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Maryna Postrelko
Written by
Maryna Tarasenko
Head of Marketing at Gepard
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PIM PIM software product data product information management

How To Manage Product Data Sheets Six Times Faster

8 min read
December 3, 2020

Brands and retailers know that producing and managing product information can indeed be a very time-consuming process. This includes working with titles, descriptions, materials, colors, sizes,  various safety, pricing, and other product specification sheets. Both take time to create and keep current. Filling these attributes in product data sheets can add hours of work to a company’s already busy workload.

Creating an efficient product data sheet is among the main goals of a business dedicated to the sale or distribution of products throughout digital channels. Some companies prefer using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to handle their product data. These are usually associated with never-ending rows, columns, and often a lot of time, costs, and confusion. Business owners striving to improve their teams’ efficiency, save time, and resources, take advantage of technology to maintain product data sheets.

If you are also looking for alternative and more efficient methods for creating and managing product inventory sheets, keep reading this article.

What Are Product Data Sheets?

Before discovering how to manage product features sheets faster, it’s important to know the definition. When we talk about “product data sheets” or “product inventory sheets,” we are referring to detailed yet concise documents that clearly label all the products’ specifications. These might include a name, weight, color, dimensions, components, applications, benefits, etc. A good product data sheet provides easy access to information for everyone involved in the chain and helps customers in making positive buying decisions.

 

The Difference Between Product Data Sheets And Product Spreadsheets

Having your definition of product data sheets straight, it is no less important to also understand how they differ from product spreadsheets. You could notice how the terms can often be used interchangeably, which can be misleading in certain business operations.

A product spreadsheet is a more traditional (read: “a bit out-of-date”) approach to listing product summaries where a lot of items can be specified on a sheet or a single item can be broken down into listed specifics. While spreadsheets are being increasingly considered outdated by many, they are still used for simpler lists and lower-priority storage of tech or business details.

The big downside is that you can only record and process information in sheets manually (i.e., generate summaries, make calculations, update figures, etc.). A product data sheet is a more detailed document dedicated to a single item or service which can be generated automatically (with the right means – read below). On the contrary, spreadsheets require more routine and more manual input, potentially spawning human-factor mistakes.

Product data sheet Product Spreadsheet
Product Data Sheet Product Data Spreadsheet

Why Excel Isn’t a Database and Can’t Work as PIM (Product Information Management) System

As mentioned above, traditionally many brands store and manage their product data in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Nevertheless, Excel and other similar spreadsheet programs are only great if you need to do simple calculations or sort some small piece of data. When it comes to data sheets of products and a big volume of information, it can take a ton of your precious time. The data might come from a variety of places such as marketing personnel, product management, accounting & inventory systems, and so on. That’s really tedious work to do manually.

Furthermore, according to statistics, 90% of spreadsheets containing product info have errors. This may result in poor customer experience and increased returns.

To avoid such a scenario, some companies use product information management and product content syndication software that centralizes diverse product data and delivers complying content to various sales channels.

How to Manage Product Data Sheets Six Times Faster

How to create the product sheets quickly and effortlessly? Dedicated product information management tools automate product data processes, eliminate errors, and save time. As a result, your team can collect, add, edit, enrich, and distribute consistent product information fast and easily.

For instance, if you offer products to numerous sales partners who have diverse product data requirements, you could spend weeks and months creating the appropriate product data sheets that meet all the retailers’ requirements.

Today, modern needs have exceeded the capacity for Google sheets product catalogs. Now, you can benefit from advanced platforms such as Gepard.

Product Data Sheets & Spreadsheets VS PIM Solution

While both classic spreadsheets and more focused product data sheets are a common choice for companies across industries, the out-of-date feel of Excel and the complexity of organizing dedicated sheets is fixed with a tech-driven approach. We are talking, of course, about the timely implemented the PIM solution. Why go for it?

Here is a range of tasks you cannot handle when working with traditional sheets or spreadsheets only:

Collect & Update Product Data On-The-Fly

The biggest drawback of both product information management approaches in discussion is the next to none automation of routine processes and tasks. You have to collect and record content manually in spreadsheets, while a complete data sheet will require re-edits if you need to update certain details in it.

In turn, a PIM solution offers content collection automation where a specialized API can be used to integrate directly with as many content sources as you need. E.g., Gepard PIM can easily connect you to a range of content providers, suppliers, manufacturers, marketplaces, retailers, and eCommerce platforms.

Syndicate Product Data To Multiple Channels Automatically

The lack of automation also limits the way you work with data sources and integration channels. You can only publish a very limited amount of content while switching between each separate channel manually and endlessly copy/pasting stuff.

With a PIM in your arsenal, you can automate data push to the webshop via an advanced syndication module. Gepard’s built-in syndication algorithms enable high-level validation of information which guarantees error-free retailer-specific content.

Product Content Syndication

Transform, Validate, And Standardize Product Data Swiftly

Both formats of the content organization are cumbersome to manage when it comes to important info that must be continuously processed (e.g., transformed to fit publication channels, validated to guarantee consistency and quality, and standardized for regular data pushes).

Dedicated PIM tools allow for automated data validation, its on-the-go transformation to the required format, and standardization through in-depth algorithms. Due to all info being syndicated and stored in a single environment where all the necessary tools are available, the processes become swift and cost-efficient.

Get Instant Reports About Your Products

Reports are yet another task to handle manually with data sheets or spreadsheets, requiring lots of time and effort, which results in extra expenses. There is no structured interaction system to make your life easier in this aspect.

What Is Data Validation

A PIM fills this gap, providing the features to generate reports automatically based on the thorough validation of all product info. For example, Gepard’s advanced reporting system not only does that but also fixes missing field types and guides one’s reporting process with system notifications.

Analyze Your Digital Shelf Efficiently

The overall efficiency of digital shelf analysis is hindered dramatically when there is no automated, feature-rich analytics system to tie it all up. No Excel formula can help carry out a high-quality analysis of data in bulk.

Digital Analytics

A PIM, however, is exactly the solution. Gepard PIM features a full-on digital shelf audit and a range of retail shelf analytics dashboards and tools to better manage content providers and gain valuable insights by monitoring content completeness and geographical coverage.

Feature or functionality Product data sheets/spreadsheets PIM solution
Product data management Manual Automated, feature-rich
Bulk editing No Automated
Visuals management Manually added images Retailer-specific content tools and dashboards
Multitenancy Link sharing Multiple user roles, dedicated dashboards
Managing variations Manual Duplicated entries removal, specialized tools
Product data localization Manual Automated, bulk, language packages available
Interface Traditional, formulas, manual inputs One-stop solution, feature-rich, dedicated dashboards
Mapping product data Manual Automated, specialized tools, data import in any format, automated delivery across sales channels
Transforming product data Manual Automated optimization, dedicated tools
Validating data Manual Automated, specialized tools, generated reports
Standardizing data Manual Automated, multiple sources support; ETIM, EPREL, & GDSN standards

As you can see, an up-to-date, capable system does not leave stale sheets any chances when it comes to overall efficiency and performance. With a good PIM, you get a range of automated opportunities, dedicated tools, and pre-arranged features that not only save time and energy but also additionally drive and boost product data management all around.

Boost Product Data Management With Gepard PIM

Gepard PIM is designed to store and manage product information quickly and efficiently. For instance, if your team makes a change to product data, the new entry will be immediately displayed everywhere the product appears. Having this feature at hand, the team can focus on improving content instead of copy-pasting.

Data Sheets Management With Gepard PIM

The need to deliver product information that meets the requirements of all the sales partners is another big challenge for most sellers. For example, as a cosmetics manufacturer, you might sell your products to dozens of marketplaces. Each has different online store taxonomy and, therefore, different requirements for product data sheets (different formats of product descriptions, images, and so on). Gepard data syndication tool can help match the client’s master data model with the retailers’ taxonomy. No matter how often retailers change their requirements. With Gepard, updates will be applied to the data sheets fast and easy.

Gepard also cooperated with the world’s top computer manufacturer to reduce manual work for their content department. The client’s sales partners have very diverse requirements for product sheet templates. And it took too much time and effort to fulfill all the requirements and deliver product data sheets template to retailers on time.

Please download the case study “How to automate product data sheets delivery” to find out how Gepard resolved the challenge.

Benefits of Managing Product Spec Sheets With Gepard

Wondering why well-known companies such as Amazon, HP, Dell, Rakuten, Elkjop, Lazada, and many others have chosen to work with Gepard? There are a lot of critical advantages of using a dedicated platform instead of the classic Microsoft Excel or Google spreadsheet. These benefits include (however, are not limited to) the following:

  • You always have correct and complete product descriptions.
  • Your product specification sheets are always up-to-date.
  • Everything is centralized in a single place.
  • The software reduces the time required to list new products on your website.
  • You have no problems with launching products on time.
  • Errorless descriptions result in lower bounce rates, exit rates, and increased conversions.
  • You are consistent across various sales channels.
  • You will minimize product returns by improving product content.
  • You save time and money in the long run.
  • Your team can focus on quality content instead of copy-pasting.
  • And much more.

Product Sheets Update With Gepard PIM

Final thoughts

If you are a manufacturer, product manager, or retailer, you are most likely facing some difficulties when you need to update pricing and a product catalog. This takes a lot of time and effort, especially when it comes to a large number of products and multichannel sales.

For many companies, Excel has been a traditional choice for product information management. However, it might increase the manual work, lead to a lot of errors in product data sheets, and lead to product returns and unsatisfied customers (either it’s B2B or regular shoppers).

Successful businesses have already recognized that utilizing Excel, despite its affordability and ease of use, cost them more in the long run. They understood that having a reliable PIM and Syndication software at hand can help them keep all their product content in one place, collaborate with colleagues fast and efficiently, connect new sales channels, and adjust product specification sheets to various marketplaces to boost business growth.

If it sounds interesting to you, and you want to take advantage of modern technology, please feel free to contact Gepard for more details.

Ask Experts How To Manage Data Sheets Faster

 

Maryna Postrelko
Written by Maryna Tarasenko
Head of Marketing at Gepard
A passionate professional with solid expertise in Content Marketing, External Communications, Email Marketing, and Social Media. Head of Marketing at Gepard, the product information management & syndication platform, helping to centralize diverse product data and deliver complying content to sales channels.

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