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A Comprehensive Guide on What Product Information Management (PIM) Is

Clear and simple product information is a basic component of effective e-commerce. While brick-and-mortar facilities allow buyers to try and test goods right on the spot, e-commerce is governed by different rules. Online stores present their products relying solely on visual and textual data. Therefore, it’s essential for e-commerce businesses to provide accurate and exhaustive information to their buyers. 

When an online store has thousands and thousands of items, it becomes quite challenging to manage all the product data manually or in the apps barely adapted for that. That’s where Product Information Management (PIM) software becomes a real life-line for e-commerce companies.

In this article, you’ll learn what product information management is, how these systems work, and who needs to use PIM in their daily activities. 

What is Product Information Management (PIM)?

Product information management (PIM) stands for the process of gathering, managing, and sharing product information across various channels from a single spot. With PIM apps, companies can create the data both for internal use in the company and for providing it to customers and third-party organizations. PIM systems help businesses improve the quality of the data they gather and keep it timely updated. 

Understanding Product Information Management

Why do companies need a standalone system for product information management if they can create spreadsheets in Excel, utilize catalogs, or use various platforms that include product data? 

Today’s product data management is more than just filling out lines of goods descriptions in spreadsheets. It involves deep and detailed data analysis that results in the creation of specifications, descriptions, images, and video reviews. Moreover, this data is required by various channels, including suppliers, e-commerce platforms, customers, and diverse company departments, e.g. resource planning, business analysis, marketing department, and others. As a result, the product data should be inclusive and simply adjustable to various data requesting channels. 

Who Uses PIM Systems?

There are several users that refer to PIM systems daily in their work. Let’s have a look at the most common uses of PIM in e-commerce.

  • Product managers implement PIM to ensure the most accurate and recent data on the products which they provide to a marketing team. If manufacturers change any item characteristics through its lifecycle, product managers can quickly update the data in the app, sending automated alerts to the users logged in to the system. 
  • Suppliers can use the PIM systems of their client companies for adding and updating any product details, starting from price to delivery dates, etc. Moreover, PIM allows suppliers and distributors to more effectively manage the variety and volume of goods they provide as well as effectively manage the challenging demands of their customers. 
  • Product marketers utilize PIM to create a complete and consistent image of the products they sell. Using PIM solutions combined together with other marketing systems such as DAM or CMS they can easily assign tasks for copywriters, photographers, and video makers to create up-to-date content for presenting products. 
  • E-commerce managers use PIM systems for adjusting product content to the needs of a particular selling channel whether it’s a social media site or an e-commerce platform. These systems help managers to consolidate data into a centralized hub where they can simply update goods descriptions, introduce new ones, or handle products with complicated combinations. PIM largely automates routine product management operations, streamlines workflows, and allows creating inroads to new marketplaces and across various selling channels much faster. 
  • Manufacturers can keep a single version of their product data in one place which leads to a significant increase in production efficiency as well as faster time-to-market. 
  • Customers often add item reviews and comments in diverse selling channels. PIM systems can gather all the customer feedback in one place, allowing e-commerce managers to improve product-related information with the latest data from customers. 

What Information Does PIM Store?

Every product accumulates a lot of information during its lifecycle.  An effective PIM software is able to deal with incoming, outgoing, and cross-department product details information like:

  • channel-specific information: Amazon titles, Google categories, mobile descriptions;
  • design specifications: designer notes, style sheets, assembly instructions;
  • digital assets: videos, images, product guides, sell sheets, logos, etc.;
  • localized information: translations, multilingual copy;
  • marketing data: digital personas, keywords, SEO elements, brand guidelines, etc.;
  • product data: SKUs, UPCs, names, titles, descriptions, etc.;
  • sales information: testimonials, prices, customer reviews;
  • supplier & manufacturer data: certifications, spreadsheets;
  • taxonomy & relationships: labels, categories, variations;
  • technical specifications: materials, measurements, ingredients, warranties;

How PIM Optimizes Company’s Internal Processes

Any e-commerce business strives to provide the best brand experience to their customers. For this, they should share the most accurate and latest information on their products with everyone involved in the purchasing/selling process. 

PIM Benefits for Business Processes

PIM software enhances the operational efficiency of e-commerce businesses, bringing their staff and customer experience to a new level. Here are the main benefits PIM users can gain from utilizing this type of software.

Shorter Time-to-Market

The majority of businesses operate in a dynamic market where both conditions and customer demands change rapidly, so time-to-market is a key competitive criterion. By optimizing the product’s path, from development to marketing and sales, PIM software accelerates the delivery of the goods to the end-user.

For example, employees from many departments can work on their products at the same time in PIM software. Marketing specialists can start creating catalogs, even if the goods’ specifications have not been finalized yet. Once the production department updates data in the central database the information in the respective catalog is updated as well. Apart from allowing collaborative work on products, the PIM software streamlines manual tasks that otherwise would slow down the process of launching a new product.

Easier to Sell Through Other Channels

It is much easier to find and send product information to price comparison websites when all the data is well organized in the product information management software. If any data is stored unstructured and scattered across databases, companies have to locate the necessary information first, get it organized into a structure, and finally, save the data in the correct groups.

PIM allows structuring the data so that it can be quickly exported to other channels. Companies can even use third-party tools to provide product details to the relevant websites.

Better Efficiency and Less Manual Work

Many questions can quickly arise when a new product is about to be launched on the market. It can take a long time to clarify them if a company doesn’t have a well-established process. PIM software helps minimize all back-and-forth communication between departments, making product-related operatio