It might come as a surprise to some that fashion is the highest-grossing eCommerce industry. You’d think that the inability to touch and try clothes on would be a major deterrent from making those purchases online, but this isn’t the case. Fashion brands overcome this obstacle by embracing the world of eCommerce in a smart way and are often the first to implement innovative solutions.
Product information management (PIM) systems can play a large part in the process of constant innovation. They create opportunities to seamlessly scale up, venture into new channels, and deliver intuitive shopping experiences for customers. Here are three real-world examples of fashion businesses that elevated their eCommerce with Pimcore.
Fashion businesses often follow the model of multiple brands under a single “parent” company. For example, the household clothing brands of Zara, Pull and Bear, Bershka, and Stradivarius, which are often seen as competitors, in fact all belong to a single company: Inditex.
While all of these brands create their own distinctive online presences and eCommerce experiences, it’s often the case that they’re only different on the surface. At the back end, however, it makes sense for them to be connected in some capacity. Modern PIM solutions can be instrumental in creating this kind of centralized multi-brand ecosystems.
Success story: Deuter Sport
Deuter Sport is a somewhat lesser known, but just as important, example of the multi-brand approach in the fashion industry. While the leading brand specializes in backpacks, there are also Ortovox for outdoor and mountain sports equipment, Maier Sports for ski wear, and Gonso for cycling wear. If you visit all the websites, you’ll quickly notice that, despite their individual touches, many elements are consistent. This was made possible by their new centralized eCommerce approach.
Challenge: centralizing multi-brand eCommerce solutions
Prior to the implementation of Pimcore, the eCommerce infrastructures of the distinctive brands were scattered across different systems, providers, and countries. This, obviously, wasn’t an optimal solution. All the separate systems required unique know-how to develop and maintain, and any change that affected all the brands needed to be implemented four times. Running four separate eCommerce systems also meant that all the day-to-day management tasks were much more difficult. There were four lists of incoming orders to keep track of, separate mailing databases, licenses, and so on.
Deuter Sport introduced Pimcore as the cornerstone of their revamped eCommerce infrastructure for all the brands. This allowed them to centralize the back end, which now provides a single source of truth for the four distinctive front ends. Management of the stores now happens from a single dashboard. This, in turn, greatly reduces the time requirements and the possibility of human error.
Seamless integration with marketplaces
As the data collected by our Trend Radar shows, marketplaces are the most significant trend in modern eCommerce. It’s easy to see why they’re becoming so popular, especially in the fashion segment. For customers, they bring the convenience of being able to compare the offers from multiple vendors in a single place. For businesses, on the other hand, they mean the opportunity to reach a much wider audience than when using their own eCommerce solution.
Establishing a presence in your marketplace of choice isn’t an easy task, though. If you were to do it manually, you’d first have to set up all the information about your business, shipping and payment policies, and so on. Then, you’d move on to listing all your products one by one. In short, it would be setting up a whole new eCommerce platform from scratch.
Luckily, this is another area where modern PIM systems, like Pimcore, can help you avoid all this work. The ability to seamlessly plug into various eCommerce platforms via APIs means that you’ll be able to automate most of the tasks listed above.
Success story: SSI Group
The SSI Group has been the leading fashion retailer in Southeast Asia for over 40 years. They boast a portfolio of over 100 brands and 10,000 products, including luxury, casual, fast fashion, beauty, and footwear. Entering the marketplace sphere was the next logical step in the expansion, and they chose to partner with Zalora: Asia’s leading lifestyle marketplace.
Challenge: old systems unfit for the volume of data
There were three major hurdles to jump over before SSI Group could enter the marketplace:
- The volume of data: the existing legacy systems struggled with scaling to handle the ever-growing volume of product information and related attributes. This was already problematic in its own right but would become even more so if SSI put more pressure on the system by connecting the marketplace.
- Managing product information: with such a massive product catalog, it was challenging to sort content information. This led to a tedious and error-prone process. Regularly adding new products also made it hard for the team to organize and enrich the information.
- Inaccurate product descriptions: disorganized product information made the process of adding new products slow and error-prone.
The good news, however, was that they could all be solved with a single solution: implementing a capable PIM system.
SSI Group decided to implement a solution similar to a staggered decomposition scenario that we described in our recent eBook. They didn’t completely abandon their legacy system. Instead, they breathed new life into it by adding Pimcore as a bridge between the old infrastructure and the marketplace.
This approach streamlined the flow of data objects and enabled data enrichment through a new customized dashboard. The improvements resulted in a 30% decrease in time to market for adding new products. They also facilitated the key goal of the entire project: a seamless publication of over 10,000 products on the Zalora marketplace with accurate information and attributes.
Compatibility with specialized front ends
Fashion eCommerce tends to have a distinct look and feel to it. It’s usually easy to recognize you’re visiting such a store just by taking a glance at the user interface (UI) and nothing else. The pictures are bigger and the fonts are more daring than in other industries, just to name a few features.
This means that if you aren’t building the whole thing from scratch, you’ll be looking for a front end that neatly fits into this aesthetic. You also need to be sure that the back-end infrastructure will be compatible with it or else the whole exercise will be in vain. This is another area where implementing a PIM system can make your life easier.
Success story: Mom Store
As you might imagine, the affectionately named Mom Store specializes in fashion and accessories for parents and children. It’s one of the biggest brands in the infant care market and offers over 90,000 products.
Challenge: marrying technical prowess and user-friendliness
Seamless user experience (UX) is a top priority in building any eCommerce front end, but you could argue it’s even more important for a business such as Mom Store. New parents already have enough on their plates and really don’t want to be wasting their time with unintuitive interfaces. Because of this, Mom Store was picky when choosing the right front end for them.
On the other side of the coin, the scale and complexity of the product catalog also had to be considered. With tens of thousands of products and 90 unique attributes to implement, it couldn’t be any generic system. It needed to be a specialized, robust product.
Mom Store decided to go with a combination of Pimcore at the back end and a Magento connection at the front end. This was possible thanks to an open-source module that we developed under the Divante brand.
Coupling these two powerhouses resulted in a solution that’s capable of handling large volumes of data as well as attractively displaying it to the end customer. The key features that swayed Mom Store towards Pimcore were:
- the queueing module for data enrichment.
- intuitive role and permissions assignment.
- advanced options for configurable and bundled products.
PIM systems are in fashion
The world of fashion eCommerce is thriving, and the embrace of innovative technologies, such as PIM systems, certainly plays a big role in this success. They’ve enabled fashion businesses to enhance customer experiences in a landscape where you’d think they have an inherent disadvantage.
As the success stories described above show, there’s much to accomplish when you take advantage of the opportunities presented by modern PIM systems. However, this is far from a complete list of those opportunities. We'll soon be releasing an eBook that will go over more applications and benefits of PIM software in the fashion industry. Make sure you stay in touch and follow our newsletter so you don't miss it.
Published November 14, 2023