PIM – a comprehensive guide by locatheart
Imagine a world where every piece of information related to your products is efficiently organised, easily accessible and up to date. A world where you can seamlessly manage even the tiniest details from the design stage to distribution, personalise customer experience, and make informed business decisions. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, with PIM systems, this dream can become a reality.
PIM systems provide a centralised platform for managing all your product information, including attributes, descriptions, images, and more. They not only allow you to store and organise data but also enhance its quality, consistency, and accuracy. And that’s not all. PIM systems have numerous benefits and applications that can revolutionise the way you do business. From optimising online shopping experiences and increasing customer engagement to streamlining supply chain processes and boosting sales, PIM systems have a wide range of use cases in various industries.
In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of PIM systems, uncovering its potential to transform your data management strategies and drive economic success. The text was written in cooperation with Artur Rompca, whom we asked for an expert comment. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about this game-changing technology!
E-commerce director with 11 years of experience in electronic commerce. He has gained his expertise in the largest Polish fashion companies operating online (Reserved or Moliera2).
He works for a Polish outdoor brand Alpinus. His most important specialisations are modern technologies and close collaboration with IT departments, devising operational processes and boosting sales on marketplace platforms.
PIM meaning, PIM acronym, and PIM definition
So, what does PIM stand for? As one could probably guess, PIM stands for “product information management”. The definition of PIM, however, is slightly more complex than it might seem, as a huge number of people often ask themselves (and browsers), “What is PIM, exactly?” or “What is PIM software?”
Being an information system at its core, PIM lets you gather and manage all product data in one place. It allows for seamless and virtually effortless data and content creation, edition, publication, and later adjustment. In essence, PIM can be the backbone of any e-commerce or retail business, creating a single source of all types of product-related details and materials. It ensures consistency across all channels, making it indispensable for businesses operating on multiple platforms. Not only does it streamline data management, but it also enhances customer experience by providing accurate and up-to-date information.
What PIM is and what it is not
Having answered the question, “What is a PIM system?”, we can move on to dispel further doubts, as yet another issue pondered over by many is, “How is PIM content management system unique compared to other solutions, such as CMS, TMS, or PMS?” Well, here’s the answer. While a common CMS (or content management system) might be confined to managing a single online platform’s content, a PIM system excels beyond this limitation. It is a versatile solution that consolidates and manages content for both internal utilisation and multi-channel distribution, making it an ideal choice for diverse needs.
Contrary to a TMS (or transportation management system), on the other hand, a PIM system isn’t a logistics or distribution management platform. It’s unparalleled in its primary function – managing product information. And unlike a PMS (or product management system), it is not focused on supporting the physical production process or ensuring product quality. Instead, it is dedicated to managing all facets of data – numbers, texts, and visuals – pertaining to items that are either already manufactured or at the design or pre-production stage.
Product information management – benefits for the company
Undoubtedly, there are multiple PIM features that can be extremely profitable for any business. Amongst the key benefits of product information management are:
Streamlining internal and external processes
One of the primary advantages of utilising a PIM system is its ability to streamline internal and external processes. With a robust PIM system in place, companies can easily create, edit, manage, and publish product information across various channels. This eliminates the need for repetitive manual data entry, reduces the chance of errors, and ultimately results in increased productivity and efficiency within the organisation.
Additionally, PIM systems facilitate the commissioning of copywriting and localisation tasks to expert translation agencies, which is particularly important for companies operating – or planning to operate – in multiple markets.
Cost and time reduction
Yet another significant advantage of PIM systems is their cost- and time-saving potential. With a centralised platform to manage all product information, companies can optimise their technology-related resources, which leads to reduced costs and increased ROI. The system’s automation capabilities, on the other hand, mean less time spent on manual processes, thanks to which employees can focus on more critical tasks and contribute to the growth of the company.
Improved team management
PIM systems also offer better team management opportunities. With a variety of access levels available, companies can assign specific roles to specific individuals. This not only improves security but also allows for effective task delegation and communication within the team. Moreover, using a centralised platform, employees can work together seamlessly, wherever they are.
As Artur Rompca notices,
“Thanks to additional features such as workflow management, you’ll be sure that the individuals responsible for product cards in your online shop will be able to complete their tasks much quicker, given the fact that they have everything they need in one place, at their fingertips.”
It’s a foregone conclusion that if a business wants to flourish, it needs to establish a strong and uniform brand image. PIM systems help achieve this by ensuring that product information is disseminated simultaneously on all relevant channels. Thanks to real-time updates and data synchronisation, companies can avoid discrepancies or simply errors. This, in turn, helps maintain consistent branding and build trust among customers.
What kind of data can be managed within a PIM system
We’ve already mentioned that PIM systems allow for creating, collecting, uploading, and editing various kinds of data, and that this helps achieve myriad business objectives, both short-term and long-term. But what kinds of information are we talking about, exactly? Here’s the detailed list:
Which departments benefit from PIM in particular
Although PIM catapults the growth and effectiveness of an organisation as a whole, there are some areas in which its advantages shine particularly bright. Amongst departments which can develop exponentially through its implementation are:
A PIM retail system revolutionises manufacturing data management. It allows for bulk publications or updates across all internal channels, dramatically reducing time and effort usually devoted to production-related efforts.
The marriage of PIM retail and PIM marketing ensures that the team always has access to the freshest data. This results in streamlined, relevant, and timely communication across all markets.
Thanks to the PIM system, e-commerce undertakings go much more smoothly: the team has the most current product data at their fingertips, enabling them to make well-informed decisions and generate high-quality, factually correct content.
A PIM system becomes an indispensable solution when it comes to translation or localisation tasks, as the team has all the relevant materials required when commissioning language-related tasks.
As can be seen, a PIM system not only boosts productivity and efficiency in each of these departments separately, but also facilitates seamless collaboration amongst them, leading to an integrated and harmonious work environment.
Processes supported by PIM
We’ve already mentioned that a PIM system yields significant improvements in various business operations. Now, what are the key areas that derive the most substantial benefits from the PIM system?
The PIM system simplifies data management to an unprecedented degree. With a few intuitive commands, it’s possible to add, modify, delete, or upload information across multiple platforms, ensuring that both employees and customers are always presented with the most recent and accurate data.
The constant availability of essential PIM data empowers copywriters to create, revise, and optimise content with ease, leading to a consistent and unified product narrative.
The PIM system also supports robust reporting capabilities, providing accurate, real-time data that can be leveraged to make informed decisions, track progress, and identify areas for improvement.
The benefits of PIM in translation and localisation
Apart from all the great things in which a PIM system can assist organisations, it greatly benefits companies in their translation and localisation management processes. By centralising product information, this powerful solution allows for more efficient and accurate renditions across multiple languages. This not only saves time and resources but also ensures consistency in messaging and branding across different markets. In addition, a PIM system facilitates collaboration between teams, such as product managers, marketing departments, and external language agencies. This streamlines the translation process by providing all stakeholders with access to the same product data, reducing the risk of errors or misunderstandings.
Furthermore, a PIM system can also help with version control and tracking changes made to product descriptions, ensuring that the latest versions are always used in localisation efforts. That’s not all – engaging a professional translation agency can significantly enhance the effectiveness of PIM systems, as linguists’ expert knowledge can amplify the PIM’s capability to adapt product information to the unique cultural, legal, and geographical nuances of various regions. This collaborative approach not only ensures a highly localised PIM translation and user experience but also positively affects customer satisfaction and global sales.
Artur Rompca mentions yet another important aspect, namely SEO, or search engine optimisation. As he states,
“Acquiring and storing specially selected keywords for each market in a proper way can be a tall order. It’s best to entrust keyword research to an experienced localisation agency, so that no SEM-related financial means are squandered in new regions.”
Do I need a PIM system?
There are several reasons why a standard CMS (content management system, or product content management system) may not be sufficient for managing a company’s data and information. While a CMS is an excellent solution for organising and sharing content, it may lack certain features that are critical to effectively managing large amounts of data or complex workflows.
A PIM system, on the other hand, is designed specifically for managing product-related details, including specifications, pricing information, and marketing content. As stated by Artur Rompca,
“PIM is a system that you simply need to have at your company if you aim at cross-channel international sales in the e-commerce industry. Not only does it help store product data, but it also allows for introducing a unified strategy of naming specifications, parameters, and key features.”
PIM use cases across various industries
The use of PIM has become increasingly popular in various industries, as it enables companies to efficiently create, manage, and distribute accurate and consistent product information across multiple channels. So, what branches benefit from PIM in particular? The answer is “numerous”, but for the sake of this article, we’ll focus only on two of them.
PIM for manufacturing
One industry that greatly benefits from PIM is manufacturing. With the rise of global supply chains and complex production processes, precise product information is crucial for manufacturers to effectively manage their operations. PIM allows them to store and organise all product details in a single location, making it easily accessible for everyone involved and leading to improved efficiency and reduced risk of costly errors.
PIM system in e-commerce
E-commerce is yet another industry that can be aided by PIM systems. In the online retail landscape, product information is the key to making a sale. With large volumes of articles and constantly changing inventory, managing data manually can be a daunting task. PIM automates this process by centralising all product details and providing easy integration with e-commerce platforms. This not only saves time and effort but also ensures that customers have access to accurate and consistent product information, resulting in increased sales and customer satisfaction.