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When product information is in chaos, this leads to customer dissatisfaction and, in the long run, can be one of the main reasons for business failure. In particular, if your business regularly faces issues related to product information management, it makes sense to consider implementing a custom eCommerce solution, for example, product information management (PIM) software, which will put things right. Below we will answer the question: “What is product information management software?”, explain how these solutions work in detail, as well as describe the best practices of their use. 

What is PIM?

Product information management, or PIM, is a process that allows companies to collect, manage, and enrich their product information, create product catalogs, and distribute this information to eCommerce channels like online stores, marketplaces, points of sale, storefronts, partner websites, printed catalogs, etc. Also, it allows employees to upload product information to other systems that are part of the company’s information infrastructure.

Thus, the companies receive a central repository for all product information, which is the single source of truth. Thanks to this, employees responsible for product content get the opportunity to create, store and enrich product data and then export this data to the desired endpoints.

Almost every department in a company can use PIM software:

  • Product managers to create quality product information
  • Marketing and sales departments to obtain accurate, detailed, and up-to-date data, as well as to prepare additional marketing materials
  • Customer service teams for access to technical specifications, instructions, etc.
  • R&D teams to store CAD drawings and other technical documentation
  • Purchasing departments for storing prices, quality evaluation criteria, etc.

As for business benefits, PIM systems:

  • Form a single accurate source of product information
  • Enrich product cards with missing data
  • Reduce manual work
  • Help with SEO
  • Speed up the processes associated with adding and updating product data
  • Increase customer satisfaction with always up-to-date product information
  • Drive profit growth through automation

How Does a PIM System Work?

Now let’s find out how product information management systems work.

PIM Software as a Product Data Optimization Tool

Data Collection

This is the first stage of the PIM system’s functioning, which consists of importing information from different sources that the companies’ IT infrastructure has access to. After import, the PIM system filters the data and determines if it conforms to predefined standards.

The main sources of product data are usually:

  • Spreadsheets
  • Enterprise resource planning systems (ERP)
  • Product lifecycle management systems (PLM)
  • Supplier sources

Data Sorting

The data sorting stage involves placing data in a single storage location and bringing it to a single structure. If any of the entries are incomplete, the PIM software completes them. As a result, all product cards are finished, from product descriptions to images. This step also includes classifying the data and checking its accuracy so that end users only have access to up-to-date information.

If we formalize the above processes, we usually get the following list of tasks, which the average product information management system automates:

  • Association of duplicated products
  • Filling in all required fields
  • Adding high-quality product images
  • Distribution of products into categories and classifications
  • Adding relevant technical details of products or details necessary for marketing, etc.

Data Distribution

Now everything is ready to transfer data to distribution channels and make it available to end users. These can be:

  • Company websites
  • Distributors
  • Ecommerce marketplaces (Amazon, Google Shopping, etc.)
  • Mobile applications
  • Printed catalogs, brochures, etc.

This stage also involves giving company employees the ability to monitor product data, such as sales levels, customer reviews, search engine positions, number of product views, etc. Thanks to this, companies can timely detect weaknesses in product sales processes and optimize them.

How Does a PIM System Differ from Other Types of Ecommerce Software?

Quite often, companies that have not previously encountered PIM software believe that they already have something similar, referring to already implemented software such as ERP, DAM, CMS, or CRM. However, they have different functions. Let’s see what exactly their differences are:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is used for managing a company’s core business processes and inventory, including finance and accounting, supply chain, human resource management, purchasing, sales, and more. In turn, the product information management system integrates information about products needed for their consumers and the company’s marketing department. 
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) has nothing to do with product information management, as it helps business owners easily track all communications and nurture relationships with their clients and leads.
  • Digital asset management (DAM) is used to manage images, videos, and other digital assets that are related to products. 
  • Content management systems (CMS) are used to manage the creation and modification of digital content without the need for technical knowledge. Therefore, it can be the best solution for those who don’t have the coding skills or time and resources to build a site from scratch and maintain it.

Which Product Data Needs to be Managed in a PIM System? 

Now let’s get a closer look at which companies need a product information management system. Below we propose to consider the main types of data about the products that such systems operate on—perhaps, on the basis of this, you can draw your initial conclusions about the need to implement a product information management software, or abandon the idea entirely.

Technical Data

This type of product data includes all of the technical characteristics. This can be weight, dimensions, color, material, etc. Based on this information, the customer will be able to understand whether the product they see is exactly the same one they were looking for. As for the benefits for the company, by using PIM systems to work with technical data, they can significantly reduce the number of product returns.

Usage Data

This data type defines how customers can use products. Thus, customers can analyze all the features of the product (sometimes, some of them aren’t obvious) until it’s purchased and choose the one that suits their needs and goals the best. Through the use of this type of data, a product information management system can increase overall customer satisfaction and turn new customers into regular ones.

Emotional Data

And finally, a few words about emotional data, which is designed to evoke certain associations in your customers when viewing a product card. Note that for each category of goods, emotional data has its own defining characteristics, so we cannot more accurately determine them without knowing the context. 

To give you a better understanding of this data type, let’s look at a particular example. If you sell anti-age products, you can use as emotional data the feedback of someone from celebrities who were satisfied with a particular product item and postponed an appointment with a plastic surgeon.

Product Information Management Best Practices

Although the basic tasks of PIM systems seem to be clear, they all have some pitfalls that are difficult to identify at the initial stages of implementation. That’s why we decided to put together a list of product information management best practices that will help you get the most out of implementing a PIM solution in your IT infrastructure.

PIM Software as a Product Data Optimization Tool

Build a Data Model with Focus on Your Customers

Before using a specific product information management system, you will need to build an optimal data model that will be focused on potential consumers of your products. Thanks to this, you will provide a personalized approach to each of them, adapting all the operations associated with the presentation of goods to their personal needs. As a result, you will achieve an increased quality of customer service and will be able to win their favor.

Now let’s move from words to practice and discuss what principles such a custom-oriented data model should be based on.

First, you will need to analyze the already existing reviews of the products you sell. Regular web surfing and social networks will help you with this. If there are too many reviews, you can use AI-powered tools like Google Review Analyzer, which will provide you with a quick voice of the customer analysis.

The second step will be to determine the true needs of customers from these reviews and segment them by priority. Based on this, you will be able to create a hierarchy of your products that your employees can quickly navigate.

Therefore, based on these recommendations, you can create an effective data model that you will work with in your PIM system.

Organize Product Data

You must understand that a lot of product information is certainly good, but it will be of little use if it’s poorly structured and organized. So, how can you overcome these challenges, and what are the best practices for this?

In particular, you should build a single concise structure for all products with the possibility of complicating it for certain groups of products. You will also have to create a product catalog in which products will be logically grouped according to their type, purpose, and other attributes that affect the customer’s choice. Next, you will need to make sure that all parameters from the product card are displayed equally effectively on both stationary and mobile customer devices. And finally, please, ensure a regular check of the relevance of product data and update this data as needed.

Improve Product Information Visibility

Even if your product data is well-structured, your employees may still have some trouble accessing it. How can you avoid this issue?

A one-stop solution is to develop a strategy to optimize product search. It can also be helpful to you to integrate your PIM system with the ERP or CRM systems that are already deployed in your company. And, of course, don’t forget to segment your customers to provide them with information exactly through the channels they use most often.

Choose PIM Software That Meets Your Business Needs

Even though the existing types of PIM software on the market have approximately the same functionality, it’s important for you to choose the product that best suits the business processes within your company. That’s why you will have to pay attention not only to the pricing policies of a particular software but also to the list of possible integrations, the amount of data that a particular software can handle, the customer segmentation capabilities, the available product search functionality, the overall usability of the interface, and many other factors.

As for existing popular solutions, you can have a look at such PIM systems as Pimcore, Akeneo, PIMWorks, OneTimePIM, and Syndigo. But, after thorough research of ready-made solutions, many companies come to the realization that they need custom software product development to create a system that is the best-suitable for your current and emerging business needs.

Check if Your PIM System is as Effective as Needed

Fortunately, the vast majority of the product information management system vendors offer their clients the opportunity to test their demo for free, which you should take advantage of. Thus, by spending just a little more time consistently testing several PIM systems, you can either choose the best one that exists on the market or make sure that you still need to resort to custom development. In this case, you will need to clearly define what business processes and nuances of your activities aren’t covered by the existing solutions and contact a reliable software development company for creating your own PIM solution.

Align Your PIM System with Your SEO and Marketing Strategy

Finally, you can benefit from the implementation of a product information management solution not only by automating the processes associated with collecting, structuring, and distributing product data but also by aligning it with your SEO and marketing strategy.

In the context of the best marketing practices, you can:

  • Use not just product descriptions but SEO descriptions
  • Distribute data not just through arbitrary digital channels but through channels selected according to your multichannel strategy
  • Build data models not just based on general ideas or traditional templates but according to consumer feedback analytics 

By following these tips, you’ll get a higher level of sales just in the first weeks after the implementation of the PIM solution.

What are the Benefits of PIM for Business?

If you take advantage of the product information management best practices above, your business will reap a ton of benefits. Below are the most significant ones.

PIM Software as a Product Data Optimization Tool

High Level of Automation

Did you find any errors in the product cards? Have you seen that the prices listed on any of the websites where your products are sold are out of date? In this case, you definitely need a product information management system. The fact is that updating and synchronizing product data using spreadsheets requires enormous manual work. This, in turn, carries a high risk of errors, especially when it comes to synchronizing this data across different distribution channels. As a result, your employees won’t have an understanding of which source of information about the product is reliable, and this can provoke a negative trend in your sales.

As for the implementation of a product information management solution, this approach will ensure the automatic updating of data on all online platforms where your goods are placed. In addition, you will save your employees from boring spreadsheet work and will be able to entrust them with more interesting tasks. And finally, the PIM system will help you make data updates regular (for example, on schedule), which further reduces the amount of work that your employees must do manually.

High Data Quality 

As it accumulates, data related to your products may become redundant, out of date, out of sync, etc. This, in turn, can lead to certain problems with uploading information to the online store, which can lead to customer confusion. PIM solutions make these problems obsolete by ensuring your products have a proper structure and up-to-date information, making it easier to create rich content and marketing material, as well as improving your search engine optimization strategies.

Data Centralization

A lack of a single source of truthful information can seriously damage your company’s reputation. Indeed, when product prices vary from channel to channel, your customers may not be happy with this discrepancy.

When it comes to PIM, these solutions provide a centralized source of up-to-date data. Thus, your employees will never get confused about which product description is the only correct one and which price is the actual one.

Better Customer Experience

Out-of-date product data also has a direct impact on cart abandonment and product returns. So, not to make your customers feel frustrated with the online shopping process, you can provide them with relevant product information, regardless of which communication channel they use.

Improved Personalization 

The PIM system deals with customer-centric data models, providing potential buyers with information about products that should encourage them to make a purchase. In particular, we’re talking about the fact that such systems can help recommendation mechanisms to compile the right selections of products focused on the interests of specific customers.

Simple Integration with Third-Party Solutions

Modern PIM systems support integration with third-party eСommerce tools such as Adobe Commerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, etc., thereby providing end-to-end automation for the vast majority of processes related to the preparation of goods for presentation to potential buyers. Thus, you eliminate the risks of the human factor and reduce the burden on your employees.

Reduced Time to Market for Products

After implementing PIM software, your employees won’t perform repetitive tasks that can cause not only delays in customer service but also, in the long run, their burnout. This means workflows within your company will improve, and products will come to market faster than ever before.

Better SEO Results

And, of course, you shouldn’t discount the possibility of optimizing your SEO strategy. In particular, no matter how skilled and experienced your SEO specialists are, the chaos in the information about your products won’t allow you to present them to potential buyers in the most effective way. And conversely, after the implementation of PIM, you will have centralized access to up-to-date product data that you can quickly upload through communication channels to your customers without violating the previously chosen SEO strategy. Moreover, you will always have up-to-date data at your fingertips, which is extremely important for SEO.

How Can You Understand if You Need PIM Software?

PIM is especially needed for companies that offer their customers thousands of products but with many options and in different locations, as well as for those who work with product information in different languages.

Thus, product information management is an indispensable solution for companies to help organize, control, and improve the process of creating product information and its distribution. But there are always exceptions, so is your company one? Let’s find out. 

PIM Software as a Product Data Optimization Tool

You should use product information management software if:

  • Your company is constantly evolving, and the number of products that your employees can add in one day can reach several dozens or even hundreds. At some point, there are thousands of them, and it becomes physically impossible to work with product cards manually and even more so, to synchronize effectively across all distribution channels.
  • Your employees can’t cope with ensuring the relevance of information about your products on all distribution channels—in some of them, the prices turn out to be irrelevant, and in others, the goods can be out of stock. Moreover, your sales offers change regularly, and manually updating prices on thousands of product cards isn’t possible.
  • Your customers regularly choose your competitors and you understand that the problem may lie in inefficient online service.
  • Your employees often make mistakes because a lot of the work related to goods has to be done manually.
  • You have decided to bet on a multichannel or omnichannel marketing strategy, but so far, it doesn’t bring you the results you expected to receive.
  • You need to create cards for the same product in different languages for different versions of your online store.
  • Your competitors use product information management systems, and you need to keep up with them and follow their best practices to stay competitive.

Of course, the implementation of PIM always requires certain investments, both for the purchase of a license and for integration with other solutions of the company’s IT infrastructure. However, over time, these costs are paid off by automating internal processes, and the company’s profits begin to grow rapidly.

These are just some of the reasons that should encourage you to implement a product information management system. If you have doubts about whether you need a PIM system, it’s better to contact experienced providers such as NIX.

Final Thoughts

Nowadays, the use of a product information management system becomes a real necessity, especially when:

  • The range of the company’s products grows
  • The number of online stores increases
  • The competition gets tougher
  • There is more and more information to organize
  • The requirements for product content become more stringent

This is because the implementation of PIM systems reduces operating costs and products’ time-to-market, while increasing sales and employee productivity. They save employees from routine tasks and allow them to concentrate on really important business processes that cannot be automated. If you have any questions about PIM or are looking for specialists who will create such a custom system tailored to your business needs, feel free to contact us.



Who Can I Use a PIM System?

A product information management (PIM) software can be used by product managers, sales departments, research and development departments, and marketing teams to collect product information and automate its distribution to multiple channels. Also, product information management systems help to identify and standardize incomplete records.


What Type of Information Can You Store in a PIM System?

In a product information management system, you can store almost any information related to products right from product descriptions, SKUs, pricing details, shipping conditions, digital assets (including product images or PDFs), etc.


What are Some Must-have Product Information Management (PIM) Features?

Here are seven basic features: data Importation, data viewing, bulk editing, channel readiness check, product category creation and management, content analytics, as well as governance management.


Is PIM the Same as CRM?

A CRM system is created for managing customer relationships, while product information management systems centralize, complete, and distribute product data.

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