across other distribution channels
- How you will update published product information (should changes occur)
The problem here is that businesses often have different people, teams and agencies all working manually with this information. If they’re not quickly communicating updates, they won’t be on the same page, resulting in hold-ups, duplicate work and crucial time wasted. The process is also continually impacted by changes to launch dates, stock receiving dates and the availability of samples. You must factor all of this into workloads and prioritised within schedules.
Efficient Product Information Management is the key
Without a clear view of the entire product information journey, it is very hard to determine if teams are making progress. Just imagine trying to manage the whole process in spreadsheets. It would be difficult to see what each team was working on. This can result in mistakes and duplication of work. Your teams need a clear path to follow, and an understanding of what work needs to be done in order to ensure product information is ready to distribute to all your channels.
Those operate across multiple channels also need to recognise the specific data needs of each individual sales channel and identify the tasks they need to perform in order to adhere to them.
This is where our intelligent PIM platform will greatly benefit your business. By automating your processes for increased efficiency, Pimberly will, in turn, help you speed up your time to market.
Reduce your time to market with Pimberly
Cut the time it takes to get your new products to market by as much as half using Pimberly. Benefit from faster product onboarding, the ability to adapt to seasonal changes and the growing needs of your customers and the chance to expand your market reach. Like the sound of what we offer? Get in touch today to find out more about how Pimberly will help you reduce your time to market.