Product information management lies at the heart of e-commerce / print catalog synergy.

PIM “provides enormous efficiency for distributors that use both Web and catalog channels”

Modern Distribution Management (MDM) magazine has published the third in its series of articles examining the state of catalog marketing and e-commerce in wholesale distribution.

Catalog / e-commerce synergyIt includes results from a survey conducted for the article by MDM and Real Results Marketing.  These findings reveal the synergy between print catalogs and Web-based e-commerce.  For example:

  • 85 percent of companies with a successful catalog believe that their catalog helps drive Web sales
  • 73 percent of companies with a successful e-commerce channel believe that their catalog helps drive Web sales

The piece also details other benefits of an integrated e-commerce/print catalog strategy, such as a consistent brand image across all marketing channels and the power of the print catalog to support other sales channels.  A notable quote:

In most industrial businesses, when a computer is not available, catalogs are, and customers needing a product solution reach for the company’s with which they feel most confident. Again, the multi-channel marketing distributor has the edge in getting that business…

The customer call that begins with “Hi, I am looking at your website and I have your catalog opened to page …” is becoming more common. This may happen even more with customers who are not quite sure of the right solution.

The article also specifically calls out the value of product information management (PIM) systems for maintaining a central repository of vetted, sales-ready content for all marketing channels:

The information required on each product is similar whether it goes into a print catalog or onto the Web. Clearly, this provides enormous efficiency for distributors that use both Web and catalog channels.

Because it helps ensure complete and accurate product data from all suppliers in all channels, a PIM system is critical for effective multi-channel marketing.  The survey found that nearly three of four distributors with successful Web channels and 60 percent with successful catalog operations consider their product data to be highly complete; in addition, 82 percent of successful catalog distributors report high product data accuracy.

This piece is an outstanding summary of the value of sound product information and the ability to manage that information across all marketing channels. If you’re an MDM subscriber, you already have access to the full December 12 issue.  If you’re not, the issue can be purchased singly.  You can also read the article by itself at the Real Results Marketing Web site.

(This blog post should not be construed as an endorsement by Modern Distribution Magazine or Real Results Marketing of Enterworks offerings.)

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