TOP Questions To Ask Before PIM Solution Demo: A Guide For Brands And Retailers
PIM demo is a great chance to “touch and feel” the product information management solution, and see its ins and outs before making an informed purchase decision. However, the more you learn about the solution before the demo PIM, the more chance it will go successfully and leaves you satisfied with the product. So what happens before the demo and what questions to ask before the PIM demonstration? We prepared a full list of questions for brands, retailers, and big marketplaces that want to implement PIM technology in their business flow.
What Is PIM Solution Demo?
The demo PIM software is an essential part of PIM implementation that allows you to meet your potential solution vendor who will become your partner, get to know participants who will help you implement essential PIM, and, most importantly, get access to the solution interface to help you make an informed decision.
Before the demo meeting, the potential client usually asks a couple of essential questions about the solutions and then sends RFI – request for information, where the vendor fully provides the information about the PIM technology. Then, based on the answers and meeting the customer’s expectations, the PIM demo is scheduled.
First-Stage Questions: A Guide For Brands And Retailers
Before going on demo PIM, and even before sending a Request For Information, there goes a stage of prerequisite questions to help you understand what’s at PIM core. We prepared a list of questions to ask the PIM manager or vendor before proceeding with more detailed requests.
Essential PIM Questions For Brands And Retailers Of Any Size
1. Can you provide us with a video/screenshots of your PIM interface?
This is an important question to be asked by any business that wants to have an understanding of the product before they make it to the demo. It helps to get a look and feel of the graphical user interface of the solution and get an idea of how easy it will be to navigate through the software.
If a company refuses to provide you with it, it might mean that they do not have a decent UX to show to potential customers, so such a thing should alert you.
2. What is your key value proposition compared to other PIM providers?
Learning what differentiates this exact PIM solution from other products helps you make a well-informed unbiased decision.
PIM vendors that respect their clients’ time will always provide them with principal value-add for both brands and retailers. What could be some key values of the PIM solution?
For brands, it could be an opportunity to minimize their manual work with retailer’s templates, get more accurate product content that minimizes product returns, automate their product information delivery to different sales channels and reduce time-to-market with quick product updates.
For retailers, the key values could be automated data collection from various suppliers, cutting down manual work with data, and, just as for brands, speeding up product launches thanks to verified and optimized product data.
An answer where the PIM vendor shows the comparison of their solution’s features with the ones of their competitors is a good sign that you can trust this PIM provider, as the company not hiding the possible weaknesses of a solution, but at the same time knows what makes their product stand out in the crowd.
3. What is the average product cost and time of PIM implementation?
The PIM price is one of the decisive factors for many businesses because if it does not suit your allocated budget, a high chance that you will search for alternatives. That’s why you cannot skip this question. While an average cost of PIM implementation is something to be asked at the beginning of your communication with PIM vendors, the other details, such as price offer, including service, setup, and running costs for your customized solution, can be asked in your RFI – Request For Information.
Specific Questions For Brands
1. What eCommerce integrations and in which countries do you offer?
If you are a brand in search of new sales channels to integrate with, this question is an important one. It’s essential to be able to connect to various marketplaces, retailers, content providers, and eCommerce platforms. The more connections the PIM solution offers the higher chances for you to implement a successful omnichannel strategy.
2. What is the average time for a new marketplace integration that is not on your connections list?
Apart from the existing connections, it’s essential to know if the PIM providers can connect you to the new marketplace or channel that is not on their connections hub list. Ask if such an option is possible and how much time it takes to set up a new off-the-list eCommerce integration. A vendor that is confident about their technical and human capacities will not hide this information.
3. Do you offer the complete transformation from one product taxonomy to another on the attributes level?
While an extensive set of connections is vital for brands, another thing, such as complete data transformation is an even higher priority. If you do not want to struggle with manual data transformation, and adjust your product data to endless lists of product taxonomies of each platform, it’s essential for you to choose a PIM solution that not only connects you to various retailers and marketplaces but completely transforms your product taxonomy to the retailer’s taxonomy on the level of attributes.
Specific Questions For SME Retailers
1. Can you help automate content collection from brands and manufacturers?
While for brands it’s essential to distribute their content to various sales channels and syndicate their data to multiple retailers, for the latter, it’s vital to collect product data from brands and manufacturers without manual efforts. If the PIM vendor answers positively about the automated content collection, it’s a good sign to consider the product as your potential choice.
2. Can your PIM technology offer the extraction of already standardized data from brands?
Data collection automation is a big benefit of PIM for eCommerce, however, it’s worth asking if the solution provider can fix one of the biggest pains of retailers – data standardization. For you, as a retailer, it’s not enough to integrate with various content suppliers, yet, extracting the data from them, which is already standardized, sets you free from dealing with diverse content formats, data standards, and other eCommerce data elements.
3. Do you offer features for data enrichment and optimization?
If you are a retailer with a big number of SKUs, then it’s recommended to find a solution with content enrichment functionalities. Ask the PIM provider if their solution allows you to optimize the content received from data suppliers, automatically, according to your requirements and if the software can help you enrich the data, received from third parties – improving the content quality, accuracy, and web searchability is what you have to look for in your future PIM system.
Read more about data enrichment:
What is data enrichment and why does your eCommerce need it? Find out the key benefits of product data enrichment and how you can put it to practice.
Specific Questions For Big Marketplaces That Already Have PIM Software
Frequently, big marketplaces have already implemented a PIM technology, which is explained by the huge amount of products they have to manage. However, not every PIM system can offer data syndication features. Thus, big marketplaces usually seek a syndication service provider, a tool that can manage massive amounts of data, or a mapping platform. If this is your case, here are some specific questions you can ask a solution provider.
1. Do you offer data syndication services/tools? Can it be integrated with our PIM tool?
As for a big marketplace that works with numerous brands, manufacturers, content providers, and other eCommerce platforms, you have to be sure that a solution vendor offers extensive data syndication services. In such a way, you can merge data from multiple sources into your own PIM system, without worrying about too many different data models and formats. Then ask if this data syndication tool can be integrated with your PIM system, in case you already have one.
2. Is your solution suitable for working with massive amounts of data?
Make sure the system can save and process the amount of data you own and always consider that this amount will be growing. Tell the PIM vendor about the number of SKUs you operate and ask them about their data management capacities, to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.
3. Do you offer data mapping services/platforms?
The operations of big marketplaces and retailers are significantly simplified with the help of automated data mapping. Ask a vendor if they offer data mapping services that can help you integrate the data from numerous brands/manufacturers/resellers you work with into your marketplace without having to map the data manually. If a PIM vendor offers mapping modules/services, then you’ll be able to ask for the details about their mapping capabilities and see how it works on a PIM demo.
Second-Stage Questions: RFI – Request For Information
Once you got in touch with product information management system providers, asked some high-level and low-level questions, and are happy with the answers, it’s time for the second step – sending RFI (Request For Information). This formal way of getting information from potential solution suppliers is handled in different ways, depending on a company type, their goals, and the type of product they want to learn about. However, there are certain types of questions about PIM that we recommend including in your RFI.
Block 1: General information about the vendor company/product.
Here you can form a list of questions related to the company’s name, year of founding, countries the vendor operates in, and service hours, the number of developers working on a project. You can ask about last year’s turnover figures. It’s worth asking for the contact of the person who you can contact in case of questions about the solution.
Block 2: Questions about product usage and project experience.
In this part of PIM RFI, you can ask about customers and main industries who are using the solution, the longest-running project, the typical implementation time, and the capabilities for creating a customized solution for you, if needed.
Block 3: Questions about product release strategy.
Here you can ask a vendor to provide information about their product release strategy and schedule for new releases and updates. Ask the vendor if they provide release notes with each product update and where you can access this documentation.
It’s worth asking about the type of documentation the vendor provides regarding their product and where it can be accessed.
Block 4: Questions about PIM technical requirements and capacities.
In this section of the request for information, we recommend you ask for the overview of proposed solutions and find out if any services can be segregated. Ask for the proposed PIM solution’s strengths and weaknesses, especially regarding your project. Here are a couple more questions you can ask in this section:
- What is your product roadmap?
- Can you provide the experience references from your partners or/and clients?
- Can you share the use cases that show your expertise?
- What are your solution capabilities, functionalities, and architecture?
- Does your PIM solution support multi-tenancy?
- Will you provide cloud services?
- Do you have a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Block 5: Questions about performance requirements.
To be sure that your solution implementation will go smoothly, without unplanned interruptions, you have to request information about performance guarantees. Ask about support service availability, working and after-working hour requests processing, communication channels, initial response, and issue resolution times.
The solution provider might have different resolution times for issues of different priorities so it’s worth clarifying what incidents are considered low priority and what issues will be fixed as top ones.
Block 6: Questions about PIM security.
This important part of RFI is a section where you can clarify all the data security and privacy concerns about the solution. Here’s a list of questions you can ask in this section:
- Do you have an Information Security Management System?
- The laws of what country govern your Data Privacy?
- Do you grant us a right to perform Data Privacy audits?
- Do you perform regular Information Security awareness training for your employees?
Block 7: Pricing Questions
Pricing offer is usually the last section of PIM solution RFI and gives you clear information about the pricing model, rough cost estimation for a certain period of time, one-time installation and running costs, maintenance costs, training & operational costs, and average consulting rate of different experts in the field of consulting and engineering. Ask for precise price information for all kinds of services you want to receive from the vendor, to ensure you will have all the required info to make a well-informed decision about going forward to a PIM demo meeting.
Third-Stage: PIM Solution Demo
When the stages of prerequisite questions and RFI are done, you received the answers from vendors, evaluated them, and are ready to learn more about the PIM solution, it’s time to meet 1:1 with a PIM manager on a PIM demo.
It’s a perfect time to get a real feel of a product, explore its interface, and meet people who are standing behind this solution. PIM demonstration is where you can learn how exactly product data management, content enrichment, and distribution is happening inside the platform. The PIM specialists will show you the UX of the software and will explain how the back end works. It will help you understand, how easy it is to be used by non-technical users, and how much time it might take to onboard your employees.
It’s high time to see how the features you read about are implemented in practice. You will also see if you need additional training/consulting and will get a chance to ask questions about the solution’s practical use.
In the end, it’s a big advantage if a software provider offers to schedule a personalized demo rather than just watching a default “one-size-fits-all” demonstration, as it already shows a high level of customization, and you can be sure that all your questions are answered.
What To Ask Before PIM Demo?
There are certain general questions that both brands and retailers can ask before the demo PIM such as the key value proposition of the solution, and the time and cost of its implementation. You can also ask to look through the solution’s interface on a video or screenshots before actually seeing that on the PIM demonstration.
For brands, it’s worth asking about available integration with other eCommerce third-party services and the average time of implementing such an integration. Another good question is whether a product information management system offers data transformation features that are vital for manufacturers and brands.
As for retailers, it’s important to find out how easy it is to collect content from brands and enrich and optimize it. For big marketplaces, the question of data syndication and capabilities to work with massive amounts of data might be of more interest.
What Are The Most Important Questions To Be Asked In PIM RFI?
RFI (Request For Information) is a formal process of gathering information about PIM solutions from providers. In your RFI you can ask for the vendors to provide you with general information about the company, the value for brands and retailers, what makes the product different from others, its main features, the solution roadmap, and its capabilities.
You can also ask to briefly describe the IT environment and technology solutions and algorithms behind the software. It’s wise asking about the PIM security management system and data protection, general technical requirements, and system performance. In the end, it’s important to ask about the pricing of consulting and engineering services, especially if the system implementation is customized.
Gepard PIM Demo: How The Product Can Help YOU
Now that you are familiar with the most important questions to ask before demo PIM, you can make the most of your experience and be sure to choose the right solution for your business.
Here, at Gepard, we try to focus on how our product can fit your special needs and bring real value, based on your unique business experience and goals. That’s why we take our PIM solution demonstration seriously: we are always ready to answer your questions about our product and fill in your RFI with any type of request. Thus, we invite you to reach out to us and start an exciting journey on Gepard PIM software exploration!
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