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.
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:
As for business benefits, PIM systems:
Now let’s find out how product information management systems work.
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:
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:
Now everything is ready to transfer data to distribution channels and make it available to end users. These can be:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
By following these tips, you’ll get a higher level of sales just in the first weeks after the implementation of the PIM solution.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You should use product information management software if:
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.
Nowadays, the use of a product information management system becomes a real necessity, especially when:
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.
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.
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.
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.
A CRM system is created for managing customer relationships, while product information management systems centralize, complete, and distribute product data.
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