The concept of Product Information Management (PIM) is increasingly common in discussions and analysis when it comes to e-commerce, product sales strategies, digital marketing and omnichannel presence.
A huge problem marketers face in any product-focused business is the insurmountable amount of information which they are supposed to deal with. This information needs to be passed in multiple versions to different sales channels, distributors, retailers, teams - you name it. Here's exactly where PIM comes to play.
What is PIM?
PIM stands for Product Information Management and is commonly referred as that software which manages all the data surrounding the products: catalogues, sizes, weights, descriptions, reviews, certifications and so on. That, across organizations, supply chains, channels and customers.
At its most basic level, a PIM lets you collect, manage and enrich your product information, create product catalogues, and distribute information to channels in one place.
It should be noted that a PIM system doesn’t handle all product information and not all information is moved into the PIM system according to the needs. In this case, this information will need to be fetched from other sources. The main principle of the PIM system is that it always contains marketing and sales information, nothing more.
What kind of data can be found in a PIM?
Several type of data can be stored in a PIM, including:
- Technical data: product specifications like size, colour, weight, material, and ingredients
- Usage data: product descriptions with where-used, how-to, and sample usage suggestions
- Emotional data: rich product descriptions, stories, and imagery that helps create emotional connections with buyers
- Media files: images, PDFs, videos
Which are the benefits of a PIM?
There’s a lot to like about PIM – it’s a software that evaluates, stores, manages and helps you to distribute your products, so what more could you want?
Here are the top 3 advantages a PIM will bring to your business:
1. Increased efficiency and productivity
A PIM acts as a central hub providing your team with a one stop solution to find all the relevant information related to a particular product. There will be no time lost or confusion trying to locate, clean-up or piece together your product information. The time you would have lost can be better spent on-boarding new products and expanding your product catalogue size.
2. Improved product content quality
Using a PIM increases the likelihood that products will get the attention they deserve through enrichment. Customers expect to read thorough and accurate product descriptions along with images or videos. If they can’t find what they are looking for, or can’t get what they want, they’ll go to another retailer or get confused (which brings to returns, etc.).
3. Accelerated ROI from efficiency gains and cost savings
Having a modern, well-designed PIM can significantly transform the amount of sales you receive. Many companies who are using PIM report increased conversion rates and decreased product returns.
A PIM is comparatively faster and cheaper to deploy with business benefits that are easy to measure. Hard numbers from improved sales conversion rates and reduced product return commonly provide payback periods of less than a year and can be even shorter when taking into consideration the high agility and scalability of the marketing team.
What about the many acronyms floating around?
- PDM (Product Data Management) - PDM is used for the sharing product data inside a company, focusing on engineers and product designers.
- PCM (Product Content Management) - PCM and PIM are related terms, but PCM is usually an add-on to an e-commerce platform made for easy enrichment of taxonomies and products.
- MDM (Master Data Management) - MDM is a universal, internal repository for the information of a whole (usually enterprise level) business. Where PIM is used for the marketing of the products, MDM is a more encompassing system which may contain information on employees, machinery, processes and products. Of course, it also costs a lot more.