“A robust PXM platform allows organisations to efficiently manage their product data, collaborate across departments, develop customer-centric buying experiences, and create enriched and intuitive product data,” says Pratik Chakraborty, CTO of Blue Meteor.
Customer Experience Management (CXM) is a niche done to death by marketers over a fleeting passage of time. The past couple of years have, refreshingly, heralded the advent of a new paradigm in putting customer convenience at the forefront in the form of Product Experience Management (PXM).
“PXM is a precursor to Customer Experience Management, which enables better decision-making through efficient digital assets management, incorporating product descriptions, images and videos,” says Pratik Chakraborty, Chief Technology Officer of Blue Meteor.
Blue Meteor is a SaaS organisation helping online commerce companies through its product experience platform, Amaze PXM, to leverage their product content and experience in order to sell more online and thereby, differentiate their business.
Make ‘em buy
PXM, according to Chakraborty, is all about sorting and categorising products based on their varied attributes and descriptions, before putting them up on an appealing display. “It doesn’t matter how good a product is from a quality perspective. If consumers can’t get the information they want about it on an E-commerce site, they will not buy it,” he adds.
Yet, offering basic product information is not the be-all and end-all of influencing buying behaviour. “The modern customer is looking for more than rudimentary information on E-commerce and similar platforms. They need engaging content that is rich and accurate, apart from personalised interactions. They demand speed and mobility. What customers need and expect in the current climate is top-of-the-shelf product experiences.”
The level of interactivity needed to pull a consumer into the buying experience varies with the product being sold, but the essentials include compelling product imagery, relevant background information, such as user manuals and videos, and an intuitive approach to finding the products themselves.
Subsequently, the products are clearly segregated, described and rendered in a fashion that is easy on the eye. “PXM allows product companies to design how their customers will experience their products, for the latter to arrive at a buying decision. If CX is the cosmetic part of it, PX is the heart of the whole customer journey,” he explains.
Businesses looking to achieve ‘digital commerce growth’ need a PXM tool that helps them centralise access to product content, and update workflows to be lean and streamlined. In the words of Chakraborty: “We know many organisations struggle to efficiently manage their product catalogues and digital assets. A robust PXM platform allows organisations to efficiently manage their product data, collaborate across departments, develop customer-centric buying experiences, and create enriched and intuitive product data.”
Chakraborty, however, is quick to point out the issues companies typically face while doing so. “There are several problems in designing a product catalogue. It starts with curation of necessary and relevant data, followed by packing all the information into a catalogue.”
“Once that is done, there are syndication issues: this includes how to change and synchronise various types of data into one desired format. Manufacturers don’t sell through a single distributor. They may sell through 50 channels and all of these distributors and retailers have their own way that they demand product information to be sent to them. It becomes a hugely daunting task for the manufacturer to manage that same product information, manipulate the data, and send it to all of the different places,” elucidates Chakraborty.
Explaining further, he says, “Then, you should validate how accurate the data is, and that it doesn’t leave any gaps. Finally, data governance comes into the picture. This is all about implementing a structured hierarchy, which will facilitate easy approvals.”
These glitches are overcome by PXM tools also through the usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) that enable faster and accurate creation of product categories and catalogues. Many of these platforms are designed to meet the needs of both B2C and B2B sellers, and offer advantages to manufacturers faced with managing and effectively communicating the features and benefits of thousands or millions of SKUs. For instance, the cloud-based Amaze platform gives e-tailers control of their product data, assets, and experience all in one place. It actually brings merchandising design, product attribution design, and the creation of product data and enriched content together on a single platform.
“Ultimately, is it all about providing ultra-relevant content or information and intelligent recommendations to the customers, based on their preferences and past buying behaviour. PXM should offer precise descriptions and enable better decision-making,” says Chakraborty.
The right PXM and its benefits
How can an E-commerce company choose the right PXM for its unique requirements? “I would say it should be ideally based on the availability, choices and features. This is apart from the pricing and how easily and seamlessly the solution integrates with different systems, such as ERP, E-commerce and payments. The PXM suite typically resides in the middle of all other systems.”
In summary, Chakraborty says that a good PXM tool assures increased sales and revenues, through better conversions. “It also helps build internal business process efficiency. US-based industrial supplies and equipment provider, Grainger, is a great example of a company that immensely benefited from a great PXM solution,” he reveals.