• What is a Product Information Management (PIM) System?

    The popularity of PIM systems is growing rapidly because of the strong growth in sales and increasing levels of professionalism in e-commerce. The COVID-driven digitalisation push has been a major driver for the adoption of PIM tools as well.
    Since Product Information Management or PIM is a relatively new concept in business and IT we will explain it in a nutshell.

Product Information Management (or... PIM)

A PIM tool is a software solution that helps retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers to control their products in a central place. It provides one single point of truth of the product (and all its data). It is the place to gather, optimize and distribute product content data. It is in a sense the central tool for Product Data Management, though it offers much more.


To visualize the central role that a PIM system can have in your IT architecture, you can see how it connects internal sources of product data with external sales channels:




Top 7 PIM Tool use-cases

There are multiple ways to use a PIM system and put it to best effect. We've outlined the top 7 reasons to use a PIM tool below:


Using a PIM tool to manage Complex products

Within a PIM tool, it is possible to manage complex products in an efficient manner. Companies introduce products that consist of a large number of combinations (such as an outfit consisting of pants, shirts and shoes) or variation possibilities (such as a T-shirt in different colors and sizes). The challenge is to manage these assets efficiently and to subsequently be able to communicate it to various output channels. A PIM system allows you to do this in a simple and unambiguous manner, making your PIM a source of "Master Data". More info on the link between PIM and MDM? Read our article on the differences between PIM and MDM.


Manage Relationships in a PIM system

Another important theme within ecommerce is relationships and dependencies between products. Relationships between, for example, spare or replacement parts, options, accessories, etc. can be easily maintained and displayed within a PIM system.

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Follow International Standards

Besides the fact that products have their own specific characteristics, the trend is that more and more products are classified following international standards such as GS1 or eClass. One of the powerful tools within a PIM system is the ability to assign classifications to specific products or product groups. This creates a 'rich' product, of which the content is easily shared.


Easily import product content

The content classification structure makes it possible to easily receive product data from central content repositories: they all use these international standards. Ultimately, the goal is to show the end customer as much information about the product as possible, which will improve conversion significantly.


International business

The deployment of e-commerce causes blurring country boundaries. Many companies are increasingly active on the international market. With a PIM system, the localization of products can be easily tracked in a workflow. This way you can easily manage and implement translations and other regional adaptations such as specific legal requirements.


Multimedia objects

A PIM system is not complete without a Digital Asset Management (DAM) section. This is also supported by workflow within the PIM tool. The DAM system manages the multimedia objects such as images in various formats, documents and videos which are associated with catalogs and products. The additional functionality from the DAM system (searching, formatting and automatically converting, cross-referencing, exporting, etc.) is part of a mature PIM system.


To learn how PIM and DAM interact you can read our deepdive on DAM and PIM systems.


Omni Channel

The PIM has gained an important place in today’s omni-channel environment. It is the single point of truth concerning ​​the product. In many cases, it even takes over the ‘primacy’ from the ERP. In a future article I will explain how a PIM can be positioned within the e-commerce eco-system.



Want to learn more about PIM Systems?

If you have any questions regarding Product Information Management, from PIM Selection to Implementation or how a PIM would fit in your IT landscape? Feel free to browse our data base of articles on everything PIM related. If you want to know which PIM would be the best fit for you (and get a free 1-hour consultation with a PIM Selection consultant with relevant industry expertise): do our Quickscan. In just 30 minutes you will be able to create a profile that we can match to the right PIM system.


Any PIM question that was not covered by our articles or do you have a specific question? You can always reach us through info@pimvendors.com!

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