In 2017, e-commerce sales around the world amounted to over two trillion dollars.
An essential aspect of sustaining those figures is the effective management of your data. Billions are lost each year as a result of information inefficiencies. This is where PIM software comes into play.
If you’re involved in e-commerce in any way, PIM software can help you manage your product information efficiently and cost-effectively. But to pick what’s right for you, you need to know what to look for.
Keep reading to learn more about PIM software and how to find one that works for your business.
What Is PIM?
PIM stands for Product Information Management. PIM software provides processes and tools to manage your ever-growing list of products. It centralizes all of your information and helps you manage it.
Basically, it puts all of your product information in one single, manageable location, and also updates in real-time. As a business grows, it becomes a necessary method for organizing and managing your product data.
Why Invest in PIM?
As your number of products grows, PIM becomes necessary. But why?
Because just one product carries with it vast amounts of information that requires organization. A single product can vary by color, size, specifications, and other details. Multiply that by the number of products you carry – and that’s a whole lot of information.
Without PIM, you’re left to update that information manually. That means regularly updating your products and their associated data across all the places where that information is recorded.
With PIM software, product descriptions, pricing, specifications, shipping, logistics, and taxation are all recorded in one location. When you update that data in your PIM software, product information is updated across all platforms at the same time.
PIM also has the ability to identify problematic data. What’s more, it can fix those problems.
This way, you have one accurate, reliable, and flexible source of product content. And when you’re able to access your product information with ease, you can provide better customer service.
How to Find the Best PIM Software
Now that you know what PIM software is and why you need it, we’ll tell you what to look for in the best PIM software.
Know the Different Types of Product Software
PIM software is sometimes confused with Master Data Management (MDM), Product Data Management (PDM), and Inventory Management.
Although MDM can be used for managing products, it wasn’t designed for this purpose. You won’t get all the same features of PIM with MDM software.
PDM appeals to designers and engineers. They use it to manage product metadata. Metadata gives information about other data and isn’t specific to your products.
Inventory management is completely different from PIM. Product information management isn’t designed for managing your overheads, warehouse, and/or stock.
Choose between Proprietary vs. Open-Source PIM Software
When looking for PIM software, you can choose between proprietary and open-source software. Most PIM companies have proprietary software. But there are also open-source vendors who have created community editions of their software.
Open-source software is usually free to use. If you’re new to PIM and aren’t ready to make a significant investment, this is how you can try it out.
As your business grows, it becomes more difficult to implement and manage open-source software. Consider the size and depth of your product data when choosing between these two options.
Look for Smart Software
PIM doesn’t simply catalog your products. It should allow all the information to do with the product to talk across systems, platforms, and channels. Look for PIM software that communicates across websites, web services, online portals, and product catalogs.
That means you can access PIM information from anywhere you desire. You can also update it as needed, and immediately see those updates across all of the systems you’ve linked to your PIM.
Not all PIM software is created equal. Below is a comprehensive list of features offered by various PIM software:
- Centralized product management
- Ability to maintain flexibility
- High level of configuration options
- Prepare data according to target markets
- Identity problematic data
- Fix problematic data
- Manage, maintain, and transfer product information
- Manage purchasing and production data
- Ability to sync information across systems and channels
- Assistance with supply chain data
- Translation management
- Data consolidation
When comparing prices, you’ll often receive a quote. The quote is dependent on the extent of the features you require and the number of users as well as the number of data connectors.
Alternatively, you can purchase a package that includes all of the software features.
Look for These Essential Features
While you may not require all of the features or modules of PIM software, there are some features that are non-negotiable.
It’s worth repeating that your PIM software should be able to communicate and consolidate information across databases. This includes ERP and e-commerce databases as well as desktop programs like Excel.
Your PIM software should also be highly flexible with a lot of configuration options. You should be able to customize processes according to your needs. This includes the ability to limit the abilities of different users.
Ensure that the PIM software you choose has a search function. Even better, it should have a filter option. When you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of products, you want to be able to access them quickly and easily.
Make sure you can update the products on a large scale. Mass updates can save you time when the shipping information for one category of product changes, for example.
Lastly, PIM software has to be able to handle different formats of product content. This includes PDF’s, images, and videos. That’s especially important for e-commerce businesses working with various media across online platforms.
Do You Need Help Managing Your Data?
Efficiently managing all of the data to do with your business is a challenging task. Manually managing all of your product information takes a lot of time and unnecessary effort.
By centralizing product data into a single, accurate, and reliable place, PIM software keeps your business running smoothly. It can also improve customer satisfaction.
Not sure where to start? Contact us to find out how we can help you get on track with PIM!