How up to date is your product information? Updating, editing, and maintaining accuracy across a mountain of products can feel like an impossible task.
Fortunately, Product Information Management (PIM) systems help streamline the process to give you – and your customers – peace of mind. And, many companies are already on board. The global PIM market is projected to reach $59.25 billion by 2027, continuing its exponential growth. As your company scales to stay relevant, you’ll need a PIM to keep internal and external product information accurate, alleviating one of the top pain points for B2B buyers.
What is a PIM?
Product information management (PIM) systems let users store, enrich and manage complex product information. They centralize product-related data, streamlining the process of updating and managing product information through multiple channels.
PIMs are necessary to help improve systems and processes but it’s not always clear where to start or what the best use cases are for PIM in your company. Follow along in this blog to gain a deeper understanding of why companies should adopt a PIM and what features work best.
Top Use Cases for PIMs
PIMs are beneficial for large organizations that have a combination of complex products, products with disparate product data, various sales and marketing channels, and enriched data. PIMs can save time and money, improve the customer experience, decrease time to market, foster data consistency, increase business growth, improve integration, and allow for an easier product search experience.
Incorrect orders and increased returns, impacting ROI
Implementing PIM software saves the time, money, and effort needed for keeping product information updated. Changes made in the software automatically update data, letting organizations allocate the saved time and money to other high priority tasks.
Decreased customer satisfaction due to incorrect, incomplete, and outdated information
Implementing PIM software ensures that accurate, true, and updated product information reaches potential customers across different business channels.
Inefficient business processes
PIM makes the process of launching new products faster and more efficient. This software speeds up time-to-market allowing time for focusing on future business growth.
Poor multi channel capabilities
PIM software supports omnichannel and multichannel efforts by making it easier to export data across channels while ensuring its consistency.
Manually entering data
PIM reduces manual entry by taking in data from other systems and pushing out product information to your eCommerce store and online sales channels. It reduces potential for data entry errors and inconsistencies that exist with constant manual entry.
How Do I Know If My Organization Needs a PIM?
First it’s important to recognize which companies can benefit from a PIM system. Then you need to understand if your specific organization needs a PIM.
74% of organizations require some or significant effort to manage their product information. Delivering complete and accurate product information efficiently and intelligently is critically important to stay ahead of competition in the digital world. Effective PIM deployment provides easily available information that is used to market, sell, service, syndicate and distribute products.
Your organization needs a PIM if:
- You’re managing thousands of SKUs
- You want to create exceptional shopping experiences for your customers
- You’re actively selling through more than one channel
- You’re ready to expand on a global scale
- You want to dramatically reduce product return rates
- You’re having difficulty keeping all product information up to date
As you begin to assess your company’s current state, take note of ineffective product branding and merchandising, depleted or overstocked inventory, and decreased customer satisfaction after checkout. If your company is experiencing these pain points, it’s important to understand that a PIM can alleviate data information issues, resulting in seamless experiences.
As the digital world begins to evolve, more companies are seeing incorrect, out of date, or improperly stored product information. B2B companies cannot thrive if their item numbers, references, catalogs, SKUs, documentation, and supporting resources become impossible to manage.
What are the features I should look for in PIM?
It is important to create a sustainable solution that works for your company now and in the future. Here are some top considerations to keep in mind:
If content marketing is at the heart of your organization’s marketing strategy, you’ll want a PIM solution that can support various content enrichment activities, such as content personalization and content distribution.
Digital Asset Management
If you are in search of a way to manage your digital assets, then you’ll need a PIM solution that comes with DAM functionality. Having both will help make documents, images, and presentations easier to manage as well as keep your product information centralized and accessible.
If you work globally but do not have your product information localized, you’ll need a PIM system to create one source of truth for all your buyers, whether local or international.
If creating virtual catalogs to provide information when needed for your customers is a high priority, you want to invest in a PIM software that can display product information and digitize your product content for easy access.
If data is being managed in several different locations and is difficult to find quickly, you want a PIM solution that can easily digest all your data and create a single source of truth. Now information will be there when you need it and how you need it.
Data Validation and Cleansing
If creating seamless product workflows to facilitate the cleanliness of your company’s data is a priority, then a PIM is what you need. This software streamlines correcting inaccuracies and updating outdated information.
If product strategy is a high priority for your organization, you’ll want a PIM solution that can produce a schedule for releases across channels, audiences, and product segments. Having a PIM platform and partner ensures that your overall product management strategy is effective for desired business outcomes.
Approval and Release Workflows
If your company is working with a handful of different product information processes, a PIM can help improve efficiency with the publishing process through workflows. Different workflows can be determined for different needs of organizations, to make sure product content moves from the beginning to the end of a working process with efficiency and ease.
As you begin to evaluate PIM systems, it is important to cover details with each vendor to make a complete comparison based on the needs for your organization.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How has your product evolved over time, and what features and functionality do you see coming from the product roadmap?
- How easy is the onboarding and implementation process? How long does it take? What is the time to market?
- How does the PIM integrate with your partner network? Are integrations and optimizations pre-built, or will you need a developer to manage them? Are they open-source?
- Does data sync in real-time?
- Does the vendor have limitations around the number of sales channels, languages, currencies or storefronts?
- How do they source their product information? Are they compatible with your product provider(s)?
There are many different solutions on the market. Here’s a helpful list of features you may want to consider as you evaluate the best option for your company:
Ease of data importation
If you are looking in multiple databases to find specific content, you’ll need a PIM to easily import data into one convenient location. Finding data and providing info is less time consuming with the proper software.
The ability to view data by channel
If you need one database to view all content posted on various channels, you’ll need to consider a PIM with a feature that provides your company with an omniscient digital view of product information to continue to optimize the consumer experience.
Bulk editing capabilities
If you are visiting channels individually to find product information, you’ll need a PIM software with bulk editing capabilities so you can edit everything at once. This feature will help with creating consistency in your branding and themes, increase consumer satisfaction, and improve work-place functionality.
It’s difficult to prepare data for proposed channels when it is stored in multiple databases. To alleviate this pain point, you’ll need a PIM with DAM features, which lets you access all platforms, such as digital images, videos, user manuals and more.
Creating and managing categories
If managing product data through e-commerce is a high priority for your company, you’ll need a PIM software designed with organization in mind. Having a PIM allows for your data to be stored all in one place, categorized by channels, creating a more efficient way to store data in places where it’s easy to find and edit.
If you are constantly using analytics to help make business decisions, you’ll need a PIM software that gives you analytics that are easy to read and compiled through machine learning. This software works in real-time, allowing you to see what is going on and take immediate action when needed.
Managing governance on a global scale
If your company is expanding globally, you’ll need a PIM to keep up with governance to avoid fines and maintain legal requirements for your content.
Customers today are constantly on the hunt for better deals, service, and personalized experiences. PIMs give organizations advantages such as reduced manual data entry, precise information, centralized database, scalability, omnichannel efficiency, and improved campaigns.
To learn more about PIM and what implementation can do for you, contact a digital transformation team member or download our 2022 B2B Report.