Plytix CEO, Morten Poulsen, explains why we decided to add a PIM system to our product offering and expand the Plytix eco-system.
We have been on quite a journey.
The basic idea of Plytix is still the same. We want to make it easy for brands to share product pictures and information with their retailers. We do that by providing an open product image bank where we hope that all brands and retailers will find a common ground where they can share and source the information they need.
The idea is to establish a one stop shop for retailers to find high quality product images free of charge provided by the brands they are selling.
Throughout the entire process we have tried to keep usability in mind and we don’t want to create yet another tool that people have to commit to. That’s why retailers should be able to access our product bank directly from their CMS and why brands should be able to have their products available through Plytix without any maintenance required.
For brands it was pretty simple. All they needed was a product feed in xml or json from the PIM (Product Information Management System) or DAM (Digital Asset Management System) they already used. Then the product information including images were automatically synced with Plytix. Easy enough right?
What went wrong?
Well, the blow to the stomach came when we realized that somewhere around 94% of the brands we talked to (that's over 500 by now!) didn’t use a PIM or a DAM system. And among those who didn’t have one, we can count at least a handful of fortune 500 brands.
So there we were: unable to penetrate our market because the only way to get products into our product bank was through a product feed that was impossible to create for more than 90% of the brands we talked to.
As a reaction to this, we decided to do two things. We quickly developed a very basic product we called “The Image Manager” which allowed brands to upload products manually to our product bank. Secondly, we formed a few partnership deals with low-end PIM providers and recommended them to all the brands we were in dialogue with.
Did that solve our issue?
No not really. It certainly did something, but we found that all the customers we sent to our partners hardly ever followed through. What's more, we found ourselves being the ones pushing for the integrations.
And all the clients we got onboard with “The Image Manager” were happy with the solution, but hungry for more. We found ourselves busting our asses to accommodate our clients requests by increasingly adding features to our product.
Time to regroup - Do we need to offer a PIM?
In the end Alex, our CTO, and I took time out one weekend and looked at our roadmap and this “Image Manager” we’d built. A lot of the things that were requested from our clients were outside the scope of our core product. Plus we were neglecting the features and improvements we’d planned for the ecommerce analytics product. However, this “Image Manager” was where we had all the client engagement. So it was time to list the things we’ve learned:
- Only 6% of the brands we’ve talked to uses a PIM or DAM
- Almost 100% of the brands we talked to, desperately needed a PIM
- The current providers were almost all focused on the enterprise segment
- Brands saw the need for a PIM, but the integration process was too complex and the price for the tool itself was too high
- Brands LOVE the idea of the analytics tool we have, but they NEED an easy and cheap PIM tool
The tough decision
We thought a long time about this, because looking the list above, it was a no-brainer. We should enter the PIM market. But on the other hand, we didn’t want to piss off other existing PIM providers as we really wanted to partner up with them. None of us in the organisation knew the first thing about PIM tools, so we questioned our readiness to be a competitor in such a crowded market.
Also, we wanted to build the world’s largest database for product information and provide the first analytics tool in the world that offers cross-site ecommerce analytics. A PIM tool was never in the cards.
However, we had a basic tool already that our clients liked. This was the tool which got most traction and engagement. We also realized that all the brands that engaged with our analytics tool came in because of our “image manager” which they used as their PIM.
In the end it was clear. We would be entering the PIM market and we would be giving brands exactly what they want and what they need. So we created another list. This time a “focus-on-this-and-we-should-succeed” list and it looked somewhat like this:
- Our PIM has to be the most user friendly of them all
- Until we’ve nailed the onboarding interface so that every brand can do this without being overwhelmed, we will do it for them
- Our roadmap is being set by the experts (our clients) and their needs
- The PIM should be free of charge, unless you want to store more than 10GB of assets not related to products (i.e. descriptions, images etc) - and even for premium it should be the cheapest on the market (99€)
- Our PIM has to be an independent product that can stand by itself. It also has to be part of the Plytix eco-system and integrate directly and seamlessly with our product bank and analytics tool
Where we are now
Our PIM is up and you can start using it for free with unlimited product information and image storage plus 2G additional asset storage for PDFs, video, and anything else you can think of.
Why did we do it this way? We are now in the process of adding and refining features to make it the best PIM available on the market - we need you to make that possible.
Want to find out more about the features of our PIM?