Many people have raised the question of product information management in the last couple of years. I remember that when I first encountered the term the need for a product information management system was not yet recognized.
Many startups who were trying to build a PIM system were just then starting to build the demand and the necessity for it by raising the question in web forums.
And now it’s a well-known term and a holy word for webshop owners around the world.
What exactly is product information management?
A pool of articles out there suggest, and correctly so for that matter, that product information management is the process of managing the required information for a single eCommerce product. But eCommerce products don’t come one by one, they come in bulk. So, it basically is taking care of lots of valuable information such as price, weight, height, name, description, categories, etc.
There are a lot of software solutions out there that help the process of product information management. The key component by which most of them differentiate themselves is the user interface and the lack or the excess of high-level functionalities.
Reasons you need product information management
A while ago, I wrote an article on all the reasons you don’t need a PIM system. If you’ve read that piece, then the short answer is – it’s because of all the things you didn’t relate to back then.
For those of you who haven’t read it, here’s the long answer. Product management is for everybody who found themselves with their hands full of chaotic product data and they have no idea what to do with it. It’s for all the people who want to enrich their product data not just take care of the chaos. And for many more. If what is described below is one of your goals as a web merchant, then product management is for you.
Product management systems are the only solution to the chaos you call product data. They often validate mistakes or have their own way of keeping you on track with correct data. Software like this will give you tips on improving your product information or better yet, they will tell you why eCommerce platforms might reject a product.
This process will result in a much better customer experience. I realize it’s not as needed for the customer experience as, for example, a UX designer might be but quality product data makes a difference for sure.
Aligned content across all channels
PIM systems are perfect for when you have to manage content across multiple stores and work with multi-channel. When your information is scattered around different platforms, it’s a bit harder to align the content for all of your products.
Having software to help you see the information side by side or better yet upload the same product information to all channels, can be of huge help. And just to clarify, a channel may be many things. It can be a website, a physical store, a printed folder or a sales connection that exposes product information.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that a PIM system will provide the means to carry out parallel product enrichment processes. For example, when many team members share the product data or update it, the software will keep track of what was updated and it will prevent the content from being overwritten.
Enrichment of product content
There’s more to product content than the name and the SKU number. You have to pay attention to what you say in both the long and the short description of the product. Enrichment of the product content also includes thinking about SEO and meta descriptions.
Product management systems are perfect for SEO. They can flag the mistakes and notify whether your content is unique. Also, enriching product content will increase your website’s page density. Doing this will earn you the love of search engines like Google.
Saving valuable time
All those hours and resources you spend on product management… is it even worth it? If you have a bulk of data that’s total chaos and you spend too many hours on fixing it, isn’t it better to let the software take care of this?
The money you spend on a PIM system will pay itself back. You will push quality data to your online store, you will do it in less time and it will be done according to the rules of all of your sales channels. Sounds like a good deal to me.
Overview of your product data
One of the most important things is to have a correct understanding of the status of your product data. And not just about what is being published or the number of orders. I am talking about much more. About knowing how many of your products have mistakes that your eCommerce platform won’t let you publish and about knowing how many products can be improved.
It’s also about having the knowledge of how many products are left without a category and how many of those don’t even have a related product assigned. This is the least PIM systems offer and at the same time, it’s one of the most helpful things.
I can literally go on all day with all the reasons you need a PIM system. It’s all the things I wrote above and it’s more. Because product information management isn’t only about data, it’s also about maximizing the productivity of your team while keeping them happy with their work.
A good product information management system will help you reduce mistakes, repetition and what your employees hate the most – rework. It will also help you and your team stop trusting in complicated and never-ending spreadsheets of product information.
Why PIM is the path to success?
Product information management exists because products matter and they are, essentially, why you have a webshop. They are also the reason customers visit your website. Chaotic data shows negligence and it also confuses website visitors.
“Products are at the heart of e-commerce and are as necessary as the internet itself. The more you care about and invest in your products the more they will give you back in increased revenue, better customer satisfaction, and less tedious work efforts. This is where a PIM solution comes in. Because just like sales happened before CRM became a thing, then sales are better and more efficient with a CRM solution to structure the mountain of sales data and the same effect is there for the taking in e-commerce with a PIM solution.”
– Jan Andersen, CEO of Sheetly
Product data that is organized shows not just your customers but also search engines that you care about what you’re selling and how you’re selling it. The path to success is caring for what you do and what you sell.
Our PIM software suggestions
Our first suggestion is Sheetly – a product management solution which provides webshop owners with the ability to work in their very familiar spreadsheet environment. Sheetly allows bulk management of heavy data – bulk edit, bulk category assignment, copy & paste, drag & drop, etc.
What is special about Sheetly is that it gives webshop owners their own environment – something that they’re already very used to – the spreadsheet. And while you’re working in your own spreadsheet, you have the power to edit your data and see all mistakes being validated immediately in front of your eyes.
Our second suggestion is Plytix. They also have a validation just like Sheetly and they have proven to be helpful to many web merchants. They have an analytics tool, which tracks your products across all channels for better merchandising decisions.
And our third suggestion is Salsify. They are a great PIM solution that focuses more on brands and on maintaining quality in the reseller channels. Their system combines content management, syndication, publishing, and digital analytics into one solution.
When it comes to PIM, they will let you build your own workflow which happens as easy as drag and drop.
PIM really is the future. A future that is becoming the current reality more and more every day. Small web merchants need a fighting chance against the bigger retailers and having control over quality by using a PIM system is definitely the shortcut to success.
I would love to hear your thoughts on PIM in the comments below.