Digital Asset Management as an eCommerce strategy

Expectation of wide customer choice – combined with the demand for the appealing presentation of goods and services online – presents new challenges to all eCommerce platforms. Catalogs now contain thousands of different products, which considerably increase the time and workload necessary for maintenance and updates. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just end here, because the images, videos and 3D models even that are necessary to showcase products need to be managed, too. As such, product management must contend with the organization of several thousand (or even tens of thousands) of media assets.

To meet these challenges, product managers need a dynamic and sustainable strategy. eCommerce executives are generally formulating two main goals:

1. Streamlining workflows
2. Reducing costs for product maintenance

But how can these goals be achieved?

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a technology developed for the organization of large amounts of media files in complex work environments. Here we outline how a combination of DAM and integrated product information management (PIM) can optimize workflows in eCommerce.

DAM and PIM team play

The idea behind a DAM system is to manage the media files in which companies have invested resources, via production and/or acquisition. Digital files should be seen as digital assets that must be used efficiently, so that investment is returned. A sophisticated system of metadata, workflow features and flexible extensions makes it possible for DAM to manage almost all kinds of media files in large quantities.

Especially due to its performance in image management, a DAM system is the ideal method to organize product images. Intelligent search makes it possible to quickly and easily find all images for a specific product, or in turn discover which product correlates to an image. DAM’s workflow capabilities make a variety of processes, such as “approval”, clear and effective. Every user sees all jobs on their dashboards directly. Furthermore, being able to annotate images with comments right inside the DAM system, instead of sending emails, makes coordination and communication easy and saves times.

Importantly, open APIs make it possible to integrate DAM systems with PIM. All relevant information on a specific product can be exchanged via the product ID. This integration allows product managers to work as usual in their PIM system, while simultaneously making use of all the benefits offered by digital asset management.

dam-pim-illustration

Automation ensures efficiency and safety

The main advantage of a DAM-PIM integration for eCommerce is the automation of work processes, such as displaying product information in an eCommerce catalog. A well-designed eCommerce integration provides reliable performance for large to huge amounts of data.

When a customer clicks on a product, all relevant images in the DAM system are collected by the product’s ID. A role and user concept in the DAM system ensures that all content has already been approved for publication. The available pictures – main product view, front view, rear view, 3D model, video, etc. – come from the DAM system, while the PIM system provides other necessary information while pulling even further information (such as price) out of the ERP system. Within seconds, the customer gets all the desired content on the website. The process behind this action is efficient and secure.

Flexible integration

The flexibility of digital asset management makes it possible for eCommerce executives to react to new or modified processes. If the design of the eCommerce store changes, the auto-generated product photos from the DAM can be adapted accordingly. For example, these might include a different required resolution – while processes such as resize, cropping or watermarking are run on-the-fly.

At the same time, different possibilities for integrating an eCommerce store and DAM are responsive to the flexibility of the respective work processes. There are two methods to reference products and their related media assets: static linking and dynamic linking. With a static link, the product manager specifies which photos should be displayed in the store from within the PIM system. The correct photos are then delivered from the DAM to the store via asset ID. This variant is useful when you want to ensure that only selected, and therefore controlled, product photos are used.

With dynamic linking the allocation between image and product uses the product ID, which is stored in the asset metadata in the DAM. By querying, the DAM delivers all relevant and valid images to the store. The selection of images is determined by the metadata in the DAM. This variant is especially useful if flexible work processes take high priority in your organization.

Regardless of the overall DAM strategy for eCommerce, there are many practices – justified by different technical decisions – that help decide which integration is right for your company, depending primarily on localized work processes.

A smart strategy for e-commerce

The high demands of eCommerce systems and their management can be met with a well-thought-out DAM solution. A combination of DAM and PIM simplifies many typical workflow in product maintenance, such as selecting and approving new product images. This saves money and time.

Costs can be reduced especially through the automation of workflows via integration of systems – reducing costs and enabling wide product selection. In this respect, a powerful and flexible solution based on Digital Asset Management is the key to a sustainable eCommerce strategy. An important advantage in the design of such a solution is a strong partner with specialized expertise. If you have questions about eCommerce and DAM, our experts from Canto Professional Services would be happy to assist you.