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An introduction to a PIM system (Product Information Management)

Product Warehouse

If you have a range of products from a number of suppliers, and you are just discovering how difficult it is to keep on top of supplier updates, brochure reprints, website content, and pricing lists, you are not alone. There are many businesses (of all sizes!) throughout Australia who have the same problems:

  • Too many folders for digital documents, too many spreadsheets describing products, packed with columns that attempt to organize loads of data of which are constantly in the process of being updated
  • Inconsistencies between physical and online catalogues, or between products in the same collection that have different data sheets.
  • Problems translating catalogue content into different languages, or to other international standards (e.g. shoe sizes).

If you’re resonating with any of these, you may want to consider a PIM system for your product range.

What is a PIM?

PIM stands for Product Information Management. A PIM stores and updates all the information concerning the product catalogue through a storage system in the cloud, to facilitate data centralisation and productivity.

A PIM is:

  • responsible for searching elements
  • able to manage the translation of descriptions into multiple languages
  • able to classify categories
  • able to correct errors
  • able to edit updates and changes
  • able to enrich the product description and synchronize their presence in all areas

A PIM is not:

  • an inventory manager. An inventory manager is a purely physical system, responsible for the warehouse, supplies, funds, stock of products, status of orders and stores - a PIM is in the cloud and all about the details of each product.
  • an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) which is usually the central management of the whole company, connected to all services and processes - the PIM system is one of the connections in the ERP.
  • a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) - it does not interact with customers directly, it just makes for a pleasant journey through your catalogue information.
  • a data feed manager (DFM) in that it is not responsible for disseminating catalogues, maintaining e-marketing campaigns or placing product information in different marketplaces - but it does make sure the information in the DFM is synchronised and correct.

A PIM system usually includes:

  • A PIM - the location (cloud-based) where product information is recorded, stored and managed.  Product information can include descriptions, catalogues, brochures and PDFs, tags, technical details, languages. Products can be categorised in different ways and have different attribute settings depending on the product family they belong to.
  • A DAM (Digital Asset Manager) - provides the interface for managing the digital assets like images, video, documents related to products, categories and families.
  • Channel components – connections to outputs where your product information is needed for you to sell, such as:
    • Web - online shop, reseller portal, support platform
    • CRM - quoting platform
    • Printed material – brochures, PDFs, advertising
  • Mobile apps
  • Point Of Sale material

Why would I need a PIM?

You may need a PIM because your business is starting to grow, your product range is increasing, and you are starting to develop sales of a considerable volume that small teams would find it hard to cope with. The bigger your catalogue, the more you will be exposed to errors, repetitions and inconsistencies between sections of the team that continuously perform catalogue updates.

A PIM allows your sales and marketing team to avoid repetitive tasks, it can speed up the flow of information through e-commerce, and can check what omissions are produced in product descriptions so that you can manage these gaps instantly, without having to track chaotic documents, from computer to computer, and from employee to employee.

You might think a PIM is only for large companies with hundreds and thousands of products, but a PIM works very effectively for any company that has 1,000 SKUs (stock keeping units) or more. Think about how many variations of your existing products you have, the number of individual spare parts, not to mention all the images, technical specifications, descriptions, and keywords for each of them. So, if you are considering extending your current product range, now just may be the time to get your systems sorted.

A PIM will help your sales and marketing efforts by:

  • Centralising product content in one place.
  • Automating the publication of content in e-commerce.
  • Automating the creation of paper catalogues.
  • Creating automatic PDF technical data sheets.
  • Sharing product data between supplier/re-seller and customer.

Why would I choose Ascend7 to help implement a PIM for my business?

Ascend7 understands businesses and technology, and has a wealth of experience successfully implementing innovative and practical solutions to everyday business challenges. If you believe the nature of your business and the stage it is at, requires a tool to maintain synchrony between your products, your people, your suppliers, your customers across all your channels, then we know a PIM will help you achieve this.

Ascend7 has a partnership with Sales Layer – an experienced PIM provider out of Spain. So not only do we have an effective, configurable PIM solution to solve your product and catalogue headaches, but we have the backing one of Europe’s leading technology companies.

You’ll know your PIM is working effectively if you get these results

Your PIM is doing its job well if you have:

  • Perfect basic product data - name, category, technical characteristics, description
  • Synchronised marketing data - descriptions, tags, media assets, keywords
  • Coordinated attributive data - cost, price, SKU or reference numbers
  • Quality content for publishing to various channels
  • Consistency among images, videos and product descriptions in the various channels used by the company
  • Coordinated technical data- warranty, packaging, dimensions

Ask us how a PIM will take your business to the next level.