February 6, 2024

Product Information Management in E-commerce: Key Points Explained

Elena Pashkovskaya

Technical copywriter

Ecommerce

Why Use PIM in E-commerce? A Brief Explainer
February 6, 2024

Product Information Management in E-commerce: Key Points Explained

Elena Pashkovskaya

Technical copywriter

Ecommerce

Why Use PIM in E-commerce? A Brief Explainer

Today, excellent customer experience is critical to a successful e-commerce business. The product's content — images, videos, title, description, and more — is a crucial factor that forms buying desire and shows the item in the spotlight. Product information management (PIM) software helps e-commerce manage the amounts of data about thousands of products, making the process faster and easier and increasing customer satisfaction. Let's discover how PIM gets the job done and how to implement one if needed. Here goes!

What is product information management software?

E-commerce PIM is a software that consolidates, enriches, and distributes product information to your sales channels, such as a web store, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, etc. It contains quality and consistent content for all your sales network and can be a single source of truth for your online shop.

PIM contains data from ERP, local documents, printed catalogs, banners, CSV, and XLS files and works with databases, product pages, e-commerce platforms, and marketplaces.

Why is PIM important for e-commerce? It helps to overcome data fragmentation, ensures content delivery automation, and makes product information more manageable and updated on time.

In B2B e-commerce, product information management software helps manufacturers, brands, and retailers acquire transparent and reliable information and influence the purchase decision. B2B players rely on transparent product data for cross-channel success.

In B2C businesses, product information management platforms help to increase sales by providing consistent content, reducing errors that deteriorate customer experience, and improving marketing campaigns.

The global PIM market soared to $11.8 billion in 2022, and analysts predict it will nearly double to $22.3 billion by 2028, fueled by a robust 11.1% CAGR. As the e-commerce sector grows, so does the PIM market. It also encapsulates recent IT trends, introducing AI and machine learning to transform the PIM landscape by enhancing data management and enriching consumer experiences, driving market growth.

The global PIM market is forecasted to grow 11.1% CAGR from 2022 to 2028.

Benefits of PIM

The main PIM benefits are faster time to market, consolidated data, improved customer experience, reduced returns, increased sales, data entry automation, and enhanced omnichannel efficiency.

Product information management software's key benefits include standardization of product data and streamlined content distribution processes across the channels. The other advantages include:

1.   Reduced manual data entry — import data to e-commerce product information management software through files and pre-built connectors. Data export is also automated, conducted through the connector.

2.   Precise information — PIM eliminates errors and discrepancies, reducing customer confusion and returns. According to Gartner, data errors cost businesses an average of $12.9 million.

3.   Scalability — as your product catalog and customer base grow, a PIM ensures accurate, consistent data flow across all channels that empower your sales, marketing, and operations teams to handle increased volume and complexity, paving the way for sustainable growth.

4.   Omnichannel efficiency — e-commerce product information management software makes managing and spreading product information easy, ensuring a seamless omnichannel experience for customers.

5.   Improved marketing campaigns — PIM helps marketers combine product info to improve ads and promotions.

6.   Reduced time to market for new products — with PIM, you can streamline the product launch process by centralizing and automating data workflows. It allows you to get new products to market faster, giving you a competitive edge.

7.   Increased sales — by improving data accuracy, enriching product information, and modernizing operations, PIM can increase your business's sales and profitability. The customers value the experience your web store gives: the research shows that 80% of customers emphasize the importance of the overall interaction encounter.

8.   Improved searchability for teams and customers — PIM contains data filters, facilitating the search. Moreover, accurate product data increases customers' chances of finding what they want.

There are some considerations over PIM implementation, such as difficulties in customizing fields for some products, the probable steep learning curve for your teams, and general suitability for a business. Some product information management e-commerce solutions do not fit small businesses and are enterprise-oriented, which means high implementation costs, so you should choose wisely.

Nevertheless, e-commerce PIM software can be a valuable investment for any business that wants to improve its product data management, enhance its omnichannel strategy, and boost its bottom line. The benefits of a product information management system outweigh the limitations when being picked carefully and wisely.

How does PIM work?

Product information management in e-commerce consists of several functional aspects. 

In the beginning, collect information. PIM accumulates basic details like SKUs and models, and houses richer content like marketing descriptions, vibrant images, and insightful guides. Maintain product information management platform integrations with systems like ERP, CRM, PLM, or other third-party databases to gather all valuable information in one place. Upload product data via CSV and XLSX spreadsheets or through a connector. 

PIM workflow scheme: PIM consolidates media, files of different formats, and data from ERP, then sends it to the feed management tool and distributes it through sales and marketing channels.

Then, group products into variations, bundles, and collections. Just like PIM tames unruly product data, it also wrangles complex taxonomies. Automated categorization and tagging bring order to the chaos, ensuring your internal teams have a trusted, consistent source to work with. Enable data enrichment by adding images, videos, and other visual information and improving product descriptions. You can customize the content and introduce localizations if necessary, as PIM allows you to store data in multiple languages. According to Statista, already in 2020, 40% of customers refused to purchase anything from the website in non-local languages.

The next step is to manage product catalogs, assign access and roles, select channel-specific attributes, and introduce rules. Marketing teams can organize data into neat, customizable groups and apply specific metrics to each group, tracking their performance.

Finally, use PIM to distribute updated content to your web store, marketplaces, or mobile apps. 

Following this flow, you can ensure PIM's seamless work and outstanding performance in e-commerce.

What data can you manage with PIM?

E-commerce product information management system works with different types of data, including:

  • Media files: images, videos, gifs, PDF manuals, sizing charts, and 3D renderings;
  • Product descriptions and usage data: use cases and instructions, manuals;
  • Product identifiers: product SKU, product name, brand name, stock data, GTIN, additional information and suggested usage;
  • Emotional data: customer-oriented descriptions, product stories, etc.
  • Technical information: product dimensions, weight, fabric, size, color, safety standards, key features, shipping information, etc.;
  • Taxonomy (product relationships): catalogs, variations, categories, bundles, tags, and types;
  • Localized information: multilingual copy, local currency system, customized images, international shipping information;
  • Marketing information: keywords, mobile-friendly descriptions, brochures, guides, etc.

All this data is constantly monitored and updated, ensuring consistency throughout your business. Whether a local web store or a global retail giant, with PIM in e-commerce, you can tailor the data you manage to fit your workflow and products.

Does your business need PIM?

A 2023 survey reveals that shoppers prefer marketplaces (35%) and in-store browsing (25%) as the primary inspiration for new purchases. The trend highlights the growing influence of these platforms in shaping consumer desires and driving e-commerce growth. As an e-commerce business owner, consider implementing the PIM system to deliver quality content and attract new customers.

Your business does need PIM when:

Your business goes globally: growing your business also means more data, such as localized content and new information about prices and currencies. Storing them in one place can be a good idea.

You have multiple retail channels: as each platform has its own content rules and guidelines, it would be more efficient to adapt product information for every channel with the help of PIM.

The platform/the catalog has a lot of products: the more inventory you have, the more complex its data management. Product information management solution streamlines this process. Even just a handful of products with intricate variations and customization options can quickly turn data management into a tangled web.

You want to improve customer experience: product pages enriched with colorful images and customized emotional descriptions will attract customers. PIM helps to deliver the content on different platforms and decreases the possibility of errors and data mismatch.

Facilitating the product information management process, PIM is a suitable solution for businesses of different scales that aim to grow and expand.

PIM features

PIM main and additional features: integrations, access levels, customized workflows, simplified data upload, smart categories, AI functions, flexible pricing, access by 3rd parties, etc.

When looking for a suitable eСommerce product information management software, there are several vital features to search for.

The main PIM e-commerce software features include integrating with other systems and data upload from spreadsheets, customized workflows and processes, access gradation, filters, and search options to navigate through thousands of products, management of different types of files, and easy mass updates. They fulfill the top objectives of product information management and deliver core functionality.

The additional features are access to PIM by 3rd parties (partners and dealers) and the ability to use the data on their platforms; product information syndication for platforms like Amazon and eBay; and data governance to manage large volumes of information.

Let's determine how to choose the right product information management software. Keep an eye on:

  • PIM development and growth: if you are planning your business to grow, think about PIM scalability to ensure that the software will keep pace;
  • Implementation and time to market: rearranging the whole set of data may take time and effort, and it is better to know in advance what resources will be required;
  • Integrations support: if you need many integrations with other data systems, which can be difficult, check PIM compatibility and whether there will be any support provided;
  • Language support: essential feature for businesses that go global;
  • Real-time sync: enables working on the data enrichment and distribution by multiple teams without delays;
  • Limitations posed on sales channels, languages, currencies, or storefronts: specify these parameters and ensure they fit your business.

Now that you have a comprehensive vision of PIM, it is time to learn how to implement it without a hitch.

How to implement and integrate product information management software?

Implementing and integrating product information management best practices is a multi-step process, but with careful planning and execution, it can become a smooth and successful journey. The process contains several steps and may require professional IT assistance.

Discovery stage

  • Define your goals and objectives: what do you need PIM for in e-commerce? Improved data accuracy? Omnichannel consistency? Increased conversion rates? Knowing your goals will guide your choices in software and implementation strategy.
  • Audit your existing data: identify all your product data sources, assess its quality and completeness, and understand any data silos that exist.
  • Choose the right PIM software: research different PIM vendors, compare features and pricing, and ensure the software aligns with your business needs and technical infrastructure. If pre-built software does not meet your needs, consider custom software development.

Data preparation and migration

  • Develop a data model: define the attributes and relationships representing your product information within the PIM system.
  • Clean and consolidate your data: address redundancies, inconsistencies, and errors in your existing data before migrating it to the product information management platform. Consider using data quality tools to automate this process.
  • Plan the migration: determine the migration method and establish a timeline for data transfer. Ensure data integrity and continuity throughout the process.

System configuration and customization

  • Configure the PIM system: set up workflows, user roles, and data validation rules.
  • Customize the user interface: make the PIM user-friendly and efficient for your team.
  • Develop data enrichment processes: define workflows for enriching product data with descriptions, images, specifications, and other relevant information.

Integration and testing

  • Integrate the product information management solution with other business systems: establish seamless data exchange between the PIM and other systems to ensure consistent product information across all channels.
  • Thorough testing: test the functionality of the PIM system, data migrations, and integrations to ensure everything works as expected before going live.

Training and support

  • Train your team: provide comprehensive training on the PIM system for all departments involved in product information management.
  • Establish ongoing support: ensure access to technical support from the PIM vendor and have internal processes for ongoing data maintenance and quality control.

By following these steps and best practices, you can successfully implement and integrate PIM software in your e-commerce company, transforming your product information management into a streamlined and efficient process that drives value for your business.

Remember that the specific details will vary depending on your unique business needs and chosen PIM software. Feel free to consult experts and tailor the implementation to your context.

Product information management software FAQ

Do some questions remain uncovered? We have prepared an additional section with common requests concerning PIM in e-commerce. Let's continue the journey!

What is the difference between PIM, DAM, CMS, and MDM?

PIM, DAM, CMS, and MDM comparison table by features

PIM is often compared with the other types of data management software.

  • Digital Asset Management (DAM) revolves around efficiently managing and maximizing the value of your digital assets, primarily images, videos, and other multimedia content.
  • Content Management System (CMS) works well with web pages, blog posts, and news articles, helping to craft, organize, and launch online content quickly.
  • Master Data Management (MDM) goes far beyond product information. This software unifies scattered data – employee records, customer profiles, and financial figures, providing streamlined operations, more thoughtful decisions, and a unified view of the entire business.

DAM focuses on multimedia files, CMS manages content for web pages, and MDM contains comprehensive data about the business. Overall, product information management's distinctive features suit the e-commerce industry best and  can be integrated with the abovementioned systems.

Do you need a PIM with Shopify?

A product information management platform can become a valuable asset for your Shopify web store. With PIM, you can run multiple storefronts with a single product catalog and unified data. PIM also helps to avoid duplication of product records and system integrations with Shopify web stores. Consider using this type of software to provide accurate and consistent product information, enhancing customer's trust and enjoyable experience. 

Is PIM compatible with Adobe Commerce?

Yes, you can integrate PIM into your Magento web store. According to the Scaling E-commerce Guide, product information management solutions can decrease returns by approximately 40% and offer up to 3X time to market. Simplify product data governance, streamline multi-channel workflows, and unlock omnichannel agility. The efficient tandem of PIM and Adobe Commerce helps enhance internal collaboration, deliver consistent customer experiences, and optimize operational performance.

Conclusion

Product information management suits both B2B and B2C retail. It helps organize and consolidate information through smooth data import and integrations, with further enrichment and distribution to several sales channels.

If you decide that the PIM system fits your e-commerce business, NEKLO is here to help unravel the complex data, implement and integrate it into your project, and build the e-commerce software solution that perfectly serves your business needs.