What is a PIM…and do you need one?

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  • Post category:Ecommerce

Most ecommerce managers at some point will have come across PIM (Product Information Management) systems, regardless of whether your website is using one or not. Whilst PIMs are relatively new to the ecommerce world, they are becoming more and more popular with an increasing number of businesses opting to invest in one.

What is a PIM?

Product Information Management is essentially a tool that enables you to house all the product information relating to your products in one place and in a logical format.

For example, let’s say your business manufactures t-shirts, a single t-shirt could have the following information associated with it:

  • Weight
  • Colour
  • Size
  • Product imagery
  • Product videos
  • Material
  • Washing/care instructions
  • etc

Traditionally all this information is likely to have been stored within a spreadsheet, ERP system…or even on pieces of paper.

A PIM looks to pull together and store all of this data into one place

How can a PIM help my ecommerce website?

Whether you have an existing ecommerce website that you are happy with or looking at replatforming, a PIM is worth looking at to see whether it can be beneficial to your business.

Without a PIM, the master product information on the website are mostly likely stored in one of 3 places

  • A spreadsheet
  • ERP
  • The ecommerce platform

This can cause all sorts of problems for ecommerce managers…including

  • Issues with spreadsheet formatting causing uploads to break, constantly
  • ERP not supporting product information such as videos
  • Ecommerce teams not being told until the last minute about product changes and having to update directly on the platform
  • …and many, many more

With a PIM, all of the product information is neatly stored in one place and most will have integrations with ecommerce platforms such as Magento and Shopify. Syncing this information from the PIM to ecommerce can save a huge amount of time for ecommerce managers and helps to ensure consistency across the business.

A saving of admin time can mean more time is spent managing site for greater commercial performance.

Pros and Cons of using a PIM with ecommerce

As with most integrations within ecommerce, there are cons to the pros.

ProsCons
Time saving when creating or managing your ecommerce storeInitial setup can be expensive and time consuming
Product specialists can own and enrich the product data rather than relying on technical team membersYet another ecommerce integration is another thing that can go wrong!
Product data is simplified and manageable, meaning other other departments such as Marketing can access to manage their on or offline campaigns.Ongoing costs can add up

Do I need a PIM?

If you ask most PIM providers, they will say every business that sells a product needs a PIM…but in many cases these may not be necessary or at least business critical to implement straight away. From and ecommerce managers point of view it is worth asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you spend a large amount of time inputting and managing products in your ecommerce platform?
  • Does implementing product data come with ongoing technical issues?
  • Are you reliant on your digital agency or internal technical expertise to provide product information (causing bottlenecks)?

If the answer is yes to any of the above it would be worth speaking with PIM providers to see if their solutions can help your business to save valuable time and sell more products.

PIM providers

There are more and more PIM providers springing up but a few worth talking to are:

Akeneo

Pimberly

Inriver