In this article, you will learn what a PIM system is. Discover what advantages PIM can bring to business and what system to choose.
In fact, product information is the foundation for an effective sales process and customer relationships. There are several options for managing product data. Starting from simple Excel databases to more advanced, automated, multifunctional systems.
Once you decide that your company needs one centralized source of information, you will definitely look for a PIM system.
What is a PIM(Product, Information, Management) system?
PIM stands for Product Information Management. PIM system centralizes and organizes information about the product. It creates a workflow that collects, enriches, and distributes product information. Moreover, it allows easy distribution to various channels like websites, catalogs, or other business systems.
Product information management becomes more complex as a business grows and has more products. Without a system in place, it can be challenging to keep track of all information and its changes. In this case, data can become disparate and potentially inconsistent. A Product Information Management (PIM) system can solve this by centralizing all product information in one place. It will make large volumes of product data easier to manage and access.
What type of product information can you store in PIM?
Product Information Management (PIM) system stores and manages various product information types and formats about products. Some of them include the following:
- Product data, such as product name, SKU, manufacturer, and model number
- Product descriptions, including long and short descriptions in various languages
- Product images and other media, such as videos, technical drawings, 3D models, 360-degree views
- Pricing and availability information
- Technical specifications and dimensions, as well as warranty information
- Product attributes, such as color, size, and material
- Product categories and hierarchy
- Marketing and promotional information
- Customer reviews, ratings, FAQ
- Related products and cross-selling recommendations
A PIM (Product Information Management) workflow
Many people within the company collect product data, and as a result, the quality of information improves. The PIM creates a place for consistent data distribution to other applications: websites, online catalogs, e-commerce (B2B, B2C, B2X), product configurators, product selection tools, and printed materials.
Because of that, efficient data management workflow is possible in just one place. The system helps to collect data from many sources and enrich it by people in one central system. Thus, look what it means:
Data Collection (data acquisition)
- Connection to every possible data source
- Handle specific formats and locales
- Normalize the data
- Processing measurements and diagnostics from laboratories
- Creation and edition of all aspects of product information
- Use of data linking, dynamic lab data, and batch tools to make the work effective
- Storing of assets in media bank for reuse
- Data requirements creation by using templates and validation
- Handling editors and translators from all over the world with country-specific locales and a flexible permission system
- Access product data from every point of the product life cycle
- Support with historical data
- Specific data export for different channels (web, DTP, mobile app)
- Control of information published for various markets and languages
- Design of permission-based product life cycle with scheduled actions
- Data delivery
Why is the PIM (Product, Information, Management) system a good investment for your business?
In terms of effective information management, PIM can be a game-changer for your sales and marketing team. Your team can focus on data quality and leave the tedious task of manual data entry behind. Moreover, it streamlines product searches and ensures that all product information is up-to-date. As a result, it leads to a consistent brand image and improved customer experience.
PIM isn’t only a helpful tool for sales and marketing – it’s also a must-have for enterprises looking to set effective sales strategies. Meanwhile, it may seem like you can handle product information using Excel or other programs. However, the limitations of these tools become apparent as your company grows and the volume of data expands. You can avoid getting lost in product descriptions and chaotic manual sorting of information using PIM. Instead, focus on what matters – growing your business and achieving tremendous success.
Reasons to consider the PIM (Product, Information, Management) system
PIM software can offer many benefits to businesses looking to improve their product information management process. Here are a few reasons to consider implementing a PIM system:
- Speed up the product launch. Time-to-market is crucial for a company. Even a few weeks can influence it. Automating repetitive tasks with PIM will help. Inserting new data is fast and reduces the risk of making mistakes by employees. You can also react to changes in the market quickly.
- Improve sales. You can find language translations, currency changes, and order tracking features among the general features. This makes it easier to reach customers from different locations. You can also manage different site versions with one database, improving your marketing strategy’s quality.
- Plan design market campaigns. With access to all information in the cloud, you can look at the “big picture” and better understand the products you want to sell. Moreover, you can plan campaigns in the PIM system, including pictures, videos, presentations, and content plans. PIM can also be an archive – you can store past market campaigns.
- Onboard new employees quickly and boost productivity. Navigating various company information can be confusing. Instead of that, in the PIM system, everything is in one place. Therefore new employees will easily find any information. The onboarding is faster, and this creates a better work environment.
- Better manage data. The number of products is expanding, and so does the information about them. The number of products is increasing, and so does the information about them. PIM allows collecting, organizing, and managing product information from various sources in a centralized location. As a result, product information and product information management processes are more accurate.
- Analyse and track data. PIM allows tracking and analyzing data on product performance, customer behavior, and market trends. This can help to gain insights into what products are selling well and where to focus sales efforts, leading to more effective marketing and promotions.
- Easily integrate existing systems (ERP, DAM, CMS, CRM). Each element of these systems can be integrated into PIM. It leads to better coordination between systems and a clear product vision.
The PIM system definitely brings several benefits to a business. This includes improving data quality, personalizing product information, enhancing the product experience, increasing reach and visibility, analyzing and tracking data, and saving time. Taken together, these benefits will ultimately lead to increased revenue and growth for the business.
What is the difference between PIM and ERP systems?
At first glance, both Product Information Management (PIM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) aim to store data. However, they have different functions and focus on different areas.
PIM is designed to manage information about the product. Generally speaking, it serves as a single source of product data. In other words, PIM ensures that product information is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date.
On the contrary, ERP manages information related to sales, purchasing, manufacturing, warehouse management, order processing, and logistics. It does not focus on the product description itself. The product information in an ERP may not be of enough quality to meet the needs of product marketing.
Firstly, ERP systems may have limited technical capabilities for storing product features. Secondly, marketing, SEO specialists, and technical translators may not have access to it.
PIM can receive product information from an ERP system and enrich it for marketing and sales purposes. To achieve this, you can easily integrate both systems. ERP provides quantitative information (e.i. stock levels), while a PIM system provides qualitative information.
Choosing a PIM system for your needs
In fact, there are many options available in the market. Before buying a PIM system, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure that the system will meet specific business needs. Here are a few questions to consider:
- What specific functionality do we need the PIM system to have?
- Do we need to buy off-the-shelf software or a tailor-made PIM solution?
- Is the system flexible enough? Therefore it will not limit data access in the future.
- How will the PIM system integrate with other systems we already use? Such as our e-commerce platform, ERP system, or CMS.
- How scalable is the PIM system? Will it handle an increase in products and data as our business grows?
- How does the system handle data management? Such as data import/export, mapping, quality, and governance.
- How user-friendly is it? Will it be easy for our employees to use?
- How will it handle data security and privacy?
- How does it handle data distribution to different channels and marketplaces?
- How does it handle data versioning, rollback, and history tracking?
- What are the costs associated with the PIM system, including licensing, maintenance, and upgrades?
- How does the system handle multilingual and multi-currency data?
When to consider a custom Product Information Management solution?
Consider a custom PIM solution if your business has specific and unique requirements that standard commercial solutions cannot fulfill. Industries such as manufacturing may require a PIM solution that can manage and organize complex technical specifications.
For example, solutions like Pimcore, Akeneo, or inRiver cannot cover all needs related to advanced technical details like measurements, lab data, language-depend on product assets, drawings, 3D models, etc. With a custom solution, you can transfer your domain knowledge and encode your specific process into the system. Moreover, custom PIM saves money on annual licensing fees, as you buy it just once.