In today’s fast-paced consumer market, product information management (PIM) is a challenge for every retailer. Unfortunately, the more products you handle, the more challenging this becomes – and even more so when targeting multiple language markets. Integrating translation into your product information management strategy makes something inherently complex even more difficult. So let’s discuss the key challenges that need to be addressed and some best practices to make translation and PIM localisation easier.
One of the biggest challenges with product information management is that every company needs a slightly different strategy centred around the PIM system of their choice. A retailer selling a fixed line of products has it relatively easy compared to a company switching hundreds of product lines every quarter. Quite simply, the more complex your product line is and the more often it changes, the more challenging product information management becomes.
This complexity multiplies when selling to multiple markets, especially if your product offering or availability differs across markets. Plus, if you’re selling to multiple language markets, you have the added challenge of integrating a cohesive translation system into your PIM strategy.
For most retailers, standard translation isn’t enough to provide customers with all of the information they need. For example, product specifications often vary across markets and the formatting of information like currencies, dates, numerical values and other elements can differ, too.
Visual information like colour-coding or symbols may also need adapting, which is beyond the scope of translation.
This is where localisation comes into play – a language service that not only translates content but also formatting and other elements, to make everything relevant to the native language and location of the target audience.
This is the kind of translation strategy companies would need to implement into their product information management system(s). So, let’s call this PIM localisation and look at some of the most important tasks this entails:
- Website translation
- Marketing translation
- Content localisation
- Video ad localisation
- Product description translation
- Product specification localisation
- User manual translation
- Customer service translation
- E-mail marketing translation
- Translation management (and integration with PIM systems)
Where product information management aims to provide every customer base with the info they need to make purchase decisions, PIM translation ensures everything is translated in their native language and formatted to make sense (currencies, specifications, contact details, support material, etc.).
A successfully integrated PIM and translation strategy means this information is provided at every stage of the customer journey – not only at the point of sale or interaction leading up to it.
PIM and translation are both complex, which makes it difficult to integrate them into a seamless strategy. It is possible with the right expertise and tools, though. Here’s a look at some of the most important best practices that will help with integrating translation into a PIM system:
- Plan early: It’s always easier to implement translation into a PIM strategy when starting early – in order to plan accordingly, from day one.
- Work with PIM localisation experts: As this is a niche within retail translation, the best results will come by working with language experts who specialise in this area.
- Consider the whole customer cycle: Make sure your PIM localisation strategy provides the best possible experience for customers at every stage of the consumer journey – including the post-purchase phase.
- Implement PIM across every channel: Consumers access a growing range of channels throughout the customer journey (Search, Social, E-mail, Web Chat, etc.) which means you need to deliver the right information on the right channel.
- Use the right tools: We’ve never had a better range of translation and PIM tools available to us than we have today so make the best use of them.
- Integrate technology effectively: Make sure the translation and PIM tools you’re using integrate effectively to minimise productivity drags.
- Automate bottlenecks: Automation (when it works) can save time, money and future management headaches.
- Evaluate and refine: You’re not going to establish the perfect PIM localisation strategy at the first attempt; you’ll need to analyse, evaluate and refine your strategy to improve results and keep up with markets as they change.
Unfortunately, we can’t cover everything in one article, not only because there’s so much to cover but also because each PIM localisation strategy can be different for every company. If you don’t have the internal PIM, translation and other expertise required within your company, it is important to consult the right experts before putting any plans into action.
If you need any help with implementing translation into an existing product information management strategy, our experienced localisation team can help. Through our expertise in Commerce & Retail and our extensive experience working on delivering different PIM localisation strategies for different clients, as well as by tapping into our large creative network, we offer a holistic approach covering all aspects of a PIM localisation strategy – driven by our cutting-edge language technology.
Complete the form on our contact page to talk translation and PIM integration with us today.