Product Information System Examples
What Is Product Information Management?
Product information management, also known as PIM, is a pillar of any product marketing strategy. Product information management involves the storage of all of the product information that exists within an organization. This includes product-level items such as product descriptions, SKUs, pricing, features, benefits, dimensions, and functionality. PIM software also stores digital assets for products, including marketing items, owner’s manuals, how-to videos, spec sheets, photos, and more. The idea is to create a central repository for anything product marketers need to carry out their roles and be as efficient as possible. Companies put all of their product information into their PIM meaning that everyone knows exactly how to find everything they need.
One highly beneficial aspect of product information marketing is its shareability. Instead of each employee having their versions of marketing materials and data spreadsheets -- some of which could be out of date or obsolete -- product marketers can now put everything in one place, where everyone can easily access it, whether they’re in the office or on the road. The shareable nature of PIMs allows for collaboration and enables multiple users to access files at the same time. Because the most recent version is always available, everyone has current information at their fingertips, whenever they need it.
The Main Objective of a PIM
What is PIM software used for? It's much more than simply a storage solution for product information. The best features of a PIM can transform a company’s marketing. But to visualize what product information management can do for you, think about a company that doesn’t use a PIM.
This company may have the best of intentions, but they’re playing from behind in every conceivable way. Without the sharing of product data and marketing materials, it’s impossible to truly work together as a team. More significantly, there’s no way to tell if people have the most up-to-date versions of materials. One person might have the most current company logo, while someone else might have an outdated version. One person may have the latest data, but another team member could have old figures. The more siloed the operation is, the more difficult it is to truly collaborate as a team -- and the more fragmented the message is to the customer.
Now, imagine that same company with a PIM solution. That disorganization and lack of communication is solved by the centralized nature of the PIM software. Everyone has exactly what they need, and they know where to get it. Instead of sending outdated marketing materials, the entire team has the newest versions, and there is consistency throughout the marketing message. With just one program, the entire product marketing operation has been changed for the better, facilitating more cohesive marketing that is sure to be appreciated by customers.
Who uses PIM software? A smart organization that's dedicated to efficient marketing and customer support.
No matter what bells and whistles the PIM of your choice may have, this is the true objective of product information management software -- a streamlined approach that makes it easier to give consumers what they need when they need it.
What’s In a PIM?
We now know that product information management software stores all product assets in one location. But what else can it do?
Product Information. A PIM solution will store every piece of product-related information within an organization. It includes the products themselves, the SKUs, the dimensions, fact sheets, and anything else that can be stored digitally. Even non-digital items can be accounted for by storing their physical locations within warehouses in the PIM software.
Digital Asset Management. Digital Asset Management (DAM) does more than simply placing items in a folder. It also governs who has access to certain materials, while providing change logs so that tracking modifications over time is made easy. Additionally, DAM allows multiple users to access files at a time so that nobody is locked out of the materials they need. Lastly, due to the cloud-based nature of most PIMs, these digital assets can be utilized anywhere, even if someone isn’t in the office.
Additional Features. All of the PIM tools in market provide different perks in their software offerings, in an attempt to differentiate themselves from competing brands. Some software packages include functionality relating to the customer experience, automated tasks, and the sending of communications such as emails and text messages.
Who Needs a PIM?
Today's consumer demands a data-driven approach that gives them instant information at the moment it's needed. Therefore, any product marketer that wants to deliver excellent service to its customers needs product information management software. It's the difference between being proactive and reactive -- and that's what separates the top companies from those that can't get ahead.
What Is an Example of a PIM?
There is no shortage of PIM software companies in the marketplace, trying to convince product marketers that their program is the best solution. With all of the clutter, it’s hard to determine which product is the best. Let’s take a look at the top PIM software on the market and attempt to identify the best PIM software 2023.
Acquia. The Acquia PIM features both product information management software and digital asset management functionality. The software can be used by up to 50 people, and the company gets one terabyte of storage for its digital assets. Acquia also sells templates and online portals as add-ons to their offerings.
Salsify. The Salsify PIM is used by leading companies like Heinz. Their PIM software is accompanied by product experience tools so that customers are catered to throughout the path to purchase. Salsify promises automation without coding and cloud-based PIM solutions that are accessible anywhere.
Plytix. Plytix boasts a client list that is as varied as it is notable, from Reebok to the Grand Ole Opry. The Plytix PIM comes in a three-tiered pricing model, allowing companies the opportunity to try the software with minimal investment. The tiers have differing levels of outputs, but each supports up to 100,00 SKUs and unlimited file storage.
Akeneo. Used by more than 500 businesses around the world, the Akeneo PIM offers a multi-tiered approach that depends on the features desired by the organization. While Akeneo’s PIM is cloud-based, there is a local version that’s available for small businesses that don’t need the cloud functionality. Akeneo offers great features; however, its best features are in the Enterprise version, which might be prohibitively expensive for some businesses.
InRiver. The InRiver PIM promises an omnichannel experience that allows marketers to promote products across multiple platforms, with a consistent marketing message in every channel. Like the Salsify PIM, InRiver allows for some process automation, while supporting businesses through the customer experience.
Sales Layer. The Sales Layer PIM aims to be a solution that serves all members of the team, from IT to sales and marketing. Sales Layer also offers API connections to some of the biggest names in e-commerce, including Shopify and Amazon. In addition, Sales Layer features its programming functionality that allows users to utilize Excel-style formulas to perform data analysis and increase efficiency.
Pimworks. Branding itself as more than just a PIM program, Pimworks also advertises itself as a content lifecycle management solution as well. Pimworks boasts process automation and digital asset management, with an emphasis on omnichannel marketing.
Lumavate. Of all the product information system examples above, there is one that combines the best features available in the industry. Lumavate’s PIM combines the best features of all of the big names in PIM software, providing product information management, digital asset management, and a comprehensive Product Experience Management (PXM) platform. Furthermore, Lumavate allows users to send text messages, and the form editor enables businesses to publish online forms that store data directly into the company’s storage system. It’s the ultimate combination of the best features on the market, in one easy-to-use program. All of this is available for a price that is typically much less than the competition.
How Much Does a PIM System Cost?
The pricing structures of product information management software solutions offered by PIM vendors vary from company to company. Some companies limit the number of SKUs a purchasing organization can use, while others have maximums for data storage and outputs that must be adhered to. While some companies do offer free versions of their PIMs, whether as trials or as bare-bones offerings, the best features are only accessible to organizations that pay significant sums of money.
With the Lumavate PIM, it’s possible to get top-of-the-class functionality at a fraction of the prices charged by the competition. With Lumavate, subscribers get a product information management system, digital asset management, and product experience management, all for one price. On average, Lumavate customers pay 75 percent less than they would pay competing PIM providers.
How to Choose a PIM
As we've seen, there are many PIM software examples on the market, and it’s sometimes hard to differentiate all of the different options. The reality is, that every organization needs something different, and your needs are likely to be different than those of another business. Consider these five questions as you evaluate the PIM software options available to you.
What functionality do you need? Do you simply need an online repository for your product information? Or do you need digital asset management and product experience management capabilities? It’s also important to consider how your needs might change in the future. You might not need the extra bells and whistles at the moment, but what if your company grows over the next 12-18 months? You’ll want a PIM software provider that can grow alongside you, not inhibit your potential.
What other systems do you need to integrate with? Some PIMs can link directly with big e-commerce sites like Shopify and Amazon. But there are also internal systems to consider. Your current setup should seamlessly integrate with the PIM you choose. Delays due to changing additional factors will hurt your ability to give customers what they need.
How will the product information be used? How are you utilizing the information stored in the PIM? Are you mailing it out, or are you sending it instantly via texts and emails? If it’s the latter, you need to make sure the PIM you choose can handle the instant communication you desire. Again, take a moment to think about where you’d like your marketing to go, and make sure the PIM can handle your future goals as well.
What type of budget is defined for this initiative? Many PIMs sell their products on an annual basis. If you choose a PIM that works annually, it’s important to make sure you can commit to a full year from a financial perspective. Some PIMs have a lower-cost option to try out the software and make sure it’s for you. However, those less expensive options have limited functionality. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s an outlay you can handle each month.
What is your timeline for implementing a solution? One major perk to SaaS, which is utilized by many PIM providers, is that it can be implemented virtually immediately. While it may take time to train employees on the software, you can be up and running in short order. Local PIMs with no outputs may require additional configuration, inhibiting your ability to get started right away. Think about your needs, particularly what you’ll need to do before you transition into your new software.
Many companies looking to get started with product information management software find that Lumavate meets all of their needs, and does so at a more affordable price point than the competition. With Lumavate, you get the centralized data storage that’s essential for any product marketing organization, but you also get digital asset management and product experience management software. It’s a great all-in-one solution that won’t break the bank. Simply put, it’s the single best option for a business that wants to overhaul their product marketing and take their business to the next level.
How to Get Started with a PIM
There are many things a business can do with a PIM, and the options almost seem overwhelming at first. While many PIMs offer a great deal of functionality, those advanced features might not be the best starting point. It's wise to ask yourself -- what is a PIM used for? And, what will most benefit the company? Take a simple approach and move slowly into the capabilities of your new PIM.
Your first action should be to upload all of your digital product marketing information into your PIM. Ask your team to compile all of their product data, spreadsheets, images, templates, logos, and color schemes. Once all of this information is pooled together, it can be consolidated into the PIM, so that there is one definitive version of each file. This may take a little time and patience, but it’s well worth your effort. When you’re done with this consolidation process, you’ll have an arsenal of product information that anybody can use at any time, giving your customers a solidified approach that encourages them to buy from your organization.
With your digital asset management set up, you can then transition to the most important part of the PIM process -- applying your internal functionality to the customer experience. Every customer is unique, and each is at their phase of the buyer's journey. Use the product experience management capabilities of your new PIM to push the right buttons at the right times. For example, you can automate certain actions to take place at specific decision points, so that customers will feel supported throughout their buying process.
The product experience doesn’t just apply to customers, though. Your PIM will help you in your dealings with retailers and distributors as well. When key figures in the sales operation need information, your PIM will help you to provide what’s needed at the exact right time.
A product information management software system can be a true game-changer for your marketing. If you want to take your product marketing to new heights, consider using a PIM like Lumavate, which will also enhance the product experience for your customers.
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