Summary: Managing product information on a small scale is accessible. But how would you manage an extensive product catalog containing 15000+ products with data spread across multiple databases? For this, you need product information management (PIM) software that can efficiently manage and organize product information in one place. Learn product information management, why it matters, and how to choose the best PIM software.
Managing product information is accessible for small-scale digital commerce businesses with a limited inventory. However, as a business grows, data sets increase, and so does the complexity of managing the information. The product information became siloed and scattered, with no control over increasing databases. As a result, containing the product attributes, imagery, descriptions, and supplier information becomes difficult, slowing down workflows and impacting the user experience.
eCommerce businesses use cloud-based product information management (PIM) software to store and maintain A-Z product information in a streamlined manner at a centralized location.
The product information management market is expected to rise from USD 3.01 billion in 2022 to USD 12.91 billion in 2029 at a CAGR of 23.1% during 2022-2029. – Fortune Business Insights
PIM software is an excellent choice for digital commerce businesses planning to invest in disruptive technologies that help companies to reduce data management stress, provide appropriate ecommerce solutions, and enhance the customer experience.
Let’s discuss product information management, how PIM software benefits eCommerce businesses, and the best PIM software available.
What is (PIM) Product Information Management?
Product information management collects and organizes product information across various systems and channels. The idea is to manage all product-related data in a centralized manner so that you can provide accurate and up-to-date product information to multiple stakeholders.
Companies use product information management (PIM) software to collect, sort, and manage product information. The production information includes product descriptions, features, specifications, images, videos, pricing, availability, and other relevant data.
Benefits of a Product Information Management (PIM) Software
Here are the benefits of product information management software:
1. Automatic Updates, Reduced Burden
Updating product information for every product manually on spreadsheets consumes time and makes your datasheet prone to errors. With multiple people working on the same sheet, the errors likely increase and defeat the purpose of maintaining a single source of quality information.
In a product information management system for eCommerce, information automatically syncs across all the sales channels. It means updating information for a particular product will update the entire catalog, reducing the burden of manually updating and managing product information. The system also allows scheduling updates in advance, making it easier to change/update information.
2. Maintains Quality of Data
Data tends to multiply quickly, leading to inconsistent data sets if unmanaged. The inaccuracies and redundancies can lead to bad customer experience, cart abandonments, and increased return rates.
A product information management solution will help automate data collection into a single master data management sheet from multiple sources. Moreover, it will help run a system-wide inspection to identify and remove data duplications and inaccuracies.
3. Single Source, Better Management
When data is scattered and unorganized, fetching the correct information at the right time poses a challenge. It is similar to a customer visiting a shop where items are scattered everywhere. The shopkeeper will find it challenging to locate the item the customer asked for, which, in turn, will increase the waiting time.
A product information management system helps collect and manage information in a single, unified source. This means the team can refer to and access the same source whenever they need information or re-share the data with a sales channel.
4. Improves Customer Experience
Cart abandonment and product return rates increase if the displayed product information is outdated, faulty, or incomplete. Customers will feel frustrated, which, in turn, will affect the overall customer experience negatively.
A product information management system maintains the quality and integrity of data. Duplications are removed, data is complete, categorizations are apt, and information is updated frequently (automatically synced across channels). The perfect information representation ensures to offer a delightful and fulfilling customer experience.
5. Helps Offer Personalization
Customers love personalized experiences in the form of product recommendations. According to Mckinsey, 35% of Amazon’s revenue comes from recommendations. However, to implement a recommendation engine system — product information for existing products should be accurate and in place.
A PIM system maintains a single, unified, quality-centric product information repository. This allows the recommendation engine to pick the right and matching attributes of products and display meaningful recommendations, thus, helping you grow your bottom line too.
6. Easy Integrations
Traditionally, product information exists in silos — without integrating with existing ERP, Warehouse, inventory, or other third-party eCommerce management systems. This leads to complexities as product information is the central source of feed for all the other eCommerce tech stacks.
A product information management system ensures that product information is automatically shared across ERPs, inventory management systems, warehouse management systems, and CRMs. This easy integration allows continuous communication between the systems through APIs, thus improving the productivity of each enlisted eCommerce technology stack.
7. Reduce Time to Market for Products
Manual management of data takes time. Even if the business managers manage to create the product datasheet one time, the upcoming changes and updates often need to be addressed while the old data still resides in the sheets.
A product information management system ensures that the product data is always up-to-date. It automatically syncs the changes to the datasheets when introducing a new change in the existing data sources. Automating updates ensures that the product information is updated and the product is ready for sale.
8. Run Better SEO Optimizations
Planning for an SEO strategy is useless if the product information is scattered, redundant, incomplete, and in silos. No matter how detailed keyword research is conducted, the SEO efforts will likely fall flat — resulting in poor rankings.
A product information management system categorizes products nicely based on feature sets, removes redundancies, maintains a section for updating Meta descriptions and product titles, and ensures no content gaps across the product page. This, in turn, helps plan and implement an SEO strategy around products, which further helps improve Google rankings.
In short, with a PIM system, companies can effectively manage product information in a structured and organized manner, allowing them to consistently update, maintain, and distribute product updates to different channels such as e-commerce websites, mobile apps, catalogs, and sales channels.
Product Information management software benefits companies with large product catalogs, multiple sales channels, and complex product information requirements. By centralizing and streamlining product information management through PIM systems, they can improve data accuracy, reduce data entry errors, and speed up time-to-market for new products.
Why is product information management (PIM) crucial for eCommerce Businesses?
Here are the reasons why PIM (Product Information Management) is crucial for B2C and B2B eCommerce businesses:
- eCommerce businesses must manage many product information, such as descriptions, images, prices, and inventory levels. With PIM software, they can centralize the information in one location, making it easier to manage, update, and distribute to multiple sales channels.
- PIM software includes features that help eCommerce businesses to standardize and enrich product data. This way, they can ensure that the data is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date, which is crucial for providing a positive customer experience and avoiding costly errors.
- PIM software can save eCommerce businesses time and effort by automating many manual tasks in managing product information, such as data entry and formatting. It would give them enough time to focus on other critical aspects of their business.
- Detailed and accurate product information is essential for a positive customer experience. With product information management systems, businesses can provide consistent and comprehensive product information across all sales channels, leading to increased loyalty and customer satisfaction.
- Product information management systems can help businesses optimize their product data for search engines. They also ensure that the product information is consistent across all sales channels, improving the customer experience and driving sales.
In short, PIM software can help you centralize and standardize product information – improving data quality, increasing efficiency, enhancing the customer experience, and driving sales.
How Does PIM Software Work?
A SaaS (Software as a Service) product management software works in the following steps:
Step 1: Collection
In this stage, the PIM software imports data from existing systems like ERPS, inventory management systems, or supplier data. Then, it cleans and refines the data to remove redundancies and inaccuracies.
Step 2: Sorting
In the sorting stage, the PIM software organizes the data in a centralized location and enriches it with additional information, such as product descriptions, images, videos, and other marketing collateral. The end goal is to arrange all product-related information, such as — descriptions, images, videos, instructions, etc., in one place.
The product information management software also classifies and categorizes data to standardize and manage product information, ensuring that it is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date during the sorting phase.
Step 3: Distribution
In the distribution phase, PIM software lets businesses distribute product information to various sales channels, such as eCommerce websites, marketplaces, and social media platforms. The idea is to ensure that product information is displayed consistently across all channels.
The product information management (PIM) software also offers tools to monitor and analyze product information like sales data, customer feedback, and search engine rankings. This way, businesses can identify areas for improvement and optimize their product information for maximum sales and customer satisfaction.
Overall, PIM software enables businesses to manage their product information efficiently and effectively, ensuring that it is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date across all sales channels. This helps businesses to improve the customer experience, increase sales, and drive business growth.
PIM vs. ERP: What’s the Difference?
1. What is an ERP Solution?
An ERP or an Enterprise Resource Planning solution is an all-in-one software solution that manages to integrate and manage back-office functions such as — order fulfillment, warehouse management, inventory management, and even customer relationship management.
2. What is a PIM Solution?
A PIM or Product Information Management solution is a software solution that manages and integrates product data across the entire eCommerce technology stack. This allows automation synchronization and real-time accessibility to product information across channels and touchpoints.
For an eCommerce business having an ERP and a PIM software solution adds to the competitive advantage.
Businesses often think that an ERP and a PIM solution are the same. However, they solve a different problem entirely.
When to Invest in a PIM?
It is a wise decision to invest in a B2B product information management system if:
- Your business is expanding, and your product numbers are increasing rapidly (15,000 or more). A product information system would help you manage and streamline product information.
- You’re struggling with maintaining accurate and consistent product information across different channels. PIM software will help you centralize and organize your data.
- You’re looking to improve the customer experience. A product information management system would ensure that your customers access accurate and up-to-date product information across different channels.
- Your team is spending significant time and resources manually managing the product information. With PIM software, you can automate and streamline the process, saving time and reducing costs.
- You are strategizing around implementing a multichannel or omnichannel retail strategy.
- Your product data must support multiple currencies, geographical locations, and language preferences.
- Your competitors are also using PIM systems to manage their product information. You must invest in a product information management system to stay competitive.
- You’re active on multiple sales and marketing channels.
- You have a dynamic product range (e.g., seasonal products, short-term offers, temporary partnerships), multiple suppliers, and multiple product relationships.
- The key to deciding whether to invest in PIM software or not is to analyze your business needs and growth trajectory before you go for it. There’s a use for investing in a PIM tool if it doesn’t aid your business growth.
Best PIM Software for eCommerce
Here is some top PIM software for eCommerce businesses that are insanely popular in the market at present:
Akeneo is open-source PIM software designed for large enterprises with evolving business needs. It is highly scalable and customizable and lets users effectively centralize and manage product information across multiple channels.
Here are the key features of Akeneo:
- With Akeneo, businesses can centralize all product information in one place, including product descriptions, images, prices, and attributes. It ensures that the product information is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date across all channels.
- Akeneo has a flexible data modeling system using which businesses can create data models that match their specific product requirements. This way, businesses can customize their product data fields and attributes to suit their needs.
- With Akeneo, businesses can distribute product information to multiple channels, including e-commerce platforms, mobile apps, and print catalogs. This ensures that product information is available across all customer touchpoints.
- Akeneo PIM provides advanced tools for product enrichment, including bulk editing, data import/export, and attribute mapping. This helps businesses to enrich their product data quickly and efficiently.
- Akeneo PIM provides data quality management tools, including validation, standardization, and completeness checks. This way, businesses can ensure that product information is accurate and consistent across all channels.
- With Akeneo, businesses can define workflows and automate product data management processes. This way, they can save time and reduce errors in product information management.
The community edition of Akeneo PIM is forever free. However, it has limited features. You can upgrade to the growth edition for a $25K annual subscription to access features like automatic updates, early access to the latest PIM features, and a customer success manager. The top-tier edition is the enterprise edition in which you get everything you need to manage product information efficiently. However, its pricing must be listed on the blog, and you must contact them for a quote.
Pimcore is a popular open-source PIM software with a strong focus on eCommerce security. It offers integrations with popular e-commerce platforms and comprehensive features for managing product data, digital assets, and e-commerce content.
Pimcore is the best for large enterprises with complex requirements, but it may not work for you if you’re a small business looking for an out-of-the-box solution.
Here are the features of Pimcore:
- A centralized repository for product information that allows businesses to manage and organize product data in one place.
- A comprehensive digital asset management system for managing images, videos, and other digital assets.
- Integrations with popular e-commerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, and others e-commerce platforms.
- A powerful content management system for creating and managing website content.
- A flexible workflow management system to help businesses define custom workflows for product data and content management, such as defining approval processes, managing tasks, and tracking progress.
- A set of tools for ensuring data quality, including validation, cleansing, and normalization.
- A robust API framework for integrating with external systems and applications.
Pimcore is open-source software, so there is no license cost. However, you must pay for hosting, website development, other related expenses, and any custom development or support services you may need.
inRiver PIM is cloud-based PIM software built keeping enterprise manufacturers in mind. It features a user-friendly interface and robust data management features, including data validation, workflow management, and data mapping – an ideal solution for large companies with substantial product offerings.
Features of inRiver
- A single platform for managing and organizing product information, such as product descriptions, images, pricing, and other attributes.
- A comprehensive digital asset management system for managing digital assets like images and videos.
- A flexible workflow management system that businesses can define custom workflows for product data management.
- A set of tools for data validation, data cleansing, and data normalization to ensure that the product data is accurate, complete, and consistent.
- Tools for managing product data across multiple channels, including web stores, marketplaces, and social media platforms.
- A translation management system to manage product data in multiple languages. It includes features for managing translations, reviewing translated content, and integrating with external translation services.
- Various analytics and reporting tools allow businesses to monitor and optimize their product data and channel performance.
inRiver Pricing Plans
InRiver offers a range of pricing options, starting at $2,000 per month for their basic plan and going up to $20,000+ per month for their enterprise plan. The exact cost will depend on your specific needs and the number of users and products you need to manage.
4. Commerce tools
Commercetools does not offer a standalone PIM solution. However, it provides a range of product data management features that can be used with other PIM tools.
- A centralized product catalog management system helps businesses manage product information like product descriptions, images, pricing, and other attributes in one place.
- A comprehensive digital asset management system to help businesses manage images, videos, and other digital assets.
- Tools for managing product data across multiple sales channels like web stores, marketplaces, and social media platforms.
- A translation management system to help businesses to manage product data in multiple languages.
- A flexible workflow management system that allows businesses to define custom workflows for product data management.
- A set of tools for ensuring data quality, such as validation, cleansing, and normalization.
Commercetools offers a range of pricing options, starting at $3,000 per month for their basic plan and going up to $10,000+ per month for their enterprise plan. The exact cost will depend on your specific needs and the number of users and products you need to manage.
Plytix is cloud-based product information management (PIM) software for businesses of all sizes. The best thing about this tool is its user-friendly interface and compelling features that allow users to effectively centralize product information, automate data processes and make product content easily accessible across various channels.
Key features of Plytix
- Plytix offers a centralized repository to help businesses manage and update their product information in one place.
- With Plytix, businesses can enrich their product information with images, videos, and other media files, as well as product descriptions, specifications, and pricing information.
- Plytix lets businesses publish their product data to multiple sales channels, including eCommerce websites, marketplaces, and social media platforms.
- Plytix also has tools for managing product data workflows, enabling businesses to collaborate on product data and automate tasks such as data validation and approvals.
- The analytics and reporting tool of Plytix lets businesses effectively track product performance, monitor product data quality, and identify opportunities for improvement.
- You can easily integrate Plytix with various eCommerce platforms, marketplaces, and other software tools to streamline product data management and optimize your sales channels.
- Plytix offers an API that enables businesses to access and manage their product data, integrates with other systems, and builds custom applications.
Plytix offers a range of pricing options, starting at $299 per month for their basic plan and going up to $2,999+ per month for their enterprise plan. The exact cost will depend on your specific needs and the number of users and products you need to manage.
Salsify offers many features like PIM, PXM, DAM, etc. As per customers, Salsify has a complex user interface. It can help businesses manage their product information for various sales channels. The PIM is especially designed for manufacturers.
Salsify provides various features for product information management, including:
- Enrich product information with images, videos, and other media files and product descriptions, specifications, and pricing information.
- Optimize product content for specific sales channels, ensuring that their product information meets the unique requirements of each channel.
- Managing product data workflows to collaborate on product data and automate data validation and approvals tasks.
- Analytics and reporting tools for tracking product performance, monitoring product data quality, and identifying opportunities for improvement.
- You can integrate Salsify with various eCommerce platforms, marketplaces, and other software tools to streamline product data management and optimize sales channels.
- Businesses can easily access and manage their product data, integrate with other systems, and build custom applications using the Salsify API.
Salsify offers a range of pricing options, starting at $3,000 per year for their basic plan and going up to $30,000+ per year for their enterprise plan. The exact cost will depend on your specific needs and the number of users and products you need to manage.
7. Informatica MDM
Informatica MDM (Master Data Management) is a data management platform that helps organizations manage their master data, which includes critical business information such as customer, product, and supplier data.
Informatica MDM provides a range of features for managing master data, such as:
- Ability to establish data governance policies and procedures for managing master data, ensuring data accuracy, consistency, and completeness.
- Data modeling tools help organizations define data models for their master data, including data relationships, hierarchies, and attributes.
- Integration with various data sources and applications to help organizations bring together master data from across the enterprise.
- Data quality management tools help organizations measure, monitor, and improve the quality of their master data.
- A workflow management tool for automating and streamlining master data management processes.
- Analytics and reporting tools to gain insights into their master data, including data quality, completeness, and accuracy.
- Security and access control features enable organizations to control who can access and modify master data.
Overall, Informatica MDM helps organizations achieve a single, trusted view of their critical business information, allowing them to make more informed decisions and drive better business outcomes.
Informatica MDM Pricing
Informatica MDM offers a range of pricing options, starting at $50,000 per year for their basic plan and going up to $200,000+ per year for their enterprise plan. The exact cost will depend on your specific needs and the number of users and products you need to manage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can Use a PIM?
- eCommerce Marketers — who aim to offer a holistic and connected customer experience
- eCommerce Business Managers — who depend on product information quality to improve sales
- eCommerce Business Owners — to improve the buyer-seller relationship with the suppliers
- Data Researchers and Analysts — to track and maintain data quality across the ecosystem
What type of Information can you store in PIM?
- Basic Product Information: Name, SKU number, UPC, description
- Technical Specifications: The material used, highlights, warranty information, etc.
- Manufacturer and Supplier Data: Procurement date, units imported, cost price, seller information, etc.
- Digital Formats Available: Images, videos, demos, product stories, etc.
- Marketing-oriented Data: Targeted personas, keywords used, titles, meta descriptions, etc.
- Taxonomy: Categorizations, labeling, building relationships among categories, etc.
- Channel-Centric Information: Titles, pricing, availability, return/exchange policies, etc.
- Sales Information: Price, discount information, reviews, FAQs, etc.
- Localized Information: currencies, languages, shipment charge calculations, etc.
- Customer-Experience Related Information: how it is used, where it is used, usage instructions, recommendations, etc.
What are some must-have Product Information Management (PIM) features?
- Gather and collect data from multiple sources
- Identify and rectify inconsistencies across data sets
- Automatic synchronization of product information into an ERP system
- Pushing product information to selected sales channels
Is a PIM the same as a CRM?While both PIM and CRM software solutions involve managing data, they serve different purposes and address other needs within a business. A PIM primarily focuses on managing product information, while a CRM mainly focuses on managing customer information.