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How DAM and PIM Streamline E-commerce

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The start of the pandemic in 2020 forced consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to streamline their e-commerce experiences. And unexpected changes in customer behavior brought with it expedited digital trends that are disrupting the consumer-goods industry forcing them to shift away from traditional success models. For example, online sales of food and beverages reached an all-time high of $66 billion in 2020 and according to NielsenIQ, online CPG food and beverage sales could reach as high as $109 billion in 2021. What once was a shopping trend embraced by a select few, is now a common occurrence for many households. 

However, this kind of rapid growth also brings with it some challenges. It demands that companies scale along every part of the value chain, and marketing is no exception. Widen customer HARMAN International, a global consumer electronics company, found their marketing communications tools and processes became a hindrance to delivering products to market, so they invested in a product information management (PIM) system and then a digital asset management (DAM) system

Let’s take a closer look at what HARMAN has achieved with their DAM and PIM investments.

PIM and DAM integration

Graphic depicting how photographers upload assets into a DAM system which then feeds into a PIM system, along with SKUs and product specs that come from an ERP or PLM. Then the PIM system shares information to support e-commerce, public websites, and e-tailers.

The PIM system is the source of truth for product information, like product attributes and marketing copy. The DAM system is the source of truth for digital assets, like product photographs, owners manuals, and quick start guides. By connecting the two, the DAM system feeds those assets to the PIM system.

For HARMAN, the link between the two systems is an integration that uses the unique product ID to automatically sync product assets from the DAM site to the PIM platform, as well as to the public websites, e-commerce sites, and e-tailers.

“Our integration has been really very successful,” says Arthur Werner, Director Global E-commerce & Operations at HARMAN International. Once the product ID is applied to the asset in the DAM system, it’s in the PIM system within four hours, and after that, available within the staging website. “It allows us to save a lot of time because it doesn’t depend on people having to do this task.”

Why both systems?

PIM systems can manage product imagery, so why have both a PIM system and DAM system? Well, the DAM system’s flexibility in file support, permissions, and organization makes it the source of truth for all of a company's digital assets. “We had that PIM [system and] we realized we also needed a good DAM [system],” said Arthur. That’s where the Widen Collective® comes in.

For HARMAN International, the DAM system supports the asset needs for the PIM system, plus regional and global offices get the latest marketing and communications content instantly. They’re also exploring using the DAM system for event photography and videos.

HARMAN's criteria for selecting their DAM system

We wanted it to be quick and responsive, something that the old system definitely wasn’t. We wanted there to be only one copy of everything and to be clearly identifiable, who owned that copy and who put it there. We wanted to be able to get things out in multiple formats and only put it in once,” says Arthur. He also highlighted that they wanted a system that everybody would understand and that could integrate with their other tools.

Setting up the integration

It took HARMAN about two business weeks to set up the integration. There were tests and things they had to discover in practice. For instance, Arthur shared, “It’s nice if you can set the product image in [the] Widen [Collective] and that it flows through, but what should happen if that product already had an image not coming from Widen?” The team worked through different logic cases and determined when to reject an asset, accept it, or accept it and send out an email notification. “It’s working very well.”

Other ways HARMAN is scaling their product asset processes with DAM

  • Partners upload assets instead of mailing them to marketing to be processed. Teams around the world create manuals, quick start guides, and images. Before, teams in India, Canada, the US, and China would mail or ship assets on storage drives to marketing teams in New York or Amsterdam for processing and then use. Now, those teams upload assets directly into the DAM system. This reduces the cost of shipping and time lost in transit.

  • The DAM system automatically categorizes assets, tags them with metadata, and assigns privacy settings. For example, HARMAN International created upload profiles for lifestyle images that puts them in the right category with the right metadata and assigns the right asset groups automatically. Instead of thinking about all those things and manually applying that information, the uploader can move on to their next task.

Use PIM and DAM to grow your online CPG sales

The pandemic activated digital trends across the consumer-goods industry that are here to stay. According to Deloitte, “Four in five companies indicate that resetting their go-to marketing strategy is critical to meeting their 2021 objectives; however, only half rated the current maturity of their related capabilities as high.” 

With more market share moving online, if you want to capture your share of those sales you need an effective way to manage your product information at scale and deliver it alongside high-quality content. When your company integrates DAM and PIM platforms like HARMAN did, you set the technical foundation to streamline your e-commerce experience and grow your online CPG sales.

Want to learn more about the benefits of integrating a DAM and PIM system? Read the full HARMAN case study or request a demo today!


Note: This article was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated to include new content. 

Topics: Customer Stories, DAM, Integrations

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