Introduction

A set of tools and processes that manage and centralize an e-commerce business’s product information to ensure a single and accurate view of the product data is Product Information Management. The PIM offered a centralized platform to manage the products and services of an e-commerce business cost-effectively.  

PIM meaning: For brands that operate globally, the foremost challenge is adjusting the product information to suit every retailer’s requirements. Also, specific market demands are specific for retailers to enable them to sell products in different geographic locations. Thus, PIM data has to be managed in multiple formats and languages via a centralized catalog. To collect, edit, refine and automatically save product information, special Product Information Management software solutions are available.

In this article let us look into

  1. What is PIM System?
  2. What can a PIM store?
  3. Tools for PIM
  4. Who needs PIM?
  5. Benefits of PIM

What is PIM System?

What is PIM?

PIM stands for Product Information Management. PIM promotes the maintenance of quality and consistent information on product data. The main difference between thematically similar Catalog Management software and PIM is that PIM goes beyond enrichment of data and is all the more encompassing. For product management, data is collected from multiple data sources by the PIM, and they are combined and formatted into a master data of a single source. Problematic data are identified and pushed out to all channels of the desired distribution. Software is integrated by PIM- like data quality, business process management and catalogue management.   

In order to qualify incorporation into the PIM product information management category, the product should:  

  • Unify and collect product information from separate and various files into a single source.  
  • Identify and then fix inconsistent or problematic data.  
  • Automate processes of e-commerce and data.  
  • Have a filtering function or search bar that is working  
  • Have an effective search engine  
  • Manage and create categories for organizing products  
  • Push information/products out, to social media, retail, sales channels or marketing.  

Features

The key features of PIM are

  1. Product data enrichment
  2. Centralized product information
  3. Effective team collaboration
  4. Easy multichannel syndication.

All product information is consolidated into one single platform by a Product Information Management system. Having a PIM system in a company means running alongside or over a database with an application server, and or XML-based product information exchange. A foundation is formed upon which procurement business processes and sales are built. With the help of PIM solutions, user authorizations and access for all database information, ordering of processes connected with inventory management systems, and mechanisms involved in modular expansions are managed through a web-based administration. Platforms like online shopping and point of sales systems that include online markets are on electronic catalogs.

Product descriptive information can be loaded by the Product Information Management system into catalog management solutions as content. Products are grouped and then managed for markets with a specific target. Seamless interchange of e-catalog is allowed between purchasing firms, market place operators, and vendors by data exchange interface standards. There is a close relation between electronic procurement systems, where the procurement procedure is automated to purchase services and goods.

Thus, transparency for numerous vendors’ product data that can support the consolidated management of multi-supplier catalogs and facilitate quality research and price is created. Interoperation of data management systems is often not possible, causing severe consequences for a business when the exchange of data without the support of PIM is done. Some businesses use master data management (MDM) as IT resources as a substitute for PIM. MDM often cannot be used as it is not a business application, as product data management capabilities include validation, data enrichment, and workflow rules and impact investment returns.

With the rapid growth of the “endless aisles” marketplace and e-commerce, many product content management platforms have come up as an important tool to disperse product content to suppliers from retailers. To ensure that their products are well presented online, this service is usually funded by suppliers to reduce retailer, customer workload. One to two establishments provide these services in every region.

PIM definition: it is nothing but Product Information Management. It is the process involving handling content, data, and other materials needed for marketing and selling of products. PIM ensures the creation of quality data for multichannel distribution and internal use.   

What can a PIM store?

There are many kinds of data that support a particular product through its lifecycle. Outgoing, incoming and inter-department product information are dealt with efficiently by a good PIM like  

  • Product data that is essential: UPCs, SKUs, titles, names, descriptions,   
  • relationship and taxonomy: Labels, categories, variations  
  • Technical specifications: Measurements, ingredients, materials, warranties  
  • Digital assets: Documents, images, videos  
  • Marketing data  
  • Personas, keywords, SEO elements  
  • Sales information: Testimonials, prices, customer reviews.   
  • Design specifications: Designer notes, style sheets, assembly instructions  
  • Channel specific information: Mobile descriptions, google categories, Amazon titles  
  • Localized information: Multilingual copy, translations  
  • Manufacturer and supplier data: Certifications, spreadsheets   

Tools for PIM

PIM tools: luckily, there are several PIM software solutions for businesses eager to perform a digital transformation. These tools enable businesses to manage and consolidate the complete product offering in a single place. They can be bespoke, hosted cloud solutions, on-premise set up or even homegrown.   

There are many different names for PIM Product Information Management tools. 

  • PIM- Product Information Manager   
  • PIM- Product Image Manager   
  • PCM- Product Content Manager   
  • PDM- Product Data Manager   
  • PRM- Product Resource Manager   
  • Item Master  

By whichever name it is called, it has the same goal. They are tools that work as a central-product library or database to standardize the information to be used for the company.   

Who needs PIM?

Organizations with complex product information need PIM. When a company experiences all or one of the following issues, there is an immediate need for a PIM tool. Growing product SKUs, data is collected from multiple suppliers, when sales channels are expanded, when there is a need for an omnichannel experience, difficulty in the management of multiple teams and when a lot of energy and time is invested in manual tasks.    

Benefits of PIM

There are five main benefits of Product Information Management.   

  1. Ownership & Transparency
    When product data is enriched and managed in a fragmented way, it usually results in a lack of transparency and ownership. What is done, and who takes responsibility for product data? A Product Information Management system offers various tools for workflow so as to create ownership, increase transparency and streamline various interdepartmental collaborations. It also offers a strong search tool that employees may use to access comprehensive and relevant data about the recall of the product, internal audits, periodic reports, etc.   
  2. Minimizing of custom applications  
    Adding every data-related process to a Product Information Management software enables reducing the number of custom applications. For instance, ERP applications were prevalent during the early nineties. The Product Information Management system, partly because of the increase in omnichannel, has become most popular during recent years. Hence, several product data processes were built based on ERP over the years, despite the fact that it was not modeled for that particular purpose. This mostly leads to a massive number of customizations, that limits business agility and business management. As a result, there was a lack of novelty and an inability to respond to market developments spontaneously. Following this path means more customization of ERP, an increase in management activities, and low business agility.   
  3. Reducing the management risk and costs   
    A Product Information Management thence allows the automation of the manual processes of the organization. For example- onboarding of product data from the suppliers. In turn, the suppliers can make use of templates for delivering necessary data. Automation of these and also other processes allows a significant reduction in management costs and also allows employees to shift focus from managing product data towards applying it. Thus, productivity is increased, errors are reduced, and a more pleasant work environment is created.    
  4. Reducing risk and costs and of new systems  
    PIM offers many default features for enriching, managing, publishing, and enriching product data, which means the data that is fragmented across the whole application environment can be grouped into the PIM system. Also, PIM is extremely flexible. In most instances, new features can be included more affordably and more quickly into a PIM system when compared to the ERP system. This standardization allows the addition of various new applications. Thus, it becomes easier to decide what to expect when new applications are added as an information technology manager.    
  5. Increasing the quality of data  
    High-quality data is clean, suitable, and standardized for one-to-one usage in external channels. A user-friendly interaction or interface and automatic checking of quality, on product data and media assets, ensure that the quality of data is maintained efficiently and increased. The principle of ‘golden record’ allows the addition of product data from various sources to create a perfect dataset. Keeping in mind that the omnichannel product data is immediately visible for the customers, the quality of that particular data requires the most attention when used for web shopping and similar applications.  

What is Product Information Management software?

It is a software for information management that manages and stores businesses’ information across various channels from a unified dashboard. Product Information Management tools allow to edit, upload and distribute SKU-level data across all the e-commerce channels. By synchronizing product data across the platforms, the PIM system can boost the overall quality of data and product information accurately. Thus, these management systems enable better management of that information to stay organized, even though there are numerous SKU channels to sell the product.    

Examples of the data stored and synchronized through PIM software include:  

  • Core product data (Product title, name, description)  
  • Product attributes (SKU, pricing, cost)  
  • Product specifications (e.g., dimensions, packaging info, warranty, etc.)  
  • Product-related metrics  
  • Product listing copy, media and assets  
  • Supplier information  
  • Multi-language content  
  • Channel-specific information (Shopify, Amazon, etc.)  
  • Store-specific information (product catalogs, POS registers)  

   
What is product Information Management system? PIM system acts as a centre for product information, by pushing data listed out to various sales channels.  

What type of companies should use PIM?

Businesses of all capacities and sizes can profit by using Product Information Management software. Nevertheless, it cannot become an essential tool when the company:  

  • Manages relationships and product content that are complex.   
  • Has an elevated number of SKUs in the offering.   
  • Sells products via multiple channels.  
  • Collects data from various suppliers.  
  • Needs accuracy in the product information for multiple teams.  
  • Is impacted by many manual processes.  
  • Transitions or expands product offering many times in a year.  

PIM can also be Used By

Sales teams that need accurate product data that is up-to-date and material available at all times. Salespersons in an eCommerce business who is forever planning to cross-sell and up-sell the products. To enable their on-going interaction with customers, a PIM system can help them get instant insight into what and which person has purchased. They need information on stock availability to up-sell and cross-sell effectively. A product Information Management software helps sales teams to make contextual methods that have a better chance of converting.   

E-commerce managers who need to update content constantly, improvise the user experience and elevate the conversion rates. These managers play an important role in the creation of product content. They are constantly in pressure to update, create and modify product content to serve the customers better. A PIM system helps in refreshing and managing the content and creating personalized and contextual shopping experiences. The data product can be enriched and rich, compelling and accurate data can be presented every time.   

Marketing teams that have to tackle many contents to modify and create campaigns over multiple channels. The consolidated management facilitates the optimization of product content and syndication of accurate data to the relevant websites in a PIM system. Dashboard analytics assist marketers in running sentiment analysis on the type of content which brings about a conversion. Targeted campaigns can be run based on the insights.   

Your customers will be able to buy with confidence, knowing that they can depend on the brand’s product’s quality information. Brands and retailers deal with several product types, innumerable product information, and sell over multiple channels. In addition to this, the data is obtained from many different sources – brand owners, suppliers, internal teams and agencies.  This is mostly in huge quantities, differing in standards and inconsistent formats. A Product Information management system helps retailers condense, normalize, and organize content consistent with all channels.   

Conclusion

Product Information Management is a very effective tool for the development of e-commerce business. Although clearly there are benefits, PIMs needs attention to research and details before it is implemented. If a business considers to use it, it is necessary first to explore PIM trends, then try to define the business requirements and later calculate whether it will benefit the business. When it is made absolutely sure that the business needs a PIM, contact can be established with a software company with PIM software.

Interested to learn all about Product Management from the best minds in the industry? Check out our Product Management Course. This 6-month-long program takes place online through live instructor-led sessions. It is the only program in India that offers the ‘Bring Your Own Product (BYOP)’ feature so that learners can build their product idea into a full-blown product, and go through an entire Product Development lifecycle. Not only this, but this is the only program in India with a curriculum that conforms to the 5i Framework. Post completion, learners receive a joint certification from the Indian Institute of Management, Indore, and Jigsaw Academy.

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