For retailers, the question isn't if you need a Digital Asset Management platform to manage product images, videos and advertising content, it's which features you should look for in a DAM.
As with any software solution, all DAM software is not created equal – and not all DAM platforms will suit retailers. Here's what you should look for when selecting a DAM.
Workflow Approvals and Annotations
In addition to being able to store and manage images, one of the most critical features of a DAM is workflow.
Workflows allow retail marketers to create and control the process involved in bringing assets to the public, as well as putting a process in place to approve co-branded creative before it is released. So, for example, your marketing department could create a workflow approval process around the use of your company’s logo by partners and that workflow would highlight the relevant brand guidelines, give them access to different versions of your logo, track and record who downloads what and when; and then require a publishing approval before that logo is used.
The approval control remains with your company as the entire process is created and approved internally but monitored automatically saving on time required to ensure your brand guidelines are adhered to.
In addition, the workflows around adding new products, removing old SKU's and updating existing product ranges can be automated and, even, cloned, eliminating the need for multiple touch points across your system.
A typical workflow around the addition of a new product may include the creation of a list of all available product images, a product description, the creation of relevant SEO tags and Facebook tags, and an assignment of the product to relevant categories. This workflow can then specify remarketing and display banner ads, A/B tests, and outline mandatory PR activities as well as updates to your company’s Support Centre processes.
This may seem overwhelming - but that is just the process around adding a single product. Workflows bring together many smaller processes and turn them into one, clearly outlined and clearly articulated process that is simple to follow. They’re invaluable and your DAM platform should handle and clone workflows with ease.
Advanced Search for Assets By SKU’s & Themes
One of the most important features of a DAM is the ability to search. This is especially important for retailers – who need to search by a specific SKU and even color range. Even the smallest retailer will, likely, have thousands of SKUs. If you’re a large retailer, it is not uncommon to have a need to track 30,000+ SKUs and hundreds of categories and sub-categories.
When looking for a DAM software platform, it's important that you can enter into the search facility, unique SKU keywords, and also add themes against each digital asset such as product shot, packaging, lifestyle, and colors and size metadata – so you can easily get to the right product image.
Multiple Images For Each Product - Linked
One of the greatest challenges facing retailers is knowing which versions of a single product, are available as creative assets.
What views of that best-selling ring do we have on file? Do we have images for every colour available for product No.8293292-20? Are there any lifestyle shots of our latest phone available?
DAM platforms that cater for retailers should allow you to upload and also ‘link’ related images to each other, so that a search for the yellow version of the new 8x10 picture frame brings up all images of that product, as well as any allied ones, such as older models of the same product or complementary ones (ie, the red version, the silver version and the black version).
Collections for Catalogues and Promotions
Catalogues and promotions are what make retail tick. To prepare for the production of catalogues and advertising flyers, ensure your DAM software has a robust and shareable lightbox collections feature. This makes it easy to add images from different folders from within your DAM into a specific collection.
Secure, but Easy DAM Access for External Suppliers
Every retailer has robust brand guidelines, which determine what assets can be used and how relevant materials, using your brand, should be created. It is crucial that these guidelines are conveyed to relevant third parties so they can adhere to these rules – so everyone is ‘on brand’. You may also have to liaise with suppliers, specific stores, sales representatives or agencies. In addition, you will need to give third parties access to your digital library so vendors can download appropriate logos, as well as upload the most recent images to your platform. However access should only be granted to assets they need, rather than to your entire asset library.
Your DAM platform should easily allow you to set access parameters and permissions for third-parties who may only need product images and product specifications, but not access to your logo libraries or particular SKUs.
Others parties may just need access to images created specifically for use on social media.
One of the most practical time-savers a retail-friendly DAM platform will offer is the ability to allow suppliers and store managers to self-register. This will allow them to gain access not just to existing assets but also the ability to upload their own creative for final brand approvals.
Your DAM platform should allow you to control access to your digital assets effortlessly.
Advertising Calendars - To Ensure Everyone's On Schedule
In addition to being able to manage creative assets centrally, a robust DAM such as IntelligenceBank, will also allow you to manage the timing for different promotions and advertising - by posting activities to a shared calendar.
Each stakeholder will be able to view the calendar and comment on activities within the calendar and add their notes or even append relevant files. Further, and anyone with access to that calendar will have a real-time view of where that asset and activity stands.
No more multiple versions of calendars and files flying around via email.
Your DAM Should Be Integrated
For your DAM platform to be truly impactful to your business, ensure your DAM platform of choice integrates with your other systems such as your CMS and, in particularly with your ecommerce platform so that it can display images from within your DAM. For example, IntelligenceBank has a Sitecore CMS Connector, and a robust push and pull API, that allow your product images to integrate seamlessly into your website as well as your product information management platform.
Without this integration, you are simply adding yet another process that your employees must learn and switch back and forth between, but if your DAM platform is flexible enough to integrate with your existing systems, not only will this lessen resistance to its implementation, it will improve workflow and productivity across your organization.
Shopping for a DAM platform for a retail business is just like shopping for anything else. Think about what you need your new purchase to do – and stop only when you find the product that does exactly that – and within budget, of course.