What is PIM?
Before we dive headlong into the factors that determine whether you need a PIM (or product information management solution), we first define what we understand as a PIM. A PIM is a software solution that helps organizations manage products in a central place. It provides a single point of truth of the product and all its data, including descriptions, features, dimensions and images.
Managing complex products
Using a PIM solution, it is possible to manage complex products. If your organization sells products with a large number of combinations and relationships (such as an outfit consisting of pants, shirts and shoes) or variation possibilities (such as a T-shirt in different colors and sizes) then you will know how challenging it is to manage these assets efficiently. Not only is it complicated to manage all these products and variations internally, it's even more challenging to communicate these to various output channels such as marketplaces, your e-commerce store or a print catalogue. A PIM allows you to do this in a simple and unambiguous manner.
If you have a larger catalogue, it becomes harder to manage. If you only have to manage the product information of a handful of products, even Excel will suffice. We've seen companies successfully manage product database with many thousand products through Excel and though it 'works', they would probably benefit from a dedicated product management tool.
Do you add or remove a lot of products every month? Maybe because you have seasonal trends or collections? Or do you update product data on a weekly or even daily basis (because you are adding new images, new product metadata or translations)? Increasing the frequency of changes will drive complexity in the management of your product data.
Cross border sales are rising rapidly and are increasingly popular through international e-commerce marketplaces. But selling in multiple countries means translating and managing your product database across multiple languages, increasing complexity linearly with each language you add.
If you have more sales channels, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep product data consistent across all of them. How do you maintain the same prices, product titles, product images and descriptions across print catalogues, your own e-commerce platform and 2 connected marketplaces? Managing them by hand becomes tedious, is error-prone and leads to inconsistencies rapidly.
Products are complicated, with specialists managing specific parts of each product: descriptions are written by a copywriter, images are added by the photographer, prices are set by sales, text is translated by a translation agency... And they should all use the same, up-to-date product database. How will you know how many products still need a Dutch translation? A PIM helps you manage this process efficiently.
Do you need a PIM?
To determine whether you need a PIM, we have developed a very short Survey: