What is PIM?

Product information management (PIM) is the process of centralizing, organizing, and distributing information about products that a business sells.

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Plytix: What is a PIM?

What is PIM software? 

PIM software is a platform that helps businesses centralize, enrich, and share all their product information. This software can store anything from SKUs and product descriptions to pricing and customer testimonials.


By collaborating with your team in a central source of truth (like a PIM system), you can easily make sure your product information is consistent and up-to-date across all your sales channels. Not only that, but you also save time and money by automating all manual tasks around product information management.

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PIM systems come in two main types

Open-source PIM software icon in Plytix's design style

 

1. Open-source PIM

Open-source PIM is PIM software that gives you full access to the original source code. This gives you the chance to add new features and update existing ones in the PIM system. 

But, keep in mind, in order to make changes to the source code, you’re going to need programmers to help you.

Software as a service PIM icon in Plytix's design style

 

2. SaaS PIM

SaaS PIM is PIM software that is developed and maintained by a third-party provider. You won’t be able to access and modify the codes. 

With this type of software, you’ll need to pay for the license through a subscription payment. No need for a development team here since your PIM provider takes care of that.

PIM software goes by many different names, here’s a few examples

Product Catalog Management (PCM)
Product Experience Management (PXM)
Product Data Management (PDM)
Product Content Management (PCM)
Product Resource Management (PRM)
Item Master
You guessed it! It’s a PIM.
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Product Resource Management (PRM)

Product Experience Management (PXM)

Product Data Management (PDM)

Product Content Management (PCM)

Product Catalog Management (PCM)

Item Master

How does PIM fit into your tech stack?

PIM is an essential part of a powerful ecommerce tech stack.

Enterprise resource planning dashboard illustration in Plytix's style

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

ERP is a system that helps you manage data related to day-to-day business operations. There’s a misconception that ERP is the same as PIM, but it’s not. Check out this article about PIM vs ERP to discover why. 

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Digital Asset Management feature of a PIM illustrated in Plytix design style

Product Information Management (PIM) with Digital Asset Management (DAM)


PIM software (with DAM capabilities) is a central source of truth where you can manage, optimize, and distribute all your product information and media that you need to sell your products.

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Content Management System (CMS) dashboard illustration in Plytix's design style

Content Management System (CMS)

CMS helps you manage and publish content for your website (or webshop). This is your online storefront where you can sell directly to customers.

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Feed management system dashboard illustration in Plytix's design style

Feed Management System (FMS)

FMS manages your product data feeds, so you can get your products to your sales channels. Some PIM systems have feed management capabilities, but if you want the best of both worlds, check out how PIM and FMS work together.

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Payment Processing

Payment Processing is the software that accepts credit card payments on your website. Make sure to find software that makes your customers’ payment process safe and easy so that you give them the best shopping experience.

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Order & shipping fulfillment illustration in Plytix's design style

Order & Shipping Management

Order and Shipping Management software helps you manage and ship out the orders your customers place. Some of these features might overlap with your ERP, so make sure to look for a solution that  makes sense for your tech stack.

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Ecommerce metrics analytics illustration in Plytix's design style

Analytics

Analytics software allows you to track, analyze, and interpret the ecommerce metrics you use to measure your success. Most ecommerce CMS systems will have this data, but you’ll want to find a solution that gives you a full view of everything you need to track.

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What information is stored in PIM?

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Taxonomy

  • add Categories
  • add Labels
  • add Product variations
  • add Relationships
White cube with one purple square illustration designed in Plytix's style

Essential product data

  • add UPCs
  • add SKUs
  • add Product titles or names
  • add Product descriptions
Plytix illustration of digital assets represented by 5 duplicate images of two mountain peaks covered in snow and a sun in the top right corner but each image differs in color

Digital assets

  • add Images
  • add Videos
  • add Gifs
  • add PDFs
Plytix illustration of a bar and line graph under a magnifying glass to represent marketing data

Marketing data

  • add SEO Keywords
  • add Product catalogs
  • add Sales enablement documents
Plytix illustration of 4 different colored tags bound together with a ring to represent product details

Product details

  • addSizes
  • add Colors
  • add Materials
  • add Measurements
  • addTechnical specifications
Plytix illustration of multilingual icon represented by two different language characters side-by-side

Localized content

  • addMultilingual content
  • add Translations
  • add Pricing in different currencies
Plytix illustration of sales data represented by a line sheet under a dollar sign engraved gold coin

Sales data

  • addPrices
  • add Testimonials
  • add Customer reviews
Plytix illustration of sales channels represented by one pipeline splitting into three

Channel-specific information

  • addMobile descriptions
  • add Google categories
  • addAmazon titles
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How PIM works in 4 simple steps

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1. Centralize

A PIM tool is your central source of truth where all your product information can live together in one place, so you don't have to work from multiple spreadsheets and folders. This means your team only needs to go to one location to find up-to-date and consistent information. 

Plytix illustration of 4 different colored tags bound together with a ring to represent product details

2. Enrich

There are features in a PIM database that allow you to identify information gaps, errors, and inconsistencies so you can quickly fix them. Having this type of overview of your product data also gives you the chance to enhance your current content to make sure it’s what your customers need.

Plytix illustration of a magicians hat, surrounded by stars, being tapped by a wand

3. Optimize

Search engine optimization (SEO) and product listing optimization (PLO) for visibility and ranking are easier with PIM. You can bulk edit your product information to make sure it includes important keywords and descriptions customized for each channel you sell on. (And if your PIM has DAM capabilities, you can easily prepare your images for different channel requirements.)

Plytix illustration of product data distribution represented by a spreadsheet with 3 branches protruding to the right

4. Distribute 

PIM makes distributing product information easy—whether it’s putting products on your website, listing it on different marketplaces, or sending data sheets and to clients. A good PIM helps automate product syndication through product feeds and integrations.

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What are the benefits of PIM?

PIM takes care of the main tasks in product information management so that you can spend time marketing and selling your products, and ultimately grow your business. PIM can help you with:

Saving time and money

Saving time and money

PIM can save your organization about $9.7 million per year, which is the average amount companies lose due to poor information management. 

That means your employees won’t spend 25% of their time combing through a bunch of folders to get the right product information. They can find what they need in seconds since it’s all stored in one place—your PIM! 

High quality product information

High quality product information

PIM equips you with powerful features to create, edit, and optimize all your product information in your product catalog—no matter what the size! And if you have complex data with a variety of product relationships and variations, don’t worry, PIMs are made to handle that too.

To make sure you don’t send out poor quality information to your sales channels or customers, PIM helps you data cleanse—making sure there are no duplicates, incorrect, or irrelevant information. Plus, it’ll all be formatted the same, so you can guarantee your customers get a consistent experience.

Faster and easier information sharing

Sharing information faster and easier

If you can share product information with your sales channels, retail partners, and clients quickly then you can make sales even faster. PIM makes that easy by offering quick data sheet exports, product feeds for automated updates on sales channels, and easy-to-use catalog makers (for both online and offline). 

Faster time to market

Faster time to market

Getting new products out to the market is faster with PIM. How? PIM automates all the tasks you need to do in order to get your new product out and ready to sell. 

You just need to put the new images and content into the PIM once, and your PIM will send it out to everywhere you sell as soon as you're ready to launch the new product. Essentially, PIM's main job here is to put your products in front of your customers faster. 

Multichannel presence

Greater multichannel presence

Businesses need to have a presence wherever their customers shop. But the two biggest challenges of selling on different channels are: 

  • add Managing the different requirements of each channel
  • add Sending product information to all your sales channels

With PIM, not only can you automate sending your product information to all your different channels, but you can also organize and manage your product information so it matches each channel-specific requirement.

Better marketing and sales

Better marketing and sales

PIM helps you create reliable product information for better marketing campaigns. Not only that, but product relationship features help you create upselling, cross-selling, and product bundling opportunities to encourage your customers to buy more. 

Next-generation PIM tools also come equipped with design capabilities for product sheets, product catalogs, and other sales enablement materials that help you drive effective marketing efforts. 

Plytix illustration of a smiling person thinking about time and money Plytix illustration of product information management dashboard Plytix illustration of product sheet underneath symbol that shows three nodes connected by lines that form a triangle Plytix illustration of shopping cart containing two shirts, a pair of shoes, two CD's, and a backpack Plytix illustration of a product information sheet about a t-shirt that connects to an image of the t-shirt which then connects to a physical store and 4 different ecommerce platforms: woocommerce, amazon, magento, and shopify Plytix illustration of a bullhorn tapped by a star-tipped wand and underneath a thumbs up

Saving time and money

PIM can save your organization about $9.7 million per year, which is the average amount companies lose due to poor information management. 

That means your employees won’t spend 25% of their time combing through a bunch of folders to get the right product information. They can find what they need in seconds since it’s all stored in one place—your PIM! 

High quality product information

PIM equips you with powerful features to create, edit, and optimize all your product information in your product catalog—no matter what the size! And if you have complex data with a variety of product relationships and variations, don’t worry, PIMs are made to handle that too.

To make sure you don’t send out poor quality information to your sales channels or customers, PIM helps you data cleanse—making sure there are no duplicates, incorrect, or irrelevant information. Plus, it’ll all be formatted the same, so you can guarantee your customers get a consistent experience.

 

Sharing information faster and easier

If you can share product information with your sales channels, retail partners, and clients quickly then you can make sales even faster. PIM makes that easy by offering quick data sheet exports, product feeds for automated updates on sales channels, and easy-to-use catalog makers (for both online and offline). 

 

Faster time to market

Getting new products out to the market is faster with PIM. How? PIM automates all the tasks you need to do in order to get your new product out and ready to sell. 

You just need to put the new images and content into the PIM once, and your PIM will send it out to everywhere you sell as soon as you're ready to launch the new product. Essentially, PIM's main job here is to put your products in front of your customers faster. 

Greater multichannel presence

Businesses need to have a presence wherever their customers shop. But the two biggest challenges of selling on different channels are: 

  • add Managing the different requirements of each channel
  • add Sending product information to all your sales channels
With PIM, not only can you automate sending your product information to all your different channels, but you can also organize and manage your product information so it matches each channel-specific requirement.


 

Better marketing and sales

PIM helps you create reliable product information for better marketing campaigns. Not only that, but product relationship features help you create upselling, cross-selling, and product bundling opportunities to encourage your customers to buy more. 

Next-generation PIM tools also come equipped with design capabilities for product catalogs and other sales enablement materials that help you drive effective marketing efforts. 

 

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Who needs PIM?

Plytix illustration of two gears

Manufacturers

Manufacturers need PIM to make sure all their retail partners can easily get the right product information. Plus, with online catalogs created in a PIM system, selling to retail partners is made easy.

Plytix illustration of a pair of shoes surrounded by 3 stars inside of circles

Brands

Brands sell across different touchpoints (whether it’s their online store, marketplaces, or a retailer’s store), so having accurate product data that is easy to send out is important. This is where PIM comes in and takes care of all of that for you.

Plytix illustration of pipeline that leads into a cube and then splits into three channels

Wholesalers/
Distributors

PIM centralizes incoming product information from suppliers while keeping that same product information consistent and marketable when sending it out to buyers.

Plytix illustration of a physical storefront

Retailers

With PIM, retailers increase productivity and efficiency when managing product data. Not only that, but they also deliver high quality product information that customers want to see.

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Who typically works with PIM?

As a company that sells products, you’re going to have different teams working together on your product information. Naturally, some teams will work more with PIM than others, so to give you an idea of what this could look like, here are a few ways we’ve seen different teams work with PIM. 

Plytix illustration of ecommerce professional interacting with a dashboard that is displaying product data

Ecommerce and data teams

Ecommerce teams can prepare data to send out to their sales channels directly from the place where that data is kept. Meanwhile, data teams can easily track product data without having to search through multiple spreadsheets to find what they need.

Plytix illustration of a small envelope above a marketing professional holding a giant magnifying glass who is looking at marketing data

Marketing and SEO teams

Marketers that need to manage a lot of content to create and modify campaigns across multiple channels can feel confident that the information is accurate and ready to go. SEO specialists can also get product content optimized for different channels directly in the PIM.

Plytix illustration of a sales professional carrying a bullhorn & clipboard with a bar and line graph and a pie chart in the background

Sales teams

Sales can use PIM to get product data and sales materials (like digital catalogs) whenever they need it. They’ll have the confidence knowing that it’s the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Plytix illustration of customer service agent sitting at computer desk and wearing headphones and

Customer Service teams

Your Customer Service team can have full access to the most accurate product information whenever a customer needs information on a specific product. 

When should you consider getting a PIM system?

Here is a list of things that typically are a good indicator that you need a PIM.

Plytix illustration of 6 duplicate spreadsheets

When your product information is spread across multiple spreadsheets and systems, and it’s becoming difficult to manage

Plytix illustration of a pair of shoes connected to a web tree that has 3 branches and each branch shows either a tick or a cross
When you have inconsistent or inaccurate data across your sales channels
Plytix illustration of large rectangular 'ERP' sign over 8 product content sheets
When you can’t manage and store all your product content and digital assets in your ERP
Plytix illustration of white cube with one purple square underneath an addition symbol
When you add new products to your catalog frequently (on a quarterly basis or more)
Plytix illustration of product data distribution represented by a spreadsheet with 3 branches protruding to the right
When you need to send product information to multiple sales channels
Plytix illustration of pencil underneath a clock
When you make changes to product information on a weekly basis
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Choosing the right PIM software

Satisfaction
Market Presence
 
 
Contenders
Leaders
Niche
High
Performers
Plytix
Plytix
Syndigo
Syndigo
Salsify
Salsify
Akeneo
Akeneo
Sales layer
Sales Layer
inriver
Inriver
PIMcore
PIMcore
Catsy
Catsy

PIM software comes in many shapes and sizes. With so many options, it’s not easy navigating what solution is right for you.

To help you with your PIM decision, we created “The Ultimate PIM Buyer’s Guide.” This guide compares the most popular PIM software on the market and helps you choose the right one for your business. To get your own free copy, download it here.

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