PIM Solution

For most businesses, data is their most valuable resource. They use it to market their products and create a better customer experience. Having product information that is easy to find means your marketing team can create product information landing pages, digital ads with product images and key functionality highlights, and product recommendation digital experiences to engage your customers, partners, and employees. Your customer support team can provide customers with product onboarding and troubleshooting instructions, manuals, and product guides specific to the model they purchase.

Your team uses data to create materials to answer any questions a customer may have about your product. When these questions go unanswered consumers are likely to look elsewhere as a means to get their needs met. It's a good thing there's already a solution for this, and it's not hard to implement. This solution is known as product information management (PIM).

As the need for product information management solutions becomes more known, businesses are going to be looking for ways to efficiently manage their product information and assets. Making product information and related assets more accessible and easily managed is becoming more of a priority than before. To understand product information management solutions you first need to understand what product information is. 

What Is Product Information?

Product information can be your best friend or your worst enemy is your choice. Product information is any information that businesses use to describe their products. Having product information accessible and up-to-date is important because customers always want more information about the product to answer purchase-related questions.

There are many different types of product information and different use cases for them. Product names are how employees and customers refer to particular products and should be used in every customer interaction. Product descriptions are how products are described in order to attract target customers. Products can have multiple product descriptions for different use cases and include the features and functionalities that showcase how the product meets customer needs. These product descriptions are often used in marketing materials and product guides. These are just a couple examples of product information, but there are many more that you will come across in a PIM solution.

What Is a PIM?

The meaning of PIM is product information management. This is the process of how businesses create, manage, and update their product information and assets. Usually, product information management is done manually by storing product information in multiple spreadsheets and oftentimes includes multiple digital assets stored in various file locations. The problem with this is it's very inefficient because it makes the data inaccessible, and it takes a lot of time to update. Other businesses have opted in for a more effective strategy.

What Does PIM Software Do?

Product information management software allows you to store, manage, and update your product information and assets effectively in the PIM data management system. These PIM solutions allow you to have your product data accessible to customers and employees. This enables them to find the information they need in a timely manner, becoming more efficient. For customers, this efficiency can result in shorter sales cycles and increased revenue. For employees, the more efficiently they can access and update product information the less time they have to spend doing PIM tasks, and they can be productive elsewhere.

PIM software helps enrich, organize, and manage complex product data. Within the PIM software you can create different product types. Each product type can often have different data fields specific to that product type allowing you to truly customize the PIM to meet your business needs. It's safe to say that PIM software does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to storing product data.

Many businesses often use PIM software alongside a content management system (CMS). A content management system helps manage digital content and lets multiple users create, edit, and publish content on the web. Often used by marketers, content management systems are most commonly used for managing digital assets like websites, marketing materials, email campaigns, and blogs. And a number of PIM solutions such as Lumavate actually integrate with your CMS so you can easily tie your digital assets stored in your CMS to your product information.

These two softwares should be used together to support a brand’s omnichannel customer engagement strategy by creating digital experiences that are relevant and easy to navigate because they pull data from centralized systems that are always up-to-date.

What Problems Does a PIM Solve?

After understanding what a PIM solution does you are probably asking yourself “Why do I need a PIM solution?” Well you may or may not need one depending on whether or not you are facing these challenges.

When handling enormous amounts of data and content it is possible to end up with an unorganized clutter of digital assets. This is a problem when employees are having trouble locating the information they need to do their jobs. A PIM solves this by logically storing, organizing, and managing all the product information and assets your heart desires.

For larger businesses, it can be difficult to communicate and work together across multiple teams and departments. This problem grows when departments fail to share product information and other digital assets. With a PIM solution, all your digital assets are centrally located and accessible to users across departments.

Incorrect data on a company website or other marketing materials can cause confusion and misunderstanding for customers when making a purchasing decision. Using old PIM processes can take hours, are prone to errors, and can create communication gaps. It would make sense to use software that can eliminate these issues while promoting efficiency and communication.

How Do I Choose a PIM System?

When choosing a PIM system there are many PIM software companies to evaluate, but you should focus on the features and functionality that are going to add value to your business. You could purchase one of the best PIM tools in the market, but if the features don’t improve your PIM processes, you should find a PIM solution that does.

A good start to selecting the best PIM solution for you and your team is understanding a PIM solution’s core capabilities and extended ones. While no two PIMs are created the same, you should know the core capabilities of a good PIM solution. Here are some questions to ask yourself while researching the PIM marketplace. 

Is it easy to import data into the software? Especially when you are using multiple tools to store data, make sure it is easy to import data into one convenient location. When customers need specific data from your record this is going to help you cut wait times and retain customers.

Do I have the ability to filter or search for specific data? There is nothing more frustrating than searching through piles of data to answer a simple question. One of the main purposes of a PIM software is to help you get to your data quickly, so it's important that you have this functionality.

Do I have bulk editing capabilities? Having data to update in multiple locations can be a lot to keep track of. That's why using a feature like this would not only help save time but also helps you keep more consistency when using product data across multiple channels.

Can I create and manage product categories? Managing the data on different product categories can be overwhelming without a PIM software that is designed to help you stay organized. Organization can help with storing your data in places where it's easy to find and edit.

These are a few questions to ask yourself when looking to incorporate a PIM solution into your product information management process. Once you have answered these questions it's time to compare and contrast the different PIM softwares on the market.

What Is an Example of a PIM?

As you know a PIM solution is a software that helps store, edit, and manage product data and assets in a centralized location. Some PIM software examples are Akeneo PIM, PIMcore, Salsify PIM, and Lumavate. These are some of the best PIM solutions on the market.

Akeneo PIM is a PIM software solution that describes itself as an omnichannel solution that turns browsers into buyers. A lot of the functionality of the platform is marketed toward digital eCommerce stores like being able to migrate from one eCommerce platform to another without worrying about losing your product data. They offer three tiers of products designed for different market segments. 

According to G2,  Akeneo PIM reviewers like the functionality to create product attributes, categories, and groups, which allows them to better organize the product information. They also enjoy the ability to push and update product data across different channels, both online and offline. On the G2 Grid, Akeneo PIM is located in the leaders quadrant.

PIMcore is another PIM solution on the market. PIMcore represents itself as a data and experience management platform for industry leaders. They pride themselves on being an open source product information management platform which means that it is designed for public access without any code restriction. Like Akeneo PIM it also offers three tiers of service that include different amounts of features and functionality. Reviewers on G2 rate the PIM software a 4.5 of 5. Their last updated market segments are 48 percent mid-market and 36 percent small businesses. On the G2 grid PIMcore treads the line between niche and contenders/challengers.

Salsify PIM refers to itself as a product experience management (PXM) that sits at the intersection of data and commerce, allowing brands to manage, syndicate, and optimize at scale. On their website, it showcases solutions for brand manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. The only pricing option available is to book a demo on their website.

People who review the Salsify PIM appreciate its ability to manage and syndicate content as well as organize product information efficiently and enjoy Salsify’s customer support is efficient but some also mentioned that it could be faster. On G2, it is rated 4.4 of 5 and is located in the contenders or challengers quadrant of the G2 Grid. Their last updated market segment was 58 percent mid-market and 30 percent enterprise.

Another option is Lumavate. Lumavate is actually a digital experience platform (DXP) with PIM capabilities. This gives you the best of both worlds because you can use Lumavate’s enterprise-grade PIM to create and manage your product information and digital assets then dynamically create digital experiences referencing product data in the PIM at no extra cost.

On G2, Lumavate is rated 4.8 of 5. One reviewer says that Lumavate is intuitive and flexible in a way that allows you to even use the same template, but provides different experiences for my clients based on their needs. 

A lot of businesses use Gartner's PIM Magic Quadrant to help them decide on which PIM solution to purchase. Like the G2 Grid, Gartner's Magic Quadrant provides a graphical competitive positioning of four types of software providers. Gartner defines these four types as:

  • Leaders - Execute well against their current vision and are well-positioned for tomorrow.
  • Visionaries - Understand where the market is going or have a vision to change market rules, but do not yet execute well.
  • Niche Players - Focus successfully on a small segment of the market, or are unfocused and do not out-innovate or outperform others.
  • Challengers - Execute well today or may dominate a large segment, but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction.

From the definitions listed above you might think that going with a market leader is always the best choice, but depending on your business’s needs that may not be the case. It all depends on which PIM solution best aligns with your business goals.

Gartner also allows you to create customized views of the magic quadrant based on your business goals, needs, and priorities. You can then save and share these customized magic quadrants for data-driven decision making. This enables you to compare and contrast a provider's strengths and weaknesses with your specific needs. 

Schedule a demo to see the Lumavate Product Information Management (PIM) solution today.

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