What is PIM? Product information management defined
Product information management (PIM) systems let users store, enrich, and manage complex product information. PIM tools centralize product-related data, streamlining the process of updating and managing accurate information throughout multiple sales and marketing channels.
PIM tools integrate with most ecommerce platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and enterprise resource management (ERP) software, ensuring up-to-date product information is accessible across your organization. PIM systems are particularly valuable for ecommerce businesses whose product catalog, sales strategy, and marketing messaging are continually changing.
PIM systems are sometimes confused with other product-related software, such as master data management (MDM) tools, product experience management (PXM) solutions, product data management (PDM) platforms, and content management systems (CMS):
- MDM versus PIM
MDM systems house datasets that are more universal than those of PIM tools, such as employee, accounting, supply chain, and other company information.
- PXM & PDM versus PIM
PXM focuses on developing and iterating engaging customer experiences while PDM is an internal communication tool used by engineers and product designers.
- CMS versus PIM
PIM systems are large, relational databases which store product-specific data. CMS software usually has less capacity and stores general content for internal use or for a company’s website.
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What information does a PIM system manage
Strong information architecture is essential for managing an extensive catalog of product data and SKUs. A PIM solution addresses this complexity by efficiently tracking cross-functional product information like the following:
- Basic data
Perhaps the most obvious information PIM systems capture is data directly related to the products themselves. This data may include universal product codes (UPCs), stock-keeping units (SKUs), and article numbers, as well as product names, titles, and miscellaneous information such as suggested usage.
Most consumers will not purchase a physical product without seeing a picture or video of it in use first. PIM software can store digital images, videos, gifs, and any other assets which communicate how products look or are used.
- Technical information
Think about the last time you bought a t-shirt. Before adding it to your cart, you probably considered its fabric and materials, size, and color. All three of these characteristics could be stored in a PIM system, as could more complex information such as weight, measurements, and warranties.
- Marketing information
Marketing data may include customer personas, keywords, and other SEO-related data such as Google categories, mobile-friendly descriptions, and Amazon titles. This data often needs to be updated over time, which is much simpler with a PIM.
- Sales information
Product pricing is one thing salespeople should never have trouble finding. PIM systems store pricing information, customer reviews, and testimonials which can be used during the sale process or promoted on a company’s website.
- Localized information
Companies operate locally, regionally, and globally. As a result, they need product language and descriptors tailored to specific locations. PIM systems house multilingual copy, regional currency systems, and anything else that can help ensure a consistent, seamless customer experience.
Products are often purchased together, and they may even be complementary. PIM software catalogs variations, relationships, and categories that make up a company’s product structure.
- Design information
Much of what appeals to consumers is how a product is displayed and how it fits in with the rest of the company’s branding. PIM systems contain style guides and designer notes to ensure any marketing campaigns have relevant creative direction.
- Emotional information
A personalized experience should forge an emotional connection with the customer. PIM solutions can store content which resonates with certain customer personas, including imagery, product descriptions, and other targeted assets that foster emotional bonds with buyers.
Why use PIM?
PIM software acts as a centralized hub for all product information, benefiting your brand in many ways. It shortens the time to onboard employees, coordinate product launches, design marketing campaigns, and open new business channels. This gives employees more time to brainstorm innovative ways to engage consumers.
Many brands use an omnichannel approach to engage their customers across channels. Establishing a cohesive brand across hundreds of channels can present a huge challenge for product marketers. With PIM, managing physical and digital product content for each channel is much more manageable. PIM system administrators can assign assets to a hierarchy of catalogs that can be matched with campaigns. PIM also enables product marketers to make on-demand changes and launch new content quickly.
Normally, salespeople have to wait for product and marketing teams to provide them with the necessary sales materials. These presentations are usually geared toward the average consumer instead of targeting specific prospects. With PIM, sales reps can choose from approved product information and design a customised sales proposal. All the salesperson has to do is select a template, products, and the pricing structure they feel is a good fit for their prospect.
Data coming into a PIM system is assigned a category, de-duped, and added to the right spot within the PIM catalog. PIM administrators can dictate priorities among various data sources, with said data refreshed on a recurring basis to ensure PIM users are working with the latest product information. This lowers the risk of using outdated or inaccurate information in the creation of marketing materials or creating offers with obsolete specifications, incorrect prices, or deprecated products.
Centralized product information
PIM organizes disparate data within a business system while ensuring the quality and accuracy of product information throughout its lifecycle. Centralized product information also enhances the efficiency of sales and marketing teams while helping companies grow their product catalog without creating unnecessary SKUs which clutter your ERP system.
PIM gives marketers the opportunity to combine product data so they can build more effective commercial campaigns. Brands can use technical specs to craft messaging with greater detail, use targeted information to develop personalized campaigns, and leverage customer data more efficiently. With a host of digital media at their fingertips, marketing teams can A/B test countless combinations of images, videos, and documentation to determine what performs best.
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You need to use PIM
Anyone who runs an ecommerce store, leads a marketing or sales department, or sells across multiple channels can benefit from using product information management. PIM systems empower sales teams to assemble accurate product data and material whenever they need to. In turn, ecommerce managers can track how sales teams and prospects are interacting with product data and find ways to improve conversion rates and personalization.
A PIM helps modify and refresh hundreds of campaigns across multiple channels as soon as new product data arrives. Marketers can also collaborate with translation agencies to automatically translate product information as they open new global markets. What’s more, all stakeholders can use the PIM system simultaneously, which streamlines workflows. Teams can begin working on new product messaging before a product is officially released so it can be finalized, updated in appropriate catalogs, and ready to go before launch day.
How PIM works
PIM solutions integrate data from ERPs, CRMs, and nearly every other product-related business platform you can think of. Once integrated, shared data is processed and de-duped. All of this happens simultaneously, eliminating the need to enter or update any data manually, reducing the potential for redundancy and error.
Once data is aggregated, PIM users can organize product information into catalogs and link those catalogs to channels. PIM administrators can arrange data in a way which can be easily digested by multiple parties, helping them rapidly obtain the needed information. This increases productivity by limiting roadblocks and avoiding data silos.
With a complete PIM setup, product marketing teams can produce more engaging content. Sales teams can sell more successfully, and product teams can use data to expand product offerings that reflect changes in consumer behaviors and other market trends. In turn, customers will feel more connected to the products they buy, generating a greater sense of loyalty and satisfaction.
PIM and your ecommerce business
PIM systems can benefit any brand, and they’re especially necessary for companies with complex product relationships, a high number of SKUs, or an omnichannel selling strategy. PIM solutions democratize product data so supply chain, marketing, sales, and customer service teams are equipped with the data they need to interact with prospects and customers. To dramatically increase receptiveness to your products and decrease your time to market, you need a platform which integrates with premier PIM solutions.
Adobe Commerce is a comprehensive ecommerce solution that supports many B2B and B2C businesses and has been recognized as an industry Leader by Forrester and Gartner. IT integrates with most ERP systems and maintains partnerships with Akeneo and Jasper, powerful PIM platforms that enable a seamless flow of ecommerce data across your commerce systems. Adobe Commerce is also partnered with trusted consulting and technology brands to address your businesses particular needs.
Try a free demo of Adobe Commerce today to experience this seamless systems integration firsthand.