CRM, SQL, B2B - There are many acronyms flying around in the business world, and it can be hard to keep track of all of them. The newest trend surrounding data management is PIM software. Often used, highly misunderstood, and of immense value for those who use it right.
Let's break down the in's and out's of PIM, so you can shine with knowledge in your next business meeting.
PIM: Product Information Management
A PIM, or Product Information Manager is essentially a living database for your product information.
Your product information is changing all the time to fit new trends, new markets, and new regulations (what up GDPR!). A PIM is the place where all of that sales and marketing content can be easily managed and manipulated without needing a technical background. That allows you to optimize and distribute the richest content you can without any unneeded bottlenecks.
With that, the PIM system naturally becomes your single source of truth for all of that data. That one source of information helps you reduce errors and improves productivity across teams.
And isn’t that beautiful?
Usage of PIM - Who? Why? And What the F*%&?
Generally speaking, if you are selling tangible products, chances are you need a PIM. So retailers & manufacturers get some serious benefits out of the tool.
More specifically, if you manage the sales and marketing content of more than 100 products, you are likely painfully aware of the need for a system that lets you do what a PIM does.
The more products you sell, the broader your product portfolio, and the more complex your products are, the more you will need a central database that you can easily update on the fly.
In addition, the more people touch your products during the product life cycle, the more important it is to work based on the same information. Inconsistencies will easily spiral out of control if not.
Having a central source of truth is also beneficial for companies with specialized departments, working from different locations, in different languages, and in a fast-paced, changing environment.
The PIM will become your rock.
When the Rubber hits the Road - How does a PIM impact daily work
A PIM can help a variety of departments in your business, but these are the real winners:
Content / Communications / Marketing:
Are you selling on more than one channel? If your answer is no, you should stop reading this immediately, and learn all about Omnichannel. It's a crowded bar out there, and competition is fierce, so you want to make sure you maximize your exposure!
Selling on multiple channels now, alright, good job! Now you want to make sure you treat each channel with the attention it deserves. Love all of your children equally, or they will turn on you (or at least have a low return on investment)! Sending the right information to the right channels is key to success.
In today's world, it is not only about content, but about context. You can have the best product in the world, if you fail to let the world know, you will not sell anything! Google Shopping needs different information from Amazon, that needs different information from your main web store. Some of that information is simply for indexing and being found - not showing off your wares.
Having a central system with information, that can help to find the right content for the right context will give you a competitive advantage in the crowded world of advertising out there!
The sales team has a job that revolves around having the right information at the right time. A PIM can help you create proposals for clients quickly, and present information that are relevant to prospects. If you are out and about selling to retail partners, you want to be prepared for anything. The Plytix PIM offers a really cool tool that lets sales teams have their product catalogs available on demand via digital catalogs.
Having consistent product data will help create trust with the consumers. Never get caught off guard by questions about your products, because you have all the information you need 1-click away.
All that content needs to go somewhere and the webmasters make that happen. Not only that, these guys have little patience for “wait a minute, I think I have it somewhere.”
If they are able to get the information from a single place without asking or fumbling, they will be happy campers. The PIM creates a great synergy between the content and technical teams. Each can do their job without getting annoyed with the other (mostly).
Not only that, a PIM helps the information get sent to different channels faster. The Plytix PIM has a Product Feed Builder that means you only have to format a feed once as it is automatically fed by the products in your PIM.
Why you don't serve soup on a plate (or products in Excel):
We often hear the following question: I already have an ERP / Excel Sheet / Web shop for all my data. Isn't that enough?
Hold your horses, one question at a time!
Let's start with your ERP system: It's great that you made your first step towards making your business more data-driven! However, an ERP system, does not replace your PIM, but they actually work together. In your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planner), you keep all your information regarding resources. It gives you an insight, how well your invest your resources, and how much money they bring in. It is where you store information like stock availability, price and logistics. But that is only one part of the profitability pie. Once a product is created in an ERP, information is sent to the PIM, and here you make it stand out and sellable.
Once product data is enriched, and customised for each sales outlet, it can be pushed to your web shops. In your web shop, you only want to have the data your customer needs to see at the end of the sales process! This typically includes description, title, price and a few features. Sensitive information, SEO help, sales key phrases, or other languages cannot be stored on your web shop, and belong in a PIM. Making data errors, lack of information and inconsistency of information are some of the key reasons for consumers to lose confidence in your brand and your products.
But what about Excel? Great question.
First of all, Excel is not a product database. There are key features missing to really manage your products. Besides: Once you get above 50 SKUs, your excel sheet looks like a scene from Matrix, with letters and numbers across your screen. Anybody that has ever looked at a loaded excel sheet for more than 10 seconds will agree: It makes your eyes bleed! You can't store images, so you usually have to fight your way through Dropbox to find anything. How great would it be to have everything organized and relevant content directly together? PIM coming to the rescue!
Most companies also have several spreadsheets with information, stored on multiple computers, managed by different people with different systems. Errors are inevitable.
One size doesn't fit all
Congratulations! You have graduated with a Bachelor in PIM'onomics! You now know more about PIMs than 90% of the people out there!
You might be asking yourself the following question now: which is the right PIM for me? The answer: Plytix of course! Just kidding….or am I? ;-)
I wish it was that easy to answer. The truth is, that entirely depends on your situation! Just like the perfect pair of pants, it depends on how much you’re willing to spend, where you are going to wear them, and how good you want your butt to look.
Every PIM provider out there has its niche they cater to and every niche has its own set of requirements.
At Plytix, we want to provide the best PIM for content people. We cater to the small and medium businesses that don’t have the time or the money to deal with a big, technical enterprise solution.
So we made an easy-to-use and easy-to-implement system that helps close the performance gap between those big corporations who have the money to spend on big expensive systems, and those who just need to work smarter with better tools to get back their competitive edge.
Our specialists will gladly help you find out if Plytix is the perfect pair of pants for you (okay, I think I have overused this analogy now, I promise to zip it…)
Did this Intro to PIM help you? Or are you more confused than before you started reading?
Let us know in the comments below, or send me an email with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org