Companies do not exploit the potential of product data

The systematic use of product data with the help of digital solutions is not yet widespread among companies in the DACH region. Many companies underestimate the associated potential. This is shown by a recent study by the ZHAW.

The systematic and digital collection and use of product data brings great benefits to manufacturers and retailers: Product information management (PIM) systems create the conditions for improving the customer experience, increasing sales and optimizing collaboration between companies.

Nevertheless, the use of such solutions is not yet widespread among companies in Switzerland, Germany and Austria: Around one in four companies surveyed does not currently use a PIM system. About 50 percent have one in use and another 20 percent are in the evaluation or implementation phase. Use is most widespread in the consumer goods sector, least so in industrial companies.

Online retailers in particular could benefit

"Most companies do find PIM systems useful. However, many see predominantly the technical and operational benefits, such as the increase in data quality. Much less recognized is the financial added value and the potential for achieving strategic corporate goals," explains study leader Rainer Fuchs. For example, companies in the e-commerce sector in particular can use networked PIM systems to provide customers with detailed and transparent information about the properties, quality, origin and sustainability of their products. "In this way, they stand out in the increasingly competitive online trade, offer customers added value and ultimately achieve more sales," says Fuchs.

Lack of know-how

Obstacles to the increased use of PIM systems include underestimation of the benefits, a lack of internal expertise, and time-consuming implementation. This is because data from different company departments and applications often has to be pulled together for this purpose.

In customer relationship management, the systematic use of data and the deployment of corresponding digital solutions have been standard for years. "In the future, the importance of product data management is also likely to increase strongly," says Fuchs. PIM systems are software solutions in which product-related information can be systematically collected, consolidated and enriched, and integrated from other business systems. In addition, such solutions can automatically pass on data to various other channels, such as the product catalog of an online store.


The study "Value Driver Product Information Management" was conducted by the Institute of Marketing Management at the ZHAW School of Management and Law. It is based on ten interviews with experts and an online survey of over 100 companies in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The study took place between February and June 2021. It was conducted in cooperation with Novomind Brix IT Solutions as the corporate implementation partner.

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