calendar March 2024 | updated icon July 2024 | read time 9 minute read | Topic Product Information Management

Ecommerce Data Management: Can PIM Help?

Product Data Management: Can PIM Help?

Too much time spent managing data is a pretty common problem—in fact, in some cases data-related activities can end up occupying 90% of your working week. For ecommerce managers, we’re talking about time spent tracking down product information and resources in different systems, checking everything for quality, consistency, and accuracy, adapting data and assets all for your various marketplaces and sales channels, not to mention repeating all of this every time something changes in your product catalog.

We know technology can help, but how to know which solution will do the trick?  For some enterprise-level cases, that means Master Data Management software (and all the time, effort, and expense that comes with it). For the rest of us, though, Product Information Management or PIM tools can be a much more practical option, which is why more and more companies are switching to PIM software every year. Don’t just take my word for it though, read on to learn what PIM software is, how it can help with data management, and why it can be a game-changer for your business.

What is PIM software?

Product Information Management (PIM) software is essentially a centralized system that helps businesses organize, manage, and distribute their product information across multiple ecommerce channels and platforms. It's designed to make sure that all your product listings are accurate, consistent, and engaging, regardless of where they appear. Whether it's your own website, an online marketplace, or a print catalog; a PIM system keeps your product data in line and up to date.

Someone thinking about PIM and looking confused.

Side note: it’s worth noting that Product Information Management software and Product Master Data Management software, though similar, are not the same. Product Master Data Management software has a more general approach, while PIM software has a more specialized focus (and you can learn more about the key differences here).

PIM software: the main functions

There are four crucial functions for data management that all quality PIM tools have in common.

A cloud full of digital assets.

Centralized data storage

One of the main benefits of implementing PIM software is the creation of a single source of truth for all your product information—no more spreadsheets scattered across multiple systems! This reduces errors and saves you time, especially if you use PIM software with Digital Asset Management (DAM) capabilities. This setup lets you keep all of your product images, videos, and other assets in the same place as your marketing content, product specifications, and all the data related to your products.

Data quality and consistencyA magnifying glass over a product page.

Using a PIM tool, you can maintain a high level of data quality and consistency. It has features to help guarantee that product descriptions, specifications, pricing, and imagery will be accurate and up-to-date across all your sales channels. This consistency helps prevent confusion, build trust with your potential customers, and generally present a professional image of your company overall.

A product listing with digital asset icons.

Data optimization

PIM software isn't just about organizing data, it's also about making it better. This software makes it much simpler to add detailed product descriptions, high-resolution images, and any other information and multimedia that can make your listings more appealing and informative to potential buyers. What’s more, some PIM tools come with features that can help you track how complete and enriched your product data is too (and there’s more information about that coming up later on).

Multichannel distribution of product dataA product image connected to different sales channels.

Modern ecommerce doesn't happen on a single platform—the companies dominating online retail these days are the ones making their products available wherever their customers are. PIM systems make it easy to swiftly push your product information out to various channels, guaranteeing that your data is always synchronized, whether you're selling on your website, Amazon, eBay, or anywhere else.

When do I need PIM software?

How useful PIM software can be for you really depends on what stage your business has reached in its ecommerce journey. If you’re just starting out with only a handful of SKUs, have less than 10 employees, and only need to send your data to one sales channel and nowhere else, then you might not need to implement this software just yet. You still could, don’t get me wrong, but it would definitely be about planning for the future rather than responding to an immediate need.

When your business has moved past that stage, though, and started growing and expanding into multiple channels, then PIM software could absolutely make your life and your data management much easier. Ask yourself if any of the following apply to you and your business:

  • Are you managing more than 100 SKUs?
  • Are 10 or more people working with your product data?
  • Is product information being sent to multiple platforms, marketplaces or other channels?
  • Are you noticing more issues occurring with missing data or inaccuracies?
  • Is the time spent checking/updating data holding you back from expansion?

If you can check one or more of these boxes, then yes, a PIM tool could well be a good fit. For more information about when to get PIM software, you can also check out these six questions to ask yourself to see if now’s the right time.

At the other end of the scale, there may also come a time when a PIM on its own is not enough. A rough line here would be once your company grows to over 1000 employees or 1,000,000 SKUs, so basically when you reach giant enterprise level. As I mentioned earlier, in that case you might find something like Master Data Management (MDM) software provides an additional layer of governance for your data management needs.

Someone running next to an increasing bar chart.

Next level data management features in PIM software

Here’s a selection of advanced features that can be game-changers for anyone looking to take control of their product data management. If you’re into the details, check out the Plytix Help Center to see how these features work in our system in particular—just click the links in each title.

Organizing your products into relationships, families, and groups

Any PIM tool out there should give you the option to sort your products into categories, but some will take this idea to the next level by also letting you create different types of product relationships or families. This could be simply having parent products and variants, or more complex relationships like upsell options or bundle suggestions. This isn’t just for your products, either—being able to sort your attributes into groups like “Technical specifications” or “SEO content” can be a massive timesaver too.

Custom views for every user

This feature is perfect when you have multiple people or teams managing different parts of your product data, which is bound to happen once your company reaches a certain size. Custom user views let your marketing team just see marketing-related material, your logistics team just see data related to logistics, and so on. Crucially, though, this happens without users or teams affecting each other’s views or getting in each other’s way, even if they’re accessing the system at the same time.

Straightforward completeness tracking

Completeness tracking is exactly what it sounds like—a way to keep track of how much of your product data is complete for any given product. This often takes the form of a progress bar that’s linked to whatever other attributes you choose, so you can see at a glance which products have all of those attributes filled in and which still need to be completed.

Automatically generated smart lists

Sorting all of your products into different lists for different purposes can take ages, so why not let your PIM tool do it for you? By setting up smart lists based on whatever filters are relevant, you can get your PIM software to create lists of products for different marketplaces, teams, collections, whatever you like. 

What makes these lists smart, though, is that they’ll automatically update themselves in the event that you add or remove any products from your catalog, or update any details that make products match or not match the criteria you’ve set for each list. Combine this with completeness attributes and you can automate an incredible amount of your workflows and manual data management tasks.

Image formatting by channel

A relatively simple feature, this functionality can actually make your life a whole lot easier if you’re dealing with different image requirements for different marketplaces and platforms. It essentially comes down to being able to change the size or format of your images in the moment of sending them out to your different channels but without changing the originals in any way. This lets you use one image for, well, as many purposes as you like! That means no more duplicate versions of your assets for different marketplaces and a simpler, more streamlined media catalog overall.

Computed attributes (a.k.a. automated data transformations) 

In a very similar way, some PIM tools also give you the option to transform individual data points on export, but again, without affecting the original data in any way. This gives you countless options, such as changing the format of your data to match each individual marketplace’s requirements, adjusting prices for temporary sales, or even generating content for SEO purposes. There’s a whole lot more you can do as well—so much, in fact, that we’ve got a whole other article on just this topic.

Case study: Leigh CountryLeigh Country Web Logo 2022

To see the advantages of implementing PIM software, look no further than design, import, and distribution company Leigh Country in Houston, Texas. Until March 2022, they were relying on Google Sheets for data management, and while spreadsheets do have their uses, they aren’t the best tool for avoiding communication gaps and product errors. Kathie Rieser, Ecommerce Manager at Leigh Country, had this to say about their former spreadsheet setup: 

“It would sometimes snowball into this big mess…There were too many cooks in the kitchen, everybody was adding or detracting from this spreadsheet, and there were so many errors.”

On top of that, adding new products to their catalog took an excruciating two to three weeks, and their digital assets were scattered across various platforms like Google Sheets and Dropbox. That meant that finding and organizing these images often took days, causing delays in adding new products to vendors. 

Exasperated by the situation, Leigh Country reached out to Plytix, and over the course of the following months successfully implemented PIM software into their tech stack. Since then, they've experienced rapid growth, increased sales, and more time to dedicate to other tasks. Time to market has improved dramatically, reducing what used to take two to three weeks down to just a few minutes, and they’ve seen a swift return on their investment in PIM within just 12 months. What’s more, with a PIM in place, Kathie says the idea of global expansion is a much less daunting task:

“If somebody had said two years ago, we're going to expand to Europe, I would not have been happy. But, with things being as organized as they are now, I have no problem with expanding globally.” 

Thanks to the implementation of a PIM system, Leigh Country has reduced time to market and experienced a boost in sales. For the full details, check out their customer story right here.

A chair and table outside under a tree.

Learn more about PIM

Adopting PIM can transform how you manage product information, but like with any new tech, starting can seem daunting. To help, we've created a guide that walks you through the process of selecting and implementing a PIM system tailored to your business needs. This guide demystifies PIM and offers practical advice on making it work for you, along with a comparison of the top PIM providers on the market.

In a world where online presence is everything, PIM software can make all the difference. By taking control of your product data, you can improve operational efficiency, have more satisfied customers, and drive sales. Download our guide today to start your journey to better product data management.

Ready to learn more about PIM? Download our free guide today!

Frequently Asked Questions

PIM, or Product Information Management, is a system designed to centralize, organize, and manage product information across multiple ecommerce channels and platforms. It provides a single source of truth for all product-related data, guaranteeing accuracy, consistency, and efficiency in how product information is handled and distributed.

PIM systems are particularly beneficial in ecommerce environments, where managing detailed product descriptions, specifications, and digital assets across various sales channels can be challenging. By streamlining these processes, PIM helps businesses improve efficiency and maintain high-quality product listings.


PIM is ideal for businesses of various sizes that manage a certain number of product SKUs or distribute information across multiple sales channels. This includes ecommerce companies looking to scale, businesses experiencing issues with data accuracy or consistency, and organizations seeking to improve their product information management processes.

Specifically, if you manage more than 100 SKUs, have a team of 10 or more people working with product data, distribute product information to multiple platforms, or find that time spent on data management is hindering expansion, PIM could be a beneficial tool for your business.


PIM is used to streamline the management of product information in a centralized system. It helps businesses maintain accurate, consistent, and engaging product listings across various sales channels, including their own websites, online marketplaces, and print catalogs.

Key functions of PIM include centralized data storage, ensuring data quality and consistency, optimizing product data for better customer engagement, and efficient multichannel distribution. By simplifying these processes, PIM enables companies to save time, reduce errors, and enhance the overall quality of their product presentations.


Both MDM (Master Data Management) and PIM (Product Information Management) systems manage important business data, but they serve different purposes. MDM is a broader approach that manages all of an organization's critical data—such as customer, product, employee, and supplier data—across the entire enterprise. It focuses on providing a single, more general view of this data to support business processes and decision-making.

In contrast, PIM has a more specialized focus, concentrating on managing product information for ecommerce purposes. It deals specifically with organizing, maintaining, and distributing product data across various sales channels to ensure consistency and accuracy.


The difference between PIM (Product Information Management) and CMS (Content Management Systems) within ecommerce is clear, but the systems are still interdependent. A CMS focuses on the frontend aspect of an ecommerce website, enabling the design, creation, and management of an online store's visual and interactive elements, along with helping with customer interactions and analytics to refine marketing efforts.

On the other hand, a PIM tool acts as the centralized database for all product-related information, ensuring accuracy, consistency, and the high-quality management of product details, from basic descriptions to comprehensive digital assets. It's the backbone that supports and feeds the frontend CMS with up-to-date product data.

The integration of PIM and CMS systems allows ecommerce businesses to leverage a powerful combination of backend data management and frontend presentation, creating an efficient, engaging, and seamless online shopping experience that aligns with customer expectations and business goals.