- This article is made by Icecat/iceshop and wil be published on their webside and their LinkedIn profile.
In the current dynamic business environment, using a PIM solution proves to be a strategic choice for businesses to handle and improve their product information. The PIM system is a centralized platform that increases productivity by organizing workflows and keeping the data up-to-date. Without a PIM solution, “large” businesses typically struggle with inconsistent data, the need of extra manual work, and loss in revenue. Embracing a robust PIM solution optimizes a business’s operations beyond its product content.
The InterSign business case serves as a prime example of the advantages of implementing a PIM solution at a later stage when the business was already launched without sourcing content from data hub and without a PIM solution. Through “sourcing,” centralizing, and managing product information, InterSign experienced streamlined workflows, improved data quality, and seamless integration with e-commerce platforms.
What Is InterSign?
Established in 2013, InterSign has emerged as a leading distributor and manufacturer of customized products to digital signage and professional display solutions. All their products and full-service solutions are sold and serviced through IT / AV dealers in and outside of Denmark. InterSign holds a comprehensive product portfolio. This assortment includes professional screens tailored for continuous 24/7 or 16/7 usage, touchscreen solutions, PC/Android based media players, communication applications, integrated display solutions, sound systems, video walls, and more. Their expertise lies in distributing Digital Signage products, making InterSign the optimal partner for resellers working in this business area. InterSign has a deep technical knowledge about the products, and an impressive product portfolio. InterSign is in dialogue at factory level, on a day-to-day basis, with the world’s leading manufacturers through partnerships with reputable brands like LG, iiyama, BrightSign, NEC, and 50 other brands, enabling a variety of high-quality products.
How it all started
Before choosing to collaborate with us, Kim, the Co-Chief Executive Officer at InterSign, explored other companies for product content sourcing and integration. According to the customer's perspective, following a similar path to competitors for content sourcing from Icecat seemed logical. However, in terms of data integration, Intersign examined some of the opportunities on the market and found them to be costly. The Co-CEO deliberated between two options: addressing technical implementation and related issues with Iceshop or paying a considerable extra sum. Ultimately, the customer decided to allocate time to additional technical implementation with us instead of paying a high price to our competitor.
InterSign's initial choice of WooCommerce was transitioned to Shopify, notably due to the economic system and the platform's better webshop capabilities. This transition was motivated partly by customization challenges, signifying the need for a more adept e-commerce solution. Thus, our professional journey with InterSign started by implementing a standard integration utilizing the Icecat-Shopify connector. As our collaboration progressed, InterSign realized they needed more advanced tools for handling product data. This realization prompted us to delve deeper, exploring customized approaches to address InterSign's requirements and making the most of Iceshop's solutions.
What Was The Challenge?
The challenge presented to us in this business case involved the implementation of a different approach to accommodate InterSign's specific requirements. Unlike a typical Iceshop integration, which involves connecting with suppliers through Iceimport to Icepim and managing the assortment in Icepim while enriching content from Icecat, this project demanded a more tailored solution. This is an illustration of a standard integration of Iceshop:
Our task was to keep the assortment that the customer already had in their Shopify, enabling the management of product assortment on the Shopify directly for the customer while enriching content from Icecat. Furthermore, the shop interface had to allow easy range filtering of each attribute enriched by Icecat. This posed a challenge because attributes from Icecat were imported as text fields, but we needed to transmit them as numeric fields.
Why Were Iceshop and Icecat The Right Fit for InterSign?
In terms of content, when we first connected, the customer typed everything in manually, leading to data errors. It was also monotonous, boring, and, at times, the customer was too busy to keep the data fully up-to-date.
“Before teaming up with Icecat, we dealt with a lot of issues in our content suppliers' data. Their data quality was really bad: sometimes, basic details were missing, and other times, they put info in the wrong spots. This meant we had products listed on our webshop with just item numbers like 1234567 instead of product names, which obviously couldn't be sold. In those cases, we had to fix all the wrong data.”
- Kim, Co-Chief Executive Officerat InterSign
InterSign found the perfect solution for smooth and effective product content creation and distribution through its strategic partnership with Icecat, a sister company of Iceshop. They began syndicating content, including crucial product specifications such as marketing texts, product images, and more. This shift not only optimized retailers' access to comprehensive data, relieving InterSign of dull and manual tasks, but also paved the way toward automation. InterSign's employees could thereafter focus on important improvements such as customizing product information, introducing new products, and efficiently managing older ones.
“We currently allocate the same amount of time for content management. Moreover, we currently have 2 people working on content within the team. But now, instead of creating data from scratch in our webshop, we spend time perfecting the existing data or creating only the missing product’s data. The product data quality went on another level. As our product range grows, we expect more time savings."
- Kim, Co-Chief Executive Officer at InterSign
E-commerce connector solution
In the process, InterSign faced another challenge. This time regarding integrating its e-commerce platform with Icecat's extensive product data. While Shopify proved to be a reliable platform, its connector had certain limitations compared to Magento and Woocommerce. Recognizing the need to provide comprehensive product details sourced from Icecat to end customers within Shopify's constraints, InterSign collaborated with Iceshop to implement an e-commerce connector solution. At Iceshop, we automate export of all possible Icecat data to the InterSign shop for their assortment in order to provide as many product details as possible, taking into account Shopify limitations.
“The Iceshop team was very responsive. We maintained close communication, and they kept us updated with project progress while offering fair pricing. Since I am not technically inclined, I needed to learn how to communicate my needs and understand the integration. But in the end, it proved to be a positive learning experience for me.”- Kim, Co-Chief Executive Officer at InterSign
Thanks to Icepim's implementation at a later stage, this particular integration allowed sourcing product assortment directly from the Shopify shop itself, rather than relying on Iceimport. This was particularly advantageous for InterSign, as it enabled them to manage their product assortment within their e-commerce backends while leveraging the capabilities of Iceshop's sister company, Icecat, to source the content. The implementation followed a well-designed scheme, ensuring a smooth workflow for InterSign.
See below the illustration:
Additionally, thanks to Icepim, it was possible to import the attribute values from Icecat as numeric fields and subsequently transmit them to Shopify as metafields. This new approach allowed the attributes to be utilized in the shop as a range filter, improving the browsing experience for customers, end users of InterSign. The combination of Iceshop and Icecat provided InterSign with the desired manageability and flexibility they sought, enabling them to optimize their operations and deliver a better and more consistent e-commerce experience.
Here is how the range filter appears after the implementation of the new approach:
What Does InterSign Say About Us?
“Icecat’s and Iceshop’s systems significantly improved our data accuracy – now all product content is 99.8% up-to-date - compared to previous manual entries. For example, before the integration, if I sold a PC screen, I would input its size and mention 10 basic functions. Now we have around 100 characteristics for a PC screen, and this is another level of product data. So far, we are satisfied with our partnership and trust that the Icecat and Iceshop team will continue to develop their systems to be smoother and with even better functions.”
- Kim, Co-Chief Executive Officer at InterSign
Kim, InterSign's Co-CEO, has seen a positive change in his tasks thanks to our partnership. Automation has reduced manual work and minimized common human errors. With Icepim and Icecat's integrated data, Kim now delegated most of the content tasks to his colleagues and has more time for strategic decisions. Our collaboration has made Kim's role smoother and more efficient, contributing to InterSign's success.
The Future of Digital Signage and Professional Display Market
As technology evolves rapidly, we can anticipate a convergence of innovative features and capabilities. Certain developments such as system-integrated digital signage, displays that increase interactivity, and the integration with Artificial Intelligence will become standard features. Additionally, based on a study conducted by Grand View Research, the worldwide digital signage industry is projected to reach a value of $45.3 billion by 2030. This growth is expected to occur at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% throughout the forecast period.