There’s no question that products are the backbone of ecommerce operations. When you’re running an online store, you have to present your products well – which means you need essential product data like names, titles, descriptions, colors, etc. The issue, though, is that most store owners don’t have the means to get their product data organized and listed in different formats. And if one specification changes on one item, they might have a series of spreadsheets that need to be updated. Whether that situation describes your daily struggle or merely hints at what’s to come, now is the time to consider PIM software as a sound investment for product data management.
What Is PIM?
PIM is the acronym for Product Information Management. It’s a process that allows you to centrally manage product data and distribute it efficiently on multiple sales channels. The need for PIM typically arises when a company is expanding its product range, and its old system is unable to deal with the growing complexity of product information.
With a PIM system, you establish a single source of truth by aggregating product data (descriptions, item numbers, SKU details, and more) into a central database.
- Sources products from more than one supplier
- Regularly expands its product offerings
- Has multiple distribution channels and wants data consistency between them
- Sells internationally and wants to process different items in different markets and languages
- Wishes to have fewer product returns
Benefits of Using PIM Software
Most PIM solutions leverage cloud-based computing to facilitate the centralization and delivery of product information. Some also include a degree of automation that allows you to push updates to your other sales channels in a few clicks. This shift towards robust, cloud-based SaaS models has made PIM software a critical technology for ecommerce and online marketplace businesses. Some notable advantages of using PIM for ecommerce include:
Free Up Time
Time is your most important business resource. With PIM software, you save time on constant and manual data entry work. Within these tools, searching for information and updating inventory is a simple process. Plus, it’s easier to make updates and reflect the latest information on all your digital properties. Need to add a color? You only have to do that once, and that change flows right through all your connected resources (your product pages, catalogs, etc.).
Enhance Brand Loyalty
One of the main reasons why people return online orders is the disconnect between items and their descriptions. For example, the weight of a smartphone may be listed as 194 grams on its product page, but the actual unit may be a bit heavier. PIM software encourages the delivery of accurate product information across all channels. Customers know what to expect, reducing the chances of product returns. When a customer gets what he or she wants, there’s a good chance that they’ll return to your business for other products.
Improve the Customer Experience
Modern consumers switch between different channels, and they expect companies to deliver a consistent experience across all those channels. This requires an integrated system and a strong data basis to present uniform product information to customers. A PIM software makes it easy to save and sync all types of product details so that you can provide consumers with a full overview of your products, their specifications, relevant datasheets, etc.
8 Best PIM Software for Product Data Management
If you’re looking to get a handle on product data, you have to start using PIM software. Software automates most of the processes involved in the maintenance of quality and consistent product information. Below is a breakdown of the eight best PIM software tools that you should consider for your ecommerce stack.
Plytix’s mission is to help smaller ecommerce merchants compete with large retailers. It offers an easy-to-use PIM software that allows you to access, manage, and update product information in one place. The platform also lets you filter products and define the attributes for deciding prices, specifications, etc. If you’re looking to sync the information present on your website with your products, Plytix can help with that too. The software manages videos, images, graphics, and other files on your ecommerce site and links all that data directly to your products. Another benefit of using this PIM software is that unlimited users can access the product data you store in its database, so your business partner, virtual assistant, and anyone can view and update it at no extra cost. Lastly, Plytix includes ecommerce analytics to help you measure your products’ performance across all your sales channels. Are you interested in knowing which items generated the most conversions? Log into the software’s analytics dashboard to find out.
Salsify is a Product Experience Management (PXM) platform that offers Product Information Management as part of its feature set. You can use its PIM system to collect and store item descriptions, logistics data, and technical information in multiple languages, all in a single location. The software allows you to edit product attributes and push new information to various reports. With Salsify, you get pre-configured workflows to turn insights into action. These also connect with your third-party partners and external software to keep everyone in the loop about current inventory and product updates. Salsify also offers analytics on content performance and integrates with all major ecommerce platforms. If you’re looking for an intuitive cloud-based PIM software that makes it easy to manage product attributes for inventory management, customer data, and digital properties, Salsify might be a good option for you.
Akeneo PIM is a powerful system that radically simplifies product data management. Akeneo can accommodate an infinite number of product images and descriptions, thousands of SKUs, as well as various product attributes from multiple suppliers. The software also allows you to make product changes in bulk, track information completeness by sales channel, and create unique attributes like “materials” and “care instructions” to offer a better product experience. A standout feature of Akeneo is its rules engine, which allows you to automatically compile attributes that apply across many items and product models. Standardizing and enriching data through business rules can lead to much higher quality data by eliminating human error. Also, Akeneo lets you automate the process of creating collections and grouping items together. Let’s say you own a fashion website and discover that women are favoring printed boho maxis this season. You can simply create a custom collection with words “printed”, “boho”, “maxi,” and “women” in Akeneo, and all matching articles will be grouped together.
inRiver is another PIM software that allows you to unify all product-related data you own for use in signage, catalogs, ecommerce websites, in-store POS (point of sale) systems, and more. You can use it to consolidate product attributes, and access online-only information like customer feedback, reviews, and comments to determine which products to promote on your sales channels. You even get an option to schedule your content for specific channels. Additionally, the inRiver PIM system allows you to collaborate with your team to decide the context for crafting your product content. All users get a single point of control where they can add and manage product information from one dashboard. Once added, they can also make changes to the information from a single location. Moreover, inRiver offers a Planner App so you can create and track activities, manage workflows, and collaborate with your team without leaving the software’s interface.
5. Sales Layer
Sales Layer is a cloud-based PIM tool that allows you to add, modify, and fill up product information on the fly. This information includes families, attributes, categories, and everything else needed to streamline and group data together. To use the PIM software, you just have to import any XML, CSV, or XML file. The software will then map each field with relevant attributes to give you an accurate overview of your inventory. Once done, Sales Layer will upload your content to the cloud, where you can add people with different roles to work collaboratively. Another neat feature of this PIM software is activity tracking. Sales Layer allows you to keep tabs on users’ daily activities, check dates and authoring of each modification done, and restore previous versions to validate any changes. Furthermore, the platform offers a variety of ways to update product catalogs: make bulk edits, use pre-built workflows, and customize data sheets in 156 different languages.
PIMworks is a user-friendly software that helps businesses manage high quantities of consumer product information. Its 360-degree product views allow you to bundle components like rich product content, centralized data, and digital assets together to deliver optimized customer experiences. The software offers several key PIM features, such as batch management and data onboarding and transformation. There’s also a data enrichment feature that lets you eliminate anomalies by running bulk image validations, health checks, and accuracy reports with configurable methodologies to ensure quality information is transmitted to every channel. In addition, PIMworks has data validation capabilities that help in providing a granular view of data quality for every information source through quality scores. The scores give you an insight into the accuracy of content descriptions so you can immediately fix duplication and potential errors. Plus, the built-in workflows of this PIM software help you improve productivity, channelize tasks, and take data quality to a whole new level.
Catsy is a leading PIM solution that makes it easy to collect, manage, and sync product data. With this tool, you can easily get new products and product updates out to your distributors and team. Catsy’s centralized product content hub eliminates inaccurate, duplicate, and inconsistent product data by creating a single source of truth. It allows everyone to locate and share the right information in the proper form. If existing products need to be updated, you only need to put information once, rather than across several folders and spreadsheets. This solution saves you time and allows you to focus on things that matter. The software also provides options to manage cross-references for replacement or out-of-stock products situations and validate item attributes (unit of measures, weight, descriptions, etc.). In addition, Catsy allows ecommerce entrepreneurs to link digital creatives and product information for unified content. If you’re currently relying on artwork, videos, and images to attract potential customers across various online channels, you might find Catsy to be a reliable tool for ensuring a consistent digital experience.
Pimcore is an open-source PIM solution that allows you to harmonize and centralize all your technical, sales and marketing product information. It can aggregate, store, and manage data from various internal data sources – such as suppliers, CRMs, syndicators, and external partners. The PIM software also includes several functionalities for defining and enhancing the completeness of data. With Pimcore, you can use data quality reports and calculated value fields to monitor and ensure data quality. Additionally, the PIM software includes rich versioning and auditing features. Every change you make within a product record builds a new version of it while saving the audit trail. As such, you get to compare different versions and identify differences for better insights.
Moreover, the software is equipped with an advanced workflow engine that helps you define business processes. The workflows are 100% customizable and can be enhanced by custom functionalities. If you’re looking for a PIM system that lets you effortlessly create and modify workflows according to your needs, you can’t go wrong with Pimcore.
As you’ve seen, several PIM solutions can help you ensure product data quality and distribute content that converts. So, when it comes time to make a purchase, consider the unique features different PIM tools offer, and also evaluate how much your requirements are likely to change over time. That being said, each PIM software on our list will provide you with an opportunity to centralize product data as well as improve your customers’ buying experience.