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Alina Virstiuk
Written by
Alina Virstiuk
Content Manager at Gepard
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PIM product information management

Gepard vs. In-House: Which PIM Solution Is Better?

8 min read
August 25, 2022

If you decide to implement a PIM solution, you have so many options on the table. You can buy a pre-packaged system, build one in-house, and outsource development. Gepard offers a hybrid option that may be even more suited to your needs.

But how do you make sense of all the options and make the right choice? Let’s get into details about the different software implementation approaches starting with in-house development.

What Is An In-House PIM Solution?

An in-house PIM solution is custom-developed software for managing product data. It’s designed for your business as a single user. Unlike an off-the-shelf tool that most companies go for, an in-house one can provide a set of features that are tailored to your needs and goals. But it does require a team of software engineers on your staff.

Role Of The Right Solution In Effectively Managing Your Product Data

Product information is a crucial part of any eCommerce business. But there’s no use in it if you don’t have a tool for organizing, managing, and distributing it across different channels. Unstructured data provides a huge risk of ineffective marketing campaigns, poor shopping experience, and ultimately, loss of profit.

In 2020, U.S. consumers have returned an estimated $428 billion worth of merchandise – just over 10% of the total sales. More than 70% of returns in fashion retail are due to unmatched size, color, and style preferences. This is because people were forced to shop more online due to the pandemic, and the stores weren’t ready for it.

Fashion Returns

Instead, good PIM systems help structure information and identify items that are missing crucial attributes like size or color. Suppose it also integrates with a DAM (digital assets management) solution. In that case, you’ll be able to enrich your catalog positions with high-quality images and video clips to complete the shopping experience.

Your team will also waste a lot of time on tasks that could be automated if you implemented software. But what level of implementation should you go for?

What Is The Difference Between An In-house, Outsourced PIM Solution And A Hybrid Approach?

In-house, outsourced, and hybrid are all approaches to customizing PIM (product information management). Let’s go over the pros and cons of each to understand how they differ.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of In-House PIM Solution

Creating in-house PIM technology means hiring software developers to write code from scratch. This means you get a tool that is tailored specifically to your business. There will also be someone to improve and maintain the system while your business is growing.

On the other hand, keeping people on your payroll is costly. Hiring the right employees, who can do a good job is also expensive. Of course, you could hire them for a project job, but you’ll need to pay taxes and a salary.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Outsourced PIM Solution

Contrary to in-house development, outsourcing an eCommerce solution means hiring a software development firm that will create a product for you.

You still get a system that is customized to your requirement. You also don’t need to pay a salary to a whole team, just a service fee – a fixed price per project or a rate per hour. Outsourcing companies offer additional maintenance services, which means you don’t need to keep people on your payroll for an occasional error fix or update.

On the other hand, finding a good outsourcing partner is a job in itself. You may run into all sorts of security risks, and can’t have full control over the company’s operations in regard to your project.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hybrid Approach

A hybrid approach is right in the middle between a pre-packaged product and custom software development. This is because the core functionality is already in place and any other features you may need can be added on top. Case in point – Gepard PIM.

Such an approach significantly reduces the time to market while still providing a high level of customization to suit your business needs. A hybrid approach doesn’t have any significant downsides. Though it’s not a white-label solution, you can’t sell on the technology like in the case of custom software built completely from scratch.

Build Or Buy Software. What PIM Tool To Choose?

The most obvious way for software implementation is by buying a pre-packaged product off the shelf. But it’s often not the right one, because “one size fits all” doesn’t work in practice. That’s why customization is often a better option.

Let’s discuss why buying a purpose-built tool is better than a pre-packaged one based on several implementation aspects.

Cost

The upfront costs usually make buying a third-party eCommerce platform more appealing because you can start using it almost immediately. You don’t need to pay for the time spent on building it, that’s for sure.

However, most pre-packaged products don’t have a demo or it’s very limited, so you don’t really know what exactly you’re paying for. Next, you find out that some features, like access permissions or product mapping, aren’t an option at all or you need to buy an extension.

When you sit down, browse for hidden charges and calculate them all, you may find out that they add up to the cost of a custom-built system.

Read more about PIM costs:

How Much Does A PIM Cost?
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Anna Mrynska
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PIM Prices: How Much Does A Product Information Management Solution Cost

Learn how PIM prices are formed and what factors influence the cost of product information management solution.

PIM PIM software product content

Resources

Building a solution requires not only software engineers but also software technology and hardware that can process the operations. If you choose to outsource development or the hybrid approach, the most you’ll need to worry about is storage.

eCommerce deals with a lot of data, so opting for a cloud PIM system makes more sense than buying a server that you can’t move out of your office on a whim. Working in the cloud also means your team isn’t bound to one workplace.

What Factors Are Important For PIM?

Control

A huge appeal of building a homebrewed PIM platform is that you have full control of all the operations from start to finish. On the other hand, if you buy a ready solution, you’re not in charge of the development process, nor the updates and bug fix.

However, with purpose-built software, you don’t have to worry about maintenance. You can have your full attention on the eCommerce business processes while a well-chosen vendor will provide technical support.
Features

The feature set is the biggest limitation when it comes to pre-packaged products. For example, some apps:

  • Don’t allow you to create new entities or relationships between them.
  • Don’t have a product preview.
  • Can’t offer a stable API.
  • Don’t have a customizable dashboard.

This is where the hybrid custom-development approach reaps the most benefits because you don’t need to waste time on building core functionality. But you can have free reign of what features go on top. Like:

  • Setting up entities that suit your data model.
  • Creating new roles that suit your workflow.
  • Customizing product fields.
  • Setting up 2-factor authentication.

Speed

Whether you opt for buying or building, automation software will accelerate the speed to market because it automates a lot of the processes concerned with creating and distributing a product catalog.

That said, development needs time, while a pre-packaged product you can start implementing right away – not without some sacrifices. Off-the-shelf software may not have all the features you need, such as a customized data model, no matter the cost.

A way out of this dilemma is to choose the hybrid approach. This way you don’t have to make do with limited functionality, but you also save time on feature development.

What’s Right For You: Building Or Buying?

You’ll find an answer to this question only when you access your goals and needs and weigh out all the aspects of both options. For example, if you already have a team of software engineers working for your company, a homebuilt PIM tool may be the most cost-effective solution. And if you have a small business, paying for customizations might not be in your budget.

Top 5 Business Benefits Of Using Gepard PIM

Gepard PIM offers a hybrid approach so you get the speed of buying core functionality and the benefits of tailoring it to fit your business goals. But aside from the ease of customization and implementation, our software has a lot more to offer.

Improve Customer Experience

Our tool integrates with content providers, such as Icecat and Tradeplace, so your positions can be enriched with product information, which means that you can provide customers with a fuller image of each product and a better shopping experience.

Increase Productivity

Gepard PIM system easily connects to popular marketplaces, such as eBay, Amazon, Walmart, and many more, so your catalog automatically fits the data model of these platforms. It also offers data validation which generates reports about missing data, so you save time on manual work.

Business Benefits Of Gepard PIM

Increase Conversions

Gepard provides one true source of structured data. At the front end of eCommerce, this means that customers get the same information about your products across different platforms, and it’s much easier to find what they need. As a result, a seamless shopping experience converts into more paying customers.

Speed Up Time-to-Market

Gepard PIM solution automates many processes from bulk import to data validation and to distribution across different platforms. If you use a Shopify website, an Etsy account, a Magento store, or Amazon to sell your goods, adding or updating information is a single occasion instead of several manual processes.

More Time For Creativity

Automating product information management saves a lot of time that can, of course, be used to focus on the business strategy and other processes that can’t be automated. But you can also use your spare time to improve your product catalog. For example, you can spend resources on new content for the items you sell. After all, Gepard allows you to add images and video to the product positions.

PIM Solution FAQ

Which Is The Best Product Information Management Solution?

The best PIM solution is one that satisfies all or most of your business requirements. If you can’t find this as a pre-packaged product, a good alternative is custom development. For example, Gepard offers core functionality that any eCommerce business needs to manage product data. But other features can be configured and customized to better fit your needs.

When Should I Implement A PIM Solution?

When you are certain you want to grow your business and convert more leads into paying customers.. You probably don’t need product information management automation if you’re running a small Etsy store with 20 items and that’s your maximum range. On the other hand, if you sell electronic goods, your product range will change at least because technology is constantly improving. A PIM solution will help keep your product information updated.

How Much Does PIM Software Cost?

The total cost of software depends on the type of business you have, its size, the number of SKUs you have on the list, the data types, third-party integrations, and any functional requirements you may have. When estimating the cost, you also need to take into account the maintenance fees and technical support.

What’s Next? Building Or Buying?

Buying a pre-packaged PIM may be enough in some cases. But if you want your business to scale, implementing a purpose-built solution will fit your needs more accurately.

Gepard PIM can be customized to your requirements, saving a lot of development and maintenance time. Our solution will also help you reduce time to market, distribute your products globally, and increase sales. Better yet, you can demo the system and see for yourself how it can benefit your business.

What Type Of PIM To Choose?

Alina Virstiuk
Written by Alina Virstiuk
Content Manager at Gepard
Passionate about travelling, books & photography. Enjoy working with new things and meeting people from all over the world.

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