There’s an ocean of articles out there explaining why your web store so desperately needs a product information management system. What you’re going to read below is different. It’s the contrary, actually.
Not every web merchant needs a software to manage his or her product data. Sometimes, in those rare cases, you can handle your eCommerce products without the help of a product management system.
If you happen to say yes to at least five out of the seven cases below, then both you and your bank account should feel lucky.
You sell on only one platform/channel
If the only platform you sell on is your website and then perhaps Facebook, which happens extremely easy, then perhaps you shouldn’t think of purchasing a PIM system.
An example of something that makes you fall off of this category is selling on many channels like Pinterest or even having a web store in another language or country. This causes a bit more hectic data. You have to think of translating all of it or making it fit the right market and the right audience. All of this causes many hours put in product information management and because of that, it’s helpful to have a software that can help you with this and put an end to your sleepless nights.
But if you’re selling on only one platform, then no, you probably do not need a PIM system. It’s easy to distribute to only one channel and have a quality data at the same time.
You have less than 3-400 simple products
If your catalog size is less than around 3-400 products, then perhaps you don’t need a PIM system for your eCommerce store. 3-400 products are easily manageable and you don’t need to spend money on a system that will give you much more for something you don’t actually have.
The volume is acceptable to be taken care of by just one person without the help of a software. So, yes, if you’re having very little data, then perhaps it’s best to not even think about a product information management system.
You don’t work with multiple manufacturers
Working with manufacturers requires a lot of serious data management. You get your products in Excel spreadsheets, which somehow don’t seem to end and the data you receive is very often the most chaotic thing you’ve ever seen.
When you’re in a similar situation, that is when you need a product information management system. But if you’re the one who takes care of data and if you don’t depend on a third party to organize your products, then it’s best you don’t bother with PIM.
There are also many cases where web merchants are the ones who craft or produce their products. In a situation like this, you are the one responsible for the quality of your product data and it’s a rare case to have many, unbearable mistakes.
You’re selling less data-rich products
If you’re selling products that are simple, meaning they don’t consist in many variants like size, color or material, then your data is less rich. It’s a similar case when you don’t have to include extremely long or detailed explanations of your products.
For example, if you’re selling books or gadgets, you don’t have different sizes of each neither you have different colors of the same product.
Perhaps this is why in the beginning Jeff Bezos decided to start a book eCommerce store. So much easier and so much more convenient.
So, if your data is less rich, you don’t need to figure out a whole PIM system. You can manage your product data by yourself just as easy.
Your prices are pretty static
Being in a less competitive pricing situation where you don’t need to always change your product prices can be an advantage. There could be some cases where you need to update your prices very often, announce promotions, put both new and old prices. That’s when it gets a bit more complicated.
But if you are selling unique items or you have entered a market where you don’t need to change anything, then a product information management software should be low on your priority list.
You don’t have to pay serious attention to SEO
SEO is important. We know. But there are circumstances when you’re big enough or (again) you sell something that is unique by itself and you don’t need to compete for SEO ranking.
Usually, PIM systems help a lot when it comes to managing data for SEO. You can detect mistakes, keywords, adjust meta titles and descriptions. Some eCommerce platforms generally offer this even in their cheapest pricing plans but most don’t.
So, if you’re amongst the lucky ones who don’t care about Google or other search engine systems, then maybe forget about a product information management system.
You don’t update your product catalog often
Another situation you might find yourself in is one where you very rarely receive new products. If your supplier gives you just one product a month or just a few, then that is completely manageable.
To put it in another way, having a product catalog that gets updated only once a month can easily be handled by one person.
For example, if you sell inflatable products for the swimming pool, your product catalog would be updated only just before the summer season.
So, whoever tells you that the first thing you need to purchase as a software is a PIM system, is maybe wrong! You may need a product information management system after you have already realized that you actually have a data management problem.
When it gets chaotic, when you start pulling all-nighters to manage data or when you just can’t deal with the data mistakes you keep making, that’s when a PIM system must be invited to the eCommerce party.
We’d love to hear your opinion on the matter in the comments below. Are you using a product information management system? Or if you’re not, do you think it’s about time you started using one and why aren’t you?