Beginner’s Guide to Product Information Management

Managing product information is a big job for any industry. Organizations are losing on average $9.7 million annually all due to poor quality data management. With more companies online than ever before, your marketing and ecommerce strategies need to step up. 

Without trusted product data, it is hard to deliver a positive experience for customers. Here we lay out what a PIM is, so industries have a better understanding of the importance it plays in today’s digital world.

What is a PIM? 

A product information management system, or PIM, is the master of product data. This software gathers, organizes, oversees, and enhances product data, which is then sent to marketing, sales, and eCommerce websites. Using a PIM can help make internal processes more efficient for marketing and sales teams, while relieving pain points for customers.

In fact, lack of up-to-date product information was a top pain point for B2B buyers this year. WIth 97% of online shoppers having difficulty when buying online, suppliers should consider how well they are responding to customer needs.

That’s where a PIM comes in. This management system simplifies the process of managing and updating information. PIM’s aim is to help businesses increase sales throughout their various channels by providing reliable product information all the time.

How Does a PIM Work? 

A PIM collects various data, including assets, technical, marketing, sales, localized, design, and emotional information, and combines them using efficient methods.

Understanding the steps to PIM function makes integrating a product information system easier. Here are the steps

1. Collect Data

Your PIM collects data from your ERP, PLM and other systems, imports data via CSV and XLSX files and pre-built connectors, onboards product data directly from suppliers into a business’ format, and connects to DAM systems for images, videos and documents.

2. Manage

The PIM will classify products into channels, measure and track product data quality, govern users with roles and processes with validation workflows, manage catalog completeness and control publication.

3. Enrich

The PIM will enrich product descriptions with technical and usage data, associate digital assets with each product, automate enrichment of standardized attributes, and localize and translate product information for each market and region.

4. Distribute

Finally, the PIM manages catalogs for every sales channel in one system of record, selects attributes specific to each channel, connects to all online and print channels, and syndicates catalogs to unowned marketplaces.

What pain points can a PIM solve? 

It is important to understand how mature your organization is as it relates to product information management. 14% of respondents from our 2022 B2B Report stated that “inconsistent product or service information across channels” was a top three pain point. Buyers indicated that they have access to channels but struggle to find what they are looking for due to poor management.

Using a PIM can eliminate the need to enter or update any data manually, reducing the potential for error or redundancy. It can minimize data entry, update catalog and inventory data tracking in real-time, create a centralized database, and increase scalability. 

The best product information management strategy streamlines processes to produce operational efficiencies and provide benefits to customers.

PIM can also alleviate pain points and help B2B companies organize a system that is clutter-free. Where are you at in the process

Product information is not easily accessible

Your content is spread out throughout the organization in multiple channels, systems, and programs. Information is not centralized so it is not accessible and requires significant manual work.

Information is accessible, but not accurate

Your content is centralized but not properly governed. The organization does not have governance in place to make sure that the content is accurate.

Accurate information but not able to publish

Your content is accurate but your organization struggles to publish and syndicate information to key channel partners.

Published but not enhanced

Your content is accurate and published but doesn’t properly tell your company’s story. It still leaves customers asking how your products are better than competitors? 

Once you determine the maturity level of your organization, you will know what your product information management needs are. A proper ecommerce product information management strategy will eliminate pain points and increase internal efficiencies between channels and teams. 

What are the challenges of product information management? 

Buyers aren’t willing to compromise on up-to-date product information. The second biggest pain point for B2B buyers is now finding product or service information that is current and free of errors. 

Managing product information is not an easy task; however, it is crucial for satisfying buyers and building long lasting relationships. Some of the top challenges of product information management are:

Lack of uniform product data

Many businesses have information management systems that are poorly managed leading to a lack of collaboration and location abilities. 

Digitizing Information

Undergoing digital transformation involves integrating digital technologies which is a big investment for organizations.

Automating Processes

Companies need to deliver the correct information to the right people at the right time and place.

Managing Information Growth

With the increase in data creation globally it is important to have a system that can sort essential data from insignificant data. 

Securing Information

Businesses handle sensitive information such as customer, employee, or financial data, which should all be safeguarded. 

Reducing Information Silos

Having too many systems where information is stored and managed makes it difficult to discover information and manage data lifecycles

Poor Quality of Information

When information is managed in multiple locations it is important to install quality control to determine what should be retained or not. 

The best product information management system is one that makes all those challenges easier to overcome. A PIM can help organizations manage data, increase profitability, improve operational efficiency, and integrate data into one source. 

What industries need a PIM?

Almost all American companies are predicted to experience losses due to poor data quality, averaging at 12% of their revenue. 57% of buyers find insufficient product information on an eCommerce portal to be the most frustrating part of buying.

Missing data, misleading information and error-filled content can be detrimental to an organization’s ROI and customer experience. B2B buyers want suppliers with a successful history of PIM optimization and quoting tools that improve efficiency and bring innovation. 

It may not seem like your industry needs a PIM right now; however, anyone who runs an eCommerce store, leads a marketing or sales department or sells across multiple channels can benefit from a PIM. 

Ecommerce product information management software doesn’t just help with data management, it creates benefits for the whole enterprise. Here are some of the key advantages to implementing a PIM into your strategy: 

  • Data consistency: Your product data will be uniform across all channels.
  • Error-free content: PIMs make maintaining correct and concise product data easier.
  • Multi-channel: Data can be updated across multiple channels.
  • Master Data Management: PIMs offer a reusable master data component for segmentation, marketing automation and personalization.
  • Safeguard Content: Alleviate the risk of outdated or unreleased content from going live.

Ready to get started? Contact a digital transformation expert or download our 2022 B2B Report.

Connect With Me

Mousumi Behari

Mousumi Behari leads the Digital Strategy practice at Avionos. With extensive experience in ecommerce strategy and implementation in both the B2B and B2C space, she is focused on helping retailers enable their digital journey through prioritized, data driven decisions. Mousumi focuses on helping businesses define their strategic goals, build the right KPI model to measure those goals, mature business capabilities and finally ensure the adoption and engagement of technology for a successful project. Mousumi has written and been quoted in several articles on digital transformation, including in YahooModern Retail, and Business Insider. Connect with Mousumi on LinkedIn here.
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