ntara logo
June 23, 2021
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

file under

blog

It’s time to clean up your product data

Zach Helbert
SENIOR BUSINESS ANALYST
June 23, 2021
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

file under

blog

It's time to standardize your product data

Zach

Helbert

SENIOR BUSINESS ANALYST

Joseph

Hale

Business Analyst

Businesses waste tens of thousands of hours per year tracking down the “right” version of their product data and putting it into the “right” format, often duplicating time and effort.

Have you ever planned the perfect meal and then spent too much time searching through a cluttered kitchen for all the ingredients? Disorganized product data presents the same challenges and inefficiencies.

You aren’t looking for any kind of cheese, you are looking for the cheese that you can use to create the perfect meal. Successful PIM implementations and delicious dishes share a common prerequisite: a detailed knowledge of their respective ingredients.

It’s time to standardize the way your team thinks about product data and optimize how you capture your most critical information moving forward. We recommend doing this in three key steps.

three steps for cleaning up your product data

Identifying and assessing product documentation

Before implementing a product information management (PIM) system, product data can exist in multiple places—spreadsheets, PDFs, various internal systems, even inside people’s heads. Countless versions of the same document often exist across the company and within individual departments. And multiple variations of the same data type often exist within each document (e.g., 4.5”, 4.5 inches, 4 1⁄2 inches). The sooner you identify and standardize your product data, the sooner you can begin an efficient PIM implementation.

The first step of product data cleanup is gaining an objective understanding of all the places your data resides today, how organized your data is, and its completeness. Like our kitchen example, the first step to cleanup is to understand all the ingredients that should be in the meal—and sometimes that means checking the back of the fridge.

To accomplish this, we will import your data from all your primary inbound(s), such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, spreadsheets, relational databases, data warehouses, etc. Any data repository can be a potential inbound source.

Once the data has been collected, we analyze it using our established data rubric, scoring it on a scale of 0 to 5 across 5 key data quality categories:

Category

Description

Product and item segmentation

Assesses the ability to place data at the appropriate level to reduce repetition of data elements

Duplication in data

Looks for duplication in rows, unique IDs, or unique descriptions

Data consistency

Checks to see if data elements, variables, and data types are consistently used to reduce redundancy and maintain clarity

Data completeness

Scores the percentage of fields fully populated across all appropriate product and item details to maintain accuracy

Marketing Content

The availability of content that supports easy marketing, categorization and segmentation of products and items, including product descriptions, features, cross-sells, upsells, parts, kits, bundles, and configurations

Our rubric examines every column in the dataset, calls out what needs to be fixed, makes recommendations for how to fix it, and asks any remaining questions we have about the data. Then we issue a comprehensive recommendations report that scores each category and averages together each category score to create the overall data cleanliness rating.

In our experience, most businesses think their data is in better shape than it is—but it’s important not to be discouraged by a low score. The good news is that our PIM consultants can advise and guide your team to better data management practices that will produce better data outcomes.

Pattern matching, paring down, and processes

One of the items we examine during the rubric process is pattern matching, which is establishing trends found in the data that can and should be replicated across products and items.

Once a trend has been established, your organization can begin cleansing the data. This includes checking for completeness or deficiencies in product information, removing extraneous legacy data or redundant information, and establishing processes for how to handle data going forward.

Much like only including the freshest ingredients in your perfect meal, we aren’t looking to bring every existing piece of data into the PIM. We only want to bring in the good stuff. For this reason, it’s important to recognize that the patterns discovered and the processes for handling data go hand-in-hand.

For example, “product size” is sometimes managed as an open-text field and pre-PIM your team members entered that information however they wanted. This creates inconsistencies in how “item size” is represented. It might be weight vs. dimensions, or standard vs. metric.

Clean data should be quantitative, standardized, and repeatable. Programmatic conversion of existing open-text data is a good example of leveraging code for standardization. For example, an item’s size was recorded as “2 inches” while another item lists its size as “3 in.” The code can be developed to look for both patterns when cleansing data. After the PIM is implemented, your data experts will have a structured way to enter this data, which decreases the possibility of errors and improves efficiency.

Discovering inefficiencies in the product creation process helps our clients save time and money. For example, if you sell the same pink shirt every spring, it’s best practice to reuse the SKU from the previous year. By eliminating the rework of creating a new SKU for each new year, not only do you save paperwork time, but your data stays cleaner by reducing duplication.         

Establishing one source of truth

With your data cleansed and your processes in place, you are now ready to implement your “one source of truth.” While there are several PIM systems to pick from, we are inRiver platinum partners. We love inRiver because it is highly efficient, it’s extremely customizable, and it can manage outbound expectations from one spot. InRiver can automate many of your current manual processes and allow you to communicate with multiple sales outlets at the click of a button from one system.  

Not only does having clean data help facilitate a streamlined PIM project; it’s also critical for your website, ecommerce, communication with the global data synchronization network, and a host of other things. Investing the time up front to cleanse your data will save more than its weight in time and headaches going forward.

Ready to get started?

Poor data quality is the greatest single risk to your PIM project, your ecommerce website, and your downstream channels. It is critical to address the cleanliness of your product data before beginning any PIM implementation or ecommerce project.

To ensure your PIM project goes off without a hitch, you must first assess its cleanliness. At the end of this process, you will have the insight and tools you need for continual clean data management.

To speak with a consultant about your product data, submit the form below. Someone on our team will reach out to schedule a call.

 

    I consent that Ntara may occasionally send me marketing emails and I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time.

Want to stay in the loop on future Ntara content? Subscribe to our blog.

Next up in

Want to stay in the loop on future Ntara content? Subscribe to our blog.

Next up in

Subscribe to our blog

Get our latest insights, ideas, and inspiration in your inbox.

Your privacy is important. Review our privacy policy to learn more.

White Royal Brass and Hose Logo
This PIM solution for Royal Brass and Hose enabled users to browse products, create shopping lists, and save bulk orders. It also gave the client visibility into customer behavior, with custom logic for increasing fulfillment efficiency.
0
items on the site
0
products and counting
$ 0 M
in revenue in the first QTR after launch
White Hunter fan logo
We helped Hunter Fan break into the industrial fan space for the first time with this brochure-site-turned-lead-generation engine.
0 %
increase in website leads
0
pageviews
0
unique sessions
White Bosma Enterprises logo
We created an online quiz about Indianapolis that educated audiences about Bosma’s services for the blind and visually impaired. This project created huge response for an important social issue—on a shoestring budget.
0
Average minutes on quiz
$ 0
Cost per impression
0 %
Quiz completion rate
White Vidant Health Logo
Vidant Health went through a system-wide redesign. As part of that transformation, we built them a website that served up geo-targeted content around events, programs, and messaging that was specific to each user’s location.
0 %
decrease in bounce rate
0 %
increase in overall sessions
0 %
increase in mobile traffic
White Hunter logo
We took Hunter Fan direct-to-consumer for the first time. We implemented PIM for their 100,000+ SKUs and built a beautiful, functional website to help customers navigate their extensive product offering.
0 X
Increased revenue year-over-year by
0 %
Improved average site load time by
0 %
Decreased bounce rate by
Crossville Studios Logo

Crossville Studios offers different products in different regions throughout the United States. This PIM solution enables custom user experiences on the site, so users see different products based on their zip code or IP address.

0
hour efficiency gain per year
0
systems consolidated
0 X
ROI projected in 1st year
White Vidant Health Logo
We combined Vidant Health’s disparate recruiting sites into one, cohesive experience and the site integrated with HR systems to simplify the application process. And we achieved double the application submissions—while maintaining quality and using less than half their previous annual budget.
0 %
increase in application submissions
0
increase in sessions
0 %
decrease in average page load time
Casablanca Fan white logo
We built an ecommerce website to handle the wide range of products that performs beautifully on desktop, tablet, smartphone, and touch-interface kiosks located in-store.
0 %
Session time increase
0
Engagement average minutes
0 +
retail point-of-sale deployments
White Envision Us logo
We created a streamlined UX while integrating three disparate back-end systems to enhance the online experience for the second largest employer of blind and visually impaired persons in the country.
0 %
increase in organic search traffic
0 %
decrease in bounce rate
0 %
improvement in site navigation
We designed a simpler homepage with benefits-focused content and built multiple microsites to launch their new look and feel.
$ 0 M
in additional sales
0 %
return on investment within 12 months
0 %
Online sales growth
White Mast General Store logo
After fully immersing into their brand culture, we bridged the “click and mortar” gap by creating an online experience that paid significant homage to their rich, in-store experience.
0 %
increase in online sales
0 %
increase in total time onsite (TTo)
0 %
growth in national reach
White teradata logo
We quickly designed, built, and launched a new website with thought leadership around a complex topic: big data. This solution generated the top-performing MQL generating asset in the company’s history.
1 x
organic traffic increase
0 +
keywords on the first page of Google
0
content downloads in the first month
White Peter Millar logo
Our initial consulting engagement showed Peter Millar that implementing PIM could save significant time and money. We are currently working with this client to consolidate their disparate systems into one source of truth.
0 +
total SKUs
0 +
data sources aggregated
0
man hours per year of savings
White The OuterBanks Hospital logo
We quickly designed, built, and launched a new website with thought leadership around a complex topic: big data. This solution generated the top-performing MQL generating asset in the company’s history.
0 %
increase in mobile traffic YOY
0 %
increase in organic traffic YOY
0 %
ROI for Urgent Care ad campaign
White Value Place logo
We helped ValuePlace establish their brand, segment and better understand their target audiences, build a website that anticipated customer needs, and execute persona-specific campaigns to drive conversion.
0 %
increase in online revenue
0 %
increase in organic search traffic
0 %
increase in email-generated revenue
White Vidant Health Logo
We developed web-based cancer screening assessments that provided at-risk patients access to care and improved overall population health. This solution helped users identify their risk and contact a professional for follow-up when needed.
0
new risk assessments in the first year
0 %
increase in traffic
0
new personal stories to influence behavior
White Vidant Health Logo
We used this website redesign to illustrate how donations change lives—giving the rural healthcare foundation recognition as a major contributor to the surrounding, close-knit communities.
0 %
increase in YoY sessions
0 %
increase in YoY donations
0 %
increase in YoY donation dollars
We created an automated, customizable, digital experience that empowered this salesforce to improve engagement with their prospects.
$ 0 M
in new opportunities identified in one quarter
0 %
acceleration of b2b sales cycle
0 %
decrease in time to contract signing
White Federal Mogul logo
With this PIM project, we passed more data through inRiver than it had ever seen before, and we created ACES and PIES pre-processors to aid in data onboarding.
0 B
points of data aggregated
0 +
Automotive brands data integrated
0 +
concurrent users
We configured a complex PIM solution per ACES standards for this manufacturer of ATV parts and accessories, setting them up to standardize product data across Walmart, Ebay, Amazon, and more.
0
SKUs
0
system users
0
user roles
White PetSafe logo
This PIM solution for PetSafe streamlined their complex, international product data to save their internal team significant time and simplify the experience for end users.
0
users in the workflow
0
user roles in 14 different areas
0
languages and growing
White Hunter logo

We created a custom, centralized PIM and PLM system for Hunter Fan to handle the consistent and accurate output of product data across multiple outbound channels and hundreds of downstream data partner websites and apps.

0 +
years of part information
0 M
configurable part options
0 +
retailers using syndicated data
White Royal Brass and Hose Logo

We conducted primary research for this parts manufacturer to identify their most profitable opportunities, implemented PIM for their organization, and moved them to ecommerce sales for the first time.

0 x
increase in online revenue in first 3 months
0 %
increase in users YoY
0 %
decrease in bounce rate