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How to efficiently manage product data with PIM

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How to efficiently manage product data with PIM

To be successful as a brand, you need a strong presence across all relevant channels. That requires a central, consistent source of product information that can be easily shared across teams. Unorganized, poor-quality product data won’t win buyers over – and can potentially cost time, revenue, and customer confidence. In fact, 40% of consumers have returned an online purchase due to inaccurate product content.

With data coming from different sources and in multiple formats, creating high-quality product information isn’t always easy. Establishing a central source for all the product-related assets and data that flow in and out of a business can seem daunting. But a Product Information Management (PIM) system makes it possible. PIM is designed to solve the issues that companies repeatedly encounter when it comes to product information management.

Introducing a PIM system has strategic significance for most companies, especially those with a broad product portfolio. It will change the way you present your products to the outside world by centralizing and optimizing your product data, ensuring consistency and accuracy across all channels, and enabling you to quickly adapt to market demands. But what exactly is PIM, what advantages does it bring, and is it right for your company?

What is PIM? — classification and definition

The term "PIM" stands for Product Information Management and refers to a centralized repository for product data and digital assets, with cleansing rules, data deduplication, matching and merging, and translation capabilities. It enables companies to collect all relevant data in a media-neutral manner in a single location, where it can be maintained, enriched, and updated. This enables secure and efficient product data management — not only for internal company use but for all relevant public marketing channels and partners.

Businesses can automatically connect the PIM system with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and an integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM), designed to manage and track all associated image and media data. Such an approach ensures that all product information is accurate, consistent, and can be published at any time. This applies to various sales channels including the company's online shop, retail platforms and marketplaces, and social media networks.

PIM originated in the context of catalog management by combining product information for the creation of printed and electronic catalogs. Today's systems, on the other hand, offer much more comprehensive options in product data management. And there is already a next stage of development: so-called Product Experience Management. Product content is not only highly tailored to specific applications but is also presented dynamically and in real-time, according to the context of the respective target group. This ensures the best possible customer experience.

Why do I need a PIM system? — possible applications

The great strength of a PIM system lies in ensuring a consistent product experience across all sales channels, even with comprehensive and complex product portfolios. Given that up to 73% of customers use multiple channels during their shopping journey, the demand for consistency is clear. But with a PIM system as the central source for your product data, you can easily share it with various channels and marketplaces. At the same time, information about product updates and launches can be quickly pushed out to all channels, significantly reducing time-to-market.

PIM enables your business to go well beyond the basics of simple product data to differentiate itself from the competition. Thus, a PIM system is essential when you aspire to:

      • Optimize marketing and sales strategies for your products
      • Improve customer confidence with reliable information
      • Expedite time-to-market efforts
      • Significantly streamline your product data management process

The capabilities of a PIM system extend well beyond systems like ERP, DAM, CMS, and ecommerce platforms. PIM acts as a central hub, connecting all these systems and other channels to help businesses market products more effectively, simplify internal processes, and use resources efficiently. Companies with complex product structures, numerous variants, or an extensive product catalog — ranging from several thousand to even hundreds of thousands of SKUs — can benefit significantly from a PIM system.

PIM: From basic to next generation

What are the top benefits of PIM for my company?

A PIM system helps companies optimize sales and marketing activities and structure their internal product data management in a more targeted way. As a result, it ensures sales growth and cost savings, especially in the long term. Among other things, because of the following advantages:

1. One system for all product data — an end to data silos!

47% of marketers indicate that their data is siloed and difficult to access. Storing data in a variety of formats and in different systems can lead to significant inefficiencies. Data silos can damage data integrity and have a negative impact on collaboration, information sharing, and decision-making. But thanks to the comprehensive features of modern PIM systems, all your information and digital assets can be centralized in one location, eliminating the prevalence of redundant and inaccurate data spread across your company.

2. Targeted provision of product data

Businesses must manage information from different sales channels, vendors, and suppliers, and many other sources. But imagine you could effortlessly integrate suppliers and service providers into your system through tailored interfaces. With customized roles and access privileges, each party gains access solely to the data relevant to their operations. Likewise, you can give partners the option of entering data directly into your PIM system. This dynamic collaboration fosters efficiency, ultimately saving you time.

3. Full control over data quality

More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated every day by various types of enterprises. As a result, organizations now face new challenges in terms of obtaining, maintaining, and generating value from data. This is where PIM's capabilities come into play. By integrating rule-based workflows, PIM automatically checks the completeness and quality of existing data. This careful validation process guarantees that only quality-assured data is released and made available — a crucial advantage at a time when data quality has a significant impact on competitiveness.

4. Shorter time-to-market for products

PIM software can speed up time-to-market by 75%. Faster updates, quick data onboarding, and streamlined business processes using automated and collaborative workflows allow brands to offer more products than was previously possible, also giving them a chance to command prices and react quickly to changes. Companies can focus entirely on winning on the digital shelf by eliminating the challenges around managing product information, such as inaccuracy, incompleteness, inconsistency, etc.

5. Efficient translation management for new markets

Only about a third of online visitors speak English and 72.4% prefer to buy in their own language, which means that if you aren’t localizing content into native languages, you are missing a huge opportunity. A PIM solution equipped with localization features can help alleviate these challenges. Product data can be localized for multiple languages and channels, minimizing redundant translations and associated costs. It becomes easier for companies to manage translations through automated identification of the content that requires initial translation or correction.

Is PIM suitable for my company?

Assessing the value of implementing a PIM solution for a company requires thorough consideration. Basically, the lower your product data quality is, the sooner you should integrate a PIM solution. And the need for a PIM solution increases with the number of channels you have. PIM systems prove most beneficial for manufacturers, suppliers, and brand providers aiming to efficiently share extensive product data with retail partners or directly engage with their customers. Brand manufacturers, fashion suppliers, and retailers in particular can optimize their omnichannel management with the support of PIM software and thus improve both customer loyalty and sales.

The best approach is to conduct a brief audit based on the following questions:

  • How sustainable is our current product data management? Are there delays and/or errors that can be avoided with the help of PIM software?
  • Do we have sufficient control over the quality of product information and can we guarantee a consistent and personalized customer experience?
  • Can we efficiently provide product data to our partners?
  • Is our current system capable of handling future growth processes?

Based on the answers, you will get a helpful initial assessment and can then plan your next steps. You can also take our quiz to find out if you are well equipped to face most of the challenges of digitalization or if you need some help to simplify the use of your product information.

How can I implement efficient product data management in concrete terms?

Getting started with a PIM solution is most effective with advance planning and the support of an experienced implementation partner. The right partner can provide you with targeted advice before the implementation and help you run a successful PIM project. Choosing a PIM solution depends entirely on your business requirements and goals. That’s why you need to assess the costs, benefits, and associated trade-offs of both possible PIM deployments — on-prem or cloud — to make the best decision.

Overall, carefully consider what you require in terms of deployment, performance, updates, accessibility, and technology. Take the time to weigh the importance of such factors to make a final choice that matches your product experience goals and data management strategy. If you’re ready to explore the advantages of a robust PIM system, Contentserv can help.

Our PIM platform provides everything you need to master the challenges of product information across all your channels and succeed on the digital shelf. Ultimately, it will give your business a winning edge by creating product experiences that build long-term customer connections and engagement.

Take control of your increasingly complex product data!

Learn how to leverage PIM as the foundation for data quality in an end-to-end product information process.