What is a PIM in eCommerce? What are the benefits of using it? What kind of data does it contain?
Without a suitable method for managing product data, businesses are at risk of making costly mistakes. The potential for human error is amplified when employees are in charge of uploading new products – the risk of putting up inaccurate product descriptions or images becomes sky high. Outdated product information such as inaccurate pricing levels or incorrect listings on retailer websites could lead customers to make purchasing decisions based on false data, causing customer dissatisfaction and loss of revenue.
A PIM (product information management) solution is a preventive measure that helps businesses avoid these mistakes and other problems, such as overstocking or understocking based on inaccurate product data.
Here is everything you need to know about PIM in eCommerce.
What is a PIM tool?
A PIM solution can be used to store, manage, and distribute product data. It is an efficient software that businesses should use to stay organized. A PIM solves the problem of distributing product data efficiently and aggregating all information about your products into one place for easy access. What’s more, you can have multiple users with different permissions, allowing you to delegate tasks without compromising security or control over sensitive information.
In terms of eCommerce, and particularly car parts sales, PIM becomes invaluable in areas such as inventory, forecasting, or even eCommerce platforms. A PIM solution can help you with product data, as well as boosting cross-merchandising and up-selling opportunities for your products.
Why do brands need PIM?
There are plenty of valid reasons why you would want to incorporate PIM software into your business processes. What these reasons have in common, however, is that they all focus on efficiency and the consistency of product data. A PIM represents a master data management system that allows you to:
- Aggregate all information about your products into one place and make it accessible by multiple users (establish one source of truth for product information).
- Easily search for and find the information you need in a timely manner, cutting down on wasted time spent looking through files or databases.
- Ensure that your product data is up to date by tracking changes made across different systems (otherwise known as version control). Thanks to a product information management system, Procter & Gamble discovered that a staggering 3.6% of its orders were products no longer in production.
- Create reports to help improve marketing strategy when combined with other metrics.
- Improve the customer shopping experience by making it easier for them to find the information they need. Overall, companies that employ PIM systems enjoy up to 23% fewer product returns.
When you’re dealing with dozens, hundreds, or maybe even thousands of products across multiple platforms (Amazon, eBay, eCommerce site) and even multiple distribution channels (e.g., online, in-store), it can be tough to keep up with the latest changes that might affect your sales. A PIM eCommerce solution is a great way to make sure your product catalog doesn’t spoil.
What kind of information does a PIM system store?
A PIM solution can be tailored to your particular needs. What kind of information is stored can vary. Still, it typically consists of detailed product descriptions (including color and size), pricing, promotions, inventory levels, sales performance data – basically any metadata associated with the products you sell online or in-store. This also includes hardware versions, technical information, information about taxation, configuration, and similar.
Some PIM options can also act as digital asset management (DAM) systems for images, documents, or even video files about products.
Here is a short breakdown of what a user can expect to find in a product data management system:
- Lots of product data, including rich media such as images, videos, almost any product file type, product description, and price.
- Sales performance data such as account numbers, sales volumes in dollars or units. This may also include conversion rates for different marketing channels (search advertising versus email campaigns).
- Technical product attributes like hardware versions, product dimensions, technical product specifications, assembly instructions, and other documentation that is not part of the manual.
- Marketing messaging, notes, marketing descriptions, marketing collateral.
- Product content such as guides, varied PDF files, reasons-to-buy, and others.
- Product notifications that have been assigned to the product (e.g., notification when a certain price threshold is reached or when an item is out of stock).
If your business doesn’t need all of these features, that’s perfectly fine. What matters is that you find a PIM solution that offers the features you need for rapid business growth. Before settling on any PIM product, take a moment to consider which of these options are right for you and how you will make the most out of them. It’s not a good idea to invest in a pricey solution, half of which you won’t even use.
Who uses PIM systems?
Any product-based business can use a PIM.
Small businesses benefit from data centralization and operations optimization.
Larger businesses may need more advanced features, such as marketing campaigns based on customer preferences or product reviews that can be uploaded to the PIM system in real-time to inform future decisions about inventory purchase.
Manufacturers can use product information management tools to speed up product development, and retailers can use PIMs to optimize their warehouses by filling shelves with the most popular items. A PIM can also be of great help when it comes to geographic business expansion.
Online marketplaces of various sizes and in multiple industries can use a PIM to track inventory availability, manage customer expectations, and provide on-demand order fulfillment.
PIM systems are also beneficial because they integrate into other software products to provide automated data flow. For example, retailers have integrated mobile apps into their operations that allow their customers to search for products through their smartphones.
A PIM tool is especially useful in an auto parts store. Car parts salespeople can use a PIM tool to identify the right product for their customers’ needs and quickly process orders. If you have been managing your product listings manually until now (say, by using a spreadsheet), you wouldn’t believe how much time can be saved by automating this process.
How to choose the right PIM software?
Before you dive headfirst and invest in a solution that first catches your eye, you should take a moment and consider these questions:
- How many sales channels are you using? How many different platforms are your products listed on?
- Do you have complex product information?
- How many employees will manage the PIM solution? What are they using currently to do this job (spreadsheet, CRM)?
- What’s more important – the simplicity or functionality of the tool? What about budget constraints?
- Does the PIM solution offer any customization options?
Once you’ve answered these questions, only then should you start looking for a solution that will meet all of your needs. Don’t settle for anything less, and do your best not to be swayed by large platforms with plenty of features you might never use.
PIM (product information management) is a software that stores and organizes all the product data for an eCommerce business, allowing it to be more efficient in distributing this data across multiple eCommerce channels, platforms, and teams.
This software solution is invaluable in today’s rapidly changing digital world, where competition is fierce, and a business can’t afford to waste time or money on inefficiencies.
If you are a car parts salesperson who has been looking for ways to improve your efficiency at work, it is time to consider a product management solution.
There are many different PIM vendors on the market, so you must do your research and find one that has features suitable for your needs.