What does PIM stand for? The acronym is an abbreviation for product information management, and it's more than just one of the hundreds of acronyms used in the business world. In fact, understanding what PIM is and how to use it to its fullest potential can take your business to new heights. It can enable you to maintain brand uniformity, generate sales, boost profits, and build a loyal customer base. It can also make it easier than ever to keep important information organized and up to date.
What Does PIM Mean?
What is PIM used for? The term can be used to discuss any system of product information management, including the use of a file cabinet or computer database to store important information. You can also use it to explain the role that people in your company play in managing your product information to build your brand. However, the term PIM is often used to talk about PIM platforms. These software programs are designed to help businesses store all product information in the same place.
PIM software comes with an array of tools and features to make it easy for any business to organize its product information and then use that information to boost sales. PIM programs typically come with digital asset management (DAM) functionality. This means they can store and manage not only text content such as SKUs and product descriptions but also images, videos, and file attachments. Most PIM platforms are cloud-based, enabling multiple users in more than one location to log on simultaneously. This keeps information up-to-date, as all branch offices are feeding information into the same program.
Furthermore, PIM platforms often come with marketing features that make it easy for a business to share information with sales partners and customers. These platforms can automatically update a company website and e-commerce sites when you add new products or update information about products currently on sale. PIM software is also ideal for digital catalog creation as it has the tools and features you need to build and update a product catalog. Other functions include AI-powered content generation, website creation tools, text messaging, and integrations with commonly used software programs such as Adobe and Microsoft.
What Is PIM Good For?
PIM is great for marketing, but its main goal is to act as a single source of truth for your company's product information. You'll no longer have to wonder if a particular item is in stock or search through multiple folders to find product images to upload for new items you're putting up for sale. The fact that most PIM programs also have a change log makes it easy to keep track of who is updating information and when information is changed on the platform. Using a PIM program saves you time, lowers the incidence of human errors, and helps you manage your business. It can also improve your standard of customer service, as your customer service reps will be able to access up-to-date information on any product or product line, at any time.
A PIM platform should not be confused with a digital experience platform (DXP), even though some PIM platforms do have DXP tools and many PIM platforms do have marketing-related features. A digital experience platform's main purpose is to help businesses use their product information to promote their brand. DXP tools may offer templates, form builders, and a full-fledged content management system (CMS) that you can use to build landing pages, websites, and microsites for your business. A DXP platform can also help you bundle products, create printed advertising materials, and promote business events.
Why do Manufacturers Need a PIM?
If you run a manufacturing company, you may be wondering, "Why is PIM needed?" It's a valid question given the fact that many PIM platform features are designed to meet the needs of B2C companies. Even so, a PIM platform has much to offer manufacturers in all industries. It enables you to keep track of product information. It's ideal for creating and updating a digital catalog that your sales partners can use to view products and place orders. It's also perfect for creating and sharing promotional materials with your sales partners, so they have the tools they need to increase sales. While each of your sales partners can create their own marketing materials, offering uniform promotional content helps to maintain brand consistency across multiple channels. This boosts brand awareness and enables you to set your business apart from the competition.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers still rely on traditional product information management methods, storing information in filing cabinets and computer databases across various branches. This can make it difficult if not impossible for company management to view accurate, up-to-date information on company products at a glance. High-quality visuals aren't readily available, so some branches may use lower-quality images. This casts your brand in a negative light, as new sales partners can't get to know your products unless they visit your company in person. Catalogs are likely out-of-date as soon as they're printed because new information isn't immediately available to marketing teams. It's hard to promote new products right away as it takes time to share product images and videos across multiple branches and on various online platforms. Using a PIM would solve all the above problems permanently, enabling you to stay a step ahead of the competition and not only increase sales but also build a loyal customer base.
What's Included in PIM Software?
PIM software tools and features vary depending on the platform you pick. Even so, there are some standard tools provided across most platforms. These include:
Core PIM features. These enable you to store product SKUs, product descriptions, features/benefits lists, etc.
DAM functionality. Digital asset management tools allow you to store product images, walkthrough videos, how-to videos, warranty information, assembly instructions, and other forms of information with text content.
Tagging and search filters. This feature is especially handy if you have multiple products and/or product lines; however, it's also useful even if you run a small or midsize business. Tagging and search filters enable you to easily find a particular product or products in a particular group.
Change log. Also known as version control, this feature helps you see information about product updates. It shows the name of the user who updated the system. It also shows what time the updates were created, which new information was added to the system, and which information (if any) was deleted.
Custom product recommendations. With PIM software, you can offer automatic recommendations to consumers based on their current and past interactions with your site. Is a repeat customer coming back to buy a particular item? If so, make it easy for him or her to view previously purchased products. Is a new customer looking at a certain item that has additional accessories or complementary products? Recommending these can increase sales and improve a buyer's experience with your brand. This applies not only to B2C companies but even to B2B companies and manufacturers that sell goods in bulk to resellers.
Integrations. You don't need to copy and paste information from your PIM program to another program if the two programs are integrated. This saves you time and prevents human error. A PIM program can integrate with product catalog software, data analytics programs, e-commerce outlets, social media sites, and a host of other platforms to increase in-house efficiency and boost your business.
What Does a PIM Specialist Do?
Now that we've answered the question, "Why is a PIM used?", it's time to delve into the role of a PIM specialist. A PIM specialist or PIM manager is the person in charge of product information management for your business. He or she will keep track of changes to the PIM platform to make sure all information is accurate and included in the platform. The PIM manager will likely also decide which information to share with sales partners and potential customers, and supervise the use of the PIM platform for creating marketing materials. If you have a large business, your PIM manager will likely communicate with others in the sales, marketing, and customer service departments to ensure everyone has access to the product information they need to view in order to do their jobs properly.
On the other hand, in a small business, the role of product manager may fall to someone who has other job responsibilities such as website design and online marketing. The PIM manager in a small company may also be tasked with creating the digital assets found in the PIM platform and/or creating a marketing plan that will make use of these assets to generate sales. Instead of directing employees in their use of the PIM platform, your PIM manager will likely do much of the work and keep tabs on the results.
PIM Software Examples: What are the Options?
There are multiple PIM solutions to pick from. Some of the best-known choices are the Salsify PIM, Inriver PIM, Catsy, Plytix, Pimcore, and Lumavate. Adobe and Shopify, which are commonly used platforms to improve digital experiences with a brand, do not offer PIM capabilities. Google Drive and Dropbox are likewise not PIM platforms. You can use them to store and even share product information integration, but they don't come with important PIM tools such as tagging, advanced search functionality, a change log, and integrations with multiple platforms and programs.
How to Choose the Right PIM
There are five key questions you'll want to consider when choosing a PIM for your business:
What Functionality Do You Need?
The level of functionality you need will be a very important deciding factor when you're shopping for a PIM. Some PIM/DAM platforms only offer product and data management functionality, which means that you'll need a third-party solution to manage your digital assets and create positive, personalized digital product experiences. On the other hand, there are PIM platforms that include not only DAM tools but also product experience management (PXM) features to allow you to not only store data but also use it to its fullest potential.
What Systems Do You Need to Integrate With?
Make a list of the programs you already use that require the use of your product data. These may include catalog creation programs, e-commerce platforms, and analytics programs that keep track of data related to digital experiences consumers have with your brand. Make sure the PIM platform you pick integrates with the programs you already use to keep your work streamlined and avoid mistakes that can happen when copying and pasting data from one program to another.
How Will the Product Information Be Used?
You can use product information in many ways. You'll likely use it in catalogs and other sales resources. You'll share it with channel partners and potential customers. You'll post information on your website and on social media platforms. The ways in which you use your product information will determine which PIM platform is the best fit for your business, as not all platforms give you unlimited sharing options. Some PIM platforms focus on data storage and won't share information with online platforms. Others may share information with your website but aren't designed to share information with e-commerce platforms. If you promote your products on multiple channels, it's best to purchase a PIM platform that also has digital experience platform (DXP) management tools.
How Much Can You Afford to Spend on a PIM?
You don't want to buy the cheapest PIM on the market just to save money. If you do so, you may find yourself spending more than expected in the long run as you'll have to buy third-party software to integrate with your PIM so that you can use your product information to generate sales and build your brand. At the same time, you also have to be realistic about how much you can spend on a PIM solution. Thankfully, a high level of functionality doesn't have to break your budget. Lumavate, which offers a comprehensive PIM/DAM/DXP platform, is about 75 percent cheaper than many other platforms on the market and comes with all the tools you need to manage and share all forms of product information.
What Is Your Timeline for Implementing a Solution?
Not all PIM platforms offer out-of-the-box functionality. Many PIM companies require that customers request a custom quote for their business. Afterward, an IT technician sets up the PIM platform on the company's IT network. The implementation process can take weeks, and in many cases, you have to pay an extra fee for the PIM's company installation services. Lumavate, on the other hand, offers three price plans on its website. You just have to pick one, pay for it, and start using the PIM platform. It's user-friendly and doesn't require coding, which means that you don't need expert IT help to install and start using your new PIM platform.
Lumavate is an ideal choice for any company looking for product information management software. The platform includes DAM functionality and product experience management tools that make it easy for you to share your product information with potential customers and sales partners. With Lumavate's PIM, you can automatically show custom product recommendations on your product pages. You can build websites and microsites in a few hours and automatically update online catalogs. Lumavate's platform also comes with free form builders and templates. These make it easy for you to create online and offline promotional materials for your brand. What's more, two out of three of Lumavate's price plans include text messaging capability to allow you to create personalized offers for various segments of your target audience.
Lumavate's price plans range from $499 to $4,999 a month. All price plans offer unlimited products, unlimited product experiences, and unlimited storage. Furthermore, Lumavate updates its plans every two weeks to include new tools and integration to help you grow your business. You can try out any plan on the platform for 14 days using the Free Trial option. Even after you purchase the platform, you can move between plans by selecting the plan you wish to use and then paying the difference.
Your product information is one of your most important resources, and there are many ways you can use it to build brand awareness, increase website visits, boost sales, build brand loyalty, and make it easy for sales partners to work with your company. A PIM platform offers tools and features to make it easy for you to not only manage your product information but also use it to reach your long-term business goals. Lumavate is an ideal choice if you're looking for a PIM set-up that will meet your needs as it has all the tools and functionality needed to grow any type of business. Get in touch with us if you want to find out more about how Lumavate works or to schedule a product demonstration.
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