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"At what point do companies need a PIM system?"

Excerpt: The number of sales and communication channels that need to be served with ever greater amounts of product information is increasing with the rise of digitalisation. The general conditions in omnichannel commerce are the same for smaller companies as for large ones. Therefore, a PIM system is not primarily aimed at the size of a company.

For which businesses is a PIM system useful?

In the age of omnichannel commerce, companies make active use of PIM (Product Information Management) systems to centralise product information and to meet the specific requirements of the individual sales and communication channels. Therefore, the introduction of a PIM system is primarily aimed at e-commerce businesses. But a PIM system also plays an increasingly important role for brands and manufacturers who distribute their products to numerous suppliers, marketplaces, online catalogues and other channels. Among other things, this is due to the fact that buyers in the B2B environment also expect a buying experience that meets the demands of the B2C sector.

The increase in digital commerce across numerous channels is intensifying competition across all industries. In this competition, the companies stand out that manage to market their products faster and offer their customers added value in the information and purchase decision process through complete and consistent product information. The various data sources for technical specifications, stock levels, price information, product descriptions, media assets, etc. are collected centrally in the PIM system, cleansed, enriched and from there played out to the various output channels. PIM systems thus ensure consistent product communication across all channels by providing all touchpoints with clean data from a central source.

„PIM is growing in importance as more eCommerce professionals are looking for ways to aggregate and manage product content across all channels in order to solve their business challenges. To compete in the age of omnichannel commerce, eCommerce experts need a common infrastructure to centralize their product information and create channelspecific product experiences that are optimized for each channel’s unique requirements and audience.“

Source: COMCAP “Product Information Management Overview”, 2020

PIM systems are mainly used by retailers and manufacturers who provide their product information to various marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, etc.), mobile applications, social media channels (Instagram, Facebook catalogue, Pinterest, etc.), online catalogues, print media, suppliers and even the physical point of sale. Whether a company distributes 1,000, 10,000 or over 100,000 products, a PIM system helps reduce costs in the long term through automated workflows in sourcing, enriching and distributing product information. Of course, a PIM system scales with the number of output channels, the requirements for complete product data and the number of products to be managed.

Below are other criteria that indicate that your company will benefit from a PIM system:

  • Data chaos: Product data is managed in different places, so-called data silos. Each department has its own workflows on how and where product data is organised. This leads to the question for your company where the most up-to-date data on a product is located.
  • High return rates: Your customers and prospects frequently send you enquiries because they cannot correctly assess the usability of your products? Your inside sales team is struggling with relatively high returns? The better the information you present in your product communication, the more well-grounded purchasing decisions your customers can make.
  • The challenge of internationalisation: Do you want to market your products outside the German-speaking world? But the maintenance effort for additional languages is too great? Many PIM systems have integrated translation management to make translations easy to handle. At the same time, user and rights management can be used to define and control access to market-specific product information.
  • High time and cost expenditure for product catalogues: Do you regularly produce product catalogues? Production can be very intensive, especially if the data has to be entered manually and obtained from several sources. Many PIM systems have appropriate interfaces to automatically output the product information directly into the print medium, e.g. Adobe InDesign. This drastically reduces the manual effort in production and the time required until publication.
  • Time-consuming entry of supplier data: Do you regularly have to manually enter new product data from your product suppliers? With a PIM system, suppliers and manufacturers can provide you with exactly the information you need for your product communication. By defining quality criteria, you can easily control the maintenance and quality assurance of product data at the supplier and manufacturer without having to fear a loss of quality.

Which divisions work with the PIM system?

Within a company, it is primarily the marketing, sales, purchasing, product management, data compliance and IT departments that deal with the maintenance of the PIM system. Via user groups, stakeholders outside the company, such as suppliers and agencies, can also be given access to the central product information.

A PIM system gives different departments along the value chain quick access to all product information, which simplifies collaboration and speeds up internal work processes. It also enables efficient onboarding for new partners and suppliers by providing them with information on new products intuitively and quickly.

“Teams that don’t have PIM tools risk palpable competitive disadvantage with content that’s inconsistent, meets only the minimum market requirements, and fails to engage customers. Teams that do use PIM win customers and expand their markets with product content that engages buyers and drives purchase decisions.”

Source: Senior E-Business Analyst Bruce Eppinger, Forrester Research

Conclusion:

A PIM system is not primarily based on the size of a company. Small and medium-sized companies also benefit greatly from central product information management and the extensive automation in the administration and distribution of data, as they have fewer human resources than large corporations.

If some of the challenges listed above sound familiar to you in your daily business and you would like to get more information or practical insights on how to successfully master them with a PIM system, please feel free to arrange a non-binding online demo. Our experts will show you the advantages of a PIM system for your industry and business model.

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