As an ecommerce merchant, you know trying to keep your catalog in order without specialized software is a hassle, and that’s understating it! Product Information Management (PIM) solutions like Akeneo make managing your catalog easier — while also giving you access to tools you didn’t know you needed.
By working with a PIM like Akeneo, you can update entire product lines, customize access for your contributors, translate products, export personalized assortment to multiple platforms… Akeneo’s PIM tools are the final piece in a well-oiled ecommerce machine.
Because every ecommerce website has different needs at different levels, Akeneo has multiple editions of their platform available. By evaluating where your business is at in its growth stage and what your customers need, you can select the right PIM for you — and to make it easier, we’ve broken down the key features in Akeneo’s Community and Enterprise editions.
PIM tools are crucial to running an ecommerce business, no matter their size. Small business? Self-employed? It’s never too early or late to integrate Akeneo PIM solutions into your ecommerce website, no matter how you’ve been working before — especially if you’re still working off of an offline spreadsheet.
The Community Edition of Akeneo is completely free. The downside to the Community Edition is that, being free, there is no dedicated support from the company. There is, however, an active and vibrant support community, so you can get help from peers.
Let’s take a look at some of the features:
Import and Export Profiles
The Community Edition has built-in features to help you import and export mapped data on a schedule. If a row of imports or exports fails for whatever reason, Akeneo has your back — the issue will be logged and skipped. Then, you can download the failed lines, investigate, correct them, and re-import as needed — and to make your life even easier, the products can be automatically exported to a channel based on them attaining 100% completeness.
Edit and Translate
Save valuable time when you’re filling out product information with Akeneo’s abilties to display multiple language input channels at once. As you easily input and edit your data, compare a translation side-by-side and translate into as many
languages as you need. Other time-saving features include the ability to keep track of any edits you make directly in the product’s history, making going between versions easy.
Organize and Classify
Need to save even more time? Good news: Akeneo has your back. Built in to the Community Edition are tools to help you organize and classify your products exactly how you want them. With the PIM, you cut down on redundant, complex sheets with categories that are useless for sorting, and instead start enriching your product data with images and detailed attributes. Hand-in-hand with Akeneo’s classification tools is an advanced search engine, where you can look up and only display exactly what you need.
Completeness Engine Per Channel
Worried you’ll miss some important details? The Completeness Engine shows as a percentage or progress bar in the PIM, calculated for each product and channel. As the engine will tell you when the product is considered completed, you can focus on how to define and classify your products, not if you’ve done it. There is little doubt that Akeneo’s Community Edition version is so feature packed that it rivals many of it’s more costly competitors.
If your needs are bigger than what the Community Edition can fulfill, Akeneo also offers their premium Enterprise Edition. For an annual fee, you get access to a PIM software that packs quite a bit more of a punch — the Enterprise Edition contains all the invaluable features of the Community Edition and builds upon them with even more tools. Upgrading from the Community Edition to the Enterprise Edition requires little developer intervention, so vendors already using Akeneo don’t need to totally start from scratch when they upgrade.
Understanding how a tool like Akeneo’s Enterprise Edition can be useful is easiest when you take a look at some of the features, like the Teamwork Assistant. The Teamwork Assistant streamlines enriching products.
Let’s say, for example, you have a bulk of new products to get online — at least 1000, an intimidating number to tackle without aid.
In Akeneo, you can create a new project with those products and assign a team to enrich them. By working with the Teamwork Assistant, you can even place specifications on your assignments, ensuring team members are assigned areas and attributes they know the most about.
The Teamwork Assistant is just one example of the features Akeneo’s Enterprise Edition contains:
Validation Workflow Engine
After the work by your team members is finished, you can choose to either automatically publish to the various channels you operate in, or you can assign a team member or members to approve the work as needed — and each user’s own dashboard will inform them of what they’ve been assigned and what is left to finish their various projects. Because the engine will clearly
tell you when you’re missing product information, you don’t have to worry about skipping key details when you update either.
Advanced Rights Management
With the Enterprise Edition, you have access to advanced rights management controls. Akeneo gives you the ability to split up and define specific rights for every user on every category, attribute, and locale.
The Rules Engine allows you to automatically set product details, create smart attributes, and directly classify product lines — in other words, it let’s you save precious time by empowering you to build macros and reduce manual overhead. As developers this Enterprise Edition feature is one of favorites and is perfect for any business that needs the ability to create and classify products based on a set of business rules.
Product Asset Manager
Another advantage of the Enterprise Edition is the Product Asset Manager. You can upload assets for your products and manage them in your PIM, and benefit from the automated transformations — like automatic resizing and thumbnail generation per channel.
One of the biggest advantages of Akeneo’s Enterprise Edition is access to dedicated and professional support. If you run into a bug that was caused by Akeneo, contacting support is easy and relatively fast — they typically respond within 4 business hours.
The Enterprise Edition is hosted on-premise, but if you want to look into PaaS and SaaS options, Akeneo has those options available. As a PaaS, you can still access and extend the source code, but as a SaaS, you do not have the option to do so — choosing which option your business will go with requires evaluation how much control you want and where.
Versioning and Publication
How can you be sure Akeneo’s keeping up with what you need? Simple — they release 4 versions a year, so you know they’re always keeping up with the newest practices, features, and updates you want and need. One major version is released every September, and 3 minor versions are released in March, June, and December.
Akeneo, for You
Akeneo’s Cloud Edition comes in the PaaS Flexibility and SaaS Serenity Modes. Choosing which one is right for your company requires a quick evaluation of the benefits and differences in PaaS and SaaS solutions; both versions have access to the Enterprise Edition source code, so both are equally powerful.
No matter what edition of Akeneo you go with, you’ll have a powerful PIM that will help your business thrive. If you’re ready to start working with Akeneo, get in touch with us — we’re a registered solution partner!