Product Information Management (PIM) is the process of creating product data and related information, and syncing and distributing this data across an organization's connected platforms, teams and channels. As an organization scales its operations, it must manage ever-expanding Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) lists; PIM functions to update and maintain this information, as well as other supporting data such as product specifications, USPs, design information, images, videos, etc.
Product related data such as pricing, labels, messaging, and customer engagement strategies continuously increase as a company grows and branches into new markets. To keep this momentum constant, an organization needs to continuously adapt product information and strategic content for various sales, eCommerce, and marketing channels.
PIM is a process that centralizes and automates the collection, management, and enrichment of product data so that sales and marketing teams can focus on building new initiatives to drive sales. During this process, duplicate listings and missing data are identified and corrected wherever necessary, so that general data uniformity and consistency across channels is maintained.
Companies rely on PIM software for streamlining the process of storing, updating, managing, and merging accurate product information across sales and marketing channels. PIM software is increasingly important within the digitized business landscape, and the capability of such software serves as the differentiating factor for enterprise success.
PIM software is incredibly beneficial in a number of ways, including:
1. End-to-end Product Data Management
The processes involved in the product lifecycle, including accurate entry of basic product information and metadata, editing, user rights management, versioning, and publishing can be carried out with PIM software.
2. Multisystem Integrations
PIM systems can be integrated with several subsystems of enterprise data management infrastructure such as partner data systems, tracking and monitoring tools, ERPs, and relational databases.
3. Product Data Syndication
PIM software streamlines the distribution of product data feeds across multiple channels such as eCommerce, sales channels, marketplaces, and third-party vendors.
4. Sales Enhancement
PIM softwares typically include Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools to ensure more traffic and higher conversions to stimulate cross-sell and upselling to ultimately increase overall sales figures.
5. Better Organizational Processes
Internal processes can improve as overall productivity increases. The associated workloads of product data management is automated, freeing up time for improving organizational functions.
6. Improved Compliance
With built-in validations and approval workflows, product data that is modified and saved on a single system makes it simple to comply with legal requirements and current standards regarding data quality, data protection, and data safety.
The Organizational effectiveness of a PIM software largely depends on the types of products sold, where they are sold, target demographics, the complexity of product information, and marketing goals. Typically, businesses that should ideally invest in PIM software have the following characteristics:
- Reliance on digital channels: The rise of eCommerce has necessitated the seamless distribution of trusted and enriched product data to multiple digital channels, only possible with effective PIM solutions.
- Necessity to process data from multiple suppliers: PIM software helps businesses manage the import of large volumes of data from suppliers that often arrives in an inconsistent format and quality.
- Multiple types of intricate product information: Businesses can automate the processing of several disjointed categories of product information, metadata, and hierarchies.
- High performance goals for sales and marketing growth: If a business has growth targets that require expansion of marketing activities in new markets, platforms, and industries, they must carry out the necessary product data calibrations and prepare for regional language-related complexities.
- Strategies to target specific customer personas: Product data can be molded around customer personas with personalized imagery, descriptions, and targeted assets to engage their customers in more effective ways.
PIM software is often mistaken as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, primarily due to a congruence of data types that is often stored and processed within both system types. Both types of data management tools can often coexist within the same overarching enterprise system.
ERP systems are leveraged to manage a range of information surrounding the components of an Enterprise such as logistics, customer data, inventory, prices, and product data. Regarding product data specifically, an ERP processes data in a commodified manner and views it only as a collection of static datasets.
PIM differs from ERP systems in that they enhance and syndicate product data, allowing for more depth and detail so that it becomes more appealing to potential customers. PIM software helps to expedite time-to-market for the product, maintains data uniformity across distribution channels, and ultimately drives more revenue for the business.
The PIM system extracts information about the product from the ERP system. While a PIM system is solely focused on product data, an ERP is an all-encompassing enterprise solution that centrally manages all the processes, tools, and services of the organization.
A great PIM software allows organizations to leverage a single dashboard to create, update, and manage SKU-level data for all their distribution channels. The following are the prominent characteristics of great PIM software:
- Enhanced Productivity: An ideal PIM software enables brands to greatly reduce time-to-market. PIM tools save your team time by removing the need to manually add and update data across your connected channels, teams, departments, and supplier network.
- Single Source of Truth: One of the major signs of an efficient PIM is that it provides a single, reliable source of data on the goods and services your business offers, access to internal users and systems, outside sales channels, and customer-facing applications.
- Rules-Based Approach: A highly reliable PIM uses a rules-based approach to handle product information and obtain consistent, accurate outcomes at scale. Enterprise-ready PIM solutions have the capability to automate the creation and testing of these rules.
- Reduces Inconsistency: From a consistency standpoint, great PIM software prevents human error and the loss of important data. This software can help an organization make fewer mistakes and map the appropriate products to the right target demographic and marketing campaigns.
- Boosts Business Growth: PIM software can have a significant impact on the customer experience, and can make or break your product's sales prospects. A well-implemented PIM, used intelligently, can significantly help your business realize growth and ROI.