You know what they say, value is in the eye of the beholder.
OK, so no one says that—but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop trying to make it happen anytime soon.
The number of product information management (PIM) software providers is exploding just as fast as the ecommerce market itself, which is expected to reach $684 billion by 2020. When it comes to products, consumers are taking the reigns and purchasing the products they feel offer the best bang for their buck. Why should it be any different when it comes to brands and retailers looking to get the best value out of their PIM system?
We’ll be the first to admit that all the different PIM software systems are very hard to compare on price alone. They each have unique feature sets that are meant for specific use cases. That’s why, in this article, we’re going to explore the features and target audience for a few of the leading PIM software providers to help you choose which will deliver the most value for your unique business.
Let’s make it happen.
Gone are the days when bigger is better, but we’ll be damned if we’re going to be the ones to tell Salsify that!
Salsify is a product experience management (PXM) platform that goes well beyond PIM capabilities. It helps its clients manage product data at almost every point in the ecommerce ecosystem. As such, it’s quite a complex platform. Unfortunately, that complexity doesn’t bode so well for ease of use, affordability, or customers who just want a PIM system they can plug in and play.
While customer reviews speak highly of several elements of Salsify software such as image management, automated naming conventions, digital catalogs, sheer number of features, and more; there are also rumblings of how expensive it is to add digital asset storage and extra seats, that fact that it’s hard to use on mobile devices, and a learning curve resulting from over-built software.
It’s hard to determine how much you’ll be spending on Salsify because you’re only granted access to their “number of available packages based on platform capabilities and how you expect to use Salsify” after speaking directly with their sales team. Interested parties are encouraged to try Salsify free for 30 days, but upon becoming a customer you’ll be required to purchase an onboarding package in addition to your subscription.
Verdict? Salsify is best for the well-staffed enterprise that is ready to spend tens of thousands of dollars and unknown personnel hours setting up and managing a powerful PXM system.
Pimcore is another powerful platform that goes beyond PIM to offer customer experience management, master data management, digital asset management, and ecommerce. Where its unique is that its open-source edition is completely free.
Well, that is, it’s free for companies with strong computer engineering prowess. In their FAQs, Pimcore even states that it’s built for developers and will not usable for most organizations right out of the box. Anyone who’s interested in Pimcore is going to need access to a developer—likely on an ongoing basis.
While their open-source edition is free, Pimcore does offer annual Enterprise and Cloud editions starting at $2,000 USD per year. These editions are where customers gain access to consulting, implementation, and other partner services; which is where Pimcore says it makes its real money.
We think Pimcore is a powerful platform for everything from PIM to DAM—as long as you have ongoing access to a tech team that’s able to keep your instance up to date and competitive.
Akeneo is another open-source solution that focuses on providing deep product information management instead of every single ecommerce feature under the sun—which is a strategy we can certainly get behind as one of the simplest, best tools for managing product data.
Customers seem to agree that Akeneo’s commitment to keeping it simple is a highlight in their book. In fact, ease of use is one of the things reviewers like the most about their experience with Akeneo, followed by its robust feature list and ability to operate in several languages. But, unfortunately, Akeneo falls into the same trap that many open-source solutions do. Users love it up until the second they need support or realize all the cool, flexible features are limited to those with deeper pockets or more technical ability.
The biggest gripe seems to be the lack of implementation support and ongoing guidance for those using the free Community Edition. And Akeneo’s answer to this—costly-plugins and third-party consultants—doesn’t seem to be cutting it.
As an open-source software, it’s no surprise that Akeneo offers several consulting and training services. They also have some interesting products like the “mini-PIM” Onboarder for your suppliers, a fashion accelerator, and a mysterious product intelligence platform.
We would recommend Akeneo to retailers who are prepared to use the PIM without any customizations or who have the budget to afford tech support and a dedicated account manager.
If content is king, then simplicity is its queen.
At Plytix, we believe in genius software that’s stupid easy to set up and use. Our Centralize, Optimize, Distribute, and Analyze (CODA) framework is built for content people, not IT people. Regardless of the size of your team or your technology capabilities, Plytix PIM helps online brands and retailers solve their most time-consuming pain points and improve revenue per employee.
We also strive to make our pricing as easy to understand as our software. Our $300 version is great for small to medium-sized businesses, our PRO version has everything a growing enterprise needs for less than $1000 USD a month, and we’re happy to put together a custom package if there’s anything else you need.
Not only is Plytix the most affordable PIM software on the market, you can subscribe on a month-to-month basis and never pay extra for things that shouldn’t cost extra—like implementation support, adding extra users, and unlimited file storage.
While we might be the new(er) kids on the block when it comes to PIM software, the proof for our robust features, ease of use, and affordability is in our customer reviews:
“We were just at the cusp of not being able to manage our product content in excel and Dropbox any longer, but all the well known PIM solutions wanted 10's of thousands of dollars a year. We couldn't swing this either. We searched high and low and finally found Plytix. It was perfect - we could tailor our PIM data structure to our product and manage all our media/assets alongside our product information. Plytix is young, so you may find specific features that are available in the larger more mature (but what I think are bloated) PIM solutions, but don't let this worry you. The Plytix team is suuuuuper open to feature suggestions and I must say a number of the things we needed that were originally missing have since been implemented.” - verified user Scott H.
Plytix is for online brands and retailers of all sizes who want to get shit done instead of wasting time and money setting up and maintaining bloated product software.
Getting Value for Your Money is a Beautiful Thing
It’s important you know what your online brand or retail business values before committing to PIM software. If you have a talented tech team you might value the flexibility of an open-source solution while a more traditional marketing team might be looking for straightforward PIM that works right out of the box.
If you aren’t sure what your priorities are yet, here’s an awesome list of questions to ask when researching PIM systems. After you know which key problems you need your PIM software to solve, you’ll be able to come back to this guide to identify the true affordability of each solution and its value to you.
Download: The Ultimate PIM Buyer's Guide
Grab a free copy of this comprehensive buyer's guide for retailers, brand, and ecommerce empires.