As businesses and retailers expand their product offerings, they achieve more product data. By offering a central storage repository, product information management (PIM) software alleviates the intention of handling vast amounts of product data.
Aside from data unification, there are other advantages of using PIM software. There are also several software providers and solutions available to assist in the management of product data. That’s what we’ll talk about today. We’ll provide a complete overview of PIM software so you can make an informed finding of purchasing a product information management solution.
Here is what we will discuss in this comprehensive essay for mid-market and business brands excited in obtaining a superior product information management solution:
- Understanding PIM Software
- PIM Software Considerations
- Features and Benefits of PIM Software
- PIM Software Options
Understanding PIM Software
What exactly is PIM software?
Product information management (PIM) is a software-based process that stores and manages all product information is mandatory to market and sell things through multiple handling channels.
How does PIM software work?
PIM requires the processing of a wide range of incoming, exiting, and cross-platform product information, such as:
- Names, titles, descriptions, SKUs, UPCs, and EANs are all required product information.
- Relationships and taxonomies: Categories, collections, and variations
- Images, movies, and documentation are examples of digital assets.
- Sizes, materials, guarantees, and ingredients are all technical specifications.
- Google, Amazon, Etsy, and Walmart provide channel-specific information.
- POS registers and product catalogs are examples of store-specific information.
PIM software grants businesses to upload, amend, and distribute this type of data through channels such as Google Shopping, Amazon, and other online marketplaces, as well as owned channels such as direct-to-consumer (D2C) websites.
The product report management process includes one or more of the following four steps:
Step 1: Gather Product data is uploaded to a PIM system for storage and administration. PIM necessitates the ability to incorporate several data formats into the system in order to produce a centralized source of product information.
PIM solutions can automate data import by integrating with critical authorities like ERP systems, DAM systems, spreadsheets, box folders, and others. The systems also take flat files (Excel/CSV) through FTP and allow for direct integrations through an open API.
Step 2: Verify PIM systems must ensure that all information is correct, up to date, and dependable. Errors such as misspellings, repeated abbreviations of the same word, and unclear data such as bullet points, for example, can degrade data quality.
Validation can be placed during the import process by employing text format validation or advanced data cleanup via adjustments to import features. Businesses can also set up workflows to manually certify the information in their system.
Step 3: Enhance Once product data is in the system, marketers, e-commerce managers, and other significant staff can enrich and optimize the product information to line with their business goals. Enhancing product descriptions, clarifying requirements, and translating material into other languages are all examples of this.
PIM enrichment also entails categorizing products and group them into collections, as well as identifying links between products that can be utilized for bundles or cross-selling.
Step 4: Distribute Businesses can then transmit their data across other channels, such as e-commerce platforms, marketplaces, comparative shopping engines, and social media platforms, once it has been optimized. Outgoing data, like imports, requires flexibility.
Because each endpoint will have different content and format requirements, PIM systems must apply transformations to data as it exits the system to ensure it is suitable for the intended channel. Excel/CSV files and specialized JSON or XML formats are common export formats. Through the use of an open API, PIM systems can also readily merge with major distribution channels.
Considerations for PIM Software
Before looking into PIM software, it’s a good idea to examine the state of your current data and supplementary systems. It’s also useful to know what kinds of firms and professions utilize PIM software. These points will be Conducted below.
Types of PIM users
PIM systems are most frequently used by the following sorts of businesses:
PIM can help retailers and resellers Compress the time it takes to onboard and sells a new item through their internal sales channels. Retailers can use a PIM system to construct and donate product information from a data repository to any number of channels in order to provide an amazing customer involvement.
The capacity to organize “finished” product information can be beneficial to manufacturers. PIM solutions defeat the need for data silos and substantially increase product data enhancement. This expedites the dissemination process. PIM systems also promote syndication features, which allow manufacturers to distribute their material with external sales channels more easily.
Collecting and standardizing product data from suppliers and subscription data services by hand is time-consuming. Distributors can handle a larger number of SKUs more efficiently with a PIM system.
The following user types interact with PIM systems inside these organizations:
Merchandisers and buyers
Merchandisers are the most effective PIM system users. They are typically in charge of gathering product attributes from manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers. Once the data is gathered, they enrich the products before circulating them to the proper sales channels.
PIM systems are used by IT teams to centralize data, automatically populate spreadsheets, and integrate ERP platforms. IT can operate considerably more efficiently because PIM systems streamline advice processing.
Product information is used by marketers to create catalogs and bring products to market. Product information management (PIM) systems centralize product information and provide user-friendly design templates. Marketers can utilize these to speed up the process of reaching out to the right people. They also aid in the enhancement of the client experience.
Data distribution and acquisition
Websites, mobile apps, in-store displays, print catalogs, emails, social media, and datasheets are just a few of the areas you can distribute your product data.
Consider where you want to go in the long and short term from a future aspect. If you intend to distribute your items through more than two channels, you should consider using a PIM. Look for a technology that can methodically distribute data across many channels.
Does your company rely on product data from multiple sources when it comes to sourcing? Manufacturing units, vendors, contracted photographers, and content providers could all fall within this category. A PIM system centralizes this data, making it easy to distribute data from various sources to the same location.
The degree of data complexity
Before you can choose a place to keep your product information, you must first understand its structure. The answers to the following questions will assist you in selecting a PIM solution that is basic or robust enough to handle your product data.
- How many characteristics do your products have?
- Are your characteristics shared by a group of products?
- Do you offer items with variations?
- Do you provide products that can be customized?
- Should PIM store information be linked to pricing and inventory?
This is a critical concern because splitting pricing and inventory into independent services (i.e., microservices) provides long-term scalability as your product catalog and pricing strategy evolve. However, because products and pricing are handled in distinct locations, there are some short-term tradeoffs to consider. The answers to this and other questions act as indicators of your PIM needs. They will also inform you whether data quality has to be improved before integrating a PIM system.
Integration of ERP systems
The link between PIM and ERP can be crucial to understand. However, in order to obtain the best results, they should participate. Some PIM systems combine with ERP systems only in one direction. Others advocate for two-way integration. Determine whether one matches your organization’s needs by asking the following questions:
- Is it better to start the product life cycle in ERP or PIM?
- Should PIM be able to see ERP data such as indexing and pricing?
- Should ERP data be generated in PIM or another app, such as the OMS, before entering the ERP?
- Is it necessary to be able to retain PIM data in the ERP without having to access the PIM?
PIM Software Features and Advantages
Understanding the features of product information management software will assist you in selecting the finest software solution. Before we get into these options in the following part, let’s go through the attitude that makes a PIM a powerful system.
You can establish special qualities for your items using product attributes. Size, color, and substance are common examples of characteristics. Attributes that are well-defined are vital since they facilitate product discovery and make catalog administration easier
You can create and manage an endless number of attributes for your items using a PIM. When attributes are created, they display on item pages as a selectable option. Attributes can be assigned to goods individually or in bulk.
Hierarchies of master and alternative
PIM software Classify your products using hierarchies. The regulatory structure is defined by the master hierarchy, which consists of categories and their nested sub-categories. At least one category is allocated to each product.
PIM also allows you to design various hierarchies for your products to reflect new assortments.
Variants and items
Items are the individual containers for your catalog’s products. They enable you to set and save the specifics for each product. Each item contains a title, a product ID, a description, a category, photos, and attributes that have been assigned to it.
Variants are present in items with multiple alternatives. Each variant represents a distinct version of the product. A t-shirt, for example, with sizes-small, medium, and large—each size would have its own version. Variants have their own unique product ID, characteristics, and other product information. Each is nested beneath the parent item, letting the various possibilities coexist on the same product page.
Bundling of goods
You can organize your goods into bundles using PIM software. These bundles can then be displayed as a cross-sell opportunity on your production sites. Products can display standard pricing, or you can authorize promotions and prices that are exclusive to the grouping of items.
You can grant vendors access to your system using PIM software. Vendors can then urgently upload and enrich product data. You have a centralized location as a merchant to handle your vendor’s product feeds.
Dashboards and workflows
Workflows enable you to create processes for preparing your products for sale. You can use them to stay organized and ensure that all product information is complete and correct.
Dashboards provide you with a high-level view of your PIM system. You can customize the dashboard widgets to display the most demanding facts for your company. You can, for example, display your overall product count, product handling by category, or a list of product qualities.
- Import History: View a list of all products and attributes that have been imported into the PIM system.
- Bulk Import & Export: Use.csv files to import and export large amounts of product data.
- Attribute Groups: For workflow management, group the attributes.
- Filters: Create filters in your catalog to make it easier to find goods.
- Bulk actions include the ability to delete, update, and export items and attributes in bulk.
- Role-based access: PIM gives system users varying levels of access to data; some users can modify, while others can only read.
Enhanced data quality
One of the primary reasons a company uses a PIM system is to replace spreadsheets for storing and managing product information. Many grow to the point where simple data management software like Excel becomes too challenging to maintain.
Spreadsheets require the use of manual processes on a regular basis, which increases the risk of user mistakes require. It is often difficult to determine which version of a spreadsheet is current. As modifications are made, companies frequently transmit a document to several departments.
Manual errors caused by excessive data entry are not an issue with a PIM. To ensure that all information originates from a single source of truth, the system employs a central database. Data is regulated, and automated quality checks verify that the data is clean.
Consistent customer satisfaction
Before making a purchase, today’s buyers conduct comprehensive research across multiple touchpoints. Their research is based on a large amount of product information. As a result, merchants who sell products through several channels want consistent product information across all sales channels. Customers will have a dependable experience as a result of a united brand message.
A PIM provides a centralized data management system to ensure that product information is accurate in real-time for every channel. Customers get the same experience from your product listings regardless of where they browse or buy. This can reduce cart abandonment and increase client loyalty.
Shortened time to market
Staying competitive in e-commerce requires quick time to market. PIM shortens the time to market by enhancing the path of a product from development to marketing.
People from several departments can collaborate on the product at the same time using PIM software. Marketers can start creating catalogs before all product specifics are confirmed. The changes in the catalog are reflected when the product management team updates the information in the PIM.
Integration with external systems is simple.
PIM systems interface seamlessly with your existing systems and product information sources. Vendor portals, inventory management systems, and order management systems are all examples of this (OMS). Reusable APIs are also supported by the software. These can be used to connect data from several operations. PIM software also connects with ERP systems.
Management expenditures and risks have been reduced.
Grouping can use PIM software to automate manual operations. Consider the process of receiving product data from vendors. Templates can be used by vendors to give the required data. Bad product data is removed, resulting in lower operational expenses. Management risks are also reduced when information is consistent and accurate.
Updates that are faster and easier to implement
PIM software allows you to promptly update product information. This is possible across all of your marketing and distribution platforms, as well as your internal divisions. This minimizes the need for repeating tasks. Businesses are no longer required to update product data across various systems.
PIM makes it easier to manage the catalog and develop product sets on a large scale. Collections and groups of products that must be purchased together can be created. You can also work with product attributes in aggregate. Instead of typing or pasting text, you choose an attribute from a predefined list.
Scalability is a strong attribute for PIM. It makes it simple to enter new markets, bring new items into existing ones, and supply numerous languages. You no longer need to keep a large number of products in your ERP system. You can develop and store products in the PIM and only transfer them to the ERP when they have been sold.
Transparency and ownership
Ownership and transparency are lost when product enrichment is divided. You can keep track of each user and their activity with PIM. This ensures that any modifications to product data are fully accountable.
Multichannel selling is now easier.
PIM facilitates the distribution of your products to marketplaces such as Amazon and comparison shopping engines such as Google. Without a PIM, your data is unstructured and dispersed over multiple spreadsheets and databases. This drives you to find and transform pertinent data into a structure that corresponds to the requirements of each individual platform.
This issue is ignored by PIM systems. They automatically arrange your data so that it may be transmitted to each channel quickly and without error. This enables you to provide your customers with a consistent and accurate experience.
PIM Software Alternatives
PIM software is classified into three types:
- PIMs that are delivered as a service (SaaS)
- PIMs that are open source
- PIMs Created from Scratch
Each category provides varying degrees of usability and functionality. When choosing the proper type of software, merchants must carefully analyze their business requirements. Custom and open source alternatives provide you greater control, but they are more expensive and difficult to administer.