A butterfly undergoes a complete metamorphosis throughout its lifecycle. Similarly, a product also passes through several key phases from initial conception to end-of-life.

After a lot of iterations, a product passes through the design, production, launch, growth, maturity, and decline stages. 

From ideation to retirement, managing each transition in the product life cycle poses challenges for cross-functional teams in terms of collaboration, data management, retrieval, and more.

This is where Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) comes in by enabling the management of a product throughout its lifecycle.

PIM on the other hand facilitates product data management when the product is in its flourishing stage. To store, manage, enrich, and syndicate product data, PIM software helps improve customer experience and increase revenue.

Like a butterfly’s wings allow it to take flight, PIM gives products the digital wings to soar across channels. 

PIM VS PLM: Key Differences 

Core FunctionManages product information and contentManages the entire product lifecycle
ScopeFocuses on marketing and sales dataEncompasses engineering and manufacturing
Key Data TypesDescriptions, images, pricing, and moreCAD files, specifications, BOM, and more
Target UsersMarketing, sales, and e-commerce teamsEngineering, manufacturing, and R&D
IntegrationTypically integrated with e-commerce, ERPs & CRMsIntegrates with CAD and ERP systems
Customer BenefitEnhanced online product presentationStreamlined design, production, and maintenance
Business ObjectiveImproved sales and customer experienceEfficient product development and reduced time-to-market

Defining PLM

PLM facilitates efficient management of a product through its entire lifecycle. Think of a running shoe for instance – the final product that we see on the online store has gone through a lot of stages before it is ready to consume. The shoe would have been just a rough drawing on a whiteboard in the ideation stage. It then takes shape through design and CAD models. The shoe then goes through the production stage, launch, and finally to the market. 

A PLM facilitates managing data at each of these stages. It involves various stakeholders’ data, from engineering to supply chain management.

pim and plm difference

Who are the stakeholders involved in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)?

  • Design Team
  • Product Managers
  • Manufacturing Team
  • Marketing Team
  • Supply Chain Managers
  • Sales Team
  • Quality Assurance/Testing Team
  • Customer Service
  • Retailers/Distributors

Why is a PLM important?

✅PLM systems enable cross-functional team collaboration that makes information accessible

✅It helps streamline the product development process which reduces chaos and enables quicker time to market

✅ Optimizing the entire product development process helps reduce rework and minimizes the possibility of making costly errors

✅ PLM centralizes product-related data, reducing data silos and empowering all the stakeholders to easily access the information 

✅ Enables continuous improvement by having all the learnings every step of the way  right from ideation, prototyping, and experimentation

✅ Tracking and attributing becomes easiest as each step can be traced with the PLM

Defining PIM

PIM is a product information management software that helps online businesses including retailers, brands, and manufacturers centrally store and manage product information. A PIM helps significantly reduce time to market with marketplace and channel integrations that facilitate instant syndication.

data in pim

Who are the stakeholders involved in product information management (PIM)?

  • Product Managers
  • Marketing Team
  • Sales Team
  • IT Department
  • Content Creators/Writers
  • Graphic Designers
  • eCommerce Managers
  • Supply Chain Managers
  • Manufacturing Team
  • Retailers/Distributors

Why is a PIM important?

✅Simplifies product data challenges by serving as a single source of truth for all the product information

✅ Speeds up the time to market with instant syndication

Integrates with eCommerce channels and marketplaces that enable two-way synchronization of data. This helps in the smooth syndication of data

✅ PIM supports personalized marketing strategies by enabling syndication of content that is compliant with each channel’s unique requirements

✅ Centralized access to product information ensures that the data is always accurate and consistent

✅ Enables collaboration between internal and external stakeholders by creating powerful workflows. This enhances productivity and improves efficiency

Synergies between PIM and PLM

While PIM and PLM serve distinct purposes, they can complement each other in some scenarios. At the core, both these systems help in simplifying processes and enhancing efficiencies. 

It’s not about PIM VS PLM: An eCommerce business needs both PIM and PLM when:

  • An eCommerce business that has huge volumes of products and associated product information that frequently changes needs a PIM system to ensure data consistency and accuracy across channels
  • eCommerce businesses involved in the design, development, or assembly of products should invest in PLM. A PLM helps streamline product ideation, and development, taking the product to market, and its retirement
  • eCommerce companies dealing with technical information and intricate product information can greatly benefit from integrating PIM and PLM. This integration helps in achieving comprehensiveness of data and ensuring that it is accurate and up-to-date

Let’s look at some of the common purposes that both PIM and PLM solve:

Unified Product Data: PLM is the home to product information such as design specifications and manufacturing details. This data is also crucial for product catalogs that get disseminated from the PIM software. A PLM when integrated  with PIM ensures consistency in product information

✅  Collaboration and Communication: Both systems contribute to improved collaboration among different teams. A PLM helps product development teams, marketing, sales teams, and other key stakeholders find and access all the key information in one platform. PIM enables internal and external stakeholders involved in product catalog creation to collaborate by creating workflows

Time-to-Market Reduction: A PLM has all the product-related information throughout its lifecycle that helps accelerate the product launch process. Marketing teams can quickly access product information from PLM, allowing them to create and distribute marketing materials faster. Similarly, a PIM helps in syndicating the products to the marketplaces with tight integrations. This eliminates manual data entry and increases the time to market

Consistent Branding: PIM ensures that product information, including images, descriptions, and specifications, remains consistent across various channels. Similarly, a PLM has all the information about the product right from the time it is taking shape. It becomes easier to access and streamline branding efforts

Final thoughts: PIM VS PLM, what’s the verdict?

PIM, PLM, DAM, and CMS – These platforms may seem like they’re similar, but there are vast differences in their purpose and audiences. 

PIMworks is a product information management platform that simplifies product data management, improves time to market, enriches product data, and syndicates your products to marketplaces and channels seamlessly.


PIM and PLM are powerful tools with distinct purposes in the world of eCommerce. Understanding their differences and considering their synergy can help in analyzing the need for each of these platforms for your eCommerce business.

Whether it’s optimizing online product presentations or streamlining complex product development, choosing the right system (or a combination of both) is essential for success.


What is the difference between PIM and PLM?

PIM (Product Information Management) manages product data like descriptions and media assets across channels. PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) manages technical product data like designs, BOMs, and manufacturing info.

When should I use a PIM vs a PLM? 

You must use a PIM if you are managing product data in disparate systems and if it’s causing costly errors. It should also be a priority if your goal is syndicating product content to eCommerce sites without delays. Use PLM if you want to optimize new product development and engineering processes. 

What systems integrate with PIM? 

PIM integrates with eCommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud to manage product content. It also connects with ERP, CRM, and other marketing systems.

What systems integrate with PLM?

PLM integrates with CAD, ERP, MES, and supply chain management systems.


Nandhini is a Content Lead who loves writing. Her day is set with a planner and sticky notes. She loves a good dose of Netflix on her time off and enjoys Kindle reading, with the side of hibiscus tea.

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