Best PIM Software
Product Information Management (PIM) software provides a centralized database for product data, though not all PIM companies take the same approach. The specific functionality of PIM software depends on which company designed it.
Who uses PIM software? Manufacturers, e-commerce companies, retailers, and wholesalers will typically use PIM solutions to help track product details for hundreds or even thousands of SKUs. Some companies may only need to list the basic details of the product, such as product descriptions, SKUs, pricing, benefits, features, and dimensions. Other manufacturers may need a PIM to include Digital Asset Management (DAM), a feature that allows for storing related digital assets, such as how-to videos, demos, product photos, owner manuals, and spec sheets (alongside the rest of the product details).
Whether it's product data or digital assets, the best PIM software depends entirely on the type of product data a company needs to store. It provides employees the snapshot they need to quickly answer questions and settle customer support requests.
The best PIM software can evolve with a company’s growing product catalog. If and when product data updates, a comprehensive PIM solution allows multiple authorized users to access the system to correct the product profile in real time. Instead of having to compile data from multiple sources and make assumptions about its accuracy, companies can implement PIM software to store product data in one trustworthy location.
What Is PIM Software Used for?
PIM software is used to eliminate the inefficient management systems that many companies and brands still use today. These solutions may have been acceptable in the past, but today's fast-paced, tech-driven world makes it difficult (if not impossible) to manage data across multiple spreadsheets, hard drives, and platforms. Employees may not even realize that there's more than one profile that requires editing, which creates confusion that can cost a company time, money, and customer loyalty.
When you use a PIM solution, you streamline the details of all products. Regardless of how many different SKUs there are, the system can differentiate each item by its unique characteristics. What is Product Information Management software? It's a system that makes it possible for employees to catalog, manage, and reference up-to-date product information. A PIM ensures complex product data is stored in a centralized database to ensure all product information is communicated consistently and accurately.
Companies that use the right PIM system can find all the product data they need, all while maintaining brand consistency on all channels. Because subject matter experts across an organization can access the PIM and update product records as needed, leaders can rest assured the information displayed accurately reflects the product's details.
Some brands have also become more invested in how PIM software can help them track new products from concept to launch. For instance, a manufacturer that needs to launch a new line can use the platform to ensure that all products both reflect the brand values and remain consistent. This feature has become increasingly useful for remote or outsourced teams who may not always have strong communication protocols.
If you want to know what is an example of a PIM? We’ve captured a summary of the competitive landscape.
PIM Software Companies: A Competitive Landscape
PIM software has attracted some big talent to the table, and the competition has led to scalable solutions that provide companies with highly customizable solutions. When the largest companies have upwards of 12 million SKUs to track at once, the software needs to be flexible enough to adapt to constant change.
Some of the most well-known product information management software examples on the market include:
Plytix: Specializing in e-commerce, Plytix combines DAM with PIM for an unlimited number of file types.
Pimcore: An open-source, modular software that does more than PIM. Companies can custom-build anything from customer data framework to web content management.
Salsify: Salsify specializes in Product Experience Management (PXM), so companies can manage the customer's entire experience from the platform.
Inriver: inriver was built to manage the full customer journey, regardless of how the customer enters the funnel. It can also help companies improve their transparency to avoid compliance violations.
Catsy: Catsy's PIM and DAM features include audit management, workflow, and security, making it possible for companies to get to market faster and maintain consistency across channels.
Sales Layer: Sales Layer specializes in B2B PIM. It offers companies a way to create instant product catalogs customized to each target demographic.
Akeneo: Akeneo Product Cloud recently acquired the AI platform Unifai. This PIM software now offers businesses access to intuitive data, including vendor onboarding, making it easier to deliver better experiences at every step of the way.
Lumavate: Lumavate is the only Product Experience Management (PXM) platform to offer PIM, DAM, CMS, and Digital Experience Platform (DXP) functionality within its solution. Lumavate customers can create data-driven digital product experiences for every SKU of their product catalog. The custom features allow you to build and launch product experiences that tie in with your product data.
Every company listed here might answer the question "What is the purpose of a PIM?" slightly differently. Some companies see it as a means to merely consolidate data, while others see it as a full-scale integrated solution — one that ultimately leads the company's staff and its customers to view product lines, customer service, and branding values in a better light.
How to Choose a PIM Solution
Which is the best PIM? There are a variety of choices on the market for any company considering a PIM solution. The best one comes down to what a company is looking for from its PIM. Five key questions need to be asked before settling on a final decision.
What Functionality Do You Need?
This question has to be answered in great detail, as it's often the most important when it comes to selecting the right PIM solution. While most companies will make similar promises when it comes to user-friendliness and functionality, there's often more happening behind the scenes that isn't being said. For instance, some PIM software solutions only offer product data management functionality while others include built-in functionality to manage digital assets or create digital experiences tied to the product data and related digital assets. You must figure out what functionality is required for your business as you consider evaluating PIM software solutions.
What is included in PIM software? All PIM platforms include the ability to track product information. The truth is that what a company includes in its PIM software depends on its policies and business model. Companies like Lumavate have built-in Digital Asset Management and Digital Experience Platform (DXP) functionality, which allows companies to manage every product experience from a centralized location.
You should also consider how you want to manage marketing with the help of PIM. For instance, you can send text messages out to customer segments about different promotions, recalls, and launches. When people opt-in to receive additional information, you can build out forms that make it simple to capture all available information so you can keep track of who's looking for what and how they're using their products to add value to their personal or professional lives.
What Other Systems Do You Need to Integrate With?
A company that's been relying solely on spreadsheets to track its inventory may not have to consider this question for very long. The goal would be to eliminate the headaches of Excel and consolidate everything into a fresh PIM. However, for other companies, the list of related systems can quickly become overwhelming. If you'll need to integrate PIM with disparate technology, it's important to know which software can play well with others. Next to functionality, this is a pivotal question to ask that will help you strike different software companies off your list.
For instance, if you need to integrate PIM and ERP software, it will need to automatically sync if a product SKU is depleted. This needs to be completed in as close to real-time as possible so both systems reflect the quantity available. This information needs to be further synced to all stores and marketplaces to reduce manual data entry. In some cases, this can be done by implementing the right API, but this process may not always go as smoothly as companies hope. Furthermore, companies that want to include business logic or workflow may require additional automation to make the connection. Lumavate’s PIM is no-code, making it fully customizable and fluid enough to pull all of your information and assets across all digital experiences.
How Will the Product Information Be Used?
Product data will be used for an array of reasons, from websites to channel partners to affiliated events. When there's so much to keep track of, it's important to answer this question in as much detail as possible before choosing a PIM software. The top PIM companies offer similar functionality, but the actual user experience will differ from one client to the next. For instance, you may be able to easily keep the owner's manual for a product in an employee database but find that transferring that same manual to the website is cumbersome. To solve this issue, you'll need to have enough technical resources to build the integration between the site and the PIM.
You can also find platforms out there that have a built-in DXP with functionality to build a comprehensive website from scratch using the platform. This doesn't just simplify the website creation; it also automatically pulls in the product data. In the same vein, you can find PIM software that includes product data sheets or brand portals. Both these assets can be created with little more than a few clicks, so even rudimentary information can be captured and updated in real time. With other solutions, this functionality isn't available, or if it is, it's through a third-party vendor. If you're unclear how the data will be moving from one location to another, it will be difficult to account for its accuracy.
What Type of Budget Is Defined for This Initiative?
How much does PIM software cost? You might be surprised at how much variance there is. The budget for PIM can be tricky for decision-makers, especially because there is no baseline price for this unique software. It's important to factor in the hard numbers as you make your assessments, but it's also important to estimate the monetary value you'll derive from the software. The more you know what you can afford, based on your company's current revenue and projected future profits, the easier it will be to work through the buyer's journey.
The good news is that the most expensive software does not always offer the best functionality. The PXM Platform through Lumavate can be 75% more cost-effective than more expensive solutions and offers more functionality from out of the box. As you run through the answers to the above questions regarding functionality, compatibility, and product information, there should be an assessment of how the costs of each benefit compare to your everyday needs. You also have to consider how the staff will interact with the software. Customization features are usually music to a staff's ears because it means that they can adapt the tools specifically to their everyday routines. However, in practice, an entirely customized system can become complicated quickly. To avoid spending money on features that you can't use, it's important to work with a software company that can help you strike the right balance.
What Is Your Timeline for Implementing a Solution?
This question is heavily tied into the system integration factor, as this is often what causes the most delays. It may take companies several months before they can finish the initial implementation, so it's important to keep schedules in mind as you're running down the list of options.
As with budget, there is no one-size PIM when it comes to timelines. Some PIM companies may require professional services to use the software, which can take weeks to arrange. Other PIM companies allow you to set up a free account, choose the trial option, and start using PIM immediately. For some companies, it may make sense to work with a specialist, especially if the products fall outside industry standards for any reason. In this case, signing up for a free trial may fail to reveal the true functionality of PIM software. Other companies may just want to test out the free trial, inputting product information to understand how the system catalogs, organizes, and displays it. This question is less important than functionality and results, but in general, the longer you go without PIM, the less productive you'll be.
Which Is the Best PIM?
Lumavate is often the best choice for those who need Product Experience Management (PXM). The platform allows various teams, such as marketing, sales, and product to access all information, including digital assets. For companies that hope to provide more value to customers, which would include anything from owner manuals to how-to videos, it's important to create a single source of truth. The DAM functionality and Digital Experience Platform (DXP) can build these experiences out with little effort. In a few minutes, the company can easily communicate with the customer and capture relevant data to reduce communication redundancy in the future.
There are no other PIM software companies on the market that offer the same breadth of functionality as Lumavate, and it's often 75 percent more effective than direct competitors. When companies can charge anywhere from a few hundred a month to six figures, choosing a PIM solution isn't a question to take lightly. If you choose one without enough functionality, you're likely to waste your money (and even the cheapest solutions can still add up). If you choose one that's too bloated for your company, you can end up destroying your budget entirely. Lumavate offers subscription service plans that make it possible for companies to scale their needs based on their needs. Alongside its intuitive functionality, this software has been known to meet client needs across the board.
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