Excess inventory eats into your cash flow, takes up precious space that should be filled by new products, often results in discounts that damage your bottom line, and more. Prioritize getting your products in front of your customers FAST, no matter where they shop!
Here are seven ways to accelerate speed to market:
1. Straighten Out Bottlenecks
Getting your products out to the appropriate channels faster starts with a close look at what you are already doing. Examine your processes to find out what is working well and what is causing issues; is there slowness in a certain area? Is communication between teams a challenge? Is there consistently a lack of information or error in data when it comes time to publish? Are there products that have been rejected by your system that now live in a black hole? These major pain points related to product information management greatly affect the speed to market for many retailers and brands.
2. Use a Scalable Solution
In our continually shifting industry, agility oftentimes equals scalability. Whether you are trying to handle a spike in inventory, get more hands in your solution, or increase collaboration while running fast, a product experience management (PXM) system is your answer. There is essentially no limit to how many people you have in your workspace or how much data can be pulled into your system. You can store data to drive automation in inventory and pricing—for example, if your pricing system puts .97 cent ending on an item, automation will put it in clearance section of website.
Prioritizing scalability will ensure that you are not wasting time or resources as your needs fluctuate, and that your projects will not stall completely.
3. Define Minimum Viable Product Content
Make sure your team is clear on what minimum viable product (MVP) content looks like. Establish the base information needed per category as a foundation to get products out to market. What do e-commerce systems need? What information elicits an overwhelmingly positive response from your customers? Compiling MVP content will go swiftly if you couple this concentrated effort with automated approvals.
Don’t forget to outline the “nice to haves,” too. PIM/PXM solutions make it easy to update products after they have been published, so your team can circle back to make product information more robust. It is a win-win; you won’t lose precious time in a competitive market, and you will end up with compelling product stories that draw customers in.
4. Centralize Your Workspace
Setting your team(s) and external vendors up on a platform designed for collaboration means that everyone is ALWAYS working on the same data. The days of passing around files, and all the hiccups that come with it, will be gone. Imagine how quickly you could get products in front of your customers if you eliminate handoffs and minimize downtime. Replace outdated practices with a PIM/PXM system that allows multiple parties to work in parallel, and you will significantly improve your time to market.
5. Automate Processes
Automation is one of your greatest assets if you are trying to implement long-lasting changes that will improve speed to market. This technology combats human error, eliminates wasted time, and frees up human resources. You have routine assignments that your team doesn’t really need to spend time completing, and there are tasks that you might not even know automation can help with, such as enrichment and content creation. For example, you can set up automated publishing when the minimum criteria for product content is met and then move it back in your workflow so teams can take a second pass (without the pressure of a quick turnaround) and add robust “nice to have” pieces of data.
Along with automation comes governance. With a PIM/PXM solution, you can establish automated checks to make sure work meets standards. Not only will you get your products to market quickly, but you will be guaranteed complete, accurate information every time something gets published.
6. Improve Cross-Functional Communication
Putting products in front of your customers is nothing if not a team effort. Your marketing, sales, product, etc. teams need to be perfectly coordinated to avoid wasting time (time that your product could be selling!) in the product development process. A PIM/PXM solution, for example, eliminates the need for individuals to manually share information or notify the right parties when it is their turn to contribute.
PXM’s task management function gives everyone a bird’s eye view of where the product is and employs workflows to help products move swiftly through defined processes. The solution will make it clear who needs to do what and by when. For example, your translation department will automatically receive an alert that there is copy ready to be translated once your copywriting team submits their completed work.
7. Stay Flexible
Want to move at warp speed? Flexibility is arguably the most important prerequisite. Conditions will change, your assortment will expand into new categories, you will want to expand into new channels, and so on. PIM/PXM systems are unique because business users have complete control while approval processes keep things in check! Your team will not be dependent on IT or the long processes needed to implement time-sensitive changes.
Improve Go-To-Market Agility with Digital Wave Technology
You have great products, but your customers cannot buy them until they are on the shelf, digital or otherwise. As former retailers ourselves, we are passionate about solving the challenges that hold retailers, brands, and CPG companies back. Our AI-powered PXM takes product information management (PIM) to the next level, helping companies like yours gather, enrich, and publish product data in a flash.
Reach out to learn how Digital Wave can help your team address excess!