What are product data?
Product data refers to any information related to products, also known as product master data. This can include morphological information that pertains to the shape of a product, such as length, width, height, depth, diameter. Relevant information includes product numbers and SKUs or IDs, such as EAN codes or registration numbers in European databases like EPREL, as well as bill of materials, packaging quantities, fill quantities, shelf life, safety and availability data, or stock levels. Product data can also encompass details on colors, materials, surfaces, and, depending on the product, physical properties like viscosity, density, load-bearing capacity, conductivity, freezing point, rotational speeds, acceleration, and many more. Important product information also includes certifications, certificates, test reports, product data sheets, user manuals, safety data sheets, various text variations along with translations, and more.
Customers, especially in the B2B sector, often desire individually negotiated prices and detailed logistics data. Some of these product data are stored in PIM systems, Product Information Management systems. If they involve files, documents, images, or drawings, they are typically stored in DAM systems, Digital Asset Management systems. Prices, availability, and logistics data are usually managed in ERPs.
How are product data managed?
Fundamentally, product data is centrally managed and disseminated in PIM systems like Akeneo. Product Information Management serves as the hub for product data in organizations, acting as the central product data management system. This applies whether you are a manufacturer or a retailer. All product master data converges in the PIM, ready for further distribution, whether it's for producing catalogs with printed product data, integrating product data into websites, generating product data sheets, or sharing them with customers. PIM systems also ensure that product-related assets of any kind can be seamlessly linked and correlated for publishing through the seamless integration with DAM systems.
Flow data, on the other hand, are managed by ERP systems. In ERP systems, you can check available stocks, place orders, receive order confirmations, query delivery times, and receive invoices, among other tasks.
What role do product data play in e-commerce?
In principle, the connection is straightforward: in e-commerce, products are sold, and this process does not work without product data. Whether it's B2C, B2B, or D2C, product data is needed, and the higher the quality of product data for a product, the easier it is to sell the product. Visual elements like photos in various forms, 360-degree spins, videos, and other visualizations such as augmented reality play a significant role. These are the key components of Product Experience Management (PXM), where the goal is to provide customers with the most positive product experience possible. In addition to these mostly visual impressions from assets originating from a DAM, factual product details are also relevant. Questions like the color of the product, its material, surface texture, energy consumption, and other aspects are essential. Customer reviews and ratings for a specific product are also valuable.
Product data makes goods discoverable in a webshop. When a customer enters "red short dress" into a search bar, the product can only be found quickly if the relevant product information is associated with it. It's not helpful if the product description contains "bordeaux," "gown," and "mini." The specific terms must match. Product data is crucial not only to fulfill the informational needs of e-commerce shoppers but also for the discoverability of products. Depending on where customers are in their customer journey, product data serves different functions. Initially, they must ensure product discoverability on websites and apps, then they need to inform, and ultimately, they need to persuade.