What is PIM?

Product Information Management (PIM) is the process of managing data required for the marketing and sale of products.

PIM software manages complex product data and digital assets in a central platform. This enables brands, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to work from a single source of truth.

Pimberly Screen Digital Asset Management View

What does a PIM system do?

Collect & Centralize

A PIM system collates product information from multiple internal and external data sources such as an ERP, PLM, or supplier feeds.

Update & Enrich

In a PIM platform you can cleanse, enrich, and optimize all the data and assets you hold for your products (SKUs). This could be anything from technical specifications such as dimensions and materials, to the commercial and marketing information such as great product descriptions and pricing information. You can also manage data structure and product relationships.

Publish & Connect

From a PIM, this data can be easily published across sales channels, such as marketplaces, resellers, social media platforms, eCommerce sites. Customers and colleagues alike can access all the information they need.

PIM eCommerce Tech Stack Diagram

Why do you need a PIM?

As product range and data complexity increase, you need a system specifically built to perform and facilitate growth. As such, any business selling online will benefit from a Product Information Management solution. 

Product Information Management software is especially vital for businesses that: 

  • Import data & assets from multiple disparate systems in varied formats
  • Often identify discrepancies, errors or contradictions in product data & documents
  • Frequently need to make changes to product data
  • Deal with complex product relationships
  • Sell to marketplaces with specific data requirements/formats 
  • Need to provide customers, partners, and internal teams with different layers of product data detail
  • Distribute product information to multiple sales channels and/or geographies
  • Need to maintain data consistency for regulatory purposes

What kind of data is in a PIM?

A Product Information Management system holds all the information and media assets relating to a product.

In essence – everything you need to create amazing online experiences:

BASIC INFORMATION

  • SKUs
  • Product codes and names
  • Stock data

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Weight, dimensions, materials, colors for products and packaging
  • Key features, certifications, available parts and accessories
  • Shipping information

TAXONOMIES & RELATIONSHIPS

  • Product relationships
  • Product types, tags and categories
  • Product kits and bundles

MARKETING DATA

  • Enriched product descriptions for various channels and buyer personas
  • Customer reviews
  • SEO information

DIGITAL ASSETS & MEDIA

  • High quality images, product videos, 360 and 3D views
  • PDF documents such as manuals, sizing charts,
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) functionalities, design files such as CAD

LOCALIZED DATA

  • Translated descriptions
  • International pricing/currencies
  • International shipping information

What businesses need a PIM?

Any business that manufactures, distributes and retails products that get sold online will benefit from using PIM. Whether this is D2C via web stores and marketplaces, B2C, or B2B, PIM is crucial in driving online sales.

When dealing with complex product information and assets, being able to simplify and streamline data management processes will be hugely beneficial.

Manufacturing Graphic

Manufacturers

Manufacturers are  typically the original source of product information. Increasingly, they’re catering to different audiences and selling across multiple sales channels such as resellers and marketplaces.

It’s essential to have eCommerce-ready product data and high-quality digital assets to ensure products are showcased in the best possible light to guarantee the best possible product experience for customers.

Sales and distribution channels are becoming ever more complex. Third-party logistics and international next-day shipping are making global commerce operations more accessible than ever.

Manufacturers need to serve high-quality product data to many channels and locations and in specific formats. All of this can be easily managed with PIM.

Brand graphic

Brands

Slick onboarding processes are vital when receiving large volumes of product data from suppliers in varied formats.

Many brands will be deploying omnichannel strategies across multiple sales channels such as apps, web stores, marketplaces, and brick & mortar stores.

Consistency is key to creating amazing customer experiences. Brands must create and deliver high-quality digital assets that showcase their brand image. International expansion is easier than ever with Third-Party Logistics (3PL ) etc, so brands need to maintain and distribute data in multiple languages.

PIM software has an array of features and functionalities that enable you to create consistent and high-quality product experiences, regardless of the customers’ device or location .

Distribution Graphic

Distributors

Dealing with data feeds from many different brands and manufacturers, varied product catalogs, and thousands of images and videos requires rapid and robust processes.

Creating eCommerce-ready product information is an essential requirement  for modern value-added distributors. They often manage the online presence and/or eCommerce function for their brands and manufacturers who expect their products and product information to be displayed in a high-quality and uniform data feed. This is why it’s key to have the capabilities to efficiently manage large volumes of product data across multiple sales channels.

PIM streamlines the management and distribution of product data across multiple channels in multiple languages. So distributors have total confidence in the quality of the product data being published.

Online Retailing Graphic

Retailers and Marketplaces

Nearly 50% of non-food products are expected to be sold online within three years,  mostly via marketplaces. This means having a truly global and omnichannel strategy is the path to growth for retailers. 

To guarantee the best possible experience, it’s vital to have translated data for all geographies. 

A PIM system provides a central space to manage channel-specific data requirements. Campaign management is made easy for key dates in the eCommerce calendar with powerful automation, ensuring increased revenues and optimum margins.

What are the benefits of a PIM system?

A PIM solution presents significant business benefits that will lead to much-improved productivity and increased revenues. Let’s break it down:

What are the benefits of a PIM system?

A PIM solution presents significant business benefits that will lead to much-improved productivity and increased revenues. Let’s break it down:

Increase revenues

Slick data onboarding and powerful automation will speed your time to market, meaning you can gain vital extra selling days and a competitive edge. Streamlined processes make it easy to create  new product categories, marketplaces, and territories. Overall, this will mean you can quickly react to the latest trends and drive more demand with super relevant search terms to boost your SEO performance. You can also tap into new opportunities such as dropshipping or long tailing to further boost revenues.

Personalizing the experience will improve conversion rates and boost Average Order Values (AOV) with “shop the look” options and intelligent product recommendations. You can give customers total confidence in their buying decisions with rich, accurate, and up-to-date product information that will deliver better conversion rates. In doing this, you will also increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) with returning shoppers being more likely to leave positive product reviews, recommend your products, and eventually become your brand advocate.

Increase margins

Reduce product return rates by up to 40% with detailed, accurate product data, including SKU-specific sizing charts. Further reduce product returns by giving customers a true representation of your products with lifestyle shots that show your product in action. Use targeted and automated campaigns and personalization to offer smart discounts so you always sell products at optimal prices.

Cut operational costs and remove the need to take on additional employees by automating large parts of product data management processes. In other words, you can continue to grow your business with the same headcount.

Improve efficiencies

Get your products to market faster by centralizing product onboarding and distribution processes. Having a single repository for all types of product content gives your teams a single location to work and collaborate from.

Ensure smooth integrations with other solutions in your tech stack to provide the best possible user experience.

Improve staff wellbeing by replacing manual tasks that can lead to omissions or work duplications. This reduces frustration for employees who want to be adding value.

Reduce risk

Gain visibility of product data in one central hub and create a single source of truth. PIM provides full control over how product data is presented across all sales channels, so you can always ensure it’s totally accurate.

Ensure data meets regulatory compliance standards, with the correct terminology, health and safety notices, with the required compliance certificates before it’s published. Systemize processes and harness automation to reduce reliance on individuals who compile data to feed into channels and marketplaces.

Who uses a PIM system?

Select your role below to learn more (pages will open in a new window).

eCommerce

eCommerce

Say goodbye to working on spreadsheets and say hello to rapid product onboarding that enables you to significantly increase SKU counts. Automate up to 80% of manual product data management processes and nail your omnichannel strategy.

Easily set up new sales channels and tailor your product data and digital assets to meet the different requirements. You can set up validations to ensure all product content is accurate and complete. Immediately notify relevant team members when there is missing information to ensure you comply with SEO standards and criteria.

Product management

Product and Category Managers / Product Merchandisers

Gain full visibility of products as they move through the development lifecycle so you always know which teams are working on them. Segment product data so you only see the products that are relevant to your role or the campaign you’re running.

Automate how your campaigns run by determining rules for when overstocked SKUs should be pushed out to clearance sales channels. You can also automatically apply discounts when stock levels reach a certain level. Quickly react to potential stockouts by shutting down other sales channels when stock levels are low.

Sales & Marketing

Sales & Marketing

Keep teams informed by providing them with totally accurate and up-to-date product information needed to effectively market and sell products. Automate campaign planning and management processes to ensure you sell the maximum amount of discounted products at the optimal price.

Create rich product descriptions that search engines will love and get your products in front of the right customers. With full visibility over all your product ensure missing products are published to guarantee the best possible customer experience.

IT team

IT Teams

Empower business functions to automate their own workflows via no-code automation engines. You’ll have more time to help your business grow rather than performing low-value admin tasks. Open API architecture allows integration across the entire tech stack. Employees can securely access everything they need at any time and from anywhere with an internet connection.

Mitigate against the inherent risk of mission-critical data and processes being managed on spreadsheets. You can also be safe in the knowledge that all data will be backed up. With PIM software, you can also set permissions and define user access at field and attribute levels. PIM solutions also provide you with a full audit trail of any updates made.

C-Suite

C-Suite

Regardless of what you manufacture, distribute or sell, consumers are researching, finding, and buying products online. Therefore, digital representation of a product has never been more crucial in enabling growth. This is why quality product data and digital assets are so important. You need to mirror the in-store experience and have the ability to quickly get your products onto the most relevant sales channels.

Having a PIM solution enables your team members to work to their full potential. So you can massively boost employee wellbeing. PIM guarantees a smooth user experience that enables team members to collect, manage and distribute everything from one central hub.

CTA-business-case-for-pim-white-paper
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FAQs – Learn more about Product Information Management

What does PIM stand for?

PIM stands for Product Information Management. Not to be confused with Privileged Identity Management which is a service in the Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). Product Information Management (PIM) solutions enable B2B, B2C, and D2C businesses selling online, or providing products to other businesses selling online, to gather, store, enrich, and distribute product data across various sales channels. A PIM platform like Pimberly has the capabilities to collect product data from any number of internal and external systems.

What is the meaning of PIM?

The meaning of PIM is Product Information Management. PIM is a software that enables businesses supplying products that are being sold online to collect data required for the effective marketing and sale of products across various different sales channels. Product Information Management is not to be confused with Privileged Identity Management as the two solutions have completely different functions. Product Information Management relates to product data, while Privileged Identity Management relates to the management and control of access to important organizational resources.

What is PIM and why is it important?

Product Information Management is a system that enables any business selling products online, or supplying products that are being sold online, to efficiently manage all the data required to effectively market and sell products across a range of sales channels. This includes but isn’t limited to product details, supporting digital assets such as images, videos, PDFs, Documents, audio files, sizing charts, and much more. Overall, it streamlines the management of complex product information and enables brands, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and resellers to have a digital representation of their products.

PIM is becoming increasingly important as online sales are predicted to make up around a quarter of all global retail sales by 2025. PIM systems hold essential data and enable businesses to create a single source of truth. As more people shop online, expectations of the digital experience are growing. Consumers want in-depth, detailed product information around things like sustainability credentials, proof of the originality of materials and components, not to mention high-quality digital assets. 

Third-party logistics and international next-day delivery mean cross-border commerce will continue to grow. As such, more businesses will have to manage and distribute product details in multiple languages. All these factors massively impact the volume of product data businesses need to compile and validate. Spreadsheets are no longer fit-for-purpose and eCommerce businesses need to have robust solutions in place, like PIM.

What is an example of PIM?

An example of PIM is an eCommerce business needing to collect, manage, enrich, and distribute product content to sales and eCommerce channels with speed and efficiency. As well as managing product data, there is also the need to manage and distribute digital assets and various media files. A leading PIM tool like Pimberly has an integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM) functionality.

Pimberly’s SaaS PIM is designed to help businesses grow revenues by delivering amazing customer experiences with high-quality product information and digital assets. Overall, this leads to improved customer confidence, increased conversion rates, and reduced product return rates all whilst automating large parts of product data management processes.

What does it mean to have PIM?

A PIM solution sits in the eCommerce tech stack and interfaces between different systems such as ERPs and PLMs, as well as data feeds from suppliers or manufacturers. The process of managing all this data and creating eCommerce-ready product information is massively streamlined. It also facilitates better data governance with dashboards that give users full visibility of the accuracy and completeness of product information. This can then be distributed to consumers, internal teams, and suppliers.

Powerful automation in the form of workflows and lifecycles will identify missing details or digital assets. Relevant team members are then notified to ensure any gaps are filled. As such, it’s super quick and easy for businesses to distribute data across different sales channels. Furthermore, it’s also super quick and easy to create new products to react to changes in customer expectations and market trends.

Is a PIM a database?

PIM is a non-relational database designed to store all the product data needed to effectively market and sell products online. A great PIM system will also facilitate the enrichment, and distribution to different sales channels. PIMs use non-relational database models as they have the ability to store unstructured data, unlike relational databases.

A relational database collects data with pre-defined relationships which is then stored in tables with columns and rows. On the other hand, non-relational databases do not use a tabular format of rows and columns, so there are no restrictions in terms of data structures. As a result, non-relational databases offer much more flexibility and businesses can configure the PIM to suit their specific business requirements and product types.

Non-relational databases have numerous inbuilt functions to ensure the retrieval of data is as swift and efficient as possible. Furthermore, they often perform faster than relational databases as there aren’t multiple tables that need to be viewed before delivering the answer to the query. Overall, non-relational databases offer a vast array of benefits including:

  • Speed and scalability and can organize huge amounts of varied formats of information
  • Flexibility in terms of new data being collected, regardless of whether it fits in with existing datasets
  • Often hosted on the cloud which offers unlimited storage capabilities and unlimited access from anywhere at any time, provided there’s a secure internet connection

What data can you store in a PIM?

PIM platforms have massive storage capabilities and can host a wide variety of data sets. This includes structured and non-structured data.

Structured data:

  • Key product details like product names, titles, descriptions
  • Translates product data, including descriptions, currencies, and sizing information
  • Additional information around packaging, delivery, and returns
  • Sustainability credentials, and supplier information

Non-structured data:

  • Images and videos, 3D and 360 views
  • Audio files
  • PDF documents such as manuals and sizing charts
  • Microsoft documents
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) functionalities, design files such as CAD
  • POS information – product catalogs for instance

Who uses PIM systems?

A PIM system is used by many teams throughout a business including:

  • eCommerce Team to drive demand generation and online revenues
  • IT Team to streamline internal systems and mitigate downtimes
  • Product/Category Manager to track products as they move through the product development lifecycle
  • Product/Master Data Managers to ensure data consistency and compliance across all channels
  • Merchandisers to create immersive customer experiences with consistently high-quality data
  • Sales & Marketing to create effective campaigns that deliver real results
  • C-Suite to boost productivity by streamlining processes and achieving scalability by reaching new sales channels and geographies

In addition to these teams using PIM, other internal and external departments will also benefit from a PIM being in place. For instance, accurate product information can be shared with the sales and customer service teams so they can effectively inform and assist customers.

Moreover, a business may be working with an outsourced agency to create campaign assets that can then be stored in PIM platforms. In terms of digital assets, the studio and design team will require access to upload and edit for example. Essentially, a PIM system ensures there is a quality loop of data going in and out of the business.

What is the best information management system?

Every business has different requirements and resources, which consequently means they will need different systems to reach their specific business goals. For instance, an on-premise PIM is housed, stored, and managed on-site. This requires a certain amount of investment, not to mention physical space for servers and a good IT department on-hand to maintain it.

A cloud-based PIM system does what it says on the tin –  is hosted in the cloud. A massive advantage of this is employees being able to gain secure access whenever they need it, from wherever they are, provided they have a stable internet connection.

There is also open-source PIM whereby you can configure the platform to suit specific business needs. This does however require a lot of time and investment into a strong IT team with good technical capabilities who need to create the code and maintain it, which can be very time-consuming.

With a SaaS PIM like Pimberly, the platform is totally user-friendly, and you have a technical team on-hand to support you every step of the way. We’re with you from implementation to going live and everyday use. The distinct difference between Pimberly and other PIM providers is the inherent scalability of our solution. Pimberly offers businesses selling online the ability to manage millions of SKUs. Moreover, you have unlimited inputs and outputs that come at no extra cost.

No-code workflows and validation/assignment rules that can be configured to suit your specific business requirements. This powerful automation will reduce manual tasks relating to product data management by up to 80%.

Pimberly is headless enabling businesses to create unique eCommerce experiences in the front-end of web stores and sales channels. This is a totally future-proof solution as it means you can change and adapt front-end design as and when you want, as well as being able to add as many additional sales channels as desired.

Overall, a cloud-based SaaS PIM presents an array of business benefits, less investment, more flexibility, and a lot more support than other platforms.

What is the difference between MDM and PIM?

A Master Data Management (MDM) solution is different from a PIM system in the way that it manages all the data within an organization. Typically, MDM solutions are used by larger organizations holding more than one version of data. This data includes; employee information, customer information, HR, and financial data. Inevitably, this leads to mistakes, inconsistencies, and errors which is where MDM comes in. It brings people, processes, and technologies together to ensure data is always consistent.

This isn’t dissimilar to the role PIM plays, however, PIM systems are designed specifically to handle data relating to the marketing and sale of products online. Like an MDM solution, it enables businesses handling large volumes of complex data to create a single source of truth. In addition, PIM also has the capabilities to enrich data for SEO purposes whilst also managing digital assets which are essential for effective digital representation online.

What is the difference between PIM and CMS?

Content Management System (CMS) is used to manage and amend content on a website. A CMS will often remove the need for teams to have strong technical abilities when content on their websites needs to be changed or updated. CMS systems are very different from PIM platforms in that they cannot manage the complexities often associated with selling products online. In addition, they don’t offer the capability to store essential dynamic data relating to the marketing and sale of products online such as product data, pricing information, and stock level information (held only as referenceable data).

Whilst you can store huge volumes of data and media files within a CMS, you cannot define product relationships for instance and it doesn’t facilitate collaboration across different departments. PIM has much more powerful capabilities when it comes to integrating with other systems to collect and distribute data. It makes the process of distributing new data to multiple sales channels very straightforward as it can be done in a few simple clicks with powerful rules and automation.

To sum up, these are two very different systems. A CMS focuses on delivering the relevant marketing images and banners to eCommerce platforms, such as web stores and digital POS/signage. Conversely, PIMs are designed to manage all the data and information needed to effectively market and sell products online.