Product Information Management

Updated: December 23, 2021
Contents

Overview

The Product Information Management (PIM) module represents a set of characteristics and specifications that allow business partners on the Connect platform to collect and manage relevant information about the product. This module allows Distributors to create interconnected templates that enable Vendors to provide product data required for specific distribution channels. Such templates are referred to as a Product Information Model on the Connect platform and this model includes product attributes, groups, classes, and categories. Note that one Vendor can provide structured product information to one or multiple Distributors as schematically illustrated in the diagrams below:

Therefore, the PIM module provides a systematic and unified way to more accurately describe available products, which in turn is increasingly beneficial for all organizations and companies that collaborate via the CloudBlue Connect platform. Well-structured and systematized information enables your customers to get the clear understanding of your presented product and its features. Consequently, your customers can quickly find a product with required specifications. This drastically improves the customer experience on the specified marketplace and can potentially lead to larger sales and profits.

The following outlines the structure of the Product Information Model and also describes the content of the PIM module on the Connect platform.

Data Model

The Product Information Module consists of multiple interconnected blocks that are schematically illustrated in the diagram below:

The following describes each block and consequently introduces the content of the PIM module:

Attributes

Product attributes represents the center and the foundation of the PIM module. Defined attributes include all provided technical specifications and every other product aspect or characteristic. The Connect platform also allows specifying as many attributes as it is required for your marketplace or .

Implemented product attributes are illustrated in the example below:

This example showcases Apple MacBook Pro and its technical specifications. Note that such specifications represent attributes on the CloudBlue Connect platform.

By following this example, Distributors can define 6 attributes that are used to specify display type, processor specifications, storage, RAM, GPU, and audio specifications for laptop computers. Vendors that have products in this category can provide attribute values and consequently specify information that is required for their Distributors.

Note that different Distributors may require different attributes from the same Vendor. Therefore, the system prompts Vendors to provide attribute values for each business partner they collaborate with.

Groups

Specified attributes can be grouped by certain criteria. Therefore, the PIM module also allows defining groups and consequently populate this groups with your added attributes. Defined groups may represent the physical characteristics of your product (such as weight, color, and size), technical information on your product (CPU type, available RAM, GPU, etc.), general product information (e.g., product name, type, brand), and so on. Attribute grouping makes your products more understandable for customers and consequently can greatly improve the user experience on your marketplace.

The following example demonstrates and highlights various groups and provided attributes within the technical specifications of V7 HB600S Headset:

The provided technical specifications showcase various groups of attributes, such as Interface/Ports, Warranty, Microphone, Earpiece and so on. Each group helps customers understand the context of every presented attribute. Furthermore, provided groups also allow locating required attributes faster.

Note that your attributes can be associated only with a single defined group. Namely, the system doesn’t allow multiple groups to share the same attribute since there is no practical use to associate an attribute with more than one group. A single group, however, can feature one or more specified product attributes.

Classes

A class is a set of all possible attributes that are shared by products of the same type. Namely, a class represents a template that is used to systematically organize provided product attributes and consequently to determine where each attribute should be placed within the product records.

Classes can also inherit certain attributes from other created classes. Thus, the PIM module can be used to implement various product hierarchies. The following diagrams illustrate an example of the class hierarchy:

The first diagram introduces three product classes with the growing number of provided attributes. Specifically, the jacket class inherits an attribute from its parent class upper garment. This diagram also includes a denim jacket product class that inherits both attributes from the jacket class.

The second diagram provides an antivirus software classification and also showcases hierarchy of the provided classes. Each presented class specifies unique features and also inherits attributes from its parent class.

Therefore, this class hierarchy allows defining default attributes for the child classes and allows providing more structured technical information for a specific product.

Categories

A product category allows determining and organizing products that offer the same general functionality. Note, however, that product categories represent marketing entities. Categories are used to effectively categorize and group products to increase their visibility. In other words, categories are used on marketplaces to help customers find specific products they are looking for.

Product categories are closely interconnected with classes despite having different functions. Namely, a category should include only products of a particular class. Furthermore, note that one class can define multiple categories. Classes may provide certain attributes that may not be applicable for any category. Thus, organizations and companies can create thousands of categories for their distribution channel while having a handful of classes.

The PIM module also enables to define a hierarchy of categories that resemble a tree structure as schematically illustrated below:

The first diagram showcases computers that is a parent category for the following categories: laptops and handheld devices. Note that the handheld devices category also includes PDAs and e-book readers categories, while the desktops laptops categories don’t include any child categories.

The second diagram demonstrates a more complex hierarchy of software products. This includes various interconnected objects that represent broad categories (such as computer software and digital goods) as well as more specific categories (e.g., web design or graphic design software).

Therefore, by using the same logic, Distributors can create hierarchies for their product categories and generate as many categories and sub-categories as required for their marketplaces.

More Information

Refer to the following sub-article to learn more about the provided API, graphical user interface and available operations of the PIM module:

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