Guest Column | December 4, 2018

The Next Big Retail Disruptor: What You Need To Know About Product Experience Management

By Polly Gleneck, Edgenet

Retail Digital Disruption

Many brick-and-mortar retailers are yet to recover from the first online retail revolution, and another is already underway.

If your business hasn’t yet begun prioritizing Product Experience Management (PXM), perhaps it should. For retailers, next generation PXM platforms pose far more opportunities than threats. Plus, if you’re not engaging with this evolving technology, your smartest competitors – including, in some cases, your suppliers – certainly will be.  

Stock ordering and inventory systems are as old as retail itself, and of course in recent decades we’ve seen the rise of computerized versions and, most recently, cloud-based solutions. But the sophistication, reach and partnership opportunities offered by the latest wave of PXM platforms have seen them poised as a major retail disruptor.

Supercharging Product Data

PXM is a powerful tool that brands use to deliver the right content to the right places at the right time, helping to close loopholes on missed opportunities for sales and customer loyalty. It goes far beyond traditional PIM (Product Information Management) and PCM (Product Content Management) systems by automating the content across every platform in your network.

The latest cloud-based applications allow retailers, e-tailers, suppliers and manufacturers to input and continuously share universally compatible product data. This compatibility not only saves time and money, but also can exponentially expand your partner- and customer-bases. Additional benefits for retailers include:

  • The ability to easily search, compare and request all available products from all connected suppliers.
  • Clear visibility of product life cycles from any supplier.
  • Integrated management of automated and manual tasks to create a clear workflow and minimize errors.
  • A data-quality engine that ensures you receive accurate content – scored in real time – to meet your specific needs.

The best PXM providers also offer unlimited customer service and training to ensure clients have full command of the system and are making the most of its capabilities.  

My company, Edgenet, has taken PXM one step further, building a world-first platform that allows a product’s marketing data and GDSN logistics data to be housed in just one system. This “one-stop shop” creates further time and cost savings and boosts every product’s sales potential.

New Partnership Opportunities

As more clients join a PXM platform, the software becomes an even more valuable sales tool because users have access to a fast-growing network of potential suppliers and retailers, all using the same compatible system. Edgenet, for example, now hosts more than 10,000 brands, with up to 30 new partners joining each month. Affiliate retailers range from small local businesses to international giants such as Amazon, Google, Best Buy and Lowe’s.     

These kinds of PXM communities level the playing field so mom-and-pop suppliers can connect with the same retailers as big manufacturers. PXM also opens the door for brick-and-mortar retailers to create or expand a potentially lucrative e-tail business. In one easy step, for example, PXM can deliver your product data to Amazon’s massive customer base.

Turning Suppliers Into Retailers

With the same ease that traditional retailers are becoming e-tailers, suppliers too can use PXM to sell directly to consumers via Amazon and other online stores. By cutting out the traditional retail middleman, this opportunity for suppliers will pose a threat to some retailers and is already emerging as a potential disruptor in certain industries.  

An interesting case study is the auto aftermarket industry, whose specificity of products is highly compatible with an online retail business model. Though traditional distribution networks still dominate the sector, Amazon will sell $5.5 billion of aftermarket parts and accessories in 2018, and analysts predict that by 2035, 20 to 30 percent of all aftermarket sales will be carried out online.

Amid this sort of industry disruption, brick-and-mortar retailers shouldn’t be afraid to embrace new ideas and technology to stay competitive. As well as enabling traditional retailers to build a powerful online presence of their own, PXM can enhance the intelligence of your in-store stock buying so customers are far more likely to find what they’re looking for. The time and cost savings of PXM automation also mean you can dedicate more resources to improving overall customer experience. Whether in-store or online, the quality of this experience is what will turn a customer into a repeat customer.

About The Author

Polly Gleneck is director of customer experience at Edgenet, the Nashville-based tech firm behind the world’s most complete Product Experience Management platform