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PIM Requirements: What to Look For, What to Ask, and How to Choose the Right Product for Your Brand

June 25, 2019 / by Tina Eaton

Nearly 80 percent of consumers say the quality of product information is a very important element in their purchasing decision.

In fact, almost 90 percent of them wouldn’t even consider shopping a retailer again once they’ve provided incorrect product data—and 42 percent have returned a purchase for this very reason.

If you’re trying to sell to these shoppers, product info has to be just as high of a priority to you.

And with all this product data comes a need for a solution to manage it. That solution is PIM.

Product information management (PIM) is a centralized software platform that enables modern brands to store, manage, and deliver product data such as descriptions, SKU numbers, pricing, images, and more to a variety of sales channels.

And you know what else it is? An essential tool in any successful brand’s tech stack.

Here are the key questions to ask, the most important requirements to look for, and even a few bonus resources that will help you choose the best product information management software for your business. 

How to Tell It’s Time to Adopt PIM: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

Not to be nosey, but let’s kick things off with a few questions about your business…

  • Are you spending way too much time optimizing content to be syndicated to tens of different distributors, resellers, and aggregators?
  • Do multiple people and teams need to work with your product information simultaneously?
  • Are you looking to provide a better digital shopping experience that keeps your customers coming back for more?
  • Is more and more of your organization’s revenue generated from ecommerce?
  • Are you ready to boost sales without raising (or even while cutting) product data processing costs?
  • Is your current process for adding SKUs to your digital commerce channels unsustainable?
  • Do you think your sales suffering because of delays in adding new SKUs?
  • Will the benefits of adopting a better product information management outweigh the cost of setup, training, and maintenance?

If you found yourself nodding along at all as you read through that list of questions, chances are you’re either looking for—or should be looking for—a PIM solution. 

At Plytix, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the future of the PIM market. Now that you’re fully aware your brand is in need of a PIM, here are some key requirements to be on the lookout for to ensure you select the best solution to meet your business needs.

10 Requirements for the Perfect PIM

Due to its rapid growth yet relative youth in the business solutions market, PIM software is still all over the board when it comes to features. While you should always evaluate technology based on your own unique goals, here are some base-level requirements we recommend you hold out for when it comes to adopting the perfect PIM to boost your ecommerce biz.

Integration with the Most Popular Syndication Channels

Using Google Shopping, Magento, Shopify, Facebook, Amazon, or pretty much any other third-party channels, marketplaces, suppliers, or tools to make and boost sales? Awesome! Spending 60+ hours a week uploading product data to each? Not so awesome.

The smoother the integration, the more successful the syndication. Look for a PIM platform that makes it easy to flow products to the platforms where you perform the best.

Integration with the Most Popular Syndication Channels

Omnichannel Optimization Features

Speaking of all those different sales and marketing channels and tools—what about not just syndicating but optimizing your product content for each?

Surely you’ve got the budget to hire on a new full-time content manager every time you need to add and optimize a few more SKUs for various channels.

Yeah, we didn’t think so.

A good PIM provides a single source of organized product information as well as requirement settings that ensure you’re configuring all that data correctly for each channel. A great PIM will even provide completion metrics to make sure your data is correct and optimized for any given channel.

And while we’re on the topic of metrics…

Detailed Product Analytics

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to monitor how your products perform over time so you can experiment with cool new ways to grow your sales and your business?

It sure would—which is exactly why we recommend shopping for a PIM with built-in product and even channel analytics that empower you to keep an eye on your most important business metrics. 

Detailed Product Analytics 

User-Friendly Design

When it comes to PIM, great design is so much more than fluff. After all, we’re talking about a platform that key members of your team are going to be using day in and day out to manage product information—the very backbone of your business.

If your PIM power users aren’t IT folks but instead salespeople, content and ecommerce managers, and marketers; you must focus on adopting PIM software with a user-friendly interface that allows them to access the system’s full capabilities both effectively and efficiently.

This solution has saved me so much time on content creation and getting my product data out on my channels. What I like best though, is how user-friendly it is - I'm not very technical at all. … The catalogs let me share my product information with my agents abroad and I'm gonna share them on my website next. … I don't know what I would do without [Plytix] now.” - Mai J., CEO and Plytix Client

Collaboration-First Workflows

Wanna know a little secret? Beating your competition doesn’t boil down to just outselling or undercutting. Strong companies have strong company culture. And you know how they get it? By knocking down barriers to collaboration. 

Collaboration all starts with a centralized database where all of your product content, files, and other data can be organized and accessed by your team. From there, make sure your team can actually work within this data at the same time.

Upgrade to real-time, team-wide collaboration and stop wasting time and effort unknowingly publishing outdated product content, accidentally overwriting each other’s hard work, or being constantly confused over which of the 35 versions of that spreadsheet is the right one.

Collaboration-First Workflows

Swift Content Updates

As your business expands to sell and promote products on more and more channels, you may find that you’re needing to change product information nearly daily. Unfortunately, doing so accurately is basically insurmountable—without the right tools.

A modern PIM should make content management efficient and even fast with features like a centralized content database, direct editing in a clean table view, simple-to-use bulk content uploading, intelligent content segmentation and grouping, and a filtering system that makes searching for and optimizing product attributes a breeze.

Cloud Hosting

In 2019, over 80 percent of small and medium businesses reported plans to invest in businesses technology. Over 70 percent of those indicated plans to increase their investment in cloud-based technologies specifically.

Cloud Hosting

Why? Because cloud-based business tools—PIM included—operate quickly, can be scaled affordably, enjoy consistent uptime, and are easy to deploy without having to employ an entire IT team.

You’ve already got enough to worry about. Find a cloud-based PIM that’s supplied on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis and enjoy the ease of centrally-hosted product data that you can access digitally, on demand.

Built-In Asset Management

Over 90 percent of consumers rank visual appearance as the key deciding factor when making a purchase and Google itself says high-quality images rank higher in search results. Additional product assets like photos, videos, animations, and more have become crucial to successful sales.

Instead of investing in a separate, expensive digital asset management (DAM) system; brands should seek out a modern PIM with capabilities that empower you to keep your assets and products linked and organized across every sales channel.

Advanced Data Importing Capabilities

Importing the product data that they manage is one of the most important tasks a PIM has to do. And truthfully, every PIM should do this at some level. However, you want to look for the one that does it the best

While you’re out there shopping for—and trying out—PIMs, be sure to test how good each is at importing info from hundreds of different spreadsheets and other sources into a single database that your whole team can access (there’s that collaboration again!).

Advanced import features may include unlimited asset storage so you can upload and organize as much content and as many documents, videos, and multimedia files as your heart desires.

Advanced Data Importing Capabilities

Great Setup (and Ongoing) Customer Support

Whether you’re making the switch from a manual process or ditching some antiquated, overbuilt software that makes you want to pull your hair out—adopting a new PIM can be tedious and confusing no matter how amazing the new platform is. And, when your livelihood relies on it to accurately sync your products across several sales channels, it’s vital that someone who understands the software like the back of their hand is available for critical issues. 

There are simply times when customer support shouldn’t be automated or based solely on how much money you’re willing to shill out—keep that in mind when making your selection. 

At Plytix, we put our money where our mouth is. We consider the “Best Customer Success Awards” we won in 2017 and 2018 among our highest achievements yet.

Plytix has a fantastic team when it comes to customer support, from trialing, to learning, to suggesting new features there was always someone that I could speak to either via email which is always replied to within the same day or by phone which I could make an appointment for within a few days.” - Joshua S., Project Coordinator and Plytix Client

4 Bonus Resources to Help You Choose the Best-Fitting PIM for Your Brand

Intrigued and ready to dive into learning more about product information management? We like your style!

You can start by learning everything there is to know about PIM. Next, read some case studies about how several different businesses are using PIM to work efficiently, innovatively, and smarter—not harder. 

Once you’re ready to shop, our Ultimate PIM Buyer's Guide will make purchasing a PIM that much easier. And when it comes time to implement the perfect-fitting PIM, this guide will make sure you—and your important data—are optimized and ready to go.

Questions? Comments? Just want to see how the heck a PIM works for yourself? No problem! Sign up for our free and flexible plan today or get in touch with our friendly, always-on team.

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Tina Eaton

Written by Tina Eaton