What Is PIM: The Complete Guide
Definition of PIM
The simple answer to “what is PIM” is: PIM stands for product information management that helps eCommerce businesses centrally store and manage product data. Product information scattered across spreadsheets, CRMs, ERPs, and local folders is organized into one single source of truth to eliminate errors, improve efficiency, take products to market faster, and ultimately boost revenue.
Importance of accurate product information
The impact of accurate and consistent product information on customer experience and business operations can’t be overstated.
Without a PIM system, the data remains trapped in disparate systems leading to inaccurate information. Here are some reasons why your product data needs to be accurate:
- Builds customer trust
- Enhances buying decisions
- Reduces returns and dissatisfaction
- Boosts brand reputation
- Improves SEO and discoverability
- Increases sales and revenue
When do you need a PIM system?
A product information management tool is an immediate need for your company when you experience one or all of the following.
- When product SKUs are growing
- You collect data from multiple suppliers
- When you expand your sales channels
- You want to achieve an omnichannel experience
- Difficulty in managing multiple teams
- A lot of time and energy goes into manual tasks
- Dealing with frequent updates
- Handling complex product data
- Struggling with data inconsistencies
Here’s a quick summary
|Aspect||Your business with PIM||Your business without PIM|
|Product Data||Centralized, organized, accurate||Scattered, inconsistent, prone to errors|
|Efficiency||Streamlined workflows, faster updates||Manual processes, delays in updates|
|Channel Consistency||Consistent data across channels||Inaccuracies and discrepancies|
|Marketing||Enhanced campaigns, rich data for targeting||Limited data, inconsistent messaging|
|Customer Experience||Accurate information, improved trust||Unclear details, potential dissatisfaction|
|Time-to-Market||Faster launch of products||Delays due to data preparation|
|Team Collaboration||Cross-functional collaboration||Disjointed efforts|
|Scalability||Easily manage growing product range||Struggles with expansion|
Get a step-by-step analysis of how to evaluate the need for a PIM
Key Components of PIM
A PIM system helps in organizing data from various sources - ERPs, CRMs, CMS, spreadsheets, and local folders to a single source of truth. This helps eCommerce businesses manage product data efficiently, maintain data accuracy and consistency, syndicate content seamlessly, and increase overall revenue.
The major challenge that eCommerce businesses face today is publishing content on different sales channels and adhering to the unique channel requirements. Without a platform like PIM in place, businesses spend endless hours on standardizing and creating channel-specific content.
A lot of human effort goes into this that impacts productivity and results in delayed time to market. But, with PIM’s instant syndication and native integrations, products can be instantly published on channels meeting the exact requirements.
Creating a final product catalog goes through multiple iterations and contributions from multiple stakeholders. But, the pain here is, without a PIM, the internal and external stakeholders end up writing long email threads to follow up and communicate. Some stakeholders collaborate on spreadsheets leading to costly errors.
A PIM can turn this around by enabling real-time collaboration. The teams can tag, comment, assign and collaborate with one another. They can create workflows and ensure productivity.
Vendor data management
Vendors often find it difficult to collaboratively work on product data and make it market-ready. You can also assign roles and controls where one vendor cannot view other vendors’ data.
A PIM helps in reducing the complexities of unorganized vendor data and streamline, standardize, and structure high volumes of data with pre-built rules and templates.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for product catalogs is an essential to maximize online search visibility and drive targeted organic traffic. By optimizing product descriptions, titles, images, and metadata with relevant keywords, you enhance the chances of your products appearing in search engine results.
A very few PIM platforms understand the significance of optimized product catalogs and provide options to optimize content with the help of performance metrics and content integrity tracking.
A PIM helps in personalizing product data based on the unique requirements of each channel with its in-built templates. Let’s say for example, you sell on 2 channels (Matrix and Nexus). Your apparel (red shirt) needs to be called out as “Red” on Matrix and “Maroon” on Nexus - PIM helps in standardizing this based on channel requirements.
Not just that, the content can also be localized based on the language of a particular region.
Enriching product catalogs with rich and comprehensive information helps in improving customer experience and enables your customers to make informed decisions.
With a PIM, product data can be enriched - missing data can be automatically updated by scraping relevant information from the web.
Analytics and reports
Analytics and reports are integral components of a Product Information Management (PIM) system, providing valuable insights into the performance and effectiveness of your product data management strategies.
With robust analytics, you can track data quality, user engagement, and the impact of your product information across various channels.
Benefits of Implementing PIM
Enhanced Data Accuracy
With a PIM, all your product information lives under one roof which means your data is managed efficiently reducing the errors, inconsistencies, and inefficiencies. This ensures that your final catalogs are error-free, crisp, and engaging.
Reduce time to market
You can save hours of manual work involved in standardizing product data to make it comply with unique channel requirements. You can take your products to market faster by automatically syndicating data with in-built templates.
A generic one size fits all product catalog does not make the cut if you are selling on multiple channels. A PIM helps in maintaining brand consistency and channel adherence by standardizing product data.
Ease of collaboration
Communicate with you marketing colleagues and catalog managers within your organization or with suppliers and manufacturers who’re external collaborators at ease with a PIM.
Who needs a PIM?
Suppliers and vendors
Suppliers and vendors utilize a PIM to store, send, and manage product information. They collaborate with the companies to share any updates or changes. They also assign approval workflows on a PIM to ensure data consistency and accuracy.
IT teams help in evaluating a PIM system for its security, efficiency, and other aspects and implementing it across the organization.
E-commerce managers play a crucial role in product content creation. They are under constant pressure to create, update, and modify product information. A PIM system helps in managing and refreshing the content.
Marketing teams create and finalize the customer-facing product catalogs. They coordinate with multiple stakeholders to finalize the catalogs. The content should also be optimized for search engines. The centralized management in the PIM system facilitates optimizing product content and syndicating accurate data to the websites.
Expand to global markets with product data that is presented in multiple languages to build loyalty and attract new buyers.
Retailers & Brands
Retailers and brands need an efficient and advanced PIM system to manage huge volumes of product information. The information is acquired from different sources - suppliers, retailers, brand owners, agencies and internal teams. This data is poor in quality because it comes in large volumes, different standards and inconsistent in formats.
A PIM system helps retailers organize, normalize and enrich product content that is consistent with every channel.
What kind of data is managed in a PIM?
Basic product information
Product title, descriptions, SKUs, and features
Images, documents, music, videos, and other multimedia content
Measurements, variants, specifications, and ingredients
Customer reviews, pricing information, and testimonials
Keywords, meta information, and promotional content
Why is PIM not the same as DAM?
|Aspect||Product Information Management (PIM)||Digital Asset Management (DAM)|
|Focus||Manages and enriches product information||Organizes and distributes digital assets|
|Data Type||Product-related information||Media assets (images, videos, documents)|
|Primary Use Case||Centralizing and optimizing product data||Organizing and sharing digital content|
|Information Included||Product specifications, attributes, pricing||Product specifications, attributes, pricing|
|Target Audience||Internal teams (product, marketing, sales)||Internal and external stakeholders|
|Goal||Consistent, accurate product information||Efficient asset storage and retrieval|
|Channel Management||Ensures consistency across sales channels||Enables controlled asset distribution|
|Integration||Often integrates with e-commerce platforms||Integrates with creative and marketing|
|Examples||Product descriptions, specs, categories||Brand logos, marketing materials, videos|
|Use in Marketing||Provides data for marketing campaigns||Empowers marketing with media resources|
|Data Structure||Attributes, hierarchies, relationships||Metadata, tags, categorization|
|Workflow Management||Supports collaborative data enrichment||Facilitates approval and editing cycles|
|Measuring Success||Improved data accuracy, faster launches||Streamlined creative asset workflows|
Often PIM (product information management) and DAM (digital asset management) are used interchangeably. While there are some similarities, PIM and DAM are different concepts. While PIM is product information management, DAM is handling of digital assets like videos, images, documents etc.
The Ultimate Guide To Digital Asset Management (DAM).
How to choose the best PIM solution?
There are a ton of PIM players in the market. But, business needs are different. Depending on your unique needs, you have to choose a PIM. You must also be watchful of what utility you gain from investing in a PIM. A good product information management system will help you:
- A PIM tool should help you manage product experience and not just data. Creating contextual customer experience can be achieved when a PIM helps you define overall data quality
- A good PIM platform should enable ease of onboarding data, workflows, and integrations. An important aspect of successful change management is the usability and intuitiveness of the system
- Product data management becomes holistic and becomes a unified infrastructure only when you are able to manage information even after syndication
- A PIM gives product information performance and in-depth insights to help you understand the perception of product information by the customer and allows you in an informed overall strategic planning
- Product information management system should extend a 360-degree view of products by incorporating additional data assets such as transactional, interactional, observational, and analytics data to enable greater business insight
PIM Implementation Process
The first step in implementing a PIM for your organization is understanding the need and finding out how a PIM can transform your business and change the way things are done
Next step is to evaluate the players in the market and identify the best PIM platform that serves your business needs. PIMworks is a leader in the industry that helps eCommerce businesses solve all their product data challenges. You can talk to a PIM expert before making a decision
After finalizing your PIM provider, you should think about the process of data migration. Involve your IT team at this stage
Integration with Other Systems
Integrate PIM with other business systems like ERP, CRM, and other platforms that your business currently uses
Future Trends in PIM
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are major players in the future of PIM by automating data categorization, enrichment, and personalized recommendations.
Integration with emerging technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will provide immersive product experiences. PIM will further embrace omnichannel capabilities, ensuring seamless data distribution across various touchpoints.
As businesses adapt to these trends, PIM will continue to play a pivotal role in driving efficient data management and elevating customer engagement.
PIM goes beyond simple data management; it empowers organizations to centralize, enrich, and distribute product information efficiently across various channels. By adopting a PIM solution, businesses can ensure consistent and accurate product data, streamline workflows, enhance customer experiences, and accelerate time-to-market.
The ability to harness the power of PIM not only leads to operational efficiency but also positions companies to excel in a competitive market, deliver compelling marketing campaigns, and build lasting customer trust.