A Product Information Management System, or PIM system, is software that stores data about your products. It enables you to share that information across sales channels too. PIM can be a powerful ally in your business mission, or it can be a disappointing and time-consuming expense if you get the wrong system.
Read on to find the right PIM software for your small business.
What is a PIM?
Each product that you sell or have in development has data associated with it. Depending on your industry this might be ingredients, photographs, copyright information, registrations with industry bodies or approvals from external organizations. Plus of course, your pricing details, sizing options, tax and so much more. A wealth of information – for every single product. PIM centralises and stores all of that vital information in one single location. This means your people have the most accurate information at their fingertips.
Product Information Management (PIM) is simply how all of that information gets managed.
It is estimated that PIM systems are expected to grow more than 25% by 2023 – and with good reason. Data can be updated and shared across your organisation and channels in real-time – it’s incredibly powerful.
Does a Small Business Need a PIM System Though?
Your customers expect rich and accurate information about your products to enable them to make buying decisions. Getting that information into their hands can be a complex process for a small business – but it doesn’t need to be. Some small businesses try to keep all their product information in a spreadsheet, or a series of spreadsheets. As your product line grows, the spreadsheets quickly become unwieldy. If you have multiple people accessing the spreadsheet, you’ll find that mistakes inevitably creep in. One of your Product Managers will have an old version of the spreadsheet and unwittingly upload an out-of-date product description on the website. Or a supplier will send you new information and it won’t get saved across all versions of the spreadsheet.
These and other incidents will indicate that you’ve outgrown the spreadsheet approach for managing your products. It’s time to consider PIM software. You may have concerns about the cost and complexity of product information management, that’s understandable. Thankfully, there are different solutions to suit different-sized companies. For example, PM Lite is a pre-configured, entry-level system designed for small to medium-sized businesses.
What is PIM software?
Instead of having multiple spreadsheets storing inaccurate and often outdated information, your PIM software can house it all. It will be the single location where all the product information is stored, ensuring accuracy. The software will be set up so that the information is available to the relevant people in your organisation. You can tailor editing rights of the PIM data appropriately. The PIM software can also be set up to distribute updated information in the correct format to your sales channels. Yes – that means automatic posting to Facebook, Amazon, YouTube etc.
6 Things to Look for in Your PIM System
As with any business decision, there are many factors to consider. When it comes to finding the right PIM system for you, here are six key things to think about.
1. Is it the Right Size for You?
Is it the right size for your business? A large multinational organisation has very different PIM needs to a small business. You want a PIM system that is tailored to your industry and business size – whilst leaving room for some growth. A larger organisation might need a PIM system that is made bespoke for them.
2. Will it Integrate OK?
As a going concern, you already have IT systems in place. It’s vital to the successful implementation of a new PIM system that it integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and software. PIM systems from Innovit can be hosted on Hybrid, Private or Public Cloud – depending on your needs.
3. Time and Cost Saving
Most companies find that a PIM system saves staff considerable time. Instead of searching multiple spreadsheets and documentation for key details, they have it at their fingertips on the PIM software. It decreases errors and boosts productivity dramatically. Knowing your inventory in real-time is crucial information for many businesses. Your PIM system provides this too.
A PIM system can also save you money by increasing your speed to market significantly. The ability to change data on the software and have that automatically distributed to your sales and marketing channels in real-time is a huge advantage. This can give you quite a competitive edge.
4. Safety and Legal Compliance
Another great advantage of a PIM system is that it helps you to ensure compliance with data protection and legal requirements. Because it creates a ‘single source of truth’, the system keeps you on track with copyright restrictions for example. In the health sector, the security and safety of your patient information will be of paramount concern. The PIM system can provide this.
It’s hard to explain just how powerful this system can be in terms of improving communication. As well as increasing productivity, your PIM system fosters greater creativity through improved communication and easier teamwork. It helps employees and suppliers collaborate more effectively, melting away communication conflicts caused by incorrect versions or out-of-date information. This also saves time and money.
6. Customer Service
With everyone in your organisation able to access accurate information on products, customer service becomes easy. They can check inventory, answer questions on ingredients or other details and communicate the most up-to-date information to the customer. It’s invaluable for sales teams pitching to customers. It even allows you to tailor the e-commerce journey of your customer so that they are offered the correct products for them.
As you can see, a PIM system can offer many advantages to your business. But we understand that it’s hard to visualise just how it could help your specific business. That’s why we’d love to offer you a free demo of our software. We want to understand your needs more closely and show you how our software might be able to help with your challenges.
Contact us today to arrange your free demo!