What is Product Information Management and how to integrate it?

 PIM for retailers and manufacturers
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If you are a manufacturer, product manager, or retailer and manage a big number of products, you should have probably used product information management tool. Or, at least, considered implementing one. Below we will take a look at the product information management best practices, review its basic functions, discuss the benefits and common issues on PIM tools, and how your PIM can be integrated with product data syndication software.

What is PIM?

Product Information Management (pim) is an eCommerce solution that acts as a single source of truth to collect, manage, enrich, and distribute your product data to a variety of sales channels.

What does it mean? For brands operating globally, the major challenge is to adjust the product information to each retailer’s requirements. There are also specific market demands for retailers to be able to sell products in several geographic locations. Thus, they have to manage PIM data in multiple languages and formats via a centralized catalog. To collect, refine, edit, and save product information automatically there are special PIM software solutions. 

         

Frequently, the PIM term can be confused with a number of other related eCommerce solutions acronyms. Let’s define a few.

PXM (Product Experience Management). This system focuses on delivering the product content to the end-user and makes sure that experience the highest quality. Product information management tool serves as a foundation for PXM.

PDM (Product Data Management). This tool is primary tailored to the internal data exchange processes. Engineers, designers, and similar people are the main users of this system.

PCM (Product Content Management). This solution is very similar to the PIM system, the main difference is that it doesn’t support the data aggregation from multiple channels. So you need to import all the information manually, which is time-consuming.

MDM (Master Data Management). MDM is a complex enterprise solution, which combines all the business units (employees, processes, data from the other systems), while product information management platform is mostly used for sales & marketing needs.

Product Information Management Capabilities

Adjusting the product data information for each sales channel can be done manually by spending hours on making sure data will be consistent and uniform, or with the help of a dedicated syndication solution. Here are the product information management features that can optimize your eCommerce performance:

  • Product content syndication via custom API.
  • Automated data transformations to various sales channels needs.
  • Integration with software ecosystem streamlines operations.
  • Data validation to control the product content quality.
  • Multi-tenant architecture to control the access level for each user.
  • Content creation, enrichment, and variations.
  • Data exchange automation to transfer documents electronically.
  • Content standardization to simplify content exchange.

Product Information Management (pim)

What Kind of Information Does PIM System Store?

Generally, PIM solutions store all the required information on the product, including description, configuration, taxation, composition, technical information, hardware version, and other types of accompanying information. As an addition, it can also store rich media files (such as images, videos, or documents on the product). Look through the points of data which can be stored in a product information management application:

  • Basic Product Data. MPN, GTIN, Model name, Product images.
  • Marketing Messaging. Short marketing description, Marketing texts, Warranty notes.
  • Rich content. Reasons-to-buy, Bullet points, Product story, Videos, PDFs, Guides, Manuals.
  • Product specifications. Age group, Materials, Hazardous materials, Product dimensions, Package dimensions, Product weight, Package weight, Product colour, Warnings.

The list of product information that should be stored in a product information management tool depends on the particular business’s needs and can vary significantly.

To Use or Not to Use PIM?

To use or not to use, that is the question. As we already know, a dedicated PIM system can greatly facilitate the company’s product listing process and other aspects of a business. However, it is not always a must to use a PIM solution as there are cases where you can handle product information without it.

Who uses PIM systems? What areas have a better fit for it?

  • Small businesses. The main goal here is to keep data centralized in one place making it easy to share with partners, retailers, or buyers.
  • Manufacturers. Product information management tools can speed up the time-to-market of products and reduce costs on product information creation. This may lower the final price in the long-run.
  • Marketplaces & online retailers. Product information management solution makes it easier to add new product categories and help with geographic expansion.

Product information management solution users

When to use and when not to use PIM?

To use or not to use, that is the question. As we already know, a dedicated PIM system can greatly facilitate the company’s product listing process and other aspects of a business. However, it is not always a must to use a PIM solution as there are cases where you can handle product information without it.

Reasons to use PIM

  • There’s a need for data-rich information.
  • You need SEO adaptation for your descriptions.
  • You have multiple suppliers and sources of distribution.
  • You need to update the price and product catalog often.

Conditions when PIM is unnecessary 

  • If you only use one platform or one distribution channel. 
  • If your list of products is relatively small (less than 1000 positions).
  • If you only work with one or two manufacturers.
  • If the product line does not require data-rich descriptions.

How to choose a Product Information Management Tool

There are dozens of PIM solutions for every budget and taste. And it’s important to choose the one that is best for your particular demand. First of all, you have to compile a list of requirements for the solution which will take some research, and then proceed to the selection. Here’s what you should consider before selecting the right software. Choosing product information management best practices

  • Find out if the system is compatible with the platforms you sell on and gather data. If not, the system should have a feature to connect with your third-party services manually.
  • The system has to be flexible enough to support business growth and unexpected repositioning.
  • Consider selecting a PIM that supports multiple languages for localization. Even if there’s no need for that at the moment, you might still find it vital in the future. PIM system has to be easy-to-use and easy-to-learn not only to save your time but also to make sure your employees would be comfortable with it daily.

What Challenges Can You Encounter While Implementing a PIM System to Your Business?

The search for the right PIM and its launch are complex processes, requiring deep analysis of your current data ecosystem. To make hard things easy, Gepard CEO recently shared our internal high-level roadmap to PIM implementation. It would save you a lot of time on defining the requirements of your ideal product information management platform and planning its integration. Here are the main challenges businesses face:

  • Data inconsistency. Using PIM by multiple users may lead to content errors. However, the best product information management software has progressive functionality that can offer backups, activity logs, and technical support.
  • Onboarding non-technical users. Sometimes ecommerce product information management software may seem to be difficult to use for non-engineering employees. That’s why product information management vendors always organize training sessions & workshops to help staff get to know the system’s logic and workflow. 
  • Involving lots of stakeholders. It is good when many people take care of future product information management architecture, although, this causes a growing amount of negotiations and slows down the PIM integration process.  Thus, it’s crucial to choose a single person who will be in charge of enterprise product information management workflow implementation.

How Gepard PIM Could Grow your Efficiency

Gepard PIM improves operations efficiency by 75%. Using Gepard Product Information Management software, you keep all rich product content in a single place, easily collaborate with colleagues, and connect new eCommerce channels quickly to drive your business growth.

Here are the main benefits of implementing Gepard PIM:

  • Enormous amounts of data stores in one place.
  • Smooth communication between the departments.
  • Organized product catalogs and faster go-to-market.
  • Less manual work and no delays in product launches.
  • Lack of error-prone and data-validation tool before publishing.
  • Multilingual interface and various locales support.

Here is a workflow of how Gepard PIM works:

  1. Centralize. Easily insert and store your content in a single system.
  2. Enrich. Set up simple workflows, add the rich media, create & collaborate on it with teams from other departments.
  3. Deliver. Distribute your rich product content to eCommerce platforms, marketplaces, and different online stores.

Product information management solution

How Сould Gepard Help With Delivering Product Content?

Another obstacle while integrating PIM for businesses is the content delivery from the PIM system to sales channels which is called product content syndication. Each marketplace and eCommerce platform has its own data structure which might go contrary to the settings of your solution. This problem can be solved either by manually spending hours on making sure data will be consistent and uniform, or with the help of a dedicated syndication solution such as our Gepard content syndication platform.

Moreover, Gepard has a content syndication tool, which integrates with the PIM solution and enables complying content delivery to any eCommerce store or marketplace. Each month 120+ million products are pushed automatically to various retail channels by Gepard eCommerce solution. We are eager to help you with product information management theory and practice.

Conclusion on PIM Solution

Product Information Management tool is an effective tool for e-commerce business development. However, as there are clear benefits, PIMs require serious attention to details and research before implementation. If you consider using it, first explore product information management trends then try to define your business needs and calculate whether it’s going to be beneficial. When you are sure that you need PIM in your business just contact us for more details.

 

PIM stands for Product Information Management
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