Product Information Management: When to Leverage a PIM

Author

Christine Hannivan

Date

Reading time

6 mins
Product Information Management Software

Choosing and implementing a PIM can seem like an almost impossible task. With a laundry list of tools on the market and what looks like an endless list of ways to implement them, it’s hard to feel as though you’re making the right, most informed choice for your business. 

From small startups to large enterprises, understanding when and how to leverage a PIM system can be a game changer in managing, storing, and enriching product data, ensuring consistency across various sales and marketing channels. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of PIMs, exploring the scenarios in which they become indispensable business tools so that you can make the right choice when it comes to implementing one for your business.  

What is a PIM?

Product Information Management (PIM) systems are centralized platforms where businesses can manage, store, and enrich product information. 

Think of a PIM as the lifeblood of your product experience. If your PIM is accurate, comprehensive, and personalized, you can treat it as the central hub for all of your operations. This ensures consistency across various sales and marketing channels. 

PIMs act as a single source of truth for your company – whether you’re a product experience manager (PXM), a marketing team member, the CEO, a contractor, a supplier, or anyone else – and give customers a compelling product experience to drive their purchasing decisions.

Leveraging a product information management system can support or upgrade your ecommerce platforming, improve the quality of your product information and digital assets, reduce time to market, and improve operational efficiencies, making a PIM system a boon for your ecommerce business. 

When to Leverage Product Information Management Software

Organizations should consider leveraging a PIM when they face challenges in managing a large volume of product data, ensuring consistency across multiple channels, or scaling up their product offerings. A PIM is particularly beneficial for ecommerce businesses, retailers, and manufacturers. These businesses deal with complex product catalogs and multidisciplinary teams spread across multiple locations. Since they distribute across various online and offline channels, one source of truth improves clarity and is extremely beneficial. 

Here’s how to know if you should consider getting set up with a PIM.

You are quickly scaling your business

As your product range grows, managing data becomes more complex. PIMs can help support or upgrade your ecommerce platform; acting as a place to store your product descriptions, product details, images, videos, and more from a variety of data sources. 

Data governance is important when growing an ecommerce or retail business, and it’s imperative that you get it right when trying to scale to avoid headaches and complications later on. 

Leveraging product information management software is one of the easiest ways a business can reduce time to market for new products, leaving more time for growth and business development. Once set up, anyone with the right permissions can quickly manage everything needed to get new products on your ecommerce store.  

You plan to expand to multiple channels

A PIM will help you maintain consistency across platforms and channels, creating one master centralized product page for all your stock and product attributes. Having a tool like that in your arsenal makes plugging in new software and tools much easier when the information those tools need already exists and is ready to be used again. 

Whether you’re already using a digital asset management (DAM) tool and need to feed that information into your PIM and out to your online store, or you’ve been living off of nothing but CSVs and your CRM, a PIM can keep everything centralized and send the right information where it needs to go, without the risk of information getting lost or changed by mistake. 

You’re seeking efficiency, accuracy, and completeness

PIMs greatly reduce the time and resources your staff will spend on managing product information. They also aim to improve your company’s operational efficiencies. One of the biggest warning signs that you might need to invest in a PIM system is if your company doesn’t have a single source of truth for your data. 

For example, as an ecommerce agency with a lot of experience working with companies to help them set up their PIMs, we’ve come across many businesses that store important product and marketing information in CSVs or other digital documents. 

This, on the surface, may not seem like a problem, but as time goes on, these documents get copied, duplicated, edited, and deleted by so many people that they eventually have multiple versions of the same documents, neither of which is completely right or wrong. This adds a lot of unnecessary confusion to your daily workflow and makes it hard for newcomers to the company or agencies/contractors to find the information they need to do what they were hired to do. 

PIMs can improve efficiency in other ways, too. You can set up rules in your company’s PIM to automate tasks and get the ball rolling on projects when certain criteria are met. For example, you might only list products online if their profit margin is above a certain amount because the cost of taking product photos isn’t worth the trouble. A PIM that allows you to set up rules can be helpful here. 

Otherwise, you can create a rule that will only send such products to the photography team if they meet those conditions. This way, there is less manual calculation and discussion among the teams involved. It’s a simple “yes” or “no” when it comes to deciding if something needs to be done or not. 

When is a PIM Not Necessary?

While product data management is important, not every business needs to invest in a PIM tool. Part of our work as an ecommerce agency is to meet with you and drill down into your team, processes, and business needs to find out what tools and setups you might need to be more organized and efficient – and which you don’t. 

For example, if your team is small and you have only one person handling data enrichment and one other person consuming it, you probably don’t need to run out and invest time and money into a PIM system. 

PIMs are great tools for managing product data and keeping everything consistent across company departments and roles. That said, if your business doesn’t currently have much of a multidisciplinary structure and is still quite small, PIM software might not be worth the cost and time investment. Have a look at some typical PIM features and compare them to your needs to see if the investment is worth it for you.   

Why We Love the Akeneo PIM

At Blue Badger, we’re happy to help you build a tech stack that suits your unique business needs. That said, we often find ourselves recommending specific tools more often than others for how adaptable and easy-to-use they are. In the case of product information management, we love the Akeneo PIM. Here’s why: 

The Akeneo PIM stands out for its user-friendly interface, flexibility, and scalability. It supports a wide range of data types and formats, making it adaptable to different business needs. Its ability to integrate with various ecommerce platforms and ERP systems makes it a versatile choice for many businesses.

With Akeneo’s Spring 2024 update, it can now act as a product management tool with its improved enrichment workflows and teamwork capabilities. This is a huge step up from its previous proposal workflow system, great for both managers and the teams they run. This feature is not offered by every other PIM, making it unique and flexible for a variety of use cases. 

With both open-source and paid enterprise models, the Akeneo PIM is primed for almost any use case. With its free, open-source Community Edition, Akeneo helps drive a rich app ecosystem, making it highly malleable to its users. They can build and integrate with any that best suits their unique needs, use other features other users have built for the tool, and put them up online. 

Akeneo also offers a SaaS version with two tiers: Growth Edition and Enterprise. This flavor of Akeneo must be customized through API integrations. This style is best suited for businesses that want to take advantage of its rules engine, rule-based logic, and project management component—available only on the Enterprise plan—but don’t want to manage their own PIM server. 

Since there’s a thriving community around Akeneo’s open-source tool and world-class support around its SaaS offerings, Akeneo is the answer for almost any company considering a PIM. 

Conclusion

Navigating the complexities of product information management doesn't have to be daunting. With the right PIM system, businesses can streamline processes, enhance data accuracy, and significantly improve operational efficiencies. Whether scaling your business, expanding to multiple channels, or seeking better data management, a PIM like Akeneo offers a tailored solution to these challenges. 

Remember, while not every business may need a PIM right away, recognizing the right moment to invest in one can be crucial for your business's growth and success. Embracing the power of PIM to turn your product data into a strategic asset will drive customer satisfaction and help you reach the next growth stage for your business.

As a certified Akeneo Solutions Partner, Blue Badger offers everything you need to implement a PIM solution in your business. From mapping and configuration to making your upstream and downstream connections, we’d be happy to find and implement the right PIM configuration for you. 

Additionally, we offer services like the design and development of custom themes and apps, strategy, conversion rate optimization, performance marketing, and more. Let us help you build an ecommerce ecosystem that you can rely on. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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