While shopping online has been around for a while, the dynamics of e-commerce are changing. After all, one in four people across the globe now make purchases online — and this number is only growing.
According to statista, “In 2021, retail e-commerce sales amounted to approximately 4.9 trillion US dollars worldwide. This figure is forecast to grow by 50% over the next four years, reaching about 7.4 trillion dollars by 2025.” While this kind of rapid growth is exciting, it brings with it some challenges, too. It demands that companies scale along every part of the value chain, and marketing is no exception.
So how can marketers keep pace with these business trends? By relying on the same thing that their customers do: technology. Shoppers want to move fast with minimal friction along their buying journey. That’s where digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) software comes in.
Let’s explore how DAM and PIM technology are helping e-commerce teams move faster to meet consumer needs.
What is PIM?
Product information management (PIM) is the process of collecting, managing, and distributing all of the information needed to market and sell products. A PIM solution is designed to collect this information and make it easily accessible and searchable. Centralizing this content helps teams keep product information consistent across channels — a particularly important endeavor in an omnichannel world.
What is DAM?
Digital asset management (DAM) is the practice of administering, categorizing, and securing digital media files. A DAM solution enables teams to centralize and automate their DAM efforts by keeping content organized, searchable, and ready for use.
PIM and DAM integration
PIM and DAM platforms are both important pieces of marketing technology (martech) that help e-commerce teams organize, manage, and distribute product content. When combined, these tools give teams a 360-degree view of their product information and data to speed up time to market, make content distribution easier, and promote consistency across channels. While they complement each other, both solutions offer unique functionality and play a specific role in e-commerce efforts.
Teams rely on their DAM platform to house and manage product and brand assets like photos, videos, PDFs, marketing materials, and more. While a PIM solution is used to centralize product information like marketing copy, product attributes, and product data. And through system integrations, content can feed into these tools. For example, a PIM platform often pulls in information from an enterprise resource planning (ERP) and/or a product lifecycle management (PLM) solution.
Integrating DAM and PIM
While DAM and PIM systems store different types of content, when the two systems are connected it’s possible to build a comprehensive view of all product content. In addition, integrating a DAM and PIM technology eliminates the need to manually transfer data from one tool to another — giving teams more control over brand consistency and product accuracy, as well as greater productivity.
Integrating a DAM solution with other tools — not just PIM — helps organizations maximize the value of technology investments. And understanding how to connect solutions in your digital ecosystem can extend opportunities for trackable data, streamline workflows, and increase content security.
Case study: McCormick's success with combing DAM and PIM
An integrated DAM and PIM solution sounds great in theory, but what does it look like in practice? Let’s take a look at how McCormick, a global leader in the food manufacturing industry, leverages DAM and PIM tools to simplify workflows across their organization.
With over 14,000 employees and numerous brands around the world, McCormick manages products across websites, online retailers, digital ads, social media, in-store displays, and more. It takes a lot of coordination to bring their products to life across these channels — and that’s where their DAM and PIM platforms come in.
“Efforts across marketing, creative, and e-commerce teams need to come together to ensure the target audience can easily find the product, picture what life is with it, and have confidence it’s going to live up to expectations,” said Leah Carlson, Global Content Operations Senior Manager at McCormick. Leah and the McCormick team decided the solution was to add PIM capabilities to their DAM platform, and rebrand the system as “DAM for products.”
It started with DAM
Before McCormick had a DAM system, they had siloed tools for content storage. It was difficult to locate the current version of files, which hindered collaboration and their ability to present a unified brand experience.
They implemented Widen in 2017 and it quickly became the central repository for all of their brand and marketing content. “It’s allowed us to achieve efficiencies across content workflows because everyone knows where to find approved content and can access it on their own,” Leah shared.
Next, came PIM
While the DAM system housed product images and videos, McCormick also needed a platform to house the product information that is syndicated to e-commerce channels. So around the same time they implemented Widen, they also implemented Salsify to store product specifications, marketing copy, and other product data — and then integrated the two systems to automate their content supply chain.
DAM for Products
But as the velocity of McCormick’s content workflows increased to keep pace with e-commerce demands, they realized there was still room for improvement in their DAM and PIM strategy. They wanted to create a central source of truth for all product content and information in one system — and Entries, Widen’s PIM application, was the solution.
With Entries, McCormick is able to build a 360-degree view of all of their product content — from packaging and recipe imagery to ingredients and marketing copy — in Widen. And they use Salsify to syndicate the product information needed for the digital shelf.
“We decided to implement Entries to help us build a comprehensive, aggregated view of all of that content for each product,” Leah shared. And in doing so, they repositioned Widen as their DAM for products, so all of their content creators and consumers know they can find all the product content they need, in one platform.
Other benefits of scaling DAM to keep pace with growth
- Enhanced collaboration across content operations. With employees around the globe, McCormick contends with distributed teams and time zone constraints as part of their daily workflows. Having a single, centrally-governed repository keeps content safe and available for all stakeholders whenever and wherever they need it.
- Unified brand experiences. “Product content is used everywhere — throughout our customer journey,” Leah explained. “And at every touchpoint we need to have relevant, accurate, and consistent content to build an engaging customer experience that drives our sales.” With DAM for products, content creators throughout McCormick know that the assets in Widen can be used to build unified, cohesive, and effective customer experiences.
- Increased content use to drive ROI. With Widen as their central source of truth, McCormick expands the visibility of their content — allowing them to maximize the value of their assets through greater use. “We see double the return on investment in Widen each year in the savings we get by repurposing content across our global regions,” Leah shared.
Use PIM and DAM to grow your online CPG sales
While consumer spending is up 1.7% in 2022, spending on goods remains volatile — indicating that it’s going to continue to be harder for e-commerce teams to secure their piece of the market. To retain current customers while attracting new ones, organizations need to deliver consistent, informative, trust-worthy digital experiences. Streamlining your e-commerce efforts with DAM and PIM tools not only impacts internal workflows, but also helps deliver the consistent experiences that consumers expect.
To capture your share of the market, you need an effective way to manage your product information at scale and deliver it alongside high-quality content. By adopting an integrated DAM and PIM strategy like McCormick’s, you can establish a technical foundation to streamline your e-commerce experience and grow your online consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales.
Want to learn more about the benefits of integrating a DAM and PIM system? Read the full McCormick case study or today!
Note: This article was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated to remain current.